Posted in Faith, higher education, Life, purpose, Religion

No Regrets on Purpose

“If you could go back and change one thing in your life, what would it be?” is a common question asked on a regular basis on a variety of different platforms and situations.
My answer? Nothing. Because the smallest change could literally change the course of my entire life.

My freshman year I [briefly] attended a HBCU in Virginia. And while now, I look back on my experience and time there fondly, at the time I was depressed, homesick and unhappy while I was there.

Years later I am able to set aside the depression I experienced and remember mostly the valuable lessons I was taught there, both in and outside of the classroom. Those lessons stuck with me and even shaped me into who I am at this very moment.

Leaving that school was devastating, as I looked at it as coming home empty-handed. No college credits under my belt, no degree, nothing. Just feelings of failure and embarrassment as I enrolled at the local community college.

But who knew that in the moment of my despair, the foundation was laid for my personal and character development? Who knew that depression I went through would strengthen me and position me to encourage others later on? Who knew coming back home would lead to even greater opportunities, meeting my husband, and discovering my passion for education?

God knew. Just like He knew in the Old Testament story of Joseph, that Joseph getting sold into slavery by his own brothers, being imprisoned and punished, would set him up to be one of the highest ranking officials in the country, putting him in a position to save his family’s life during a famine, one of the worst ever.

I’m sure Joseph never saw any of that coming. But I’m sure if he were alive today and you asked him if he could go back and change anything in his life, his answer would be the same as mine.

“Nothing.”

And how do I know this?

Genesis 50: 20 told me so.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

You may have lost a loved one. Or some friends. or a job. You may find yourself in a situation you never expected to be in. But God allowed it to happen. It all has a greater purpose.

You losing your job led to a career change, or allowed you to be able to take care of a sick relative. Losing friends allowed you to make new friends, appropriate for the season of life you are in now. God knew what you needed before you did, before you even opened your mouth to ask Him.

Your pain, your frustration, has purpose.

God is interested in our happiness, our success, our triumphs, absolutely He is. But He is more concerned with making us like Him. And whatever He has to do or use to do that, He will.

Take comfort in knowing that God wants you to be the very best version of you possible and He will bring you to unexpected places so that can happen. Trust that God knows better than you or any of us ever will.

And in times of trials, frustration, devastation, despair…know there is a purpose, a reason for it all.

Advertisements
Posted in Education, higher education, Life, Sports

Just ONE Thing

I was a teenager when the confusion first began. I wanted to be a sportscaster…and a music label CEO. I loved music…and sports.

“Clearly, you must love something more than the other” my father told me. I was confused…I loved both music..and sports…and couldn’t possibly think of not pursuing both.

Earlier this year, around summer time, I decided to really focus on writing, and launching a career in higher education/student affairs.

Focusing on writing, while I was waiting to land a position in higher education, worked out for a little bit.

Then I landed my dream position.

I thought ‘why not do both simultaneously’? I made a conscious effort to make time to write, while also being effective at my job.

It worked, for a bit, while I was training and getting acquainted with my job. As things began to kick into full speed at my job, it became increasingly difficult to find the motivation to write. I began to pour most of my energy into my job and less into my writing.

Only recently have I discovered that you can have it all, just not at once. You have to decide to put things on the back burner. For me? Writing will be on the back burner.

Just to be clear, some folks can have it all, and some have it all at once, seemingly. I will say, they live HIGHLY compartmentalized lives, from what I’ve observed.

For passionate folks like myself? I find it impossible for my passion not to bleed into everything that I do. I can write and work in higher education, simultaneously, but if I write, it’s usually going to be probably about higher education. It helps for me to focus on just one thing. As I get to the place I want to be in higher education, I can branch out and write books, write for journals, etc…I could even do it while I’m launching my career. However  I find it more rewarding and enriching if all my work is intertwined  It doesn’t have to be, but I find that I’m more effective for me to live, eat, breathe my passion, than to divide my time between several things. If you do find that you’re interested in multiple things, find ways to marry your passions. For me, my passion for urban studies and higher education has led me to discovering ways in which the two subjects intersect.

I don’t pretend to know the secret to success. I do know, what works for me, and all I can do is share what I’ve learned. Maybe it’ll help you, or maybe you’ll find something else that works for you. Either way…Just one thing…that’s my strategy and what works for me!

Posted in Cleveland, Education, Faith, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships

Time to Fly

I’m such a chicken…I can go literally ANYWHERE in the country for grad school and I’m afraid to go TOO far from my family and in-laws but I’m too scared to fly from the nest…or at least to fly too far away. Every time I’ve gone somewhere unfamiliar, I’ve always ran back to safety, to my comfort zone. Never mind the fact that I wasn’t always happy there.

When I left for Hampton at 18, not only was I dealing with depression, but I was also dealing with homesickness. I was over nine hours away from home. I had plenty of resources available to me that I could have taken advantage of…counseling, TRIO, I had 2 ‘big brothers’-upperclassmen who adopted me as their little sister & had taken me under their wings.  I opted to go back home instead and deal with depression near my family.

Fast forward three years, I was over 18 hours away when my grandmother passed away-I was in Southwest Louisiana for Alternative Spring Break, and my beloved grandmother was on her deathbed, and I knew it. We all knew it. I remember wanting to stay home instead of doing ASB that year…my mother urged me to go, because I couldn’t prevent anything from happening. And she was right. And just like I feared, I ended up getting that call that my grandmother had passed away, while I was down south. It was incredibly hard, but thankfully, I wasn’t alone.

Why am I telling these stories? Because they have everything to do with me being afraid to leave the nest. I’ve been talking about leaving my hometown ever since I was a little girl. And I’m scared to leave home. Scared to leave my family and the only city I’ve ever known. Scared that I will have trouble making friends wherever I end up next. Scared that hubby & I will have trouble finding jobs. Scared that I will fail and end up back here.

I seem to forget that the times that I DID step out of my comfort zone? Yes it was scary…but it all worked out. And I always had the time of my life. Including this current job now.

I really do need to step out of my comfort zone with graduate school, and trust that everything will work out, because it will. I think also, I stay here in town, not expecting things to change, but they do, and they already are changing. Life goes on, whether you are ready or not, and I’m finally realizing that, as I watch all of my friends step out of their comfort zones and do amazing things. It’s time for me to do the same, to face my fears, and not only survive, but thrive.

It’s time to leave the nest, it’s time to fly. Wherever we land, everything will work out. Might not be smooth sailing at first, but things will work out. And best part is, I won’t be alone this time-I’ll have my husband by my side. In the words of my wise friend/sis ‘yes we definitely need to face our fears and get out of our comfort zone, because GOD knows where he wants to take and place us, we just have to put that trust in Him.’

Posted in higher education, Life

#30in30 A Helping Hand

So as you all know, I started a new job on August 1st, at my Alma Mater. I am a College Completion Coach working with first year remedial and pell-eligible students, connecting them to the campus and local community with the necessary resources needed to finish their degree or certificate programs.

My job is a BLAST, it really doesn’t feel like work. This week was Welcome Week and we held different activities each day to welcome new and returning students to campus.

As part of my job, I’m recruiting 100 students to be coached by me for this academic year. I have a list of 100+ students, and it’s my job to sell them on participating in this program.

It can be a bit overwhelming, as an introvert. I am excellent at building rapport and relationships, but when it comes to initially meeting people? I’m a bit awkward. Recruiting is also not my expertise, not my favorite thing to do, but I want to learn and get better.

That being said, I reached out to my colleagues and asked for tips. And let me tell you, it was much better than sitting in my office wondering how in the heck I was going to recruit. They gave me some helpful tips, that left me feeling so much better.

When you go to work, you have coworkers for a reason. They hold knowledge that may be useful to you.

It’s that way in life in general. No man is an island. We are given family and friends for a reason, for companionship, and for life lessons.

We all have something to offer, something to teach. Make sure you extend a helping hand and return the favor to others when you can. We could all use a helping hand in life.

Posted in Cleveland, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships

#30in30 I Wonder…

‘You can still be who you wish you is, it aint happened yet and that’s what intuition is’-Kanye, I Wonder

I always knew that I was destined to be elsewhere, and yet, I’m still here, in Cleveland, not exactly my favorite place. Evidently it’s for a reason, so no real complaints, but I do wonder what life will be like elsewhere.

I always tried to leave Cleveland with a sense of urgency, for many different reasons. As I get older, I know that when it’s meant for us to leave, we will leave.

Cleveland is all I’ve known. Born and raised here, educated here K-16, and now preparing to do my masters here (well possibly, more than likely). I always wonder what life will be like on the other side of all of this, on the other side of realizing my dreams.

Yes, leaving Cleveland is one of my dreams.

Cleveland will always be here, should I ever want to move back.

But I wonder what life will be like, outside of Cleveland. Away from my family.

I got a small taste of it when I had moved to VA for college. It was short-lived, because I dropped out and moved back home. VA wasn’t my cup of tea as an 18-year-old.

I dream of raising our kids elsewhere. In a perfect world, I’d love to round-up my in-laws and my immediate family and have all of them living in a 3 hour radius on the east coast. But I know realistically, my parents will probably remain in Ohio. Mom in law may move south again (who knows).

I wonder what it’ll be like to have our own little family away from our families. I wonder what it’ll be like on the other side of all my dreams.

My dreams of obtaining a master’s degree and becoming a counselor/advisor.

My dreams of K & I moving out-of-state (only God knows where) and beginning the next phase of our careers and education.

My dreams of teaching. Hubby’s dreams of his career in sports. Our dreams of raising awesome kids wherever.

I wonder what life will be like on the other side of our dreams.

I will say, right now, my current job? A dream.

How does it feel to cross something else off my bucket list?

Surreal.

So now I wonder…

What will life be like on the other side of the rest of our dreams, especially dreaming of life elsewhere?

I’m sure it’ll be scary. I’m sure I’ll be homesick for the place that I don’t even consider home. I’m sure I’ll miss being near family. But K is my immediate family, and to have him by my side will be AMAZING. Trying, I’m sure. Tough moments, tears even? Maybe.

I wonder…

Soon, I won’t have to wonder about that dream.

I can’t wait for my dreams to come true. Because I know they will.

Posted in Education, Faith, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships, Religion

#30in30: Never The Right Time

There’s good, there’s better, there’s best, when there comes to timing.

Is there a such thing as bad timing? The realistic, logical side of me wants to say yes.

But then the other side of me knows that there is a force higher and more powerful than I, in which time must submit to.

I’m 26, not getting any younger…whether I like it or not, as a woman, age plays a big role in career development, education, family decisions.

Even with modern science, with technology, and a host of other advancements in society, I still have to consider age when thinking about when to start a family with K.

I still have to consider age when thinking about my career development & evolution.

I still have to consider age when considering when to go back for a masters. Amongst other things, but age is a big factor.

I hate that it must be like this, but it’s reality.

Time waits for nothing, nobody, no man…nothing. And all I can do is respect it and go with the flow. 

There are so many things that are out of my control. I can plan all I want, but God/the universe has different plans for me, ones that I’m unaware of. Sometimes, my subconscious is aware of them, as I’m pretty intuitive. Then my logical side kicks in and tries to override my intuition, my subconscious trying to give me a heads up about things. I begin to plan, and sometimes all I can do is laugh when those plans don’t come to fruition in the timing (if at all) that I would like.

Truth be told, I can plan to have kids at 30 but if God wants them to come beforehand? They will. No amount of planning, science, protection or any of that can stop it.

I can plan to do a masters degree next year, but God might have different plans for me. He might have work for me to do elsewhere. And I have to be open to it.

It’s never the right time to start a family. Never the right time to go to grad school. Are there better times? Of course. But we are not in control. God lets us think that we are, but we’re not. At all.

All I can do is, prepare for the surprises, expect the unexpected. And enjoy the ride, since I’m obviously not in the driver’s seat. I’ll trust that whatever comes my way, is already purposed, waiting for me, to make that expected choice so that I can learn whatever life lessons those experiences have for me.

My father in law told me today ‘Life lessons are all around you.’

No truer words have been spoken to me. I can’t help but agree.

Posted in Cleveland, Education, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships

#30in30-The More Things Change…

…the more things stay the same. It is what I told my friend tonight…and it’s truth.

You may change and evolve over your journey in your lifetime but who you are, at your core, will not change. And as a result, the people who’ve known you for years? Know you pretty well, depending on the closeness of the relationship.

There are things about me that I know will never change.

I love a good city skyline. I appreciate the beauty of it, lit up at night. Acting as a beacon, a representation of the city and its’ people. No matter where I am, it never fails to amaze me. It’s the only time I like Cleveland, is at night, seeing the beautiful city skyline lit up. I like the New York and Chicago skylines the most, there’s nothing like them. Pittsburgh’s city skyline is beautiful as well. Haven’t seen too many others in person at night but I love the city lights.

I love the water. LOVE it. I love the beach. Might have something to do with me being a water sign (Pisces)…there’s something so tranquil about the water and just being able to see the waves crash the shore. I get an overwhelming sense of peace whenever I’m on the shore anywhere. Whether it be Coney Island looking out into the Atlantic Ocean or Atlantic City on the Boardwalk or even Virginia Beach…I love the water. Even when I need to clear my head, when I have a big decision to make? I walk down the street to the lakefront (two blocks away). As the waves move in, they wash all my worries away. I’m able to breathe easier. It’s why I can’t see myself living in a city that isn’t by some type of body of water.

I’ve always been an advocate of education, always been fascinated by it. I was the kid who would make up my own homework during the summers while other kids were playing outside. I was the one breaking down the zoning in my school district because I couldn’t understand why I was being shipped to the Eastside when there  was a gifted program 20 min away on the same side of town as me. I was reading college view-books at 12, because I was that determined to go. By the time I went, I knew the admissions process quite well. Even now, education is just a field I can’t stay away from. It’s why I’m pursuing a career in it first. I may move on to something else eventually but it will always be something I love.

I’ve always wanted to relocate to another city, for various reasons, since childhood. And will continue to desire that until I actually relocate. This won’t go away. As much as I’ve wished for it to go away, it won’t.

I’ve always been a fan of sports. Lover of music. Lover of words, rarely am I found without a pen and paper. And I’ve always been long winded, I can’t do short for whatever reason. (working on that).

I hope K realizes all of this. That no matter how much I change, some of these things are core passions, that will always be part of me. I think he knows this. Clearly, he’s dealt with me six years (and I must say, he loves me quite effortlessly, even when I do irk him lol). Gotta love married life 🙂

There are just some things that will always be part of me. Just as I suspect, there will always be things that will always be part of you. You just learn what they are, embrace them, love them, and deal with them. The people in your life who love you will love these things too. Sometimes they’ll hate them, but they’ll realize, it’s all part of the package that you come with. they’ll either accept it or they won’t. *shrugs*

The more things change…the more things stay the same…