How To Treasure What Matters Most

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.

Stacy Hawkins Adams

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Ditch Worry and Dance

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 

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Why Divine Timing is Always On Time

When I pause and reflect on my journey, I’m often amazed at how God fits together my life’s puzzle pieces in the just-right way to connect my part of His universal design to someone else’s puzzle:

  •  The brief but powerful encounter I had with a stranger last Tuesday, all because my girlfriends and I just “so happened” to reschedule our dinner date for the 3rd time and randomly choose “that” restaurant
  • The reconnection with a longtime acquaintance at a stage I can guide her through, because I’ve already successfully navigated it and it’s time to pay forward the support I once received
  • The mentors coming into my babies’ lives at just the right time and in just the right way to help them grow and thrive in independence while reminding me of the power of the village
  • The emails from readers about how the words I penned anywhere from last week to 15 years ago have somehow changed their lives for the better, at just the moment they needed the laughter or encouragement or understanding that great love is grace-filled love.

I could go on and on, and I’m sure as I shared my examples, a few well-timed miracles of your own came to mind.

Today, I give thanks for the opportunity to be a blessing while receiving blessings in ways that are simple, profound and often in between.

You matter and I matter, and our puzzle pieces are divinely designed to interconnect with others’ during seasons and in ways that we may never fully understand.

Just keep doing you, being you and loving you, and trust God’s timing. Our masterpieces are in the making, and it’s a bonus when we choose to find hope and joy in that process.

 – Stacy Hawkins Adams

Her Story: She Discovered She Was Capable and Soared

By Guest Blogger Angelia White 

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.

 

42978751_10211797502162337_1735984798465261568_n (1)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.

How Nipsey Hussle’s Life Inspires Me

nhI’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.

Chat With the Author: She Writes To Bring Joy

By day, Dr. Trevy A. McDonald is a tenured professor of journalism who helps young minds hone their storytelling skills for a variety of communications professions. However, she also has another avenue for feeding her love of research and writing: penning and publishing fiction.

Her most recent works are two women’s fiction novels. The first book is titled Time Will Tell, and the sequel is Round ‘Bout Midnight, which explores the journeys of childhood friends Thomasine, Rachel and Hope as they seek to heal from hurts, unmet needs and unresolved issues. As these women mature and grow, they learn that life is best lived one day at a time, with each new day starting “’round ’bout midnight.”round bout midnight final 72dpi

Meet (or learn more) about Trevy here, as she shares her path to publishing books that feature characters who keep readers turning pages long into the night.

In what genre do you write? I primarily write women’s fiction, which I call “ChocLit” with a literary flair. My current work-in-progress is a middle grades series about the Civil Rights movement.

What is the title of your most recent book? My most recent book is titled Round ‘Bout Midnight.  It is the sequel to my novel Time Will Tell. Both books are titles of songs from an early Wynton Marsalis recording The All-American Hero. In Time Will Tell each chapter is titled after a song which was current when the chapter was set and relates to a theme in the chapter. In Round ‘Bout Midnight each chapter is the title of a jazz song, and most of them are standards. The first chapter, It Never Entered My Mind is also the opening line for each of the three main characters. Other chapter titles include “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Rise,” “Love’s Serenade,” and “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.”

What is your primary goal as an author – what do you want your readers to get out of your books? My goal as an author is in line with my life’s purpose, which is to use my God-given gifts and talents to uplift, inspire and empower others in an informative and entertaining way which brings them joy.

What has been the most surprising feedback you’ve received from readers about your current book or another recent title? One reader shared that Round ‘Bout Midnight is more than a work of fiction and compared it to Paula Giddings When and Where I Enter and Alice Walker’s “In Search of Our Mother’s Garden.” For this reader, Round ‘Bout Midnight is about a form of liberation that begins within.

What has been the most surprising aspect of your author journey? The range of audiences my novels attract. I think the biggest compliment came from a 98-year-old reader who recently read Time Will Tell and Round ‘Bout Midnight back to back. She shared that she stayed up late at night reading until she finished the books, and that she relived her younger days through the characters.

How do you continue growing as a writer?  I’m an avid researcher and reader. I also explore other forms of art, such as photography and painting. This helps me in creating pictures with words in my fiction writing.

Who are two or three writers you admire or consider mentors? Yolanda Joe, Jacquelin Thomas and Venise Berry.

What else are you passionate about, i.e. if you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing? I am also a tenured professor of broadcast journalism. Representations of marginalized groups in mainstream media is an issue that I am extremely passionate about.

What do you like to do for fun? I enjoy running, photography, films, baking, painting, and my new hobby—knitting.

Trevy McDonald Headshot August 2018 (1)Trevy A. McDonald is an author, independent book publisher and tenured professor of journalism at the University of North Carolin at Chapel Hill. She was just 25 years old when she earned her Ph.D. from this university’s renowned  journalism school and is the first African American woman to be tenured at the school. She  pursues her passion and life purpose through writing and teaching.  She also owns Reyomi Publishing, LLC, a successful independent book publishing and consulting company based in Durham N.C. Trevy is the author of the novel Time Will Tell, co-editor of two scholarly anthologies, and has contributed to numerous anthologies and publications. Her latest release is Round ‘Bout Midnight, the sequel to Time Will Tell.  Learn more about Trevy at drtrevy.com  and connect with her on Facebook at  facebook.com/DrTrevy   and Twitter at twitter.com/DrTrevy.

5 Ways to Ignite Your Inner Champion

Admit it: You’ve already spent the first few hours of this day checking the needs of your family, your employer and maybe even your friend and colleagues off your To Do List. Perhaps you’ve treated yourself to a cup of coffee or tea, but have you given yourself a dose of care and encouragement, too?

If not, here are 5 strategies to consider that you can perhaps transform into helpful habits. When you treat yourself to a few personal wins, everyone around you wins, too.

  • Accept today that you are enough  – good enough, lovable enough, smart enough – to have dreams; to embrace them (however unattainable or simple they may seem), and to pursue them in consistent and strategic ways that transform them into your reality.
  • Choose Wisely the inner circle to share your goals, your fears and your victories with, for they’ll form the core that carries you through doubting days and encourages you to conquer the hills that stand between you and that new reality you desire. Help them dream big and win big, too.
  • Give Up your Superwoman or Superman cape and surrender perfection. Give your best and release the rest. Trust that your sincere effort, and being your authentic self, will produce the grace and the results you need, just when you need them most.
  • Move Forward with the assurance that wherever you are is your assigned circumstance for this season, regardless of how you got there. You may grow weary, but keep going. Be grateful that you’re trusted by the Creator to do the right things in this mighty or humble place. Your positive actions and attitude are creating a ripple effect in your home, school, workplace, community, and possibly, the world.
  • Keep Reading my books and others! Reading will enhance your life by lifting your spirits, taking you on journeys (in your soul and imagination) and helping you view life from another perspective. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my books and also consider giving at least three authors who are new to you a try this year. I’m confident you’ll discover some hidden gems.
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