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Hey Lovers,

It’s been a while but I pray you are well and happy. As a writer, it’s rare for me to run out of topics to write about. I don’t experience writer’s block often. And I usually find inspiration all around me. But the past few months have been challenging and for the first time I have felt like I have nothing to say, well nothing to write. So I took this time to listen to God, pray, and focus on things that I’d been conveniently avoiding. I kept getting this message from random devotional emails, friends, newsfeed articles and public speakers that there is a season for everything and when things are still it could be a season of reaping. Since I tend to be super driven, I often feel like if I’m not doing “something” then I’m not being productive. But the past few months have shown me that this ins’t necessarily true. Sometimes when we are still and just sit back and receive, breakthrough happens.

This year I didn’t write a birthday post, which I like to do because I feel like it’s the perfect time to assess what’s going on and hear what God has in store for the coming year. I did learn quite a bit about what to expect for my 33rd year on earth, and I did experience the natural shift of people in my life – losses and gains. I’m grateful.

Something unexpected and exciting was the publication of a post titled #BlackVegansRock: 100 Black Vegans to Check Out . It happened to publish on my birthday and without the author realizing it, confirmed a question I had on my heart and that was if God was truly leading me to eat like Daniel. A plant based diet is no doubt a compassionate way to eat and I have been following this way of eating (on and off) for quite some time. Through the publication of that pretty impressive (and humbling) article, a TV producer found me and wanted to know if I wanted to be a part of a documentary she is currently filming. This documentary is about black culture and vegetarianism. When I received the email I was surprised because she sent me screenshots of women she had already interviewed and they were academic scholars and published vegan authors. But when opportunities appear like this with uncanny connections I know who they are from. So, I said “yes”.

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Hey Lovers,

I’m so honored that the ladies over at The Love Letter asked me to contribute to this month’s letter. Enjoy!

Love Your Authentic Self
 
One necessary key on your journey to loving yourself is to live authentically. This means that everything you do should permeate the essence of who you are. You can start by incorporating a few small decisions into your day. Here are a few of my favorite things that have helped me on my journey. 
 
  1. Find A Signature Perfume – Are you a fan of florals? Maybe you are an earthy girl? Whatever you naturally gravitate towards and makes you feel happy you can wear on your skin. Take a trip to your favorite department store and test a few perfumes. You don’t have to rush this process because you want the scent to really reflect you while bring you a sense of peace and confidence as well. Once you have your signature scent, be sure to wear it each morning. It’s up to you if you want to share your signature scent with others. 
  2. Stick To Eating That Works For Your Body – Food is an absolute necessity if you want to love yourself. But as we get older or simply evolve in our personal journeys we may find that the food we ate in childhood no longer works. Take a season to experiment with your food and take note of what your body loves and is sensitive to. One tool that will help you is a food journal. Once you find the way of eating that your body loves, stick to it. What works for your best friend may be totally different than what works for you, and that’s a beautiful thing!
  3. Rediscover Your Favorite Color – We all had a favorite color as a child, but how many of us keep the same favorite color as we get older? Color therapy has been proven to help with emotional well being. Take note of the colors you gravitate towards now and play around with wearing them or purchasing pieces for your bedroom in those colors. In time, you can re-discover your favorite color and may even choose one as your signature color to go along with your signature scent. 
  4. Buy Clothing That Makes You Feel Beautiful – Clothes may not make the woman, but they do play a role in self expression. Do the clothes that you currently wear reflect how you feel inside? If you haven’t taken the time to buy a new garment in a while, make it a point to find something that makes you feel beautiful and authentic. And if your body has changed shape, give yourself permission to buy the current size that you need. 
  5. Find A Workout That Feels Like Childs Play – We know that exercise releases endorphins and that makes us feel better in general. Take some time to try a few classes and activities to find the workout you love. A sign that you have found what you love is that it won’t feel like work but will actually feel fun. A few ideas are Zumba, Yoga, Bar Method, Running and Swimming. 
 
It takes time to discover your authentic self. But if you are patient and kind towards yourself, it can be a tremendous blessing. Let’s dare to be comfortable in our skin and live our authentic lives. Can you challenge yourself today to start with one of these tips?
 
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Beauty I AM will be releasing a limited edition American Apparel Beauty I AM fitted teeshirt and a fitness razorback tank. The shirts will be sold in both black and hot pink. By purchasing a shirt you will help Beauty I AM continue to help artist reach their dreams without sacrificing who they are.

The shirts will go live Monday June 22nd!

Be sure to purchase a shirt and share our video! Help us #ReleaseBeauty!

Hey Lovers,

Over the years I’ve watched Beauty I Am flourish into a wonderful outlet that encourages women to pursue their dreams without compromising themselves. Several months ago I had the honor of being one of their Featured Artists and it blessed me tremendously to be able to process and share part of my journey with other creatives. Over the next few weeks, Beauty I AM is promoting their #ReleaseBeauty campaign via social media.

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To purchase your #ReleaseBeauty tee, check out the following LINK.

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Hey Lovers,

Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a monthly love letter in the mail filled with encouraging words and gifts you can use? I recently discovered a service through Instagram that offers this very thing and was so pleased to connect with the lovely ladies who started it. Whenever I see a mission devoted to LOVE my heart skips a beat because, well, it’s the answer to everything in life. Check out my interview below with the beautiful soul, Sarah,  behind The Love Letter.

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“How did Jesus handle his relationships? You can probably guess that the people closest to Him got the most of what He had to offer. This is how we should be! Those closest to us should always get the most and best of what we have to offer. Here is what I mean: Jesus’ outermost circle was the multitudes (thousands), then the 70 followers, then the 12 disciples, then the 3 disciples He was with the most, and then John (the disciple He loved the most). The Bible says that Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables only, but to the disciples, He gave more information to.” – Paula White 

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My Airport Angel

May 12, 2015 — 8 Comments
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Quito, Ecuador

 

“The angel (I don’t know what else to call her) said that life is an endless cycle of improvements and that humans are not perfect yet. She said that most people have this secret revealed to them when they die, but that handicapped children often know this and endure their problems without complaining because they know that their burdens will pass. Some of these children, she said, have even been given the challenge of teaching the rest of us how to love.” – Dr. Frank Oski

Hey Lovers,

I just finished this really interesting article titled, “Are Angels For Real?” and it made me think of an angel encounter I had. I’ve had many, like at least a dozen since childhood. But for some reason this particular angel story came to mind so I thought I’d share it with you. My husband dropped me off at LAX to catch an international flight to Ecuador. I was supposed to meet my friend Miranda for a missions trip, and it was my first time flying to South America or alone on an international flight. I had Clarence drop me off at the United gate because that’s what it said on my itinerary, but I had this strange feeling in my gut as I waved goodbye. When I got to the front counter, the associate couldn’t find my information. Then after a few attempts she told me, “Oh, do you see this tiny print? It says that your flight is operated by TACA International and that is on the opposite side of the airport.” I don’t know if you have ever been to LAX, but the opposite side is not exactly walking distance.

I panicked. I tried not to, but I did. I called on my track and field muscle memory and took off running to the other side of the airport. I took the “short cut” through the parking lot, and after a solid 10 minute run, drenched in sweat, I made it to the TACA gate. The woman greeted me with a smile and asked, “Do you have any bags to check in?” And suddenly I realized that in my moment of panic I left my bag at the United ticket counter.

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The Four Agreements

May 8, 2015 — 2 Comments

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Hey Lovers,

Yesterday my dad sent me an email with a list of the 4 Agreements. I remember reading this book several years ago and finding it helpful at the time. Do you struggle with 1 (or more) of the 4 Agreements? #2 has been the hardest for me to accept.

The Four Agreements are:

Agreement #1: BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Agreement #2: DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Agreement #3: DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Agreement #4: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are tired as opposed to well-rested. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

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Hey Lovers,

Years ago I wrote a post called Sound Of Music about a tree that changed my life. I’ll never forget this magnificent Magnolia tree and here is why. It stood directly across from my old apartment and I always noticed it for its beauty and presence. I parked my car under it numerous times. It always made me smile. One day I had this overwhelming sense to hug this tree and I didn’t know why. The urge was so strong that I finally gave in. I walked back across the street, looked to see if anyone was standing around (they weren’t), and gave it a huge hug. It was one of the most soothing feelings I’ve ever experienced. The trunk was cool and I felt so much peace throughout my body. I guess you could say in that moment I experienced what it was like to be a full-blown California tree-hugger :).

I didn’t think much of it the rest of the evening. But the next morning I woke up to a slew of bangs and chops. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from but I knew it was close. You can imagine my heartbreak when I finally stepped outside to see the City of LA hacking my sweet Magnolia tree down. I was stunned. There were no visible signs on the tree the previous day when we hugged, at least noticeable. But as I stood there staring at its remains, now preciously manicured logs, I couldn’t help but to think of previous day.

This happened in a season when I wasn’t sure what to believe about God. I was still on an intense spiritual journey and assertively seeking answers about the Divine. I’ve shared this experience with a few friends and no one really has an answer for it, aside from me being spiritually sensitive. But I wanted to share it again with all of you. Have you experienced anything like this in or through nature?

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“COLOURING BOOK: The Mixed Race Documentary” has until Sunday April 19th 2015 to raise $30,000 on SeedandSpark.com/studio/colouring-book-p­roductions to fund the vide equipment to go into production.

COLOURING BOOK DOCUMENTARY SYNOPSIS: How have mixed heritage experiences and interracial relationships changed during the Post-Civil Rights era of the late 1960s to the Barack Obama age of the 2010s? Director Jason Cuthbert seeks to discover the answers, comparing mixed race life in the United States and Canada, by exploring the story of his own deeply diverse family in Colouring Book – a feature length documentary on blurring the lines of race.

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My nana and me in the South Of France in 2007. I fell in love but had no idea I was in the birthplace of Helena, the mother of my maternal haplogroup, H6a1 all those years ago.

 

Hey Lovers,

Over the past week I sat down to look further into my genealogy studies again, specifically my haplogroup. Haplogroups are defined as a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patrilineal or matrilineal line. So far I have information on my maternal haplogroup, but need to have my brother tested to get my paternal haplogroup information because the information isn’t passed from father to daughter. A little digging led me to the scientific papers on The Seven Daughters of Eve. Ever heard of them?

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Mitochondrial haplogroups in The Seven Daughters of Eve

The seven “clan mothers” mentioned by Bryan Sykes in his book, “The Seven Daughters Of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry” each correspond to one (or more) human mitochondrial haplogroups.

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