It Really Is About The Journey . . .

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God is within her, she will not fail; God will help her at break of day.

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Collage of speakers and some of the attendees.

Psalm 46:5 (NIV)

“So, how’d it go?” my friend asked with wide-eyed enthusiasm. We both had events to happen the weekend of November 7 – she hosted her younger sister’s first baby shower, and I hosted my first women’s conference.

“It was amazing,” I started. “It far exceeded my expectations.”

The truth is my faith waivered the entire journey.

The. Entire. Journey.

Leading up to the actual event, I probably cried about once twice a day. At first they were tears of uncertainty. For a long time I felt like I was swimming in the depths of the ocean, I was full of fear. I thought I had nothing on which to anchor. I thought, maybe God did not give me the vision to start the Faith.Hope.Love. Mom Conference. Maybe I concocted the whole ding-dang thing, and I heard what I wanted to hear and not what He called me to do.

The tears then morphed into disappointed tears because I took a leap of faith and did something that I would NEVER do: I asked other people for help. I heard the word “no” too many times to count in the past ten months – I lost track after about the millionth time. I diligently called, emailed, Skyped and physically met with dozens of companies and people across Georgia and was turned down again and again and again.

It’s funny now but I realized toward the end of my journey that fear was going to be there regardless. It wasn’t something I could easily get rid of, fear would have to come along; I just couldn’t let it dictate how I operated my life. And the disappointment, well that comes with the territory. As a writer, you hear no a lot, I mean a lot because maybe the timing is off, or there’s no budget to support your project, or they’re just genuinely not interested, and that’s okay. I took the rejections personally, and I shouldn’t have. I felt like they were saying no to me, but they weren’t.

The woman-owned business or centric organizations that supported the inaugural event.

The woman-owned business or women-centric organizations that supported the inaugural event.

Truth?

My asks were misplaced. It wasn’t about reaching out to people and companies for help; it was about re-training me to turn to Him for my needs.

All of them.

When I realized that, my dialogue changed, I was no longer asking for help and my self-worth, my identity, my wanting to be brave was not tied to their response. Brene Brown says in Rising Strong that, “the most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity.”

I didn’t need their validation. I was on a mission from God, and that was enough.

And “no” eventually turned to “yes” – just enough of them. I aligned myself with several woman-owned businesses that sold their wares, and either discounted or volunteered their services.

Me (turquoise shirt) surrounded by the 2015 speakers and host. L to R, Diana Watley, Dr. Maria Barnes, Egypt Sherrod, me, Kendra Morman (host), Dr. Roxanne Donovan. Missing Tracy Nicole.

Me (turquoise shirt) surrounded by the 2015 speakers and host. L to R, Diana Watley, Dr. Maria Barnes, Egypt Sherrod, me, Kendra Morman (host), Dr. Roxanne Donovan. Missing Tracy Nicole.

The speakers were amazing, and so was our awardee. We honored a local businesswoman for her impact on influencing generations of Atlanta women. I proudly watched as everything unfold. I was touched when the attendees shared bits of their personal stories. I began praising God in the corner because He did it – through him I created a safe and judgment free place where moms felt they could rediscover themselves and lead intentional lives.

I wouldn’t trade the past year for anything. I’m emerging wiser and more resilient, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

 

Dr. Joyce Irons our 2015 Inspirational Award Recipient

Never In My Wildest Dreams…

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“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” — Psalm 46: 5, NIV

I’m rocking a new word for the One Word 365 Challenge. The goal of this challenge is pretty simple, ditch the New Year’s resolution list and focus on one word that will define your year.

No pressure, right?

Last year it took me a few days to mull over the challenge. How could I choose a word to define a span of time that’s yet to happen? What if I wanted to change my word later – is that allowed? Trust me, I had about a million more questions and finally decided for 2014 my word would be, self-acceptance.

And what a year it was. I stayed the course, even when it was extremely hard to embrace me just as I am – and all my imperfections.

Believe me, I’m flawed.quotescover-PNG-73

I failed many times last year – many, many times at many, many things. The difference however was that I began to question myself. I decided to dig deeper because I needed to know why. Why am I not getting this? I did some real soul-searching trying to get to the root of the failures. Have you done this? Have you ever peeled back the layers on something personal to you to find a deeper meaning?

I learned that you just leave well enough alone. That if you fall, you just get back up and try again.

We seriously need to re-think that.

While you’re flat on your back pause a moment and ask the question: how did I get here? Why did this happen? What should I do better next time?

I didn’t do that before. I just jumped back in and kept trying; all the while questioning my purpose and His plan for my life.

The sentiment is sweet, but it just didn’t make logical sense.

See, it’s one thing to fail at something that you’ve never tried before. It’s a whole other ballgame when you consistently fail at something that you’ve done again, and again, and again… well you get the picture.

I have failed at friendships, diets, and business even at times parenting. And honestly, I don’t think I probably will ever be perfect at any of those things because I’ve decided once and for all not to embrace an ideal about them.

Fair-weathered friendships come and go, but I’m blessed to have a few women who I can call on if I need an ear or a hand and I would gladly do the same for them.

No more diets. I have an advocate/friend who’s a fitness expert, and her motto is: Decide and Commit. She’s right. Just simply do it, make the changes that you can keep for life.

Business? Well, I’ve been in my career for 17 years. Wow, did I just type that? So, I’m using some of my award-winning experience for myself. I am officially a small business owner.

And parenting, there are no perfect parents but there are perfect moments we share with our children. We used the past Chirstmas holiday to teach our children a valuable lesson about giving. It was hard for them but they bounced back just like their father and I always do.

There’s a word for this. It’s not brave, although I did contemplate this word again this year. And it’s not consistency – this was a close runner up.

The word is resilience.

Learning to try things from a difference angle, recalibrating as necessary, knowing that my falling doesn’t mean that I’m a failure. That’s resilience. That’s my word for 2015. What about you? What are your plans for this year? Have you chosen a word? Or words or even drafted a list? Share them with us.

Happy New Year! I pray that all of your heart’s desires are fulfilled and exceed your wildest expectations this year.

xoxo
Cece

Let The Sunshine In

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Happy December everyone! What a great way to start the month, I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine award by Quanie Miller over at QuanieTalking. The Sunshine Blog Award is passed on by bloggers to other bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”sunshine-award

Awe shucks.

There are a few rules that every blogger nominated for this award have to follow:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger with a link and post about your award.
  2. Share 10 random facts by answering the questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  3. Pass on the Sunshine Blog Award to other bloggers (up to 10) of your choice and let them know you nominated them.
  4. Post 10 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer on their blog.

So, I’ll answer Quanie’s questions:

1.When did you start your blog and why?

I started blogging as a challenge from my husband to get back into writing. I studied journalism in college and grad school but hadn’t written more than a grocery list before starting the blog.

2. Was there ever a time you thought about giving your blog up? Why or why not?

Yes, early last year. I wasn’t posting as much as I would have liked and I know that part of being a successful blogger is to post often. I decided to stick with it – I’ll say what I have to say when I can say it.

3. If you could give any word of advice to writers/bloggers, what would it be?

Be nice to the voices in your head.

4. What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

I prefer the broccoli stumps to the florets – weird, I know (sounds like a bad Seinfeld episode).

5. If you lived your life without fear what’s the one thing you would do?

That’s something that I aspire to daily. Every time I press ‘Publish’ on  a post that I’ve written or ‘Save’ to a few more pages I created, that’s me looking fear square in the eyes and saying, “Ha! Take that.”

6 What advice would you give to a younger you?

Stop trying to fit in, you were made to stand out.

7. Let’s say your life is a movie and you had to write the log line. What would it be?

Plucky southern girl finds her way and her voice in the unlikeliest of places.

8. What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

Stare at the ceiling and go over my lists.

9. What’s your favorite inspirational quote?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

10. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would want to see Ella Fitzgerald in concert. I have some of her early recordings, but I know they could never do justice to hearing the real thing.

So I’m passing this award to Stephanie Lewis over at The Ink Is Full and Dana at The Happiness Bucket, they bring lots of sunshine to the blogosphere. Be sure to visit them (and their Facebook & Twitter pages) and here are the questions I would ask:

  1. How did you come up with the name for your blog?
  2. What inspired you to start blogging/writing?
  3. Will you share a link to your favorite blog post?
  4. Name your favorite fictional character in a book and why?
  5. Dark or milk chocolate?
  6. Glass half empty or half full?
  7. Who’s your favorite author right now?
  8. Do you have a playlist that you listen to when you write or specific song? If so what’s on it or what is it?
  9. Do you speak another language? If so, which one(s)?
  10. 10. Finally, (because I loved this question) if you lived your life without fear what’s the one thing you would do?

Congrats again you two and be sure to check out Quanie’s novel on Amazon.

Thanks and Giving

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Katherine over at The Intrinsic Writer blog just bestowed upon me “The Illuminating Blogger” award – talk about a great way to kick off November. Be sure to visit her blog and definitely check out her, “Old School Sundays” posts – she reminds us of our great literary history. Thank you, Katherine!

The requirements for “The Illuminating Blogger” award are that I:

  1. Visit the award site, leave a comment, tell everyone who nominated you, and thank the blogger, including a link back to their site.
  2. Share a random thing about myself.
  3. Select 5 or more nominees and notify them that they’ve won the award.
  4. Put the award on your blog somewhere.

So here’s something not so random…since it’s the season of thanks and giving (my favorite time of year), I wanted to tell you all that I’m grateful that you’re taking this journey with me. I created this blog as a way to add my voice to the chorus of stories that are being published every second on the web that may or may not speak to my life experiences and beliefs. I’ve learned that when you tell your truth, share your experiences, in a sincere and honest way, genuine people always gravitate towards you. I’m grateful.

The five nominees are:

Susie Gutierrez – Absolutely love her, she’s honest and she says what she means.

From Jesus’ Lips To My Ear – I enjoy reading her posts. She’s an absolute riot at times but sincere always.

Bridgetstraub – Wonderful writer, please check out “Searching For My Wand” on Amazon.

Breathe Deeply – This blog is inspirational. I look forward to getting the alerts in my inbox (can’t say that about many things these days).

Abrielle Valencia – I. Love. This. Blog. She’s gives it to you straight and says out loud the things that you would want to say but don’t.

Congrats to everyone nominated.


God Bless.

Cece

Somebody’s Fa-bu-lous!

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Guess what?! – Apparently I’m fabulous. No I’m not being vain (you know me better than that). I was awarded The Fabulous Blog Ribbon from Katie over at The Intrinsic Writer blog. How wonderful is that?!

Okay, I’ll stop with the questions.

So the award comes with some rules, I have to:

  1. Thank the blogger who gave it to me and share the link back to the awarding blog.
  2. Name 5 fabulous moments in my life.
  3. Name 5 things that I love.
  4. Name 5 things that I hate.
  5. Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.

Be sure to read Katie’s blog, especially if you’re an aspiring writer, you’ll like her blog. She writes about writing, which I honestly think is a genre unto itself. I like the way she skillfully crafts her posts, I always leave with something after reading The Intrinsic Writer blog.

5 Fabulous Moments? – One, two and three…the birth of my 3 children (yeah yeah cliché but true). I never knew how incredible women were until I gave birth. Four…when my step-son became a part of my life and five…when I married my best friend.

5 Things That I love?

1. Good Friends.

2. When I occasionally succumb to my vices, it reminds me that I’m human.

3. People that can laugh at themselves.

4. Second chances.

5. Aha Moments.

5 Things That I hate? – Hate’s such a strong word …but…and in no particular order…I hate it when:

1. …Women that say they are not a feminist. If you believe that women should have a say in their own healthcare, have equal pay for equal work, believe that no woman ‘had it coming to her’, believe that women shouldn’t be slighted because of her gender, race or socioeconomic status – then you’re a feminist. Sorry to break it to you.

2. …Injustice goes unpunished.

3. …Media and marketers try to use gimmicks, lies or shenanigan to sell products.

4. …trashy reality TV shows influence popular culture. Some are really well done and motivational but the majority of these shows film people at their worst and weave those moments together to present an unflattering version television truth.

5. …Entitlement. Get over yourself already, no one owes you a thing.

5 Bloggers You Should Visit Today!

Abrielle Valencia! She’s smart, funny, and thoughtful. I read her blog often.

Memory Bears by Bonnie! Bonnie is so sincere in her writing. She suffered a horrible loss and each entry (I think) is powerful because she seems stronger with each one.

Adriana Ryan! Okay this woman is fearless. Literally! She writes supernatural fiction.

My Body the City: The Secret Life of a Callgirl! Stella is amazing. She was domestically trafficked in New York for 10 years!

The Many Shades of Love! Amy’s name says it all. Amy Wise. She’s an incredibly gifted writer. Oh and bonus– she just published a book, it’s on Amazon.

Congratulations and enjoy!

V-V-V-Versatile…the Remix

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Apparently I’m versatile. . .

What a lovely way to start my day (and end my week for that matter). I received this wonderful award from Renee, she writes beautifully on her Writingfeemail Blog (very clever indeed).  I love these awards; it’s a great way for  bloggers to recognize one another.  

So, the rules for Versatile Blogger award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog. Check.

2. Reveal 7 things about yourself. Hmmm.

3. Nominate and link to 15 bloggers. Hmmm. Hmmm.

7 things. . .

Well I think I’d like to share the 7 most important lessons that I learned in 2011:

1. Common sense ain’t common (boy oh boy did I have to learn that the hard way this year).

2. There are multiple versions of truth.

3. Personal awareness is a true gift indeed, not everyone has it.

4. Saying “No” feels great…saying “hell no” feels better.

5. Jump in. . . feet first or head first. . . eyes opened or close but make sure you do it with no regrets.

6. Failure is an option. What a great way to learn what not to do.

7. The most important lesson I learned this year  is that (drum roll please). . . .There are talkers and doers, those that talk… watch what they do and those that do, watch what they say.

So now, here are 15 blogs of many-many blogs that I read…there are so many more but I’m not sure if they’ve received this award yet so…

My One Woman Show

Nourish Thyself

TotsyMae

Girl With Pen

Iowa Girl Eats

Always Mom of 4

Writing and Speaking for the Pursuit of Sappiness

Watch My Butt Shrink

Following the Whispers

The Struggle Within

Losing My Mind, Finding My Voice

Girl Chasing Frogs

Out of My Mind

A Memorable Time of My Life

Honey Smoke

Thanks everyone! Enjoy your award.

For me? – You shouldn’t have…

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It feels really good to know that I’m in your thoughts. Also that whatever it is I decide to write about (when I decide to write) is well received. Elizabeth at The Garden Gate awarded me the Liebster award, it means “beloved.” This award is meant to bring more attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers – a very cool way to pay it forward.

You’ll love Elizabeth’s blog The Garden Gate, she writes beautiful poetry and entries. For me, she’s been an inspiration, with each entry she shares pearls of wisdom. Be sure to stop over and read her blog or visit her on Facebook.

So it would seem that I need to:

1. Show thanks to the blogger who gave you the Award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment at their blog.

3. Post the Award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the Internet!

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My top 5 picks are….(and I tried to award them to blogs that do not currently have the award…there’s so many fabulous writers out there):  

My Fabulous Boobies: http://fabulous-boobies.blogspot.com/

Lupus in Color: http://www.lupusincolor.blogspot.com/

The Engledow Chronicles: http://jenniengledow.wordpress.com/ 

Mamalicious: http://www.mamaliciousnoire.com/

My Ghost Anchor & The Deep Blue Sea: http://www.facebook.com/myghostanchor

Enjoy everyone!