What’s Intriguing Right Now… in my life…

What I’m WATCHING…
I’m watching on Netflix “The Fosters”.
It’s a cool drama about foster families and I think I love the ‘kid actors on here And all they face from day to day. The show plays with the dangers of secrecy, and all that comes with it. And I love it.

What I’m READING…
I’ve been reading a few things. The last exciting book I read was Homecoming. Ex-cell-lent!
It was long …and you had to stretch your Imagination a bit but it really got me lost in the lives of the people, their experiences and the mystery of family. Before , during and after the Middle Passage.

How I’m MENTORING…
Mentoring has been successful. I’m very glad it’s started. I began Mentoring a group of about ten women in November 2016. I love when women come together to nurture themselves and have a bit OS Self- introspection and “me-time”. It always helps keep be grounded and uplifts me a bit.ūüėá‚̧ If you’re even the slight bit interested, we participate in discussions online and in person. Send an email to: mentormysister@gmail.com

What I am LISTENING to…
Well my music life is shifting…
I am liking recently everything that even sounds like Todd Dulaney, an amazing gospel artist and musician Johnathan Reynolds. They inspireme immensely through song. And when my soul needs a lifting, that’s where I go.
How I’ve ¬†been FEELING….
I’ve been feeling sort of isolated ¬†near the end of the year with my illness. But I’ve had a lot of talk time with hubby, and ¬†we’ve prayed , dreamed and searched one another’s thoughts together. It’s been real.

What I’ve Been WRITING
I’ve been writing more.
It’s cool because my blogging experience is focused on self development and I write on those topics. I like writing about self-development and self-awareness, although I can see how others may be co fused cause I post a lot of selfies and talk about myself. (Haha!ūüėĄ ūüĎäūüĎä) But that’s part of the journey. Why not learn from an introspective person who is trying to love herself more, about how she gets there, and what she makes more room for, in that space?

I’m LOVING…These days…I’m really loving just ” Being”.¬†Possibly on any given day you can learn from me in that way and see I get a lot out of being, so that may not change. But that’s how self-awareness happens in this space of learning and loving yourself.

What I am PLANNING…
So that’s one ¬†(of many areas) of my life where things are “just. not. perfect.” I am a planner at heart. Sometimes it just gets colluded, though. Not sure why…need to think a little more thoroughly about that. But I bought a planner for next year and I’ve decided for the first time I’m going to plan to write read, research and study. And all that is going in my planner. Yeah. Even the fun stuff I never get to do. Like pictures and scrapbooking. Just because I love memories and reminiscing. Cool. So that’s where do am. Thanks for listening.

The Walls can Speak for Themselves ‚ÄĒ Ball of Light

It’s 4am on Monday morning. All week, I wondered what I’d blog about. Ideas came and went, but I knew the whole time I wanted to tell you about tonight. Trouble is, I had to wait until tonight to know what to say. I’m not going to talk. I’ll let the walls speak for themselves. Watch this video. I […]

via The Walls can Speak for Themselves ‚ÄĒ Ball of Light

On Being Content.

Philippians 4:11, 12 

Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be [content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.

I know how to be abased¬†and¬†live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty¬†and¬†live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency¬†and¬†enough to spare or going without¬†and¬†being in want.”

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Myself & two good friends ministering in homes in S. Africa.

One evening in  in May 2003, in South Africa, the sun was setting, and we all were on our way back home headed for an almost two-hour trip and  I captured this  golden color in the sky.   Although it looked as if there is a slight yellowish haze in the sky,  the opposite is true. Some of this color was the fires  in the air they  would use to  rid garbage that was days old in the shantytowns.  In some neighborhoods, it was really hard to breathe, so  we had to leave for fear of breathing in too much smoke.

We were trying to get out of the neighborhoods before dusk disappeared, and there was no light on the streets. They said after a certain time in the evening we had to make certain we were out of the small towns in order to be safe. There were no garbage men to come and collect trash like we have the pleasures in America. What we have in our own neighborhoods is a luxury.

Above, ¬† are the ¬†pictures of the¬†dilapidated¬† “shanty homes” that are ¬†located in their small¬†villages¬† In the air were strong smells of smoke and garbage.

I watched the people’s face I was with, and saw their noses turned up, sadness…. as if they were remembering¬†something¬†from the past. As if this area made them sadder they have ever been. and as if dread were on¬†their¬†faces. They had much love for the people; however, for when¬†their¬†faces ¬†came out of the homes,¬†their¬†faces lit up brightly, and they relished in seeing ¬†the smile they were welcomed with ¬†and quickly put away their frowns for the love of the people.

There were bright spots in the day; however. I was able to go by Diane’s house. ¬†( I am so surprised I even recall her name, its been ten years now….) But I will never forget Diane. she lived in a room the size of ¬†of a large bathroom in a suburban home. I was embarrassed for her. She had the brightest smile. ( Diane is the one to the far right, above). She ¬†was happy to be alive and ¬†to have a job and a nice car. and that she did, but with her job as “a diamond polisher”, she really didn’t have much to show for it. She had sitting outside a nice maroon car, but ¬†barely enough room to move around in. she said she polished diamonds all day. And for her wages, she ¬†barely lived in a home the size of my den. it made me sad. But Diane was happy. I felt she deserved so much more. But her smile informed me she was not one who wanted much more.She was content. Even ¬†in this state.

Driving though a neighborhood like this in S. Africa, you learn to appreciate what you have. fresh air, ¬†a sun you can see, and smile on the faces of the people in the area, the flowers in full bloom. Other than people who I ¬†saw walking around in the area that¬†day, I don’t recall seeing anything ¬†resembling having life¬†other than people who lived there.

This profoundly affected me.

I remember a time living in Syracuse one summer and I was just angry, literally angry because the sun didn’t come out. It was a cold, cloudy summer and it affected my mood. It was then I decided I would not always live in Syracuse, NY. I decided if I needed anything, I needed the Sun.

It made me content. Warm. Made me smile.

Imagine what this felt like for the people in Kuma. Imagine not being able to see the sun. Imagine not being able to feel it’s heat and it’s warmth. Imagine having to breathe through fumes, daily.

When I think about ¬†(today in my life) what I have and I don’t have, I go back to the thought of Diane. And her home, ¬†and her smile. And I realize that I cannot complain. God is good and ¬†I need to accept that and that alone. Selah.

I am learning to be content. every day of my life.  Though my heart aches for the people in Kuma, S. Africa, I enjoy remembering   the company and the warm smiles and hearts.

pursue family.

How is this …on my blog about pursuing me?
perhaps because it reflects family.
and i really, really love families.

I love how we create that cultural  magic.

and just shine.

our inner lights ¬†reflecting our joy –

and our  love for one another.

nieces

 

how we groove.

how we move.

how we  find healing

how we  find hope.

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how we search for one another . how we embrace one another.

how we love. it’s all so different and complex.

fam
i love my own family because they are purely in love with each other.
it makes my heart  full to see us interact and love on one another.

being with, and seeing one another fully…

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mom and dad are getting older. I love them so.. hard to imagine a  life without them.

they have always been here.

i will cherish them while I can.

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indeed. cousins that look alike and should be siblings in another life… are just awesome to have around…

Some of My Best Photos & Words….

It’s so odd how…

Some of my best pictures have permanent memories¬† and ‘records’ in my head… of me being taken out of my environment, into another realm of being and doing, transplanted to another part of the earth and helps me see a greater part and the ‘spiritual’¬† part ¬†of who I am.

I love to travel. It’s no secret. I can just about tell you I was experiencing life on a serious level, in everyone of these pictures and some type of MAJOR growth was happening in that very moment.

Maybe that’s why I love photography and I get so much out of it. It speaks without opening its mouth. Speaks so loudly and profoundly.

But on the inside. In my heart, my mind and my soul.
I am going to be working a photo task this year, and I am excited about it, although I am expecting that it will challenge me, I am a little nervous that it happens all YEAR LONG. So that means I have to be CONSISTENT.¬† *¬† (Mind you …. this WAS¬† – –gonna be my word, then I¬† chickened out.. so I will keep it on the sideline and refer to it, when I have “fully embraced” life to the umpteenth degree and you can see I am not hiding any longer…)

If you are gonna be consistent, why not then BE: one who EMBRACES consistency, right?

a big HUGE  HA!

Well, the God’s honest truth is… most of these photos were taken¬† RIGHT here in¬† Tulsa¬† Oklahoma.¬† And just for the record,¬† I WAS on a JOURNEY…. I¬† really BIG one, too.¬† Smile.

I don’t know how you¬† feel about the¬† journeys in life that¬† wind up taking you “further ” than you may have ever imagined…. but¬† this girl right here… has¬†decided to work on my ONE WORD¬†¬† for the past three¬†¬†years and BOY…!¬† Have I been¬† stretched!

 2015 was Endure.

2016 was  Conquer.

¬†2017 … is Embrace.

All three of these words¬† take me some place.¬†¬† To stories in my life journey that mesmerize me ;¬†¬† stretch me a little more,¬† cause me to¬† contemplate,¬† and¬† show me who I really am.¬† … And in these past few years , that has been¬† almost¬† inevitable.¬† See,.. though I am now a very strong advocate of¬† “choosing words”¬† that honor and¬† embrace the journey,¬† I¬† don’t believe I pick these words. I believe THEY PICK ME.

And so it is… I should have¬† wrote down how I had it confirmed…. but I literally heard¬† the word¬† EMBRACE over w three hour period… at least it seemed that way…. so I said :YES.

I WILL.  and she stayed here.

¬†So I guess we are¬† sort of partna’s for the next¬† 360 days!

Amen & Selah.

Oh.. and you can guarantee ‘the pictures’ will follow in¬†¬† 2017 as well…

 

 

 

 

Caught Up in Silence.

Today I got kinda caught up. I had forgotten about my writing. That space where I seem to love creating.

I was in the middle of a week that was going on six days of pure sickness. I hated it. And right before Christmas! (Forget about shopping!…Okay?) In fact I can’t even recall the last day I even had time to embrace real quiet. I’ve been really keeping track, this time. I was beginning to like what I was experiencing,  …fully. Then,  all of a sudden, out of know where…a silent bomb falling bomb of the sky…out of  nowhere, it just happened.

Silence. 

I really enjoy the Netflix series, The Fosters. It’s really cool. It’s a really good series on television about a foster family trying to make it work. Families are my thing. I have a dream of working with families forever. I want to help a  ‘slew’ of families thrive – and help make them better and stronger, even in their communities. And of course, I always want to check off on my list of how ‘realistic’ the foster family is on this show, because I work with them in real life, of course. c. I find the writers to be pretty adept and realistic in their research. I was sitting there one moment ‘caught up”  in the rapture of the storyline, and then…nothing.

At first, I was like:” I have to finish this series…”and then of course…Silence captured me, between shows. I love that blank pause that offers room for more. I love to fill it with ideas and words and stretch that space with more excitement and overwhelm of good thoughts.

 Who knows what I may create next?

So I take on the challenge, and I rise to the occasion. I listen to silence and what it teaches me and speaks to my heart and how it molds me into this  ‘creative creature’ that I am with a vast imagination.

And so I take time and break for those moments of suspense, and I wrap myself lovingly in its Embrace‚̧…as I write.

 And by the way, that’s my word for 2017. Embrace.

I guess it’s started, huh? ūüėČ

Nthabiseng is My Name.‚̧

Nthabiseng ¬†is my African name,. It means: “Make Me Happy”.

I consider it to either be a statement of how I should be, or ¬†demand in that when people call me Nthabiseng, they make a demand of me, to bring happiness. For me, personally, its an infinite reminder that God wants me to be HAPPY. “Oh Lord, he Lord gave me a challenge on that one! ” When I visited South Africa in 2003, I never knew I would return with a new name.. How perfect, I thought, for God saw me. ¬†He used a 17 yr old girl named Ama, ¬†a name for me. ¬†She ¬†named me ¬†a name that helped breathe life into me, again. I was deep in unhappiness at the time trying to make some major decisions about my life and future. And God sends Ama. Blessed be the Name of the Lord , for showing me how names have power and intrigue and depth.

I was so intrigued by the name, as she sputtered it out. her name, Ama. She was seventeen in 2003. We sat in her living room in Sandton, S. Africa and I was trying on a South African dress. She must have seen something in me. A spark, maybe my dream come true To travel overseas. She saw me ignite. My fire, arise.

These days have no problem in letting that fire arise.

It comes naturally… sometimes as a spark, a flame, or even a rushing fire… but it doesn’t burn. Oh no, no burning…

Just purifying.

A cleansing awareness.

So I am thankful for the name, because it catapulted me forward into purpose. makes me realize why I am here on earth. To make others happy, but also “me”, happy.

Happiness became a journey for me. A destination. A venture. And I am so very glad this is my story. It makes  creating meaningful happy moments all  the mote more special.

How To Work For Free.

‚ÄčScripture: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galations 6:2

When I  ponder upon the term: Working for free”… I think of my first internship at Howard University,  while working on my Masters at  John Hopkins Hospital. It was my  very first  challenging “crisis as a social worker and I was terrified. I had never felt so inadequate. I  felt as if I couldn’t  be what I needed to be – for my client in the field of social work, but I was excited and  thrilled to be working at John Hopkins, and  challenged myself anyway, do it… I knew I could … with God’s help.

It was my first  job in  the field and in a hospital setting;  and I was in Baltimore, Maryland. My first counseling job that seemed to be too hard to do without worry.

I  was counseling a thirteen year old  parent with twins and her parents. I recall her parents being so angry with her,  I felt as if they couldn’t see that this was such a humongous turning point in her life, it  and the entire situation would either make or break her, and she would from this point on life determine whether she could ask for help freely, from anyone,  decide whether she was loved by family or rejected; and determine whether or not she was worthy of being a good mother. I didn’t want them to judge has age as an major inconvenience, cause I knew God could use this too, for His Glory.

I wanted there, in that moment to  reach out to her desperately and help her soul. ( Her mind, will and emotions.) I could only imagine how bleak her future may have seemed,  based on her outlook a the age of 13.   I guess that’s essentially when I became a “true burden-bearer” at work. I cared so much about her  and had compassion for her situation,  Not knowing what to say to her, or do…I remember at that moment praying and asking God to help me be the best social worker I could ever be, for Him. It’s like at that very moment I decided to tabernacle with God, and make  my life’s work an altar for him to come in and “alter” my own soul. I allowed my soul to be the place in which he could change me, develop me, shift m priorities, and right there I invited him into my work.  If my life  were to be a work of divine influence and transformation by working with people I wanted his light to shine through me as I helped His people.

As I searched for meaning with the word “alter”  by definition, I  found words like: ” transform,  shift, develop,  or change”.  This indeed was my charge: I had decided  long ago, I was called to do this work of working to change lives. The call to social work, was the type of field I was to influence and help wounded soldiers;  the type of work hat healed emotions and  soothed souls. This was my work. I  even saw I mirrored the life of Jesus:  He was the type of person that did the same, Jesus.  He was the best social worker there ever was, and he implemented His job with the greatest care and  the greatest compassion, and character there ever was.

I learned a humongous lesson, during my early years that lad the foundation for “free work”. Although I received a paycheck, I was living a calling and this work helped set others free. As I notice the  influence and trail I have left behind, I realize I  have been very blessed with a career full of  wonderful options and divine encounters with God through my work and I have learned  a few lessons along the way:

1. That  God’s work was my work.

I learned early on, I couldn’t do work without God. He needs me, to complete the work, and I needed Him to give it to me. This began a  career of fully offering my life to God, through my work. I believe it has blessed me significantly to finally end up in a place of becoming an entrepreneur and fully loving what I do.

2. That I should never take  anyone for granted that crosses  my path. It may be an opportunity to work for God.

Believing that every opportunity and every  situation  i experience already was determined and sent ahead for me, comforts me. It leaves an imprint of peace upon my life; when I was  discouraged or uncertain about my career and  unable to  be guided clearly.

3. That Compassion that has an arm rest name is: Jesus.

Whenever I feel like I am vulnerable and cannot  figure out where I am going and what God would have me to do, I will  call on Him for help. I have not ceased to do this, and as I do, God manages to preserve me. I have a certain kind of strength need to help me through any challenge, any story and any  valley as it pertain to  my career.

Freedom in your work involves an offering. A Sacrifice. Making a sacrifice for what is really something good and had lots of potential.  And determining that goodness really is… must be in the center of what your work involves.  It as a wonderful grace  flow when you allow God  to  be in the center of it, continually. God is  simply always looking for a sacrifice.  and if we make that altar  or “alter ” our lives, then we have an amazing chance to live it for His glory.

Questions for reflection:

1 .Has God ever prompted you to give more  on your job and turn it over to Him?

2. If you struggle with this decision, have you given that exact challenge unto God before addressing it?

3. Abraham had to sacrifice his own will and his good pleasure, His son –  at a time when he just seemed to  fall apart with the idea of what did not make any sense at all. Is there something in your life that does  not make sense, yet you  determine  in your heart to follow through, because the work and impact for Him,  may be just be that much greater?

Father, we  humbly submit our wills to you, as we struggle with  the notion that  we may not know the full essence of what you are offering us when you say, “Feed My Sheep.” If we mumble or complain a bit too loudly,  please forgive us and help us to  surrender all the more.  Help us to realize how we are called to transform, shift, develop,  or change.

On Brokenness.

Brokenness.

So.. I don’t claim to be the best at interpreting why God has to allow brokenness to be a blessing for us….but I want to explain  why it was a blessing for ME.
Brokenness sort of invades our lives like a sore, we didnt intend — to a injured part of our body we use to function every day. Yet injuries heal. If we let them. Choosing to hold onto the worst, and the ‘aching’ pain and bitterness prevents us from healing. And some of us, unfortunately dont get that doing this can make it much worse.

  In the years of 2004 and 2005, man I went through a brokenness that felt like I would not return from wherever I was lost.  When I sought God, I knew he was there, but I couldn’t really tell by how I was living. He seemed so very far away. But when I chose to feel, he showed up. Miraculously. What I mean by that is, I acjnowledged my pain. I shared and talked with Him, I opened up.

In The Midst of My Brokenness.

And sometimes, I really didn’t care, honestly,  if God was there, or not. I thought He had forgotten me, anyway. Not that this meant I didn’t love God, still, but I was just too hurt. And licking my wounds just seemed to feel better than talking to God about them.

Ever tried to reach for God and felt like your arms were just way too short?? Well, that was me. I knew God was real, but I was so very angry at Him.

My life had fallen apart. I was divorcing, I felt like relocation was my only option for beginning a new life, and I felt like the Spirit of God was forcing me to leave the city where I lived. I was ashamed. Hurt. DEFEATED. At least that’s how Ifelt, anyway.

Divorce made me feel as if I had failed.
So I felt like I needed a new start.

And that, I did.

But things became sort of blurry along the way. I felt like my entire life had changed, and I didn’t know where  God lived. Church was not a place to call home, and neither was the new place I had moved. I felt like life took a grave turn and I had to find my way back home.

Brokenness feels like youre almost dead. But you know youre alive, because youre still moving.
So.. what I have found is– that no matter how dead you feel, you survive – because its a “go through ” moment that has merit. HIS MERIT. God’s merit looks like grace. Undeserved favor. He sfill lifts you up, vives you a reason to smile, if wend are look outside ourselves fkr one moment. We recive rewards for going through,  with God. Somehow when I was going through, I knew God would spare my life, because what I endured, I just knew it was for someone’s benefit, just like Jesus’ stuff, his mess – the stuff He didnt create,  was  blessing, for me.

So here I am. On the other side of brokenness,  and I feel real FREE. I HAVE HOPE.
I can’t quite explain it all… all I know is I no longer feel bound; I am not crying all the time; I am not heartbroken- going through crazy cycles of shame anymore…I don’t use anything like “aids to help me sleep”; nor am I still trying to find myself. How about this: I DON’T FEEL LOST.
I just feel… NEW.
DIFFERENT.
SPECIAL.
LOVED.
And… I LOVE MYSELF.
Because… I know myself.
So there it is.
The secret  is out.
With brokenness, just ask God for help with surrending.
Healing, is on the other side.
Selah.

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