Seriously, I spend my time putting together the events of my life or those around me in order to encourage you every week. But…
This fourth quarter has snuck up on your girl. :-/
I spent the 3rd quarter of 2017 preparing for the most crucial time of the year, and I can’t believe that it’s here. And the coach of all coaches is saying, “RJ, I need you. Get off the bench, and win this game for us!”
HUH? Excuse me, Lord. Are you talking about this RJ?
Within the last three months I’ve been asked to speak for a Women’s Empowerment Conference, PechaKucha, and I am scheduled to present the Final 48 Project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University’s graduation.
Well, if I wasn’t ready, I better get ready right?
Even when we think we are not ready for the blessing(s) that God has for us; we are. He has equipped us with more than enough to get the task done. All we have to do is walk in it.
Don’t be afraid. Easier said than done I know. I was a bit frightened by all of the opportunities that were before me, but I realize this is what I asked God to do for me. Continue to use me in the way that is within His will.
My story will continue to impact the lives of others, and don’t forget that your story can/will too!
Shall I remind you of the importance of writing the vision?
You’ve probably heard me tell the story of writing the desires of my heart on a piece of paper in graduate school, attached a scripture to it, and taped that paper to my wall. First thing that I saw every morning when I woke up. I had to be clear about what I wanted God to do in that season of my life. Everything on that sheet of paper came to fruition. <3
Let me fast forward two years later to a gathering at one of my closest friend’s house for a mini vision board party. To be exact it was December 30, 2015.
We were very clear about what we wanted for the upcoming year in both our personal and professional lives. By the end of 2016, I thought that I didn’t try hard enough to make those things come true.
When I did that vision board it didn’t mean that it HAD to happen that year, it just meant that I had to work towards those things happening.
Here’s one thing that was evident amongst all of us. One major turning point in our lives happened as a result of doing those vision boards that night. My “aha moment” happened when I witnessed one of the people in the above picture have a glow that I had never seen before. She was in love, and that love produced this moment:
A baby shower celebrating the arrival of a baby boy in July.
Not only were we in attendance to love on our friend of over 20 years, but the day wouldn’t be complete without striking a pose celebrating the newest extension of the #Heartbeats (Squad Goals right? lol).
The entire day was a reminder to continue to ask God for what you want; from the story of Shon’s Mom on the “Price is Right” on May 9, 2017, to Shon & Toby’s speech at the end of the shower. Don’t be afraid to step out on faith, and embrace the moment when your vision board comes to life.
I’m #SteeleThankful for the ability to overcome FEAR.
I was in a place of absolute fear about this time in 2014. I completed my 90 day probation at my job, and it seemed as though all hell had literally broke loose.
I became extremely unhappy in my current position, and fear came over me.
My fear was that I was going to be stuck in a position that hindered me from pursuing my dreams.
Fear can keep you in a very comfortable position. The same position that will keep you keep you sitting on the gift that God gave you. When I recognized the power that fear had over my life I had to make a decision. If you want great things to happen in your life you have to kick fear, and step outside of your comfort zone. I had to stand firm on my faith, and believe that fear had no place in my life.
I gave fear the deuces in 2015, and I refuse to look back.
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!
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?
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!
I’ve been walking almost 5 miles at least twice a week, and chile I can see a difference. The perfect weather to clear your mind, and reflect on what’s going on in the present. I’ve decided no matter what city I’m in I must dedicate at least one day to getting my miles in and taking in all that God wants to show me.
I was taking a stroll along Lake Michigan at Tiscornia Park when I looked across the water to see a row of sailboats. I stood there on the pier as I observed the choppy water on one side and calm on the other. I watched the ducks sway with the flow of the water as the sun began to set. I guess, they too were taking it all in.
I thought about one of my favorite songs by Jaheim. Because you do know that I can find a song to match every situation, right?
“Two ships just passing in the night now,
Offshore, looking for a light house.”
I’m just trying to find my way back…
It will probably be the last time I will witness a night like this on the pier, because the season is changing.
Even though the seasons change four times a calendar year, does that mean that the seasons in our lives are on the same schedule?
Answer: Heck No!
I could be experiencing a “sunshiny” (new word!) day, and the next is full of storm clouds to remind me that every day won’t be sunny. Similar to Summer not lasting all year long (especially in Michigan) the season eventually has to change.
I’ve had relationships that have lasted one month, and some that lasted ten years. It never fails when that season needs to change trust me it will change.
I know that I’ve been in some people’s lives for a reason or a season. I had no idea what the reason was until the season changed. We could have been living in the same city at the same time. Going through the same storm, but when the storm passed we went our separate ways, and I didn’t understand why. Never any love lost, it was just time for both of us to move on.
Here’s the cool part, now we celebrate how God had brought us through, and to encourage someone else along the way.
There’s also those times when you think a season is over with a person, and they seem to drift back into your life in a different way. Maybe you’re able to bond over a new friendship or relationship that blossomed from similar interest, or even the loss of a loved one.
I swear you just never know how life will go. You have to continue to embrace the flow. I’m attempting to embrace this new change of developing roots. Embarking on a journey of discovering new places, and new seasons for relationships. I shall not get weary. Trusting the process, and witnessing this season change.
Pride. Yes I have a lot of that. The first step is admitting it right?
I had a few friends over the last week tell me that I was stubborn, and living with pride. It took me having a conversation with my mom in the kitchen one evening to realize that all of this was true.
I absolutely hate asking for help. Why? Rejection could be right around the corner, and sometimes I think I am SUPERWOMAN. I mean it’s okay to feel as though you have the super powers all the time, but hey it’s also okay to admit when you don’t.
And this past week, I was fresh out.
I mean it was the end of the month. About to start the 4th quarter of 2016, and I was losing steam.
I had that feeling of no way of coming back from the last week that I had experienced.
And then that night, I turned some music on, danced and sang in the mirror until I got sleepy.
I woke up on September 1st with a new outlook on life. I made a few phone calls, and then BOOM. Doors began to happen.
All I had to do was ask. It was possible that rejection could have been on the end of that call, but it wasn’t. I had to believe that everything was going to work out and it did. I had to have a Plan A and be prepared to turn a Plan B into plan A if I needed to. Did you understand the last line? If not, read it again.
The plan that I’m always referencing can not work if I’m not willing to work the plan, and ask for what I want.
Here’s a great example:
I was struggling with the whole raising money for my documentary project. I was thinking well you know maybe crowd funding will work. I didn’t reach my goal, and I began to feel bummed. Then it hit me. I have to be transparent, and then ask. Oh that’s how this thing works.
So, I added a “Donate” button to the website for the project, and I received my first donation on Friday! It was such a surprise and a blessing. The message that the donor left me was so inspiring. It was just the pick me up that I needed.
It’s important to ask for what you want. I’m working on my pride, and I know it’s a one-day at a time process.
I hope you’re encouraged on this Labor Day. See ya in the same place next week!
To check out the current documentary project please click here. If you would like to donate please do, and thennnnnnn you’ll hear from me!
“Please bring your gently used items to the church’s yard sale. We want to bless others within our community.”
Can you identify with a statement similar to that? It may not even be for the church. It could be for an employer, a friend, or a nearby thrift store.
You look over at the pile of clothes that you don’t wear, and you think about dropping them off, but then you decide otherwise.
You would rather take the items that you painted your house in, or the clothes that could honestly walk themselves to the trash can.
Are you selfish? Are you constantly negative? Are you always in a glass case of emotions? Sweetheart, are you damaged goods?
I was in church on Sunday, and the message was titled, “Damaged People.” It’s the second installment in our series, “Soul Food.” I was compelled to break down some of the things I could identify with even within myself. You know the things that keep me from moving to the next level:
Past Relationships (Friendship, Work, and Love): I had a very hard time with forgiving people. I used to write them off as if they never existed to me. I would write them off without forgiving them. As if I didn’t learn some very valuable lessons from the encounter. I had to let go. I was CLEARLY DAMAGED, and didn’t want to admit it.
Changing Others Around You: Guess what. You don’t have the secret power or potion to do that. They have to want it for themselves. Our fitness coach is a constant reminder of that. If I don’t want to lose the weight that’s on me. I have to want it for myself. The same goes for the people that you are keeping around you that are stagnant when you are trying to move forward. Say it with me…real slow if you have to…DAM-A-GED. Release yourself from the negativity, and keep it moving.
Stubbornness: Uh oh! **turns mirror on self** “I got this, I can only rely on me.” <— how many times have you said that? Be honest. Well, it’s not necessarily true. Often times I find myself thinking like that, too. People won’t know that you need anything unless you say something. <—- Last line courtesy of my mother! 😉 There is something that happened to you in your past that when you feel your back is against the wall you feel that all you have is YOU. Not true. I’m sure God placed some amazing people in your path to assist along the journey in life. Don’t abuse those people now. Admit to them your shortcoming, basically that you’re DAMAGED, and you need help.
Whew chile. Preaching to myself, but do you feel me?
I refuse to be in the throw away pile. There’s someone counting on me, and it would be selfish of me not to deliver. I have plenty of content to bring to the world, and I’m not about to stop now.
Don’t walk around carrying the baggage from your past. Unless you prefer to continue clicking “Accept” for damaged goods, and if that’s the case, you are on the wrong page.
Whoop Whoop! Thanks for rocking with me! Currently working on some local Steele Lens events, so be sure to stay tuned for that.
Now…time for Motivational Monday…
I’m from Michigan, and I’ve never visited Mackinac Island. I’ll say that ONE…MORE…TIME!
“Hi I’m R.J, and I’ve never been to Mackinac Island.”
It’s interesting how that was never a summer trip that my family took. When I asked people around my parents age they simply stated, “I never thought we were welcomed there.”
I’ll probably expand on that statement on a later post. Keep that as a mental note!
The ferry leaves Mackinaw City heading to Mackinac Island at the top of the hour. Our group planned to make the Noon shuttle. We arrived at the station at 11:40. Plenty of time right? As we started to unload our cars I noticed a huge group marching towards the line for the ferry.
I said oh we have time. No worries. Purchased tickets and stood in line.
Our large group arrived to the front of the line.
“Sorry, we can’t accept anyone else on this ferry. The next one will arrive at 12:42 and depart at 1:00 pm.”
We were scheduled for an island tour at 12:45 pm. Changes had to be made, and we had to wait. We arrived to the island, did our exploration, and my Mom was receiving all the love from the butterflies!
It was a reminder; Time waits for no one.
When it comes to my current projects. Time waits for no one. Not even lil’ ole R.J. You have to be proactive when it comes to the things that you truly want. There will be people along the way that will try their best to keep you from moving forward. DON’T LET THEM! If you truly feel it in your heart that it’s the right thing to do. You must keep going! For every “No” that I’ve received, there was a HUGE “YES” right around the corner. I would’ve never received that answer if I decided to quit.
Time waits for no one.
So, think of it this way, the ferry that is scheduled to depart with no problem at the top of the hour is leaving with or without you. Think of that ferry as your goals, dreams, and relationships. That boat (dreams) is leaving the dock without you if you are too late.
Time waits for no one.
P.S. Have you been following my family genealogy journey? If so, we discovered some things over the weekend. I’ll have updates this week!
How Long? Frustration…Confusion…Intimidation…Distraction…
How long do I have to wait for the right opportunity?
How long do I have to wait for “the one?”
How long before you bless my kids to do better or want better?
How long before you deliver my family member from their addiction?
How long do I have to wait before I can pay off this debt?
How long before this flight leaves? (Lol my life in 2015 😩)
How long do I have to pray before I see a breakthrough?
I think the answer to all of these questions is in God’s timing. We have to be aligned within His will, or there’s really no way this thing called life will work.
At times I can become distracted. That feeling usually leads me down a path that is hard to recover from. We can become distracted by window shopping, and enter a store front that we had no business entering. The intimidation of investing in that new shirt or skirt. Receiving the credit card statement, or looking at your bank account the next day/month is a level of confusion. A month later when you’re unable to make a payment on a bill, you become FRUSTRATED. Do you get my drift?
It leads me back to the first question. How long?
How long do you want this cycle to continue? How long before I am delivered from the terrible decision making in my life?
Do you want to be delivered from the situation that you’re currently in.
YES, R.J. YES!
Shoot, I do too. Lol. I can go through all of the above emotions within one day, and I find myself saying, How long, Lord? When will that windfall that I really need happen?
You aren’t ready!
What changes do you (we) need to make in order to choose the path that is right, and stop expecting God to do EVERYTHING. We have to roll up our sleeves, and get dirty.
So, How long before the breakthrough?
No one knows the answer to that. You have to keep believing, keep plugging away, and don’t get defeated. It is TOUGH, but I know it will be worth it.
No path worth traveling is ever straight. It is full of twists and turns. Excuse me. Unexpected twists and turns. There will be a variety of lessons along the way that will force you to grow. If not, you will continue to repeat the lesson. I am speaking from experience.
All of the above take work, hard work. Work isn’t always easy. It can be uncomfortable, frustrating, heartbreaking, and depressing at times.
Well, when does it get easier?
Every day. Every day it gets easier. Every day that you decide not to give up it gets easier, because you are one step closer to making your dreams come true.
I am my own worst critic. I’ll admit that.
I remember Tyler Perry saying at a conference a couple of years ago that he’s a perfectionist. Some of his projects/plays/movies would have never been released because he was constantly revising the script. He had to realize that there will always be things that we want to change, but it’s wise to give everything our best and let God do the rest.
We have to stick to the script. The script may change a bit but drastic changes on our own can be detrimental to our growth.
The same day I was scheduled to post a new story was also the day that I met with my new mentor. I realized God had me rest from my regularly scheduled program to be advised and regroup so that I could be able to deliver more life changing content.
No one said it would be easy, but everyday it gets much easier.
Don’t give up!
P.S. Be sure to check out Final 48 Projecttomorrow, and read some of the past stories.