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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Daniel Fast: An Emotional Purge

The Daniel Fast is based off the story of Daniel in the Bible. In captivity under the king, Daniel refused to
eat the King’s food. The king's food that had been submitted to false gods. Instead Daniel, ate from
pulse meaning things that originated from seeds; fruits and vegetables. After 10 days Daniel, and his 
friends who followed the fast were the strongest warriors of all the men the king had captivity.
Later in the story of Daniel God gives him the power to interpret dreams. It is this gift that gives Daniel 
favor with the king. (Check out Daniel 1:2 for this story)

I find it interesting that after a week into my Daniel Fast I found myself in the clutches of intense dreams.
Some were nightmares others were magical, pleasant dreams. After, discussing the dreams with my 
therapist it became clear the nightmares were my minds way of dealing with family trauma, hurt, and 
abandonment. I had tucked away these feelings under my emotional rug so to speak. And, with good 
reason. There is no way I could have survived being homeless, being depressed, feeling alone, and 
fighting to live a life of normalcy if I had confronted these feelings then. During my fast I have not only 
removed certain foods from my life, I have removed certain distractions. Instead of going to Facebook
first thing in the morning I spend time with the Lord; writing my feelings, calling His name in prayer,
and listening to a sermon on YouTube to focus on thinking. 

Without all these distractions I’ve had time to really deal with the demons of my past. And, let me tell
you it has not been easy. There have been nights of crying, pleading with God for release from the pain
of the past, and silence.

I wonder if this is common during a fasting time. In the Bible several prophets and figures in the word 
fast before big decisions. I think of the story of Esther. How her friend asked her to go before
the king and make a request. She was afraid and uncertain. But, she took some time of fasting before
she made her decision. Ultimately she goes to the King, and has favor. My fast has shown me more 
than anything that I need to focus on my own walk more, and in order to truly be set free I have to let 
go of the pain of the past.
This is my first grocery trip on the Daniel Fast

THE FOOD - I also wanted to share some pictures from the food I've been eating during my Daniel Fast. I am in love with smoothies which consists of almond milk, strawberries, flax seed, and bananas. I am also learning to snack better on apples, bananas, and watermelon. These are good healthy habits I plan to keep after the Daniel fast. I am so proud of the discipline I've been able to have concerning food. I am down seven pounds and learning to face my feelings instead of eating them.

Oats, cinnamon, and apples

Monday, January 8, 2018

MakeupMonday: That Lipstick Craze Called LipSense and More

MakeupMonday: Loving LipSense 

I was always afraid to wear bold lipstick when I was a teenager. It screams, “Look at me.”
As an insecure band geek, the last thing I wanted was for anyone to look at me so most of my
adolescence and into my early twenties I wore a very plain variety of tinted chap sticks and clear
gloss. It wasn’t until my television career that I had to submit to wearing lipsticks and makeup.
Television consultants told me my face looked good with red and plums. And, while they were right;
I hated it. In my 30’s I realized the lipstick wasn’t the issue, I was. I was insecure and uncomfortable
in my skin so anything that drew attention to me made me feel nervous. Now that I am learning to love
myself I’ve been known to wear colors from something as wild as sky blue to pink on my lips.

My newfound confidence and love of makeup is what drew me to Carol Rood. We met at a business
networking event last year and what I loved most was how effortlessly Carol can go from talking about
good skincare to makeup. We also found common ground on our love for lipstick. Carol may be a little
more addicted to lipstick than me though. She is a die hard fan. She told me she once drove hours
to find the closest Macy’s store that sold MAC lipsticks when she lived in Florida.

“I love lipstick. When I was growing up I never went anywhere without wearing some lipstick. It’s my
trademark,” said Carol. She now has a new lipstick line that captures her heart called LipSense.

I’ve seen LipSense all over Facebook the past few months so when I learned Carol was a distributor
I asked if she’d sit down with me and share why she’s fallen in love with his line. Carol says even
though celebrities like Christina Aguilera have been said to use it she wasn’t quick to jump on the
LipSense bandwagon.  After years working at a dermatology office and selling another line of makeup
Carol wanted to make sure that whatever she used was not only good for your glam,
but also good for your body.

“I wanted to dislike LipSense.” Rood said. After two weeks of researching each ingredient in the
LipSense tubes and not finding anything dangerous Carol caved. “There is a lot of science behind these products, and it's not just hype.”

This is me sporting LipSense for the first time
in the shade 'Fly Girl'. 
LipSense boasts of being one of the few smudge-proof, waterproof, long lasting lipsticks on the market.

“This is lipstick you can put on and it stays on all day. It’s the perfect transition from day to night,”
said Rood.

Carol was kind enough to gift me with my first LipSense kit, and I can attest the lipstick does indeed last all day long.

LipSense is part of a cosmetics company called SeneGence that manufactures everything
from foundation, serums, moisturizers, and waterproof eye shadow. The product line is also vegan
and cruelty free. What also drew Carol in to become a distributor is the fact that SeneGence is run
by a female CEO named Joni Rogers-Kante who started the company as a single mother in 1995.
Learn more about Joni’s story here (
Carol and I

If you are interested in giving LipSense and SeneGence a try, Carol offers amazing deals and
tutorials on how to use the product you can join her
or via cell phone at (757) 575-6200.

SeneGence is just one of many beauty care services Carol offers. She has her own mobile spa
business called Glam and Go, LLC, which offers customized facials, face and body waxing,  
eyebrow and eyelash tinting and eyelash extensions. All done in the comfort of your own home.
She brings the spa to you!

“It’s all about beauty for the busy woman,” said Carol. Carol is the epitome of the busy woman;
she is a mom, business woman, student, and blogger. Yet she still finds a way to make a personal
connection with her customers which is how we turned from business associates to friends.

Carol is dedicated to not just helping beautiful, but also feel it. An way of living she got from the famed
Maya Angelo who once said, "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget
what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." It's an ideal Carol lives by in
beauty, business, and life.

Thank you Carol for being one of my biggest cheerleaders, and believing in my dreams.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

First Week of Daniel Fast: Focus On Your Own Plate

Focus On Your Own Plate: Lessons From Week One Of 

My Daniel Fast

You have spent minutes going back and forth through the menu. Everything looks so appetizing. After the waiter has come back twice to get your order you finally settle on what you decide to eat. For the moment you are content with your choice, happy with what is coming your way. Your food arrives. Steam is rising off the hot contents of your plate, the aroma hits your nostrils, and your stomach is grateful. Everything on your plate seems amazing, fulfilling, and worth while. That is until you look at the person’s plate next to you. They ordered something different, something new, something you have never tried. You find yourself gazing, salivating over what is on the other person’s plate. And, suddenly what you ordered doesn’t seem so appetizing anymore. I am finding that life is a lot like that too.

One of the things that makes me doubt myself most is when I compare myself to others. I look over on someone else’s figurative plate and see a devoted boyfriend, a dog I so desperately want, good pay, and exotic vacations around the world. Then suddenly my single dogless, non-traveled life doesn’t seem so great anymore. This was especially hard for me when I was homeless. I would scroll through Facebook for sometimes hours at a time longing for the joy I saw in other people’s posts, and pictures. Now that I am focusing more on my personal walk with Christ and what He has blessed me with that curse of comparison doesn’t haunt me as much. But, as I started this Daniel Fast, once again God has had to remind to keep my focus on my own plate. 

I decided to chronicle my Daniel Fast on this blog and on social media because this is an experience unlike anything else I’ve ever done. My life is an open book anyway so it seemed like the natural thing to do. The minute I started posting about my Daniel Fast I was met with jokes, opposition, and a whole lot of shade. “Why are you denying yourself,” people said. “You are not authentic because you are sharing your fast on social media?” The comments made me second guess my motives. I lost my focus of my plate. Then a friend that committed to doing the fast with me broke fast on New Year’s Eve to eat food with her family. I felt disappointed, and let down. Then I heard God’s still voice ask me again, “Who is this fast for? Why are you doing this? Is this for me, people’s approval or for yourself?” In that moment I had to remember that this fast was to strengthen my self control and find some direction from God.  If I keep the right focus the shade the world serves me for deciding to fast won’t matter at all. And it shouldn’t. 

I learned this week that if we are constantly looking over at other people’s plates i.e lives we will never find contentment in our own. We will always never feel good enough, successful enough, pretty enough or full. But if we stay focused on what God has placed on our plates alone we will always feel prosperous. And, I truly believe that God will not bless us with more if are not content with what He’s already provided us with. 

This has been a valuable lesson, one I will continue to remember beyond the 21 days of my fast. Interestingly enough self control with the food has been the easy part. I have prepared meals in advance and managed to steer clear of temptations. I even went to Barnes and Noble on a coffee meeting and drank plain hot water. That is a major step for me y’all. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hungry for More: My First Daniel Fast

Why I Decided To Fast

The Daniel Fast

Warm, golden brown buttermilk biscuits. Caramel colored, thick, brown molasses. Yellow, fluffy scrambled eggs. The rich smell of Maxwell coffee. During the summer in Mississippi, I loved waking up to these aromas. I knew that down the hall my great grandmother, affectionately called Mother, would be waiting for me at the table. We would sop our biscuits in the thick molasses syrup, sip on piping hot coffee, and savor eat bite. I don't recall if we had any monumental conversations on the mornings she took the extra time to make homemade breakfast, but I do remember how warm, loved, and desired I felt.

Over the course of my life, food would come to soothe a variety of emotions; sadness, happiness, guilt, depression, shame, and loneliness. Food was at the heart of every big event in my Southern life. Since my birthday is on the Fourth of July, my birthdays were full of food; barbecues, cakes, soul food, and later in life any restaurant my stomach desired.  In my adult life, food became a way to reward myself for a job well done at work, a long week, or an exhausting day.

Food took on a different meaning when I became homeless last year. I often remember the days I had no money for food. How I'd swipe my debit card praying it went through so I could savor a Wendy's 4 for 4 to mask the fact I had no place to call my own.

Now that I am employed, and living in my own place, food has become a source of pride and honor for me. To be able to buy my own food without government assistance, or a food pantry or shelter has felt so empowering. So empowering I have found myself constantly thinking of my next meal. I've accepted every left over plate, every cake, every free coffee because it feels so good to no have to stress over nourishment.

Lately, though I've been longing, hungry for something food can not fill. Freedom from shame. Acceptance of my past. Courage to move forward into my future. In reading the Bible, I've read how a lot of prophets fast when they are faced with a big decision or are uncertain about where God is going to take them. So when my friend Shirley suggested the Daniel Fast, I was curious. The Daniel Fast is fashioned after the what Daniel ate in captivity. He ate food from pulse or seed, and water. Daniel refused to eat the food given to him by the king that was holding him captive because it was blessed by false gods. I am following the Daniel Fast plan by Susan Gregory go to for more details.

When Shirley first suggested the fast, I thought there was no way I could diet like that for 21 days. The Daniel Fast does not allow for sugar, caffeine or processed foods which are my favorite comfort foods. Something stirred in my spirit the more I thought about fasting. I had researched how so many people felt closer to God, focused, and clear about which direction they should take. Friends even told me the powerful changes that happened to them through prayer and fasting. So I've decided to make the leap. I am now on day 2 of my Daniel Fast.

God has blessed me so much throughout my wilderness, and the more He restores me the more He is able to use me. I am hungry for a closeness of God that I have never experienced before. I am hungry for His direction and calling. That is a thirst that no drink or food can quench.

I'll be charting the journey of my Daniel Fast on my blog every Sunday through the month of January.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Best Christmas Gifts Ever

The Best Christmas Ever: What's Under the Tree.

I was extremely blessed to have some amazing gift filled Christmases when I was younger.Both of my parents grew up poor so they spared no expense making sure my siblings and I had what our hearts desired. I can recall all the hours my step-brother and I spent trying out our new Sega Genesis', Nintendo 64, or Playstation. We grew up in the golden age of gaming so I have many memories of Mario Go-Kart tournaments, and Sonic the Hedgehog journeys. The Christmas I got the 'Crazy, Sexy, Cool' album by TLC was one for the books. I remember how confidently I was playing  the new CD and reciting the very mature, naughty lyrics to my friend Pam down the street. Christmas' rocked in my house as a kid. But, as much I remember the holidays where gifts were awesome and cheer was high; I also remember the holidays that weren't. 

The Gifts of Christmas Past

As much as my parents rocked at holiday gift giving one year they completely missed the mark, and the feelings it stirred in all of us is something I never want to feel again on such a joyous occasion.  It was Christmas, early nineties maybe. The whole family ceremoniously came downstairs for the opening of gifts. Gifts of all colors, sizes, and shapes covered sat beneath the Christmas tree. My step-brother's little hands began tearing into the gifts with his name scribbled on the front.  The first present he opened was a basketball hoop. It was the kind you hung on the back of your bedroom door to practice free throws. I smiled. That's cute I thought. My step-brother huffed and tossed the basketball hoop and wrapping aside. His eagerly started in on his next gift. After tearing through layers of wrapping paper he discovered, a football. Much like his reaction to the basketball hoop, he tossed the gift and keep going. Within minutes, my step-brother uncovered a foam baseball bat, a baseball, and a ton of disappointment. After everyone had opened their gifts, we look at my step-brother who at this point was pouting. 

"You don't like your gifts?" my step-father asked.
My little brother stomped his feet. Tears were welling up in his eyes. I wasn't sure what to do, laugh out of sibling rivalry, hug him, or hug my step-dad. I knew my parents had worked hard to buy those gifts, but I also understood my step-brother wanted video games. At the time he was no jock and had little use for the athletic dreams my stepfather seemed to be hoping for through those gifts. Time lingered. Moments like that made my parents hang their heads in shame at us. Us, ungrateful, rich, spoiled, entitled kids who had no real clue of what real disappointment actually felt like. The disappointment of no gifts under the tree, no father to nod at his kids loving, or superficial holiday cheer we had become accustom to. My step-brother did not know that then and neither did I. All I did know was that Christmas sucked.

When I started earning my own money as a teenager, I wanted desperately to somehow show my parents that I appreciated their hard work, their generosity, and our good home. So one of the first Christmases I could afford to buy my family gifts I stressed over getting the right things.  I hoped that with the right gift I could have a Hallmark moment with my family Christmas day. You know the moments where someone opens a gift you gave them and they cry from the sheer awesomeness of it? I wanted that. I didn't have a lot of money so most of my gifts came from the Dollar Tree or the discount section in the mall, but I had hoped the thought would make up for the cheapness. 

After pacing the mall stores for an hour, I stumbled upon a clever sign I thought would make my mom laugh. The sign said very simply, "Think" in bold, capital letters. My mother was one of those  funny, witty type of people, and whenever we said something stupid she'd always point at our head and say, "Think." As I took the sign down from the store wall, I imagined how she'd hang it up and get a laugh every time she saw it.

Christmas Day when it was my turn to give her the gift, excited bubbled in my stomach. "Here you'll like this. You're always saying this. Now all you have to do it point at it when we say something silly," I said handing her my poorly wrapped surprise.

She smiled, and opened the present slowly. When the wrapping paper was gone and my little sign rested in her hands, she looked confused. I saw her eyebrows squint, and said  "Hmm."  

"Don't you get it? You're always telling us to "THINK" Now you can just point at the sign," I said trying to contain my laughter. She smiled, and said thanks. She placed the gift to her side and kept opening presents. We all moved on to other gifts, and other things that evening. There was no Hallmark moment, or tears. In fact, I feel like I a failure. I was ashamed that after all the stuff my mother had given me I managed to give her a lame sign. After that Christmas gift giving with my family felt more than work than holiday joy. This expectation of the perfect holiday moment like those Hallmark movies portray did not come that holiday. I never saw that sign hung up anywhere in the house, ever. 

The Gifts of Christmas Present

This year there were no holiday decorations, or tree downstairs. No tree with gifts stuffed under a tree, no smells of holiday cooking. It was me, my apartment, my restored friendships, my new beginning, my healing, my peace, my joy. And, I almost cried at the sheer joy of those kinds of gifts. The best presents ever. I am living in one of my greatest Christmas gifts; a studio apartment in a cool, part of town, with quiet neighbors thanks to a gracious friend. I went to church today and fought  back tears.

"God is this what joy feels like?" I asked in a silent prayer at church. So many years as a kid I thought Christmas meant physical gifts, the things my boyfriends, my parents, or siblings bought me. And, so many times those gifts didn't produce the feelings of joy or happiness I had hoped for. Here I am starting my life over, and I feel more blessed than I have any Christmas in my life.

What if the real gifts are the time we give, the love we share, or the comfort we provide? I received all these gifts and more this holiday. This past weekend I got to see beautiful sunrises in Corolla, North Carolina with an old television friend. And the gift of our renewed friendship is one of my greatest joys this year. The perfume from a peer who celebrates every goal I've reached this year. The gift of time spent with my "keep it real" friend Tara. The gift of comfort God sent my way through friends like Miss Sunshine. The gift of therapy that is pushing me to confront past, and live in my present. The spiritual gifts I am realizing in myself, and the joy I feel sharing it with others. My greatest gift a relationship with Christ in a way I never knew possible. The real, intimate, personal kind of relationship I thought was only good for super, saved, perfect church folks. God showed me in the wilderness that He loves broken people like me. That even in brokenness He has plans for good, plans for a future, plans to prosper.
Sunrise in Corolla

Renewed friendship

"I will rebuild you, and you will dance again." - Jeremiah 31:4 

Next year, I plan to take even bigger steps of faith to living fully alive; a baptism for re-dedication, the bravery to complete my book, the boldness to speak my truth, and the heart to help God's people in amazing, supernatural ways. 

This is indeed 'The Best Christmas Ever