Birthday Countdown – Reflections (Part 2)

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There was a time in my life when a huge portion of my self-validation was influenced by people-validation. I sought the approval of others to feel good about what I had accomplished and who I was. I allowed others to determine my worth while I unconsciously undermined my accomplishments and value.

One day, I sat down and made a list. In that list I documented all the projects and responsibilities that I had undertaken throughout my career. The results shocked me! Over the 6 years of my career, I had undertaken over 30 projects, most of which I led and a couple of which were my brainchild. That list also emphasized that I always demonstrated a willingness to undertake and execute roles and projects that were outside the realm of my responsibilities. Through that attitude, I gained a lot of experiences in areas that persons would deem me too young to have in the professional world. The problem is, many, including myself, still undervalued or underestimated me.

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Birthday Countdown – Reflections (Part 1)

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Today is the first day of April. April 1st marks the countdown to my 26th birthday. I’ve decided to slate this period (from now to the big day) as a season of reflection. Today, on reminiscing about some of the horrible seasons that I overcame, I feel incredibly grateful.

Recently, I had a conversation, with a friend about some of the seasons I’ve gone through. The conversation made me realize something important. My past difficult seasons prepared me for future, more difficult, seasons. For example, dealing with a horrible breakup while attending university full-time and working part-time taught me how to handle my business despite emotional trauma. This experience prepared me for a season in my professional life where I was required to handle a difficult professional scenario while dealing with health, family and emotional difficulties. Despite the difficulties and emotional toils, I fought hard and soared! I now feel incredibly grateful for the hardships of my difficult seasons. The future benefits outweigh the past hardships.

I also feel a sense of assurance. God prepared me for something that I didn’t even know that I needed to be prepared for and through it all, He held my hand. I will echo, once again, I am grateful.


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May the Peace of God go with you!

XOXO
Chañel

 

Great Things Never Grow There

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My backyard had a huge mango tree that shaded more than a quarter of our backyard land space. Recently, we were forced to cut down the mango tree after discovering that it served as a home for termites. Following that big chop I complained about the misfortune (aka as missed opportunities for mango juice) until I noticed the following changes:

  1. The entire yard looked brighter. The sun now had direct unlimited access to my entire backyard.
  2. My brother begun planting flowers and foliage in the area. They bloomed.
  3. Grass continuously sprung up in the areas that used to be shaded by the mango tree.
  4. Our laundry dried quicker.
  5. There were other blooming fruit trees that were previously overshadowed by the mango tree.

The transformation of my backyard got me thinking. My beloved mango tree was the comfort zone of my backyard! Our beloved mango tree shaded the backyard so long that the land, in conjunction with the sun, never had the opportunity to fulfill its potential and nurture and grow plants. We also didn’t understand the potential that existed in getting laundry dried faster and planting new flowers and foliage. Catch this, we were so focused on the vastness of the mango tree that we totally missed the fruit trees that were also blooming.

Similarly, our comfort zones shade us from the things we need to grow, overshadow other opportunities and limit our potential. Through this we often miss opportunities to fulfill our potential and make life easier. Are you willing to grow more? Are you ready to step into your potential? Step out of the shade of your comfort zone. Great things never grow there.


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Chañel

A Way to Conquering Anger

Anger

Early in life I recognized two facts:

  1. I did not have a talent for cussing (quarreling and cursing). Since I never entered a match that I was bound to lose, I avoided the back and forth trading of barbs and curses.
  2. When angry, I lacked the time or patience to beat around the bush. When triggered, I got to the point physically, or I deemed my opponent unworthy of my time and energy and walked away to deal with more important things.

Whilst I tended to choose to walk away more often than not, at 17 years old I found myself in an altercation with a neighbour. Provoked, one too many times, I grabbed the man and attacked with the only thing in my hand, a steel fork. In the midst of my white-hot rage, something stopped me. I halted to find that I had cornered the man and had the fork pressed to his jugular. My red-hazed intent was to make him an example. In that moment, one thing crossed my mind: “If I continued on my current path, I was bound to end up in prison.” No one should have that much power over me or my life. I paused, looked the man up and down, said simply, “You’re not worth it.” and walked away. Shaken and stunned, he uttered not a word.

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Kings Exist! They Are Not Dead.

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A dedication to J, a king who loved me and taught me to love wholesomely.

Early last year, I grew to love someone romantically for the first time in years. He was perfect not because I couldn’t see his imperfections but because I did and I still wanted him. He made my day brighter just by being in it. He had the incredible ability to frustrate me in equal proportions as his ability to do something totally ridiculous that would have me squealing with laughter until tears ran down my face or smiled until my jaws hurt. He loved to make me smile! In his words, “What’s the world without the prettiest smile from the prettiest girl?”

He was the first man I’ve been involved with who wanted to pray with and for me. Although most of the times, he was thousands of miles away, travelling, there was never a night that we did not speak or a journey that he did not call to check that I had made it.

He understood that I wasn’t perfect but still he saw perfection in me despite my imperfections. He listened when I spoke. We spoke about the hard topics. We learned to agree to disagree on stuff that we both felt strongly about. He supported, motivated and pushed me to my limits. He was the type of guy who would spend hours learning and quizzing me about a topic that he knew nothing about just because I had an exam coming up. He made me want to be a better person on all levels. He forced me to be brave and let my voice be heard. He made me see the world in a more different and exciting way.

This guy was perfect! Incredibly, we synced and fit on everything but one…the one thing that turned out to be the deal-breaker. Before I knew it, I was planning to let my perfect guy go, overruling his protestations that he wanted me more than some childhood dream. Yet, I couldn’t bear the thought that maybe, just maybe, one day that special glow in his eyes, when he looked at me, would die when the conclusion sunk in that I was really serious and wouldn’t give him the one thing he has yearned for for as long as he could remember. And so, dying a little inside, I let him go and I walked away without looking back. We haven’t spoken since…

My heart aches whenever I hear a woman say that there are no good men out there. I know that’s a lie because I had one and he treated me as his queen. The queen in me rose and aligned to the king in him. But, before I could get there, the queen in me had to be readied so that she would see, acknowledge and respond wholesomely to the king he is. Only then did the incredible and rare thing occurs where we both connected, fitted and synced on another level. This is an experience I wish for all ladies. Only, when you find him, may you get to keep him.

 


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XOXO
Chañel

 

5 Life Lessons I Learned During 2018

2018 represented my 25th year and what a year it was! Based on the pronouncements of my 17-year old self, this should have been the year I got married and completed my second degree. My seventeen year old self was wrong and wronger lol. It’s a good thing I learned long ago that, things don’t often occur the way we planned them however, leaving them in the hands of the Author as He works and fulfills on His timing, no matter how impatient I become, is the better choice. Despite things not occurring as my idealistic 17-year old self would have planned, 2018 was a fulfilling year of self-sufficiency with some crucial lessons to learn. so, here goes, 5 lessons I learned during 2018:

 

Lesson 1: Not everyone’s opinions should be needed or heeded.

I recall the first time I heard the quote “a wolf does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep”, I thought I understood it until I realized that I wasn’t living it. An acquaintance bluntly (getting a taste of my medicine is not an easy pill to swallow) pointed out that I concerned myself too much with the opinions of persons who weren’t the subject matter experts. It took months for me to stop seeking or heeding the opinions of persons not qualified to give it. When I achieved this, things changed.

The truth is, whenever you step out to do something, two things will happen:  you may doubt yourself and everyone will want to have a say, especially if the move you are making goes against the norm.

Take the opinions of subject matter experts (the wolves) with a grain of salt and ignore the sheep!

 

Lesson 2: Trust your instincts

This year, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, which focused on recognizing and trusting the subtle but critical messages that your subconscious sends to your consciousness. In all honesty, this year, if I had trusted my gut, a lot of things would have turned out differently. It is also a bit painful when I realize that the primary reasons I didn’t trust my gut were because:

  1. I got caught in the web of analysis paralysis
  2. I focused on my responsibilities and caught up in the moment
  3. I focused on my conscious interpretation of the circumstances and outcomes I could see.

Faith requires seeing, not with just your eyes, but deeper…sometimes beyond the physical.

Listening to your subconsciousness requires going with your first instinct even if you don’t have physical plausible explanation as to why. Trusting your instincts requires you to be attuned to yourself enough to hear the subliminal messages that your mind communicates. I like to think that our subconscious is just another think that God uses to guide and warn us.

I find it amazing that God equipped each of us with our own personal alarm system. It’s a pity we don’t listen!

 

Lesson 3: Know when to walk away!

Know who you are and what you need.

This year I chose to walk away from people I loved who were toxic for me. I turned my back on things I didn’t believe in and people who didn’t believe in me or refused to invest me. I left my fears and doubts and anything that was not good for me behind!

If anyone had told me that the key to meeting Mr. McDreamy (can’t help my Grey’s Anatomy reference) was to go off on a cruise, I would have packed my bags and gone on holiday without prodding in early 2017. I met and clicked with Mr. McDreamy in late 2017. We invested in early 2018. To me, he was perfect…at least for a few months. While we aligned on a great many things, I soon realized that there were critical areas of misalignment. McDreamy was willing to wait for me to change my mind. I wasn’t! Especially when it came to what I needed or the things that defined me. I wasn’t willing to gamble with that on a whim, so I walked away.

Walking away is a hard and constant struggle but totally worth it.

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Next Step: Being a hoe? Part 1

I recently said to a friend the next chapter of my life will be called “When I was a Hoe.” I went on to say when you read that chapter, to cut a long story short, just skip to the end, it will say “I’m still a hoe.”

It’s a rather strange way to introduce you readers to myself but I think you will find out I’m a self-deprecating mess and you will love me for it.

Chanel has been trying to get me to contribute to her blog for the longest time. I think I was her first ever editor. I always resisted the urge because I always thought I didn’t have much to say. However the events of the last few months of my life got me thinking, maybe I should find a contructive way to work through my emotions. Since I’m a professional writer I thought why not write it down.

This first post will take you through my ‘hoe’ origins. In the beginning God created heaven and earth, but, if Chanel’s religion is to be believed I came some two thousand years later. I was a smart youngster who did well in school and watched way too much television, so, I got the concept in my head that a guy should have one girlfriend. I found the person I thought was going to be perfect for me.

S.W was beautiful, smart, untamed and best of all she admitted she liked me. She was the first girl to ever do that to me. I was already impressed but now I was hooked. I did all the things I thought should be done in young love – I was about 13. We held hands, we talked for hours about the most random stuff, whenever we’d meet I would sneak a kiss or she would find somewhere to be alone.

But she was also my first heartbreak. The first step on my road to “Hoe-dom” come around next week, I’ll tell you all about it.