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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!



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

Back to Me: iResearch, iCreate, iPublish

Back to Me: iResearch, iCreate, iPublish

Do you struggle with expressing your strengths?  **slowly raises hand**

I know that I can do a better job with my elevator pitch.  In the past, I didn’t want to come across as being boastful, or arrogant.  Then it hit me; a reminder.

My Dean in graduate school told me that I was too modest when it comes to celebrating my strengths.  I thought that was her way of calling me humble, but no she was saying that I don’t use my gifts enough.  There are some things that you would have no idea that I could do unless I told you, or had the courage to show you.

For example, I was at work and I began speaking with a community partner about the Final 48 Project.  She was blown away by the stories that were being told on the site.  We began talking about another community leader, and I kid you not 15 minutes later he walked through the door.  I couldn’t make this up.  This was the first time outside of our business hours that I knew about this leader stopping by.

The snowball effect continued.  I was on a roll that afternoon.  I spoke to the community leader about my project, and just like that I have a radio interview scheduled for next week.

I challenge everyone this week to express to someone new the importance of your gift.  I started on social media, and received some of the best feedback ever.  Here’s my caption for the featured photo:

Hi, my name is R.J. I am a trained Archivist (specializing in 18th and 19th century manuscript) and Researcher. I create dope content for @final48project and published the first book in the @alleykatsbooks series. Don’t be shy. Introduce yourself. Let your gifts be known. 😉 #browngirlbloggers

Don’t be too humble that you allow an opportunity to pass you by.  I’m getting back to me, and letting the world know the gifts that God has blessed me with.

Go forth and be great! You got this!



Don’t Apologize for Me Time…

Don’t Apologize for Me Time…

Every year my friends get together to celebrate the April birthdays in our circle.

Last weekend we spent our time in Memphis, Tennessee, and our time together is always EPIC!

I was feeling guilty about the time away.  I began to think about what I needed to do on the business side, or if I left anything undone at my current 9-5 position.  My concern was returning to chaos in both my professional and personal life.  In a nutshell, I was guilty for taking “me time.”  As if I didn’t deserve time away from my job, and my business.  Too much work will have you cranky, and you will eventually plateau.  I was at that point.

The breaking point.

Days before leaving for my trip I was literally counting down the hours until I was having fun with my friends.  I could feel the pressure of working around the clock for not only my job, but my dreams as well.  I wasn’t sleeping much and I know that rest was necessary.

I decided to leave my laptop, iPad, and everything that involved work behind.  I scheduled all of my posts for the days that I was away, and was at peace with it.

When we reach that point of going through the days on fumes, it is necessary to take a step back, and break.

Pay close attention to the signs that your body, and your spirit are telling you.  When you are on the path of chasing your dreams it is important to be alert, and well.

Don’t feel bad for taking breaks.  We all need a reboot from time to time.



Lemme see you go back…

Lemme see you go back…

Back…Back…Forth…and Forth…

I’ve been listening to a lot of Aaliyah lately. The anniversary of her passing was a couple of weeks ago, so I noticed a lot of her music has been on my mind lately. I told you about the Bad Boys Reunion Concert that I attended in Chicago on September 1st right? The seats were the bomb, and I was on my feet the entire time singing along to all the great songs from the 90s.

Take me back…

This past week I’ve had that feeling of “take me back.” Take me back to an event, or even a time with a person when it was all GOOD. When there was not a care in the world, or you simply enjoyed being in their presence.

Then it hits you. Maybe I shouldn’t hold on to what was, and focus on what can be.

Now listen.

Memories get me through some of my toughest moments. This week I found myself laughing with my mom and sister about the hilarious stuff my father would do or say.

I laughed with old friends about the adventures in our late teens, and early twenties.

I even attended a college football game match-up between my two alma maters. Western Michigan University vs. North Carolina Central University. Oh the memories…


Again I said take me back…

What was I going back to?

Again I say memories are great, but sometimes we hold on to the wrong memories and they can cause us more heartache and pain. I know sometimes I find myself holding on to a memory that is quite toxic for my future. How will I grow if I don’t let go right?

I can never forget how some events or people made me feel in the past, but it’s also important that we have to let some balloons of hope go.

I will be the first to admit that sometimes it’s hard for me to let go of how a person treated me; good and bad. Take me back to our first date, take me back to the Juvenile and Trina concert, take me back to my senior year of high school, take me back to the night before my house fire accident, take me back…take me back…take me back.

The thing is time doesn’t move backwards, it only goes forward. I can’t continue to focus on what could have been or what should have been. I can focus on the now, and how I can plan a better future for myself. I’ve made some foolish mistakes, and some that I am still learning from.

I realized this week there are some things I can never get back. Chile, at the top of my list is time and money, I can never get those two back. I can’t dwell on wasted time with people, or money that magically drifted from my bank account.

Even though it’s painful, the best thing you can do for your growth and sanity is to let go of the notion of traveling in a time machine to get what was…back. The truth is…it’s gone.


Give it some time, and if the opportunity presents itself again, then try again, but definitely don’t build the foundation on quicksand. You feel me?

So, stop focusing on the “take me back,” and focus on the “what’s next, or what about a fresh start.”



P.S. I spent my Saturday morning with 2 amazing people.  Please be sure to check out their story tomorrow for #GriefTalkTuesday Photography Love Letter Campaign for the Final 48 Project





Peddle Forward? Backward? Or Both?

Peddle Forward? Backward? Or Both?

Everyday we should strive to learn something new.  Even the days when I feel like doing absolutely NOTHING; I’m constantly learning.  It could be something as simple as a new word from the dictionary, or about my family history.  Never get into the habit where you become comfortable with where you are, because it will become impossible to grow.

I didn’t want to go to the gym this morning.  I kept thinking what if I skip today, it won’t hurt nothing.  I’m discouraged at times because I still can’t believe I allowed myself to gain this much weight.  It was that thinking of, “oh I’ll skip doing anything active today” that landed me in this spot in the first place.  I rolled over at 4:45 am and went though.  I learned to push myself towards the goal even when I don’t feel like it.

Do you ever look at pictures of yourself from high school, or even college?  What could I learn from that person that appeared to have it all together? Cheesing from ear to ear displaying all of my 32 teeth, what could I learn from her?  Imagine yourself on a mountain bike/10 speed, or even an exercise bike.  What happens when you peddle backwards?


You don’t move forward, and if you’re on a hill you will go tumbling very fast.  I can always go back to the old photos of myself and think about how small I was, but I am definitely wiser now.  Back then I believed in reading and being aware of my surroundings, but it’s amazing what a little wisdom and time will do for you.

When I decided to move closer to home a year ago people thought I was crazy.  Why would you go BACK home?  That’s not the case at all; the journey is new.  Every time that you feel like you’re going backwards, think of it as your way of going forward to learn something.  The R.J. that moved into the family home after undergrad is a totally different person than the R.J. that moved to Michigan in order to start her own publishing company.

I challenge you today to hop on a bike, think about what I said, and apply it to your life.  Are you trying to peddle forward or backward?

The choice is yours.



Be Prepared for immediate CHANGES! 😱

Be Prepared for immediate CHANGES! 😱

Imagine this…

Headed to the airport shuttle stop on a sunny evening. Your waiting at a red light, and someone slams into the back of your car. You’re in shock, disbelief, and realize the person behind you is clearly inebriated. All of this happens in front of the plaza by the shuttle stop. Thank God there was no serious damage, but I made sure I got that license plate because buddy kept rolling. ✌🏾️🚗💨💨

So, now I’m waiting on the shuttle for the airport. 20 mins, 40 mins, an hour rolls by and after calling numerous times for an update on this late shuttle I realized even if the shuttle arrived by the last time I called for an update I would miss my flight.  So, what do you do?

Well, my concern was having my mom drive back in the dark so late from the airport. That’s a two hour drive by herself that we didn’t prepare for. There were two other strangers waiting for that shuttle but going in two different directions. There was 1 person that was going to the same airport as myself. I decided to ask her if she wanted to ride. She agreed, and we were riding into the sunset. I’ve never been the person to pick up a stranger, but she was no stranger. We were two ladies in distress trying to make our flights. We laughed and exchanged contact information to stay in touch after all this. We parted ways at the terminal, but took this photo before with my book that is now hers for life!

I arrived to North Carolina around 12:30 am on Thursday, and laid down.

Later on that afternoon I wanted to prepare for the interview that I had coming up for the Project. Meanwhile I received an email stating that the class that I was in town for was cancelled. 😳

The class didn’t reach it’s minimum enrollment requirement so as of Thursday it was cancelled. I was bummed for about 30 minutes, but then I thought maybe this is apart of the plan. What’s my next step?

I began reaching out to people to see if they wanted to participate in the project, and I could do as many interviews as I could over the weekend. I received a few yes, and a couple let me think about it. So, all was not lost. Sometimes you have to be prepared for the unexpected, right?!

I laughed, cried, stayed up late with old friends and it felt good to be away. I even gained some new friends too. I had a mentor tell me a long time ago that you have to stay ready in this entrepreneur world. Things change constantly and you have to be prepared. This weekend was a valuable lesson on how to turn lemons 🍋into tasty lemonade. 😋



Stay Connected: New and Old! ✍🏽👥

Stay Connected: New and Old! ✍🏽👥

I can be an introvert at times. I know you’re probably thinking, “I don’t believe that R.J. isnt a social butterfly.” Now, I didn’t say all that. What I’m saying is that I’ve never been one to spark up a conversation with strangers, until recently.

The only way that people will know me is if I put myself out there. Over the weekend I was invited to an “Invitation Only” event. First of all, I had no idea that these events even occurred in my own backyard. It was so refreshing to be around people networking, and having a good time.

I learned one valuable lesson over the weekend. It’s very important to stay connected. Stay connected with both new contacts and old. You never know who can lead you to the right person to bless you, and others.

Being active in your community is important. Do what you love, and forget about the rest. I’m going to spend this Memorial Day reconnecting with old friends, and making new connections.

Check out the Cartoon R.J. (Featured photo). One of the new connections I made this week.


P.S. Don’t forget to check out the new website for the Final 48 Project.

Will the journey ever get easier?

Will the journey ever get easier?

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.






Professional Development

Social Media

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.

I had to sit last week out for the Final 48 Project. I was BUMMED!

Here’s the #PlotTwist

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 Project tomorrow, and read some of the past stories.

The struggle is REAL!

The struggle is REAL!

We’ve talked about my struggle with my weight the last year or so. My weight has been up and down since I left Houston in 2013. Living in Dallas packed on the pounds once it was too hot to jog outdoors. So, around this time last year I would say I had given up on my active lifestyle. 

I feel as though that last paragraph was full of excuses. We often times drum up excuses to get away from things that we know are best for us. Maybe it’s the fear of change, and that uncomfortable zone that appears when change is happening. 

Waking up at 4:45 am is not fun. At the gym by 5:30, and the only thing I think about while working out is how did I allow myself to gain all this weight. Well, the weight is here, and it has received its eviction notice. 

December 31st I hopped on the scale, and recorded my current weight. I shared it with you all on the site, so check it out when you have time. I jumped on the scale a few months ago, and noticed an increase of 2 pounds. I was irritated. What was I doing wrong? I’m faithfully going to the gym, and I’m gaining weight!

I had to reevaluate my eating, and then it hit me. I’m not losing pounds but I’m losing inches. People were telling me I was losing weight, but I assumed they were being nice. I’ll admit with my traveling schedule I wasn’t always eating right, so I know that didn’t help. 

This morning I was in a bit of a funk, and I don’t know why I thought weighing myself would make me feel better. Well…IT DID!

I’m officially down 10 pounds since my last weigh-in, and even more motivated to keep going. I can use this weight loss/healthy me journey as the blueprint of my life right now. The road will not be easy, but it will be worth it. You have to hang in there for what you truly want, and what you feel deep down inside that you deserve. I deserve to live a long, happy, healthy, and prosperous life. 

As my trainer would say #DearSummer

Which means…I have my goal in sight, and I’m coming for you!


A case of the Mondays…”Blue Monday!” 💙

A case of the Mondays…”Blue Monday!” 💙

Oh Monday. My Monday. Your Monday. Our Monday.
It’s still a Monday.

Have you ever heard of “Blue Monday” by Annie Lee?  She’s an amazing international artist that unfortunately passed away in November of 2014. She was definitely full of that #BlackGirlMagic

I’ll get back to “Blue Monday” in a moment.

Ever have one of those days when something was feeling off? Or, you didn’t want to get out of bed? That’s what Blue Monday feels like. Gathering all of your strength to take on the tasks of the day, but hours later you are sitting on the side of the bed STUCK.

Blue Monday is only one day. When I think of experiencing a Blue Monday I think about the grief of all things, (bills, baggage, losing a loved one).

You know everything takes time, and the only way to overcome it is to take it one day at a time.

At times I can get wrapped up in my past mistakes, and often think about oh man will I be able to pay this big bill next month. If I believe and put forth some effort. I believe all of my debts will be paid in full. Very soon. That’s faith right? I know. I know. R.J. you are always talking about faith. A little faith will get you VERY FAR. TRUST ME!

No need to worry about tomorrow, or dwell on yesterday. They are either long gone or haven’t arrived yet. We stress ourselves out about situations that we have no control over, and hence it can turn into a Blue Monday. Unable to gather any strength to get out of bed.

On Monday’s (or Sunday evening) we fall in a funk, and feeling down about returning to life on Monday. Well, I’m here to tell you there’s always going to be A Monday and you must find another way to look at its arrival.

You have a choice to enter the new week with a positive mindset and turn the Blue/Moody Monday into a Motivational Monday!

Let’s get excited about new partnerships, relationships, and ventures on this new day. There’s so much to see, and do. No need to waste our time on the blues of past Monday’s.

Go be great!