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Friday, October 25, 2013

If I Were to Die...

You ever stop to consider what the world would be like without you? More specifically, what would your workplace be like without you...

While we should all strive for excellence in all we do, it is equally important to establish and maintain BALANCE when it comes to our need for down-time, fun-time, family-time, etc.

Consider this: Lord forbid, that for some reason you were left incapacitated, somehow unable to get to work, know that the show would go on! We can all be replaced in the blink of an eye so, while striving for excellence or climbing that professional ladder, do not allow work to keep you from living the rest of your life.

When you take a lunch break, TURN YOUR PHONE OFF! Actually LEAVE the building, even if you just take a lap or two around the block, it is important to take a break from projects and tasks. ***You'll also find that you'll be rejuvenated and more productive upon your return to the office!***

After heading home for the evening, don't forward your office phone to your personal phone. Use an app like Hootsuite to schedule emails/tweets/posts in advance so that you won't have to stop what you're doing throughout the weekend to send those important messages.

Even for those who are self-employed, establish and honor your working hours. There's a lot of talk of "the grind" and hustlin' while others are sleeping but what good is success if you're unable to enjoy the fruit of your labor because you're always busy "grinding" or straight up too exhausted and/or sick to enjoy your down-time?

It's not enough to merely exist. Take the time today to LIVE!

Decide today that you will maximize your time in a way that is best for not only you but for those who love you. Determine to spend more time doing the things you love, not just the things you think are most important to get ahead in life. Be willing to make YOU your priority and allow God to direct your steps regarding the details!

Relax and learn to just be...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

#TheLostFiles - 'Noise' - 10/5/10

Noise.  The world is full of noise.  And distractions…

Some days I wake up and it rings in my ears immediately…other times, I was restless during a night’s sleep thinking about what I would say to the noise…who would listen to mine…sometimes, we dream of noise.

This week, I decided to detoxify my body. Through disciplined consumption of fruits, some vegetables and, protein, and other fluids, it has been my goal to cleanse my body of any toxins that may be present in an attempt to jump-start my progress towards physical fitness goals.  It is my hope that this detox will supplement the healthy choices I’ve been making for about three months now.  I also seek to remain motivated and dedicated to the healthy lifestyle that I have finally found my way back into.

I decided that now would be a good time take a step back and re-evaluate where I stand professionally.  I have recently become frustrated with my position in life all over again.  I see the vision God has given me daily…it tugs at my heart every time I see a young person struggling with the do’s and don’ts of life – with the relationships their in, with the transitions that they go through. 

The vision is vivid.  And although I recognize the colors as mine, and even some of the shapes and smells of the vision, too often, I place that vision on the back burner to support the dreams and ideas of others.  To promote music and events and people who I believe in…oftentimes failing to support and believe in myself.

Through the use of social media, I have gathered an outstanding network of people.  Many who are visionaries and driven towards success just as I am.  We build daily  and encourage one another regularly and I know without a shadow of a doubt, that many of these vary people will be some of my greatest supporters when the time comes to buy my book, promote my shows or invite me to speak to their youth group or organization.  Many have already displayed great potential in being a part of the network that God will use to catapult my vision to levels that I have yet to imagine.

Facebook and Twitter both started out as a great way for me to network and promote artists/events that I support but it QUICKLY became a whole lot of everything but that.

Again, a lot of what I long to do professionally is based around social media. From promoting artists and events that I'm involved with to networking and promoting myself as a writer/speaker/vocalist, social media can be a phenomenal tool...

...on the same token, being that I am such a transparent and social person, it is easy to get distracted with simply being a "life commentator" (as I've been called) and being "social" instead of focusing on the potential business...

I want every tweet to be meaningful, that way, when people see me in their timeline, they truly value what I have to say and not just disregard my tweets because I'm talking about what I made for dinner...

If I am to build a brand and use social media as a means of building that, then, it needs to be more purposeful...
  
Communication. 
“Everything is driven my communication.  We are constantly talking to each other…determined to be heard.  “The enemy has us so busy communicating with each other, that he’s using systems to make us talk to each other…” and in turn, we’re failing to communicate with God.

Our communication with each other is an expensive trick…we’re being charged to talk to each other.  It’s costly to keep speaking to each other and even more costly to not speak to God.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Empty Gestures

...fulfill no purpose.

In everything that I do, I strive to do with intention and with purpose. I am learning day by day that it is not enough to be driven by passion or my emotions. Until I add knowledge then wisdom to my passion, I am being moved by mere emotion -- and this is not enough!

In all of our protesting and "standing for justice" BE RESPONSIBLE in exercising our rights.
  1.  KNOW THEM (your rights). Every RIGHT still has laws attached to it and they often vary from state to state. Make certain that while you're practicing you're "rights", you're not breaking the law.
  2. Consider how you can BEST and MOST EFFECTIVELY create positive change. I can't stress this enough.
For example: 

  • Not tipping a white waitress until justice is served...not really holding any weight in the judicial system.What THIS act DOES do is perpetuate the stereotype that Blacks don't tip well. 
Note: Based on my personal experience as a waitress, Black consumers are often the worst tippers (along with church folk and military service-members) so, yeah. It would appear to me that this young lady is using injustice as an excuse for not tipping when she likely wouldn't have anyway. #ImJustSayin



  • Randomly wearing a hoodie and sign to a random mall in your town...not really holding any weight in the judicial system. This young man was arrested in my hometown of Wichita, KS. 
Do I, personally, feel that this young man should have been arrested for refusing to remove his hoodie and sign while in the mall? Of course not! Do I think this young man made the BEST decision in his attempt to "stand for something" so he won't "fall for anything"? NO.


  • Boycotting local malls and businesses until justice is served...not really holding any weight in the judicial system. 

Our passion can be a powerful tool but I personally believe the fight is with our right to vote and voting locally AND nationally. The dollar DEFINITELY holds weight but only when it's IN the right hands and/or TAKEN FROM the wrong hands.



  • Now, THIS...this is just downright STUPID. Along with rioting and looting. Generally, the very community where the persons you say you're working to bring justice to are the only communities that get destroyed during riots. Just don't...*smh*


So yes, be mindful of where you spend your money but most importantly, make sure to go make an EDUCATED VOTE in your next local election where the political shift BEGINS.

COMMUNICATE with your delegates and state representatives. Write letters, make the calls, LEARN THE LAWS. In this technological age, there is NO EXCUSE for ignorance so, DON'T BE IGNORANT.

*All photos taken from our beloved Facebook.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Light Begets Light

I could say a lot but, the way my heart is set up...

Tragedy and injustice has always existed, in every culture and every generation. The difference between now and generations before is that we are more privy to each instance and matter AS it happens. Our technologically driven world just amplifies the world as it is.

Our technologically driven world also amplifies this about us: Far too many of us are people full of too many words and emotion and too little actual action. We often don't do much beyond our FB posts and Tweets.

Now more than ever, it is detrimental for us to practice emotional discipline, finding ways to direct our energy towards positive change that we can all grow from.

Darkness has always been and will always be. This is why it is ever so important for us to be led by light and BE the light. Let our words be life giving and our lives be light giving! 

‪#‎WEBETHELIGHT‬ ‪#‎BEAM‬ ‪#‎BEinspiredasiAMinspired‬ ‪#‎LightBegetsLight‬ 

With Freedom comes responsibility. Practice your freedoms responsibly!

‪#‎ThatIsAll‬...for now


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Getting What You Deserve...Or Not

We are naturally self-centered...selfish even. Selfishness is known to be human nature but we all know many people who seem to have hearts of gold and are able to give and do without expecting anything in return. 

It's also natural and only right to give credit where credit is due. However...

...don't worry about fighting/begging to receive what you (think you) deserve. Keep playing YOUR PART and your every need will be met. Not just in business but in EVERY relationship.

If we meet the needs of those we say we love/respect, they'll bend over backwards to meet ours. 


And FYI for married couples: The law of ‪#‎sowingandreaping works at home too.
It really is quite simple.

I used to get so frustrated for not receiving recognition or the return I thought I deserved for a job well done. God had to show me that my job is to continue doing what I've been called to do, be it at work, in my marriage or otherwise.

I was called to do my BEST, wherever I am planted! Whether in ministry or as a server at a BBQ joint, once I TRULY learned the meaning of having a servant's heart, I began to find peace – not only in what I do for others but in the return I receive from my seed.

During this time, I also had to learn to use discernment when determining whether I was actually being neglected and/or taken advantage of or simply being selfish in my own expectations.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Social Media Marketing 101: Lazy Consumers

It is said that we have become lazy with the ever-changing enhancements in the technological world. Particularly as consumers. We want what we want NOW with as little hassle as possible.

Now, I'm no marketing expert but, as a consumer, I totally agree.

As an artist and business owner, I've learned that I CANNOT afford to be on the same side of the coin with consumers when it comes to being "lazy".

With that being said:

Social Media Marketing 101: ALWAYS provide links to the event, item or person you're looking to promote.

If you're a designer and you post pics of specific items on your various social media networks and those items are available in your online boutique, POST A LINK to EACH individual item.

If you're a model, photographer, etc. provide LINKS to your portfolio!

Another example: When I post pics of myself, I make it a point to not only tag the photographer and stylist that I work with but I include links to BOTH individual's pages to help promote our collaboration as a whole.

You want to make the transmission of pertinent information as SIMPLE as possible for your potential clientele. 
Tag your page on FB. Tag names. Provide hyperlinks in blogs. ESPECIALLY if there is money to be made!!!!!


The fewer clicks people have to make to get to you and your event/product, THE BETTER!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Drama: It's All On You

UM...NO.



Negativity seems to be ruling the world these days. Ignorance has been here for quite some time but the two combined seem to be at an all time high.

Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance leaves you just that: Ignorant. As well as vulnerable. 

So, let us work to obtain a true dose of bliss by first changing our mindset.

Know this:

No one can control your attitude except you. You can't control the things people do or say, but you can change your response to said actions.


It is truly amazing, the control that people so easily hand over to others. People, because of their own bad attitude and “stinkin’ thinkin’”, relinquish power that was once in their hand.


However, you'd be amazed at how your attitude can change the way people treat you. If you want someone to treat you well, treat them well. The law of sowing and reaping is real - in every aspect of life. 

Get it right and you can't go wrong. 
Change your mind, change your world.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Am Light

You ever experience a person who quietly enters the room but everyone seems to turn to look at them? That attraction isn't mere beauty...

Those who walk in a room and command attention do so with their presence first, which is a direct connection to their energy.

Contrary to popular belief, people are not attracted to our beauty, our clothes, etc. They are either attracted, or not attracted to our energy -- which we convey through our outward appearance.

You ever notice that person in the room who always seems to "try too hard" to get attention?

This is why it's important to understand that our bodies, our style, our money, none of it makes us who we are. WE make those things by WHO we are.

"There's just something about her..."
"He's just got IT..."
What is "it"?
It's energy.

If our energy is peaceful, others will feel peace when they're in our presence. If it is confident, loving, loyal, etc...do the math!
;-)

When we change our energy, we'll change our lives! Once we change our lives, we'll change the world, sometimes by simply confidently walking in a room.

Final thoughts:
Our sharing light and love does not automatically guarantee that everyone will like us. Some people are so used the darkness, they are irritated by the presence of light.
*BEAM*

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Just Say No to #NoNewFriends

So, there's a new hashtag/catchphrase going around. I just learned that #NoNewFriends is based on a Drake song by the same name. 

I haven't heard the song but I, for one, LOVE meting new people. Everyone won't be a "bestie" or even an actual "friend" but don't limit yourself because of fear of disappointment. Just learn to be more discerning about your immediate circle and the expectations you place on people. 

Everyone has their place. Some closer than others. 

And just think, adopting a #NoNewFriends mentality may keep the wrong friends in your life for far too long! The same attitude may keep people OUT who God may use to take your life in a new direction! 

This brings me back to a blog that I started based on a conversation with a young, successful actor from my hometown on FB about a week ago. He asked:
"Why is it our culture makes you feel bad about your accomplishments? When I left Wichita I was told to be the best, and now I'm in a position of success I've changed. I'm still the same Tyrice who grew up on 13th and Minnesota! I never changed, your perception of me changed."
His words are noble. Honorable even. Growing up, we all have dreams that we'll make it to the top and bring all of our best friends and main men along with us but the fact of the matter is, not everyone is meant to remain your friend or "roll dog" for life. Not everyone positioned to go where you're going in the world. 

If we're working hard to pursue our dreams and live a life of purpose then it should show! You should have "changed" in the eyes of others. I told young Tyrice:
"If you're the same person that you were on 13th and Minnesota, then you may need to go back to and start over. No one can make you feel bad about your accomplishments..."
Working with students/youth who are college or military bound, I tell them all the time,
"you'll go home to visit and find many of your friends and family doing the same stuff they were doing when you left, and that's okay."
I shared this with Tyrice and continued, 
"YOU have to be okay with being better/different than you were when you left. It is not your responsibility to make people comfortable with the person you're becoming. If they feel "some kind of way", they need to re-examine who they are (and are not)."
I went on to tell he and all the others now involved in his original post a story (because I have a story for everything): 
"Last year I was working at a local Olive Garden and one of my co-workers, angry with my happy-go-lucky demeanor, yelled across the kitchen, "NINA THINKS SHE'S BETTER THAN EVERYBODY!" I paused, turned around and assured him that his insecurities told him that I was better than him. I am mindful that my actions never say, "I'm better than..." anyone. I am better than *I* used to be. That's all I can speak for."
The good thing is this: (lots of colons in this post) 

We'll find that we generally won't have to separate ourselves from our pasts or the people in it! If we just allow it and continue moving forward, we will find that we'll shed ourselves of EVERYTHING (including people) from our former life. It will truly happen naturally, without strive! It's when we try to hold on to our past that the transition becomes painful!
Know When to Release and When to Reach

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

JUST DO IT!

I feel fat. I look in the mirror and see frumpy, bloated and I feel like I'm not making any progress. I see myself in the mirror and my mind begins playing tricks on me and convincing me that my efforts are in vain.

*pause*

This? These thoughts. None of this is true. Progress always begins within.

I can feel it. My muscles are experiencing a pleasing pain. The type of pain that lets me know that I'm growing stronger. Sure, I have yet to see substantial progress on my scale, or even in my favorite pair of jeans. It's at moments like these when I want to give up because I have yet to see the fruit of my labor. It's also at this point that I know I have to push. 

Just as with any level of faith, you have to see it before you see it! Visualizing yourself as a success is a primary key to reaching that desired place!

You'll feel the pain. You'll feel the tension. You'll feel like your body is against you. Like, some outside force is against your very happiness. You'll think it's easier to stay in bed when you should be putting forth effort! You'll "swear" that you'll get back on the horse tomorrow and the next thing you know, it's next year and you've gained 20 pounds. 

EEK!?!?

Nike said it best with their 80's catchphrase. During that time I didn't fully understand the strength behind those three words. Here, now over thirty years later, I finally get it. 



It's amazing what you can accomplish after you've convinced your mind to stop saying you can't! To DO. To allow yourself to BE the best you that you can be! You can do more with two weeks of consistency than you can with a YEAR of excuses! Don't be afraid to start where you ARE. JUST START!

These pictures are only TWO WEEKS after I began consistent strength training! 

Progress doesn't take long, it just takes CONSISTENCY and EFFORT! 



Monday, May 13, 2013

THIS IS A WARNING!!! We Live and Learn, From Each Other


It is VERY easy for people to fake success and even whole businesses via social media. Do not let a person's "clean" look, or even Jesus speak and talk about faith convince you that they are a legitimate company. Make certain to THOROUGHLY research and receive referrals from trusted agents before spending any money in support of an online business. 

STORY TIME!
A few years ago, I was invited to write an article for a "magazine" that was created by someone I'd met online. Although we met via social media, we eventually met during a trip to Atlanta and continued to build a personal and professional relationship.  After months of supporting their "business", I discovered that the individual was charging people for ad space and photo shoots for features in a magazine that didn't exist.
It didn't take much: He used his popularity between a few major cities, combined it with the use of a decent camera, worked the basics of a photo editing program, added in articles from a few writer friends, print and voila!  I was excited for the brother when I saw he and his "team" with pics of the debut release -- the fruit of their labor! They followed all of those steps and had their circle of influence convinced that they have a legitimate publication! 
I came to know about this "hustle" after communicating with a mutual connection from Twitter. This sister had been one of the supporters who paid for a photo-shoot and ad space. In this case, I turned out lucky. The only thing I lost was a waste of a great concept for an article. This sister, and Lord knows how many others, were out hundreds of dollars after expecting to share news of her business with a whole region! 
As independent artists, it is most important to invest in our brand. As with any investment, there are risks involved but do not be deceived by one's perceived success because of their presence online. With the technological age, doors have been opened like never before. Not only is this beneficial for a new wave of entrepreneurs but there is a whole new breed of people out here hustling those who are truly working hard, legitimately using social media and the trust of others to make a name for themselves.

THIS is why I dislike the term "hustle" in regards to hard work in business. "HUSTLING" is not synonymous with hard work. HUSTLE is what people do to AVOID hard work but to reap the benefits that generally come from hard work. 
NOTE: Unless of course, you work for the Oklahoma Thunder. Please, hustle along! 

We, as we've done with most matters of language, have changed the word "hustle" to mean various things by using it so loosely. Bottom line is, no one wants to be hustled and hustlers have never been viewed as trustworthy individuals. As for me, I'll be a hard worker all the days of my life but will never call myself a hustler. 

It is my earnest prayer that people will always know me as a reliable and trustworthy individual. - *BEAM*

Friday, May 3, 2013

Plucking Fruit - What Do You Bear?


"One's failure to love | Is a tree which yields no fruit | Leaving all hearts starved" 
  Heart of a Queen - Poetry and Prose from the Soul, 
© 2013 Write Right Publications
We've all heard it countless times. From our mother and auntie to girlfriends and co-workers and some of us, have even uttered the words ourselves.

"Oh my goodness! He is plucking my last nerve!?"

In those moments when we find ourselves utterly annoyed or aghast at someone's behavior, it is easy to give them control over our emotions, lending our last slice of peace.

Lord forbid we "wake up on the wrong side of the bed", then every little thing rubs us the wrong way as we project negative energy on any and everybody who crosses our path.

So, what are we to do about these nuances? Are we to give every person who plucks our nerves a piece of our mind or...

...maybe if we change what we make available for plucking.

Think of it like this: If we are the branches that were created to bear fruit, we have to be mindful of what fruit we're bearing.

If the Fruit of the Spirit are "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control" then, why is it that our nerves are so easily exposed?

If we learn to consistently take the time to consume those same wonderfully nutrient rich fruits daily, we will find that our FRUIT is being plucked instead of our nerves.

This is not to be unrealistic. It is only natural for life's dramas and all the players in it to potentially frustrate us to a certain level of aggravation. But what does being quick to speak and react do for a situation?

A change of perspective can make all the difference. Although our emotions are real, we must not be ruled by them. When those moments in life arise, stop and ask yourself, "what fruit am I bearing?"


Monday, April 29, 2013

A Wrinkle in Time

These lines aren't mere evidence of a woman and all her imperfections.

These lines tell the story of a life worth living and a smile worth giving. With age comes wisdom and with wisdom we find our true beauty.

Learn to give thanks for all the years that have made you and embrace the years to come!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Did You Know that You're Beautiful?

I’ve often shared with my students, sister-friends and others I speak with, the importance of wearing confidence along with everything else we put on from day to day. Dove has created a short documentary that shows us just how important this is. Perhaps you’ve seen it but if not, here it is. 

I encourage you all to take the time to watch it and share it with every woman you know so that we can begin behold our own beauty. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Gospel of Now (0500)


This is that moment in life when clich├ęs are more than mere rhetoric
"Just do it"is gospel
That moment when
Excuses sound easier than the plan
When sleep soothes better than the pain

That moment when
Yesterday's failure is either a costly, wandering stream of spilled milk seeping into today
Or the breath of every possibility at birth
May your cry be a declaration

Less than 100 won't be enough today
Yes you awake with barely twenty
Where is your passion?
Did you waste its value on a lover who was never yours to have?
Or did you bury it
Beneath the weight of every regret you've ever consumed?

No
Neither was it in the yesterday you left behind
That spark abandoned
Extinguished by haunting doubts
As the sun so graciously rises on your tomorrow

Passion inspires from within
It breeds infinite possibilities waiting to take their first breath
Procrastination kills progress but, you're no murderer
Do not abort your dreams before you ever feel them kick

They are alive withinyou
Purpose made love to faith
Creating your vision
Just because you have yet to see them
Doesn't mean that they don't share your heart beat

He's not coming back,but you're still here
Your regrets aren’t as strong as the life within you
It has no hands with which to hold on with
If it's close, it's because you refuse to release it

Run with all your might
Press with all you've got
Passion isn't meant for tomorrow
It's purposed for the moment you wake

Dreaming is meant for sleep
Life is meant to belived with passion
As passion needs life to live
Rediscover yours
Let it breath, rekindling it's fire
Then, walk on out the gospel
Just do it

They Are - Afternoon in Spring - National Poetry Month - 1/30


She lies
Basking in his light
Her moist, warm earth yearning for more
They are new like spring
Her love flowing free as the soft, sweet breeze
Until he runs away as the sun into dusk
She being a promise
Ever present until his desire fades to black
And night consumes their day
They’re left longing
For summer's heat

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Straight Juicin' - FAQs

Soooo...I have recently added solid food back into my diet due to the cost of feeding myself three times a day on produce AND still feeding Mr. Brewton. I have decided to continue keeping it light when I do eat (minimal meat, if any) and LOTS of fruit and veggies. I am maintaining my juices for dinner and some breakfasts.

I initially chose to do a full juice fast, cutting out all solid foods, in an attempt to give my digestive tract a rest and to take the time to pay attention to my body and take note of how different foods effected my body. For example, I am the type of person who suffers from sinus issues year round. Every. Single. Morning. I'm hacking up phlegm and fighting post nasal drip for the first two hours of my day. On the fifth morning of my  juice fast, I noticed that there was no phlegm in my head or chest. Even after getting out of the shower, when everything really gets to moving, I experienced no drainage whatsoever.

Now that I've began adding meat and other foods back to my diet, I've found that I'm back in the throngs of my sinus struggle. Now, to just take note of what exactly is causing the problem (I haven't had any dairy or soy so, that's not it although I know that dairy products are a leading culprit in such reactions).

Moving on...

I had taken a video answering all the questions I've been receiving about my juicing experience but, my technology life is a struggle so...

Here you go! Feel free to post more questions here in the comment section and I'll do my best to answer them or find you the answers you need!

Why juice? Why not just eat the vegetables/fruit?
Think of all the nutrients you'd get eating three pounds of fruit and vegetables. You can't imagine eating that much green stuff in one sitting, right? (I know I couldn't) Now, imagine getting those same nutrients by drinking 16-24 ounces of juice created from the same three pounds of produce! It WORKS!

Are you hungry or tired while you juice?
Not at all! I was amazingly energetic and was never hungry! I would generally have 16-32oz of juice in the mornings, 16oz for lunch and another 16oz as a snack in the late afternoon and maybe 16oz for dinner. Normally by the time I got home in the evenings, I wasn't hungry!

In addition to the juice, I would drink hot Yogi's Ginger or Healthy Fasting Tea. I also keep a 20oz bottle with me for consuming water regularly. I maintained a tally of how many bottles I drank throughout the day drinking no less than six 20oz bottles (1 gallon).

Can you workout while you're doing a juice fast?
You can workout while juicing but be certain you're listening to your body (especially women during your cycles). ***Remember***DRINK PLENTY OF WATER***

What type of juicer do you use? 
I use the Breville Fountain Compact. It's 700watts and although it's not the "best" juicer out there, it's a great tool for people who are just starting out juicing. It's relatively easy on the pockets, sturdy and it gets the job done without *too much* waste!


I don't have time to juice. Cleaning up is so time consuming. 
Tell yourself what you want. :-) The truth is, we make time for the things we want to make time for. I also chose this type of fast to exercise greater discipline when it came to actually taking the time to prepare each "meal" and clean up. This meant getting up a little earlier in the morning and/or staying up a little late at night.

I found that it took me all of 3-6 minutes to clean up after I finished juicing. Juicing itself takes another 5-10 minutes depending on how much I'm juicing.

During the weeks that I knew I had a full schedule, I was able to juice enough 16oz Mason jars to last me for two days. From what I've read, you do not want to keep your fresh juice longer than 48 hours as to not waste any. Even in tightly sealed Mason Jars (available anywhere from Walmart to Target and even Big Lots) shouldn't hold juice for longer than 48 hours.

What if I'm not ready to do a total juice fast?
No problemo! Maybe "detoxing" or fasting isn't for you right now. That's just fine. The key is that you begin to include more nutrients in your daily dietary intake. So, instead of eating a late dinner when you get home from a long day, replace that meal with some fresh juice! Or instead of a soda, tea or processed juice with a meal, replace it with fresh juice!!!

The idea is that you replace "bad" food with good food. You'll eventually find that you won't even crave the same foods/drinks after juicing for a week or so! (I promise!) 

How do I get started?
1) Purchase a juicer. The one I mentioned above is only $99 and you may be able to find it on Amazon or Ebay for even less. If you're unable to purchase a a juicer, perhaps start with a blender and go from there. The consistency will be different (of course) and hard to swallow (pun intended) but you're still on the right track. 

2) Dive into information from people who have experience in juicing! I follow @straightjuicin on Twitter and FB. They are always doing "challenges" and giving tips for better juicing! 

Check out the following documentaries (available on Netflix) for more insight and actual medical expertise! *whispers* Start with 'Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead' which gives a first hand account of someone who changed their entire life through juicing!


Juicing (and eating healthy) is too expensive!
Consider this: In one week I spent about $90 on only fresh produce. Is eating healthy expensive? It can be. But think of all the other things we spend our money on frivolously. Also, I've had to consider, do I want to spend more money now on healthier foods or later on the cost of healthcare. For our own sake  we MUST start thinking long-term! 

It's nothing for us to spend $35 on pizzas and sodas for a night or $70+ for dinner for two on any given night. This $70 of produce will last me for at least the next week. It's really all about prioritizing. Eat to live! Don't live to eat! ;-)


What are some of your favorite recipes?
OOOOKAY! This is the good stuff!  Check out these FREE eBooks from Breville!

+Ras Idric Durden put me on to:
  • sweet potato juice
  • (Fuji) apples
  • Ginger 
    • THIS is my go-to when I'm suffering from a sweet tooth! It's so rich and wonderful...YUM! He actually adds pineapple as well but I have yet to do so.
Post workout:
  • Swiss Chard
  • Cucumber
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Lime
Citrus Blend:
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Lime
Beet Treat (Yes, I named it! Lol)
  • 1 Beet (I don't measure much of anything. Even when I cook, but I can tell you that you won't want more than one beet. Ha! Quite a strong, earthy taste.)
  • Carrots
  • Fuji apple
  • Ginger (If I'm feeling fancy)
Hydrating Juice:
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Granny Smith
  • Kale (or spinach...or chard...any green will do! *wink*)

I think that's it! For now!

HAPPY JUICING!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Change Isn't Easy


Today is day 17 of my 40 day juice fast. I haven't been able to share the information I wanted due to technical difficulties BUT I am going to fill my blog up with all the information I can today. For now, here are some thoughts from today (I'll share a confession post later this afternoon):

If you are seeking to live a healthier lifestyle, perhaps in unconventional or seemingly "trendy" ways, do not get discouraged when friends/coworkers and loved ones don't always provide you with the encouragement you need. Especially if they're close minded to new ideas/habits. 

Continue to do what you know/are learning to do. Don't give up or consider yourself a failure if you eat a meal of veggies when you're juicing or eat meat while attempting to eat vegetarian/vegan. 

When it comes to living a better life and being a better you, do what it takes and continue to be an example for those who have yet to find the strength you're gaining!

I've had a terrible tension headache all day. I'm stressed, frustrated and want junkfood. I want cupcakes, something fried and some bread. 

I don't want these foods because I'm actually hungry for such foods but because out of habit, these are the things I allow myself to eat for "comfort" when such feelings come upon me.

INSTEAD I am standing fast and will remain disciplined. When I crave something sweet, rich and comforting, sweet potato and apple juice with ginger has been my go to. 

I'm learning that the key to replacing bad habits is to find good habits that triggers the same feel good emotions. This takes a conscious effort on our part as change begins first in the MIND. When we find ourselves discouraged or down in the dumps because of stress, laying around sulking or pigging out on our favorite junkfood is not conducive to permanent change. 

To BE the change you want to see you have to DO the things that need to be changed! (Wow! What a concept!)

*BEAM*

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Weather the Storm

We collided
Fast and free
As storms do
I, high and dry out of the Midwest,
You, laying low on the east coast
Neither meteorologist nor cupid could have predicted
And neither did we

Eyes wide open to the colors on the horizon
Watching each other from across the room
Who knew that our fronts would collide creating a storm like no other?
I, hoping my sunny smile would break through the clouds
Your eyes dark, holding back nightmares like pending rain

You still keep watch as night falls
Sleepless
The stillness of the air
The calm before the storm forbids your sleep
You’re the watchman
I often wondered, in your midnight, as I lay dreaming of blue skies
Did you see the destruction coming?
Did the darkness of the night bring daydreams?

Maybe you saw that we wouldn’t weather the storm
We didn’t trust that we could dance in the rain together
In unison
Step by step
Matching the rhythm of each drop
Swaying with the breeze

Instead, we loved hard
Energies clashing
Igniting lightning strikes
Our love sparked wild fires
Passion burning fervently
Consuming everything in its path
Leaving behind earth so fertile
We could feed nations from its fruit

But you ran for cover
Running when my winds blew too hard
Carrying emotions you weren’t prepared to weather
Another storm, on the horizon

I didn’t recognize that your habit of leaving
Pennies tossed about the bedroom floor
Was evidence of the hail storms that had bruised your heart
No insurance adjuster could add up the damage

But I
I wanted to melt your chilled heart  
My love luminous rainbows
Vibrant colors painted by rogue sunrays shine through
You as daggered ‘cicles clinging dangerously from rooftops
There’s beauty locked within that cold, hard core

And just like a tornado you
Rush in
Unannounced
Turning my world upside down in the most beautiful way
Tumultuously
You love me
And leave
Your presence fleeting like the seasons
Until the next time our fronts collide again


Juice...FAST!

I'm kind of a big deal. And by big deal, I mean...I'm overweight. While I have learned to stand in confidence in this skin, I know that my fluctuating weight is due to inconsistent habits when it comes to my diet and exercise. Lucky for me, my weight is distributed rather evenly across my whole body...all 210lbs of me. 

At my heaviest (two years ago), I was 225lbs and a size 18. Standing just under 5'7, my then 31 year old knees  were in pain from the extra weight. I've always taken pride in having good posture but with my bulging mid-section pulling my weight forward, my lower back was in constant pain leaving me sitting and walking lazily with slumped shoulders.  

In late 2011, I'd finally seemed to find my rhythm. I was running consistently with my first half marathon in sight. I got down to 190 or so and was a strong size 12...or weak 14. ;-) In April of 2012, I ran my longest run and completed the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon (13.1 miles).

Shortly thereafter, I stopped running. I stopped exercising with exception of the occasional attempt to bring yoga back into my routine...kind of. I had, again, fallen from a horse that was racing towards the beginning of a very prosperous thirty-third year of life. 

Just months before, I had fulfilled the greatest physical challenge of my life! A FULL 13.1 miles?!?! And now, I'd fallen off the horse into an onslaught of weight gain...again.

Here I am nearly a year later and have gained back a significant amount of the weight. I'm winded taking the stairs and back to a "healthy" 210lbs. So...

...now what?

I'm longing for consistency. I LOVE the way I feel when my diet and schedule are in order. I've found that when I'm disciplined enough to continue growing in the natural and physical, my spiritual walk is far more disciplined...and vice versa. 

I've began a juice detox/fast. I chose this particular fast during the Lenten because it is both physically and spiritually driven. Here it is, day two and I'm feeling good. I'll be sharing my journey right here every with updates every Tuesday and Thursday beginning today. 

I know I'm not the only one to struggle with weight. But I'm sharing my journey with you all to help show you that, "weight" itself isn't the issue. The greater issue lies in our inability to practice discipline and remain consistent in multiple areas of our lives. Generally, when things are out of balance, our diet and exercise are the first to suffer.


I know that right now, juicing seems to be the trendy thing to do. But sometimes, it takes the ignition of a trend to ignite real change in the hearts and minds of people. I've enjoyed homemade juices for years but have never committed to it (consistently...dangit. There's that word again) for any extensive amount of time. As trendy as it may seem, I know that it's not going to be easy.  

Check back regularly, invite friends to subscribe and join me as I am inspired to inspire!


*BEAM* 






Monday, February 11, 2013

A Stone's Throw


When we look at the history of human nature, we find that morals are taught…or not. Even when standards of traditional morality are ingrained into our psyche, it is only a matter of time before something or someone comes along causing us to question what's right and what's wrong. Such doubt knocks us off of the safety of our high horse, sending us plummeting down into a depth of emotions and insecurities only held by us mere mortals.

Ego and pride sit in, clouding our vision and our judgment, often leading us to dig holes so deep that nothing or no one but the grace of God can lift us out…

None of us know the true reasons why a person does the things they do. Although it would appear that most behaviors are acted upon out of arrogance, that’s rarely the case. Even when arrogance manifests itself, it’s generally rooted in a greater issue; a lack of confidence, knowledge of self and limited self-worth.

All things considered, we must learn to be more gracious when it comes to the failures and sins of our brothers and sisters. With the increase in social media and ease of graphic design, it is easier than ever to “call out” those who are in the wrong. What we fail to consider is that at any moment, our own discrepancies could land us on the chopping block for all to see, criticize and judge.  

I personally have never been one for "outing" anyone, adding to or spreading already ousted information. I'm of the thought that people will suffer enough with the original outing of a particular offense. Some encounter familial disgrace, others financial collapse and others still, a combination of multiple instances of discomfiture.

From international pop stars to local celebrities, right on down to the average Joe, it’s easy to point our fingers, declaring how “low down” another is. On Twitter, Instagram and everywhere else across the interwebs we, as a generation, add our own commentary in public forums. As entertaining and amusing as this behavior can be when the shoe is not on our feet, it doesn't aid in providing a remedy for the situation or aid in the growth or rebuilding of the person(s) involved.

I also have my own issues that could very well make for a good "talk of the town" at any point in my life. We all do. And THIS is important to remember while we seek to condemn one based on our immediate opinion of them and their words/actions.

We are all but a stone’s throw away from condemnation.