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The quest to be Independent is not EASY, but it’s worth it.

The quest to be Independent is not EASY, but it’s worth it.

It’s the beginning of the month, and I always find myself asking the same questions:

What do you want for yourself this month?

How can you be closer to your happy place?

Who can you help this month?

When will I collect another story, or finish that book?

At the beginning and end of a month is the perfect time to revisit and reflect on what you want to happen.  Write it down, pray over it, and work towards making those things happen.

I’m sure you’re surrounded by family or chasing goals this week but remember that you are a priority.  Your hopes and dreams are within reach. Go get them!

XOXO,

RJ

P.S. Have I told you about my infatuation with church fans?  I’ll have to expand on that soon (See featured photo). 😉

Day 22: Friendships #SteeleThankful Challenge

Day 22: Friendships #SteeleThankful Challenge

I’ve heard people say time and time again I wish I had friends like yours.

Well, my answer is I AINT SHARING!

Lol. I’m kidding.

Seriously, it wasn’t always this way. My friends are the bomb DOT com. I seriously have a girl friend that has come into my life at every stage of my existence. I have friends (both male and female) from Pre-K, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Undergrad, Grad, Losing My Father, and then Grad School again. I have had the honor of being a bridesmaid, or hostess at their weddings, holding their babies in the hospital, or watching their kids grow up being corrupted by Aunt R.J.

I can’t think of a better group of friends than my circle. They are truly God sent.

I’m #SteeleThankful for genuine friendships. I’m nothing without my squad.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Steele Thankful 2016

Life is the Dash…

Life is the Dash…

“Here today, gone tomorrow…”

I remember hearing that a lot growing up.  Now, I’m looking around and realizing, gosh my elders were right.

Last week was quite an emotional week.  I talked about “Blue Monday,” got through Monday, went to the gym on Tuesday morning, hopped online as usual and began reading a story about a possible homicide-suicide that occurred in the next town over from my hometown.  When I initially read the story the names had not been released.  Later on in the afternoon I received a text from a friend, and I politely told him, “Yeah, I read the story, but no names, yet.”  I guess he thought R.J. CLICK THE LINK.  Well, I didn’t click the link, so he decided to do a screenshot (screen grab, whatever) to show me that the names had been released.  It was someone I knew.  In fact, I spoke with this person about a month ago, and some of you were able to witness it.

It was Denise.

98.3 The Coast

I sat in silence for 30 minutes after reading her name in that text message.  She was tragically killed by her husband, and leaves behind three young children.  Even though we never met in person, she had a huge impact on my life.  It’s amazing the effect that people can have on you in such a short amount of time.  During our interview last month on the air I promised I would include her and Jonny as characters in an upcoming book in the series.  I promise not to disappoint.

I did say that it was an emotional week right?

I wanted the passing of Prince to be a hoax.  I remember waking up Friday morning thinking it was still a dream.  Can we agree that Prince was amazing?  He was musical genius, but what really stands out to me is that Prince was an UNAPOLOGETIC BLACK MAN.  He didn’t mind telling you what he thought, and never apologized for it.  He worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the rights of his people.  He was a cheerful giver of his time, knowledge, and resources.

You never know what someone is dealing with, or how much time they have on this earth.  Life is the dash.  We are gifted this life on this earth, and we must determine how we choose to live it.  The outpour of love for both Denise and Prince last week was mind blowing.  There was no need to question how much they were loved.

My takeaway from last week was that we all need to start giving people their flowers while they are living.  I can only hope that they were shown the love that was displayed last week while they were living in the dash.

I decided to go over my grammy’s house on Saturday morning since I was in town filming for The Final 48 Project.  I spent two hours with her, and it was honestly one of the best visits we’ve EVER had.  She told me that what I was doing with the “Final 48 Project” is what God birthed in me, and I have to keep pressing forward.

I went over there to check on her, and received a mighty Word.  That visit with her is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

What are you doing with the dash?  It’s Monday.  Another opportunity to push towards the purpose that God has birthed in you.

“We are gathered here today.  To get through this thing called, life.”  ~ Prince

Xoxo,

R.J.

Celebrate the Gift of Life…

Celebrate the Gift of Life…

It’s been a rough week.  I wasn’t feeling too great last week.  I will say that I am done with Saltine Crackers, Soup, and Ginger Ale.  No, seriously, I don’t want to see it for awhile.  I fell victim to the Midwest weather, and I got caught slippin(g). I knew better.

Anyways…I feel better.

I’m in New Orleans for a work, and pleasure.  I mean hello, it’s New Orleans, and definitely going to participate in a Secondline!

I’m sure I’ve told you before about my circle of friends that God blessed me with.  I am surrounded by friends that have been in my life since 1987, 1990, and 1996.  Crazy!  Two of them have birthdays that are a day apart.  Double Celebration!!!

I converse with my friends almost daily, and it’s always nonstop laughter.  We keep each other motivated through this journey called life.

Birthdays have always been extra special, and one of the birthday girls decided to do a countdown of throwback pictures for the last 30+ days leading up to her birthday.

I learned something very special about that.  Celebrate the gift of life and memories everyday.  I love the new feature of Facebook reminding me (or us) of our memories since we’ve been on Facebook.  The great thing about my friend is that she went through her personal archive of photos, and is dedicated to celebrating the years of her life with family and friends.

Celebrate you!  Even if no one else will.  You only get one life, and you better live everyday to the best of your ability.

Hats off to the birthday girls, and cheers to celebrating life not just on our birthdays, but 365 (or 366) days of the year!

Xoxo,

R.J.

Celebrating a BONUS 24 hours: I Shall Leap…

Celebrating a BONUS 24 hours: I Shall Leap…

The plan was to spend this Leap Day lounging all day after the week/weekend I’ve had.  Well, that’s not happening.

My alarm was not set for my 5:30 am workout session, and guess who woke up at 4:45.  **points to self**  I said my plan must align with God’s plan.  A question dropped in my spirit almost immediately after waking up.  “How bad do you want it?”  Honestly that question applies to a lot of things in my life right now.  Jumped up, took a shower, got dressed, and put in the work!

I’ve told you before that there’s a lesson in everything.  We choose to identify or ignore it.  Two of my oldest friends (Seriously over 25 years of friendship, preschool and 1st grade) held community events on Saturday in my hometown of Benton Harbor, Michigan.  I split my time between both events, and I must say I am without a doubt overjoyed that I was able to attend both.

While they were both running around last week finalizing things for their events, I was given the task of presenting a video for the Boys and Girls Club of America’s Benton Harbor Teen Center.  Can I be honest?  I was nervous.  I mean I can take constructive criticism, but it’s nothing like being judged by the community that raised you.  I was now apart of a team that was driven to produce an amazing event, and I didn’t want to let them down.

The pressure was on.  The morning of the event the video would not transfer from my editing software to a MP4.  I became frustrated because I was having the same problem on Thursday and Friday, audio issues etc.  I finally said, “God, I’m believing this is going to work out for this event tonight.”  I calmed down.  Arrived at the venue spoke with the tech team, and was informed that the video must be converted.  I went to the corner, and tried ONE…MORE…TIME!

BOOM!

It worked.  I saved the file and headed back to the tech team for setup.  I ran to the back of the building and came back to the main stage to witness the person that believed in me was watching the video.  At the conclusion of the video, he turned around and reminded me why I should have never doubted that it would work.

Teamwork makes the DREAM WORK.

I can be quite critical of myself sometimes.  Okay, a lot of times.  I will find something to correct when I know it’s fine.  That perfectionist zone I was in was going to keep me in a box.  When you think like a perfectionist nothing seems good enough.  That can be a dangerous zone.  It can keep you from moving on to the next level.  The zone can also come off as fear, we call it perfectionism because we aren’t ready for the criticism from our peers or the public.

Guess what?

That fear will keep you from receiving valuable feedback and hinders growth.  I don’t ever want to be in a place where I’m keeping myself from growing.

Three things I was reminded of this weekend:

  1.  Continue to surround yourself with positive people that are seeking to change the world.
    JB and Damita - Friends for over 25 years. Game Changers in the community
    JB and Damita – Friends for over 25 years. Game Changers in the community

     

     

  2. The importance of a tribe.  When people believe in your greatness, believe them.
  3. Take the first step.  Do something scary and outside of the box.  It creates growth.

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Day 5 – “Friendships” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 5 – “Friendships” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Friends, how many of us have them?  Friends.

If you haven’t guessed already, there’s always a song in my heart.  You can catch me singing 90% of the day.  Lol.

I have some pretty amazing friends.  No, seriously I do.  I can break it down in depth, but I will be on here writing for days.  My friends have special nicknames and groups.  I have the type of friends that some of them have never met each other, and when put in a group chat they instantly hit it off.

I have the type of friends that will take a cross country road trip at the last minute, change your mom’s car battery, witnesses your first stamp in your passport book, fights with you, cries before you, call your parents after a serious accident, let’s you sleep on their couch or spare bedroom, vents about injustice, and supports you through the ups and the downs.

My friends are the Heartbeats, 2nd Generation Besties, We Cares Committee, Midwest Born, NC Living, TX Bred, supporting this unpredictable nomad tendency having person such as myself.  I’m #SteeleThankful that they are #SteeleHere rocking with me!

What are you #SteeleThankful for?  We are chatting about it on Facebook.  Come join the conversation!