Do something today that reminds you of life’s goodness.
Dance like no one’s watching.
Perform a random act of kindness.
Tell those you care about how much you love them.
Laugh with others and at yourself.
Spend time embracing what makes you smile.
Say yes to one or two baby steps that move you closer to the vision in your heart.
Don’t have a vision? Say yes, then, to discovering what one could be, by spending more time with your thoughts and treasuring yourself for being the gem you are.
As Michelle Obama declares in her Becoming documentary on Netflix, there’s no “going back” to what our lives were yesterday. Our task – and opportunity – is to create a meaningful (and exciting) next chapter that allows us to evolve, impact others and enjoy ourselves along the way.
I’m what you call a rider. Not perfect by any means, but striving always to help those in my circle through thick and thin.
When you win, I’m celebrating the victory with you. When you suffer a loss, I’m holding your hand through the grief, even if only virtually.
It’s just Wednesday, and the losses are heavy this week in my family of friends, and (not that it really matters) none so far are COVID-related.
A loss is a loss. A life cut short cuts deep for those left behind to live with the void.
And in these times when we can’t drop by to sit and pray, to share a dish and kind word, or even attend a funeral or memorial service (except through livestream), many are feeling anchorless, and baffled about how to support others or find closure themselves.
What I’ve been leaning into is the truth of the only thing that endures: love. It is a river and a language and a bond that flows and speaks and connects us in ways we often don’t understand or can’t articulate.
Love leaves an imprint on our lives and in our hearts that, after a loss, grows into a powerful legacy.
When all else fails and nothing makes sense, we must hold onto the reality that love is the answer.
We must use our words to tell the hurting we love them, for words can be a healing force. That declaration can be followed by whatever acts of kindness we can muster in quarantine, whether a consistent text or call or sending a card, flowers or gift card, or adding the grief-stricken to our prayer list, or sitting on the phone and letting them talk.
As we go back to basics in so many ways during this pandemic, choose to make love your basic foundation, or increase its strength if it already is.
When you love yourself more, you’ll have a full well from which to give.
When you love others more, you’re helping fill their depleted tanks and shoring them up until they can stand again.
This week, I’m covering my dear friends grappling with deep loss in love and more love.
️And because love is neverending, I’ve got enough overflow to share with you, too.
Whatever you are facing today, know that I love you.
Lean on those closest to you and tell them if you need help. Focus on what is before you in this minute or this hour and just breathe. Trust God. And know that light eventually follows darkness. Always.
Remember in this season of giving (and getting) that it’s the seemingly little things that matter most:
– Calling friends or loved ones simply because they cross your mind
– Offering words of encouragement when someone needs them most
– Giving random hugs to remind those you care about that they’re valued
– Listening fully
– Praying fervently
– Laughing with, not at, someone
– Crying with, rather than for, someone
– Making time, even when you’re busy
– Telling the truth with sincerity and love (often it’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes all the difference)
– Walking in integrity, and in doing so, showing others the way
– Granting yourself grace, so that others learn that skill, too
– Loving yourself best so that you can truly love others better. For when your heart is full and you’re confident about who you are, what you stand for and how you’re called to serve in this world, you can easily open doors, hold hands and make room for others to flourish, too.
I’m sure there’s more. What intangible, yet powerfully valuable treasures will you add to your gift-giving list this year?
I launched this first day of September a week or so ago with a morning trek along a path that was brand new to me. It was beautiful and breezy and serene.
I talked to God, and then I stilled myself to listen, even as my feet kept moving.
Subtly, yet clearly, the answers I sought came.
Then I saw it – that juncture in the road where the paved pathway met gravel – leading to uncultured, unknown territory and to a bend in the road around which I could not see.
I advanced a few feet, then retreated, deciding to explore more fully on another day.
For in that moment, I had all I needed – fresh air, exercise, a lush green setting and a visual reminder that at every turn, I am loved, worthy and deserving of joy.
And guess what? So are you.
That walk reminded me that even when we’re on the right path, we’ll encounter some pebbles, stones, rough patches and dirt. We won’t always know the end before we begin or even when we’re mid-journey. Yet, that’s why it’s so important to enjoy and treasure each step of the journey itself, for all the worth each phase brings.
In the right season, at the appointed time, we will discover the beauty behind those bends and truly value the extra effort it required to get there.
Wherever we are on the path, we can trust God’s goodness despite what the world or our circumstances show, and lean into the truths of how He has already blessed us. Think about your past 90 days and count the ways.
I’m convinced that our trek into the final months of 2019 are gonna be better than good – paved roads, gravelly paths, wood trails and all. Are you ready? I’ve got my walking/running shoes on and I am. 👟🕶💪🏾
My sister who received a double lung transplant eight years ago taught me that every breath matters.
My friends who’ve lost children have taught me that every hug is priceless.
My mentors and die-hard supporters have taught me the power of no-strings-attached giving and paying it forward.
My own journey has taught me that every kind word and deed, and each memorable experience are gifts not to be taken for granted.
Nor are the so-called simple blessings of waking each day, seeing a sunrise or gazing at a full moon; enjoying some favorite music or reading a good book; trading a smile with a stranger’s baby or kisses with your favorite kids; spending time doing nothing with loved ones or taking self-care journeys solo; learning a tough lesson that leaves you wiser or persisting through a test that proves your dream was worth it.
I’m sure you’ve got your own list of simple and significant blessings. Write them down and reflect on them on those days when nothing seems to be going right. Doing so is a game-changer that can reset your attitude and your trajectory.
It all matters, so appreciate it all.
This week, don’t waste worry. Show up being your best self. Bring your A game. Trust the process. Enjoy it, too!
Believe you’re worthy, because you absolutely are. Appreciate and celebrate the value others bring.
Know that goodness always triumphs, though it may tarry. Know that you’re a boss, and it starts from the inside out.
Be in it to win it, and do just that.
– Stacy Hawkins Adams
From a very young age, I knew that life is filled with hardships. I spent so many years in pain and abuse, though, that for the longest, I never understand it was possible for things to change—that it was possible for me to find complete freedom and learn to survive and soar.
After many years and many tears, I finally realized that I was capable of standing and thriving on my own. I wrapped my mind around the idea of changing for the better, and I let my heart start to embrace this possibility.
One morning, I looked in the mirror, and I didn’t even recognize the woman I saw. Who was she? Where was the courage she desired to have? Where was the strength I knew she had deep down inside? In that moment, I looked back at her (me) and said, “Ang, the time is now. It’s time to be the brave woman you know you were always meant to be.”
Right then and there, I knew that everything was about to change—which meant that my life was about to get uncomfortable. It’s scary to walk away from what we’ve always known, even when what we’re walking away from includes situations that bring us down and aren’t good for us. Sometimes we become so comfortable with the toxic areas of our lives that the thought of leaving for new and better opportunities seems impossible.
But girl, there is so much more for you out there.
You are capable of being stronger than you ever imagined. You are capable of stepping out of your comfort zone and learning to grow and fearlessly diving into the unknown. You are capable of trusting yourself and believing in yourself. You are capable of so much more, my friend.
We don’t always understand why we must deal with challenges and struggles in life, but they often end up being the reasons we become who we were always meant to be. They’re the reasons we learn to be strong. They’re the reasons we learn to take those leaps of faith. They’re the reasons we finally let fear take the backseat as we step into the changes that we know need to happen.
Don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself. You’re worth every risk—and you’re worth realizing that you’ve always been strong enough to walk into the light of the unknown.
The more I’ve embraced this truth, the more I’ve learned about myself and come to love myself. You can do the same.
Angelia White (Stone) is a mother of three and the publisher, president, and CEO of Hope for Women and Hope By The Book magazines. Motivated by her desire to encourage women and share their inspiring stories, she transformed a simple idea into an empowering endeavor when she started the lifestyle magazine in 2005. Hope for Women magazine is headquartered in Muncie, Indiana and is now read by more than 100,000 women monthly. Connect with Angelia on social media here: Twitter and Instagram @angelialwhite or @hopemag and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hope4women.
I’m not a huge fan of current-day rap, and I didn’t know the name Nipsey Hussle until the rapper/entrepreneur/community builder’s recent untimely death. But in that brief time, the overwhelming mainstream media coverage about his impact, and the unfiltered grief of his friends and fans (he’s reportedly the Tupac of this generation), have shown the world what it means to live with honor and create a meaningful legacy that outlasts you.
I also don’t know whether Nipsey Hussle was a man of faith; but in his own way, he exemplified the St. Francis of Assisi mandate to “Preach the gospel and sometimes use words.”
Today is his memorial service. May he RIP, may those who loved and admired him be inspired to emulate his positive focus and generosity, and may we all aim to leave our family, our community, and this world a little better for our having been here.
Like many people, I grew up hearing the famous quote that “Home is where the heart is.” And indeed, for 16 years my home was filled with peace, love and happiness. I came home daily from work seeing the smiles of my two sons, who made my life joyous. But one day I came home, parked my car and sat inside it for over an hour talking to my friends and family about the pain that I was experiencing in my marriage. How could I not see the manipulation, the lies, and the deceit before now?
As a single mother before I got married, I had decided tt was important for my sons to see a man treat their mother with love and respect. Instead they were viewing their mother’s heart being broken.
It took more conversations and lots of prayer, but I finally realized that I didn’t deserve this. When I decided to walk away and start over, that’s when the champion rose up in me.
A true champion will fight through anything. Every scar pushed me to my purpose. I was able to utilize the gifts that God birthed inside of me to encourage myself towards greatness. Negative words were not able to stick to me because God planted a seed of greatness inside of me at birth. How so? It just was lying dormant, but the pain pushed me to look at myself and start my own business. I decided that I wanted to be a life coach at first, but later realized that the power was in my mouth and the words that I speak.
God changed me and showed me my true purpose. Motivational speaking was birthed, and I started speaking to women about pushing past the pain of the past and having the confidence to walk boldly into woman that God created them to be. I’ve spoken at events, churches and conferences, encouraging women to see that champion spirit that resides within them. Now I’m walking towards the “champion destiny” that God designed just for me. And now I empower women to have the emotional stability to discover their champion purpose.
I started speaking to small groups such as my family and friends. In the beginning, I didn’t have a large following, and I didn’t know anything about being a speaker. I had to decide to invest in my vision and dreams. I hired business coaches and strategists to assist me, and with the knowledge I gained I was motivated to start a Facebook group called “The Champion Woman’s Society.” This group is for women who desire to discover their Champion Purpose, but lack motivation.
My marriage ended in 2012, but my struggles with self-confidence continued to hold me hostage. I spent 2012 to 2017 rediscovering myself, and that season allowed God to do some amazing things within me. I’m so proud of myself for allowing God to show up and show out in my life. The power that He has given me has allowed me to not look at my marriage as a mistake, but as a steppingstone to my greatness.
EricaLynn Harris, recognized as “TheMotivational Queen,” is a speaker, author and entrepreneur whose desire is to motivate and empower women to have the emotional stability to discover their greatness and win in every area of their lives. Erica is the owner of ELynnXpressions, LLC., where she offers an exclusive line of Champion Woman attire, and she is the author of a book titled The Winning Formula for Women. Erica also operates a Facebook group called “The Champion Women’s Society,” which provides a space for women to obtain daily motivation. She is a recipient of The Cornerstone Award, which was presented to her in 2019 at the Embracing Your Inner Woman Annual Conference. Follow her on Instagram @themotivationalqueen or on Facebook @ Facebook.com/EricaLynn.Harris.