Be Encouraged & Endure

Over the past two weeks several friends that I hold dear have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. My heart goes out to Helena, Robert, Pam and Gwen. And also to other friends whose relatives are fighting to recover or to live.


While I pray for them and the millions who are suffering in some way due to this virus, I also pray for those of us whose impact has thus far been limited to having to shelter in place and sacrifice our norm. For let’s be real: This right here isn’t normal.

There’s the surrealness of it all. In may ways, it feels like we’re living out a sci-fi movie.

There’s the surrender required during it all. This is when the best place to be is at the center of the storm, wrapped in the Almighty’s embrace, due to what we can’t control.

And certainly, there’s the shifting of it all. Those of us who survive will come out of this indefinite period of disruption changed, no matter what.


If we’re intentional, perhaps this era will leave us wiser, more gracious, more authentically ourselves and more focused, connected and settled – ready to live our purpose or lean into discovering the next phase of our life’s unique calling. And many will be like my friends – forever touched by the losses this difficult season has wrought, fighting to forge ahead.


Wherever you land on this spectrum, be gentle with yourself, yet determined not to let this time of shutdown be a blur.


This doesn’t mean you must write that book, build a new business or “boss up” in some other way, although if you’re up to it, you can. What this season does offer is a chance to do the deep work to polish the gem your life already is.


Be courageous and love more deeply – yourself first, so you can truly love your neighbor.Look within and be real about the state of your soul. If you’re good, remain steady and firm and pour out from that full well. If you’re shaky, use this time to brutally self-examine, forgive yourself and others, and do whatever else it takes to transform into a person you’re proud of and gracious toward. We all have room to grow.


Challenge yourself to avoid self-numbing to the point of missing the lessons you’re meant to learn or the blessing you’re meant to be to others.
Be okay with everything not being okay. And even so, still find a way to live, love and laugh your way through as much of this as you can.


That’s what the doctor’s and nurses on the front lines are doing with the dances and songs they’re flooding social media with, between their calls to loved ones of dying patients.That’s what so-called “ordinary” people around this nation and globe are doing as they find time to help a neighbor or stranger, or celebrate someone’s birthday while social distancing or make an extra phone call to say hello, or share a meal or buy someone’s groceries. That’s what every essential worker is doing every time he or she leaves home to do a job that could be putting him or her at risk; and every teleworker who is pouring into others online, via email and on calls, keeping systems in place and processes moving forward.


I heard on the news (which I watch sparingly) today that social distancing and sheltering in place is slowly but surely making an impact. Certainly, we’re not out of harm’s way. There are more waves of valley moments seemingly ahead. But what this proves is that the one thing we CAN control during this time is our choices.


Choose to continue being a ripple in the proverbial ocean. Your sacrifices and prayers, virtual hugs and words of encouragement, dollars and donations, and other acts of kindness, are making a difference.
For those who are grieving, we grieve with you.For those who have something to celebrate (birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, end of cancer treatments) we celebrate with you.For those who are struggling, we see you and are helping however we can. If you feel unseen or unheard, don’t go it alone. Reach out to a friend or relative or even a stranger; for right now, we’re all family.


For those who took time to read all of this, please receive my virtual hug and smile. Know that I am praying for you, and for our world.


Also hug yourself and think about things that make you smile. Cry if you must; curse if that helps. Then, rise up and resolve to push through. Let your faith edge out the fear, and conquer the battle for your mind and your sense of hope.


Embrace this sober wisdom that my late mother shared with me in our last conversation in 2005: “Sometimes you have to lose to gain.”
We don’t know when, we don’t know how, but If we’ll endure through this night, morning will come, beauty will replace ashes, and hope and healthiness will reign through the land once again.

~ Stacy Hawkins Adams©

‘Tis the Season…for Virtual Hugs & Self-Care

Sending a virtual hug and heartfelt encouragement your way today.
Take a few minutes to sit quietly and breathe deeply.
Take a walk or engage in some other type of exercise for just 15 minutes.
Read or utter a prayer and an affirmation of hope and healthiness.
Love and be kind to yourself.
Love and be patient with others.
Find a few reasons to laugh, if you can.
We are going through a global traumatic event; but rather than give in to fear and panic,
may we all more readily lean into the faith and the peace that come with trusting God.
Through thick and thin, when we understand and when we don’t, He is there. Let us continue to be His hands and heart and listening ear in human form.

Value Friendships

By Guest Blogger DaNika Neblett Robinson – (In honor of International Women’s Day)

Like organizations, it is important to have a Board of Directors to assist you with the strategic direction of your life and ensure that you are prosperous. Their purpose should be to check on you, connect with you, and to challenge you to be a better version of yourself. These are the people who would probably say, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 1:2, KJV).

Yes, you have to be careful about who you allow into your personal space. But, being too cautious can be detrimental. “Let your conscience be your guide” (Jiminy Cricket, from the movie Pinocchio, 1940).

At work, I have a Tribe that I connect with weekly. Being the only person of color in a senior leadership role on my campus, I know it is my duty to connect with subordinates, particularly those that look like me. During this weekly sync up, we talk about a variety of things. I create a safe space where they are free to vent as well as encourage. Other leaders may frown upon this approach but my authentic leadership style* compels me to:

* understand my purpose;

* practice solid values;

* lead with heart;

* establish connected relationships; and

* practice self-discipline.

As an author, I am a member of Focused Writers led by my mentor Stacy Hawkins Adams. My fellow writers and I receive writing tips from Stacy as well as each other. Writing a novel or speech or even a blog can be a lonely process. Having people you can count on to share what projects they are working on while gently nudging you to meet a deadline has been critical. Although we typically meet virtually, we have been diligent about meeting in-person as well. These connections have helped us to remember why we write and solicit ideas that can benefit us as we move forward.

In my personal life, I have my God Sistahs. These women serve as a sounding board for me. They have helped me to see things from a different perspective while loving me through my hot mess moments. Our friendships have gotten us through turbulent times when dealing with the loss of family members. Assisted us in rearing our children who are now adults. And ensured we remained in healthy relationship while supporting the need to breakaway when necessary.

On my path to become a doctor (Ed.D), I had the pleasure of spending three years with 17 brilliant people. Being a first-generation, nontraditional college student, I did not have the standard undergraduate experience.  No roommates. No student life. No sorority. But I do not feel like I missed out on anything because this cohort of smart people inspired me to be a passionate educator. We started the doctoral program very green and not knowing our super powers. Any time we have the opportunity to reconnect, we remind each other of how far we have come. Those moments together are priceless.

Being a busy woman who travels to and fro regularly, it is imperative for me to return to home base. The greatest of all friendships for me is that which I experience with my life partner/husband. He knows when I am drained and suggests I take a nap. I laugh at his dry jokes. We have intimate conversations about our children and what is next for them. Most of all, he is my biggest cheerleader. I could not ask for a better person to share my life with.

Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) says it best, “And let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Do not downplay the value of friendships. Do not limit the number of people you allow in your personal space, simply because you fear being hurt once again. Know that all interactions are needed as you continue your metamorphic journey.

*George, William W. Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Editor’s Note: This column first appeared on DaNika’s blog, The Metamorphic Journey. Visit here and subscribe: themetamorphicjourney.org.

DaNika Neblett Robinson is the author of  The Metamorphic Journey. This page-turning novella explores three teenage mothers’ quest to succeed. The Metamorphic Journey is also the name of a movement DaNika founded to provide individuals with opportunities to foster personal growth. DaNika has served as a higher education administrator for more than 20 years and is currently the CFO of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary. A graduate of the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University and an expert in transformational leadership, she speaks widely about excellence in leadership, in particular to women’s organizations and audiences. She also uses her knowledge to empower young adults to embrace their purpose. Learn more about DaNika and her body of work at themetamorphicjourney.org.

Celebrate You, Just Because

On this new day, here’s a new opportunity to renew your mind, open your heart, and step into a greatness that only you can rock without a tailor’s fitting. 
Your personality, your purpose and your path are a signature that can’t be forged – unless you trample your own dreams to hand over your pen.
Hold onto all that you are and celebrate yourself this day, this week and going forward.
When you honor you, you’ll emanate an energy and a flow that create positive and powerful movement in others. Nourish yourself and spark the same measure of self-love in others.

Monday Motivation: You Are a Gift and Here’s Why

Last week I had an opportunity to share a motivational message with CBS viewers in the Richmond, Virginia area as part of a new segment that WTVR Channel 6 News has developed through which leaders in the community spread positivity. 

When I was contacted and asked to participate, I said yes without hesitation – they were speaking my language! For I have long believed that words hold power and have the ability to give us hope, courage, faith and strength to move forward, face fears, lean into our purpose and more.

As I pondered what I might share to connect with a broad range of viewers, I browsed through this very blog, in search of previous posts that would fit the task at hand.

Many topics caught my eye.  I wound up compiling several of my original writings posted in this space to produce something fresh – something to inspire young and old(er) to keep going and know that whatever your age, stage of life or circumstances, you matter. 

Here’s a video link to my brief message, if you’d like to watch and be encouraged:

https://www.wtvr.com/news/originals/stacy-hawkins-adams-with-a-reminder-you-are-a-gift

WTVR Channel 6 Guest Appearance by Stacy Hawkins Adams

If this video resonates with you in some way, please share it with friends and family who might find it beneficial.
Thanks WTVR Channel 6 for inviting me to share in this way – I was honored. And thanks to all who have informed me how this brief message has inspired you in some way. That’s my goal, always.
May this and the other posts you find here on Life Untapped nudge you to share your purpose, your gifts and your heart with others, too. Because you are indeed a gift, and when you lean into this truth, you will make a tremendous difference, in ways you’ll both witness and never see.

Got Clutter? How to Shed All Kinds

Get still and listen … to your heart, your intuition, your health, your hopes and dreams, and even your future self.
Then, seek wisdom from trusted loved ones – those who tell you the truths you need to hear versus what you want to hear, and those who consistently want to see you win.
And finally, stand tall in what your soul reveals. Take note of the tangible and emotional clutter that may be keeping you stuck. Summon the courage to evolve, elevate and fully enjoy this journey called life.
Clutter is inevitable in this busy and noisy world. Choosing to recognize and clear it is a vote for yourself.

In 2020, Be Inspired No Matter What

Happy New Year and welcome to a new decade!

As you settle into this season of new beginnings and fresh promise, I challenge you to not only focus on outward possibilities for growth, but also the inner ones, too.

Take some time in the first few days of 2020 to sit with yourself and ask this important question: What aspects of my life need to be nurtured – right now and in the year ahead?

Whatever your response, I encourage you to embrace it and honor it. And wherever you find yourself during the coming weeks and months, remind yourself of the hope that this dawn of a new year has delivered and “rinse and repeat” the following opportunities to lean into life:

Appreciate each moment.

Nurture yourself.
Celebrate those you love and
Pour new life into your dreams.
Acknowledge life’s realities –
both good and not so good,
Then remember who you are and
Whose you are,
In the midst of it all.
Stand in that truth.
Honor that truth.
Be that truth.
On the days you don’t feel like going on,
Find a way to push through…
To hope,
To love,
To the purpose only you can birth.
Find the courage to
Be Still and
Listen to your heart, and
To words and voices that empower you,
Regardless of what may be shaking the world around you.
Breathe and Be, and
Allow others to do the same.
Trust that good will prevail,
Especially when you offer up your own goodness.
It matters.
Forgive yourself and
Forgive others, too.
Be patient with heartache,
Grant grief some time, and
Trust that wholeness is within your reach.
Seek the Light, and
Be the Light.
This, My Friend, is the Greatest Gift
You can give to yourself,
Which ultimately becomes
Your Greatest Gift to others –
At the beginning of a New Year
And every day in between.
© Stacy Hawkins Adams
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