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Day 4: Peace #SteeleThankful Challenge

Day 4: Peace #SteeleThankful Challenge

I’m #SteeleThankful for Peace…

There’s some things we can take for granted.  When I moved away from my hometown I longed for a beach.  Somewhere to go, and think by a large body of water.  I didn’t take many trips to the beach when I was a child for fear of drowning because I didn’t know how to swim.

I didn’t appreciate the calming waves until it wasn’t in my reach.

Whenever I came home to visit this place it provided a sense of peace.

I think we all deserve a place that we retreat to that creates peace for us.  It could be the beach, a museum, bookstore, or even your home.

Never forget that NOTHING, and I do mean NOTHING compares to a peace of mind.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Steele Thankful 2016

 

 

This Challenge WILL Change Your Life! You down?

This Challenge WILL Change Your Life! You down?

Happy Halloween! I was feeling quite nostalgic, and this is probably the last time I wore a Halloween costume that I loved.  Queening since 1989-1990 Lol!

Halloween 1989 or 1990 Cleopatra style!
Halloween 1989 or 1990
Cleopatra style!

The second annual #SteeleThankful Challenge kicks off tomorrow, and I’ve had people asking me well what is it really about?

In a world where there is so much chaos, unhappiness, fixation on material things, I feel there is a need to really look inside of ourselves, and find what we are truly thankful for.  The best time is to do so in the month of November.  The month that we observe Thanksgiving.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to not only encourage yourself, but encourage others as well.

So, how does that work?

Have you looked in the mirror today?

Seriously.  If not the mirror, clip the camera icon of your cell phone, and have it face you.

Let’s start with being thankful for being able to receive this message today.

I’ll help you out.

Example: I’m #SteeleThankful that I’m here to celebrate another day with my family, because last year I didn’t know how I would make it to the next day, let alone another month or year.  Everyday is a new opportunity to strive for greatness, and continue to make myself happy.

As I stated before this challenge is only in the 2nd year.  I can see this challenge gaining momentum, and I have to truly let the process flow.  There will be changes along the way, so let’s enjoy this ride of transparency, and thankfulness.

I know that it sounds easy.  But, I’m here to tell you that it’s not.  I can tell you how empowering it feels to share your struggle with others on the road to absolute gratitude.

When I was in Rhode Island for the World Burn Congress a couple of weeks ago I realized how hard it was to tell my own story.

YES. You read that right.  Hi, My name is R.J. I’m a storyteller, and I’m sensitive about my SH*T! No one can tell my story like me, but that’s difficult.  When telling our own story we sometimes tend to ramble, or leave out the portion of the story that we don’t want to own.  I feel the same way it comes to sharing my journey during the #SteeleThankful challenge.

Can I be honest?

When I have to edit, and post a story for the Final 48 Project I will read it NUMEROUS times before I decide to schedule the post to go live.  I’m super protective of the stories that are shared on that platform, and I try my best to uphold the integrity of every person’s story.  I mean they chose to share their stories with me, in order to share with the world.  Encouraging others along the journey of grief is never easy.  Especially when you are still dealing with your own.

When I unlock another level of transparency I feel empowered.  Often times I can be reluctant to dangle my foot from the ledge of fear in order to show the world that I’m not apologizing for my past experiences, because they have shaped me into the person I am today.  And for that I am #SteeleThankful

I can’t wait to share this experience with all of you this year.  So much has happened from November 2015 to Now.  I’m sure the same for you.

Let’s embark on this journey together, and tell the world what we are all #SteeleThankful for?

#SteeleThankful Challenge 2016
#SteeleThankful Challenge 2016

XOXO,

R.J.

P.S. On this Halloween of 2016, I am #SteeleThankful for the little girl that learned at a young age that she is a Queen, and you must always address me as such. **Featured Photo** THROWBACK! 😉

P.S. S. I share the true meaning of the #SteeleThankful name during the challenge this year.  Are you ready?  It’s going to blow your mind!

Why we all need to choose forgiveness…

Why we all need to choose forgiveness…

“You don’t know who you are until God sets you free.”

When Pastor Austin said this in church yesterday I was stuck to my seat. It’s so very true. Have you ever been lost in a situation that you don’t know who you are anymore?

That was my story a year ago.

When I was in church yesterday I was convicted. I’m absolutely grateful that I’m not in the same place I was in a year ago, but I haven’t completely forgiven the people that treated me terribly from Summer 2014 – 2015.

I’ve never hated anything or anyone so much and I know that the key to all of my dreams will only be revealed once I forgive them.

How can I be grateful that I’m no longer in that situation but I choose not to forgive them. How does that work?

How they treated me was not for me to understand. It was for me to grow deeper in my faith. Jesus is the only reason why I kept my cool. I’m serious. Not laughing or giggling. I’m being real here. The situation was unbearable at times. I constantly asked myself, “What Would Jesus Do?”

When I received my walking papers last year it was a month earlier than MY PLANNED departure date.

Now…that…was…God!

I was so miserable, and my mental state was at risk. My plan was to exit stage left and just consider the situation a BUST. I was completely OVER IT. God had a better plan (Always better than our own right) and allowed me to exit with style and grace. They were stunned, and I was rejoicing on the inside with a smile on the outside. I felt like breakdancing!  The peace that I received on that day was so calm.  That storm was officially over.

Even though I left that place and never went back. I didn’t forgive. That’s on me. I’ve talked about bitterness and not forgiving can block you from your blessings. So, I had to take a long, hard look in the mirror. The negative energy was still present, and I needed to let go.

I decided to purge those feelings, and leave them on this post:

I forgive those that tried to rob me of my joy and smile. 

I forgive those that tried to hinder my growth. 

I forgive myself for allowing others to mistreat me. 

I know that God has set me free, and everyday I’m trying my hardest to glorify God’s Kingdom. I know sometimes it’s hard to forgive but if Jesus can forgive, so can I. One day at a time.

Today, I am able to focus on my many projects, and I honestly couldn’t be happier.

I know who I am, and I’ve never felt so free in my life.

**Chains Broken**

Don’t CLOSE the Blinds, there’s a war outside…

Don’t CLOSE the Blinds, there’s a war outside…

People are hurting. I’m seeing it more and more everyday. Honestly don’t know why, maybe they feel unfulfilled. Not living in their purpose? Something just ain’t right.

I spent my undergrad years at Western Michigan University. I have some truly fond memories of a place I called home; Kalamazoo.

2006, My best friend/pusha at Waldo's on Western Michigan's campus.  The best mixed grilled wings!
2006, My best friend/pusha at Waldo’s on Western Michigan’s campus. The best wings!

When I heard about someone randomly shooting people on Saturday night in Kalamazoo, I thought it was a nightmare. Or, maybe a story on one of those fake gossip sites that reports false stories. It was indeed true. The victims went from enjoying dinner at Cracker Barrel or being at a car lot to being gunned down in an act of senseless violence.

I will say it again, the people are HURTING! There’s a war going on outside of my front door. What can we do? Pray? Prayer without work is dead! Prayer changes a lot but I’m sure God wants us to put some action behind those prayers. Ya think?

We aren’t doing what God designed us to do. You see I said “we” right? I know I’m not the only person. We are scared of the unknown, and that fear can lead to some unfortunate circumstances. Where did our mustard seed go?

What transpired on Saturday has reminded me that we have to get about our business. I know that I’ve been called to work with my people in such a way that it continues to blow my mind DAILY. YES, DAILY! Instead of being afraid to face the war that is going on outside, I need to reassure myself that I have a hedge of protection around me in order to carry out the plan. God’s plan.

What can you do today in order to live in your purpose? It’s time to put some action behind our words. The people are hurting, the people are lost, and they aren’t always coming to church when they’re broken. They’re outside the double doors. How can we change someone’s life today? There’s a war going on outside. What are you gonna do about it?

#Pray4Kalamazoo

Day 18 – “Emotions” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 18 – “Emotions” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Emotions? Oh my goodness what are those? I only knew laughter and frustration for a long time. It took a lot to get me angry, and crying was not an option. Until I realized it was okay. It was okay to cry.

I always thought that crying was a sign of weakness. I don’t know if I’m supposed to blame that thought process on my upbringing or community, well I’m not blaming anyone. The more you know, the more you grow. Crying would eventually become my release.

I cried, (UGLY CRY) when I dropped my dad off at the airport after spending time with me in North Carolina after my accident. I mean he took great care of me.  That was my first time seeing my dad overcome with sadness since my granny passed.  I can honestly count on one hand how many times I’ve seen my dad emotional.

I weeped when I got to my father’s side 48 hours before he died. It had hit me. There was no turning back. This was my final goodbye.
Have you ever experienced multiple emotions at one time?  If you’ve seen Steel Magnolias, I’m referring to the scene when Shelby’s mom (Sally Field) was at the cemetery and she went through a series of emotions at one time.  Well, I know that feeling.

I went from anger, sadness, numb to peace.  I remember being in the room with my dad when he passed. A sense of peace came over me. He was tired.  He had done a damn good job raising his children, and providing for my mom. It was a job well done. You know the job well done that we all wish to hear at the very end of this earthly life.

This month I would have to say that my emotions are set at overjoyed.  This challenge has given me great joy and to witness some of you reflect on your moments of being #SteeleThankful has been amazing.  When you think no one is watching.  Oh trust and believe that someone is. The moment when you think no one is paying attention but you run into a family friend at a local restaurant and she says, “I’ve been watching your progress, I’m so proud of you, keep going.”

I’ve definitely unlocked another level of my emotions lately,  transparency. I’m thankful for owning my true emotions on this rollercoaster ride of life. I’m able to own them, and allow myself to be me. Live, Love, and Laugh. Laugh a lot!

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Day 4 – “Peace” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 days of thanks)

Day 4 – “Peace” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 days of thanks)

PEACE.  Go ahead, say it aloud 3 times.  **Peace…Peace…Peace**

Did that feel good?  There’s nothing like that feeling of peace.  The peace of finishing your last exam in your academic career.  Submitting that final paper before the semester is over.  Paying all of your bills on time.  Making your last debt payment.  Reclaiming your power after an abusive relationship, or being able to say a final goodbye.

I’m thankful for the calm after the storm.  The featured image is a black and white photo of me holding my dad’s hand.  I took the photo 48 hours before he passed away, and the peace that comes from looking at this photo everyday is so soothing.  I absolutely miss him every day, but I find peace in knowing that his soul is at peace.

 

What are you #SteeleThankful for?  Join the conversation on Facebook.

Let’s Talk About Grief, Episode 1

Let’s Talk About Grief, Episode 1

Hello Transparency,
I’m ready to tackle you. I just completed my first broadcast talking about grief. Looking forward to doing it again next week. Shaking the nervous bugs from my shoulder! Lol. Check it out below.

https://www.periscope.tv/SteeleLens/1YqGoYNrnAyxv?%3Ausername=steelelens&

 

P.S. I’ll try to “katch” it but if not, you have until 6:00 pm Eastern time tomorrow to view it! Enjoy!