Word with the Wise Wednesday: Clay Clark

1. What important life lessons have you learned so far?
Only engage in mutually beneficial relationships.  Partnering with people who don't have the same value system, character and beliefs as  you can be detrimental.  
Over deliver because when you go above and beyond for others, the world will conspire to help you reach your destination.  
Know where you are going.  Be able to articulate your mission/focus in 30 seconds or less.  
Be intentional about the people you associate with because the people you spend time with and the books you read greatly influence your future.  

2. How is the world today different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?
I would say my phases of thinking about the world changed.  As a child I would think anything is possible.   Then I got a little older and I thought anything is possible if you're lucky.  Now I realize anything is possible if you do more than you're supposed to, know where you're going and over deliver.  Growing up we are taught to study for the test so you know all the answers and pass the test; however, life doesn't work that way.  Life is all about finding your niche, failing the test and then taking it again.  

3. What has been your hardest lesson to date?
How important it is to partner with people who value and share your moral code and belief system.  

4.  What do you want people to remember about you?
That I was an optimist who nurtured the potential of other people, believed for the best and was willing to do the work.  

Clay is a dynamic, intelligent and highly successful Entrepreneurship Expert and Motivational Speaker who lives life with contagious joy.  He is equal parts proactive, knowledgeable, passionate and hilarious.  I have known him and his beautiful wife, Vanessa, for well over ten years now. They are lovely peeps.  Their family is my family.  As long as I have known Clay, he has had a knack for dreaming big and swiftly executing the dream in the most efficient, effective and beneficial manner.  His newest venture: ManUp Entrepreneurship Bootcamps (for both men and women) will be hosted at the Tulsa Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center on September 10, 2011.  Click the link above for more info and you can check out his personal webpage here.

Be awesome today.

one million ways

"There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."  -Jill Churchill

This quote is universal because it applies to all of us: parents, siblings, cousins, extended family titles, students, teachers and friends.  Any word that describes someone can be substituted for the word "mother" in this quote.  So if you're reading this, the message is applicable to you wherever you are in your walk of life right now.  

This quote got me to thinking that sometimes we are too hard on ourselves.  Well, let me just speak for myself.  Sometimes most times I am too hard on myself.  Too tough, too critical and too demanding in my personal expectations.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting healthy goals in the form of boundaries and discipline, it is inappropriate to demand or expect perfection simply because perfection (the idea of getting it all right all the time) from a human standpoint does not exist.  

When I re-read the underlined sentence, I realized that I totally understand this on a mental level; however the revelation has yet to penetrate my heart.  So here I am today: erasing the idea of perfection from my mind, my checklist and my inner vocabulary because the trade off sounds so rich: "millions of ways to be good".  Are the odds in my favor or what? 

We all know that searching for something that isn't real is just plain foolish.  Yes? Yes.
So today I am slaying my pursuit of perfection and accepting the reality that my best is good enough.  I just sent my inner critic packing, decided to fully embrace all the good that is and face the future full of hope and possibility.  Today let's focus on the good that we can do in millions of ways.  Send perfection packing.  Let's agree to do our best and trust God to do the rest.  

Word with the Wise Wednesday: Holly Tumpkin

1. What important life lessons have you learned so far?
Every choice you make (good or bad) affects a lot of people.  

2. How is the world today different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?
As children we could run around town for hours with no concern for our safety.  

3. What has been your hardest lesson to date?
The most satisfying life comes because of sacrifice... putting aside my own will for a greater purpose.  

4.  What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
I lived what I believed.

Holly Tumpkin is the bomb.com.  She is a fab friend, kindred spirit and all around spectacular person.  When it comes to raising girls, Holly is a passionate, committed and seasoned expert who writes, blogs and hosts events for moms and teen girls.  Check out her brand new blog over at http://www.5things.us/.  Click here to connect with Holly on Facebook and here to connect with her on Twitter.  

Be awesome today.

No Limits

It's time to take the limits off.  Off of our minds, our will, our emotions, our dreams, ourselves, others and God, especially.  Lately I have been amazed at the revelation that I had actually placed limits on myself and God.  Again.  

I hate thinking and living inside of the box yet here I am, climbing out once again.  
Yay for second, third and fourth chances.  Do overs.  Grace to recalibrate and renew my thought life.  Down with stinkin thinkin!  I'm raising a banner that says, "NO THING IS IMPOSSIBLE."

All things are possible to those who believe.  Therefore, I must dwell in possibility.*  

Faith is bona fide authentic and legitimate.  Hope is too.  I cannot be let down as long as my faith and hope is made steadfast by trusting in God.  I cannot trust in the ever-changing circumstances or my perceived limitations.  

Today as I face and let go of my self-imposed boundaries, caps and restrictions, lyrics from one of my fav songs keep playing over and over in my mind, "no limits, no boundaries, I see increase all around me... take the limits off, take the limits off..."  It's time to stretch my faith.  Again.  To believe at the deepest level possible that God can exceed the dream.  Key words being: God can.

*The phrase "dwell in possibility" comes from the title of an Emily Dickinson poem.  Didn't love the poem (sorry, E!) but adore the title.  

next stop: funk-free living

Is there a situation or an outcome you are gripping so tightly that you can't find acceptance or peace?  

Sometimes there are distinct moments where we implicitly know we need to let go and forgive.  One of those moments just happened to me mere seconds ago as a shovelful of dirt came flying my way. 

Other times, it's not so obvious as there are days, weeks, months and years of hurts, pains, misunderstandings, stockpiled emotions, unsavory interactions and perceived injustices crammed in the recesses of your heart.  This can happen to the best of us and for me it was one. tangled. mess. 

A wise friend once said, "If you are breathing, you have hurts, habits and hang-ups."  
So here are a few questions for today: What emotions are stirring underneath the surface?  Do you have a gnarly knot deep within?  If so, will you go there and start to unpack?  Today?

I know... sometimes the thought of unpacking feels overwhelming.  Personally, I am one who prefers to live out of my suitcase after a trip until it's "unpacked" so I understand if you're feeling a bit reluctant, yet this must be done.  Somehow... (with intention)... Someway... (one article at a time)

Put simply: you will face the funk or live in a funk forever.  Pretending like there's nothing beneath the surface or faking it like you don't (regularly) live in a funk can only last for so long.  Been there, done that and realized real quick-like that living the fake life and lying to myself just ain't for me.  I mean, who in tarnation really wants to live that way?   In time willpower will run out and since pretending is the antithesis of all that is authentic, we don't want to live there anyway.  I'm not talking about faking it until you make it, either... because I do get that. "Do it scared" (meaning pretend like you're not scared and go for it) is one of my favorite phrases by Joyce Meyer.  While there is a time to fake it 'til you make it, that's not what I'm talking about here.  I'm talking about unpacking the overflowing closet of your life that resides deep within your heart.  I have found that when I don't unpack, I start to act out in the nastiest of ways because the residual yuck and decaying emotions eventually start to seep out.  After all if the closet is piled high and stuffed to capacity, it's really tough to keep the door closed.  This, my friends is "the funk" and you must face it and unpack it or by default, you live in the funk.  Forever.  

I'm not down with the latter and I sure hope you aren't either. 
Girlfriends and Homeboys, it's time to face the funk.  

Over time I have found that the more I unpack, the better I feel, the lighter I travel and the easier it is to forgive and let go.  I get to practice this just about everyday in some form or another.  If you have an overgrowth of emotion to address, do not be afraid.  Like Joyce said, Do it scared! All the while, keep this in mind: You deal with the funk one piece, one moment and one step at a time.  

For me, right now I am processing through the hurt and pain of rejection.  Looking at a cocktail of lies, anger, judgements and criticisms and for the first time realizing that I don't have to drink it.  My position has been supported by some and misunderstood by others.  I am so grateful for the support and regarding the haters, I say, "Oh well... that's too bad.. Bless their hearts" and I often refer to Agreement 2.  Yeah... for sanity and personal well-being, this girl's gotta do what this girl's gotta do.  So, until hearts are changed (mine included?), it is what it is...  and while I do have hope that it will not always be this way, I'm not holding my breath while I wait.  

So until change comes and even if change never comes, I have decided to let go.  Detach.  Totally.  In Love, which means that I allow all the hurt and anger to dissipate, forgive all the foolishness (including myself) and trust that greater things are yet to come.  In the mean time, I celebrate all the beauty that is in my life every. single. day.  Because... despite the peripheral drama, I have so much goodness going on right here.  See how good unpacking feels when you come full circle?

I have found that there is an art to letting go, which means to say it is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process.  As each layer is peeled back, you discover another emotion to observe, learn from and ultimately release.  I find that as I keep peeling the layers back there is a lightness... a freedom emerges which can't be taken away.  As I flex my God-given right to be me, clarity, support and provision emerge, and the brilliant light of authentic living shines  until my heart is fully open and my soul is set free.  Won't you join me in the pursuit of a clutter free life?  Let's unpack, Ladies and Gentlemen because the destination is WELL worth it.  

Foolywank Friday: There is a plant called Wandering Jew?!?

A few weeks ago, I was wandering through a beloved nursery seeking visual inspiration for my flower beds.  This particular nursery is my favorite one in town.  I adore the people who own and run it because they are knowledgeable, fun, family-oriented and extremely patient teachers.  Whenever I have an outdoor need, they're my first (and quite often my only) stop.  

Perusing the perennials, I came across an unusual but beautiful purple and green plant that I had never seen before.  The plant was gorgeous and hearty.  I wanted to know the name of it, but it was unmarked and there was no one nearby at the time so I stroked the plant and moved on.  I planned to ask someone about it on my way back up front.  As I started to retrace my steps, I saw that another customer was eyeballing my precious purple plant.  Although I wasn't close enough to let her know that she was touching my plant (lol), I was close enough to hear her ask the name of the plant.  Finally, I thought, I will know the name of my beloved precious.  To my surprise, I hear one of the owners say, "That is a Wandering  Jew."


all around the nursery for at least twenty seconds...

Seriously, nobody moved or said a word.  
Not the owner, the lady trying to take my plant, my gardening accomplice or me.  This nursery sits close to a main road and not a single car whizzed by.  Everything and everyone was stoic, silent and completely still.  

I could not completely wrap my mind around the myriad of emotions I was feeling about the name of that plant.  I still loved it, still thought it was beautiful, but could not bring myself to purchase it.  Mainly because the other lady grabbed it before I could get back to it; however, the name of the plant hit me as being extremely odd, ill-fitting and outright ridiculous.  I went home and searched Google only to find that "Wandering Jew" is indeed the name commonly used for the plant.  What the foolywank? These findings made me sick to my stomach.  

On and off I kept thinking about my plant.  I would envision it in my garden and then instantly cringe at the thought of someone asking me, "What type of plant is this?"
I had to overcome sadness and anger at ignorance, racism and prejudice perpetuated through the naming of a plant.  I wanted to know who originally named this plant so that I could give them a piece of my mind.  Then I realized that they were probably dead.  *sigh*  So much for poetic justice...

A few days after the PND (Plant Name Debacle) at the nursery, I was visiting with a beloved neighbor who happens to be a gifted gardener.  This neighbor has cultivated a pristine, manicured front yard and a back yard that is equal parts lovely, breathtaking and enchanting.  My gardening accomplice asked to see the neighbor's backyard so we traipsed across the street.  We had just meandered through echinacea, phlox and hollyhocks when I stopped.  My eyes fixated on the gorgeous, purple plants that were growing in abundance... I recognized them immediately.  

I gathered my thoughts, harnessed a flurry of feelings and somewhat hesitantly asked my neighbor, "What is the name of that plant?"  

There was a moment of silence and then a reply with somewhat of a giggle at the end of it.  "You know folks used to call it Wandering Jew, but surely no one calls it that anymore."


all around my neighbor's backyard for at least twenty seconds...

Once again, nobody moved or said a word.  
Not my neighbor, my gardening accomplice or me.  Everything and everyone was stoic, silent and completely still once more as we all stared at the lovely plant...  

My neighbor broke the silence with the swell of a heartfelt question, "Well, do you want some?"  We locked eyes and after another moment of silence, I flashed the biggest smile and said an emphatic "Yes!"  As my neighbor began to spout instructions and dig up the lovely, precious plants, I realized that I was starting to come full circle with this lesson.  

I brought the plants home and per instructions placed the jar in the window sill and waited for the roots to sprout.  Just yesterday I noticed the first roots have arrived and it was at that precise moment when I realized the Latin name of the plant probably sounds so much better. 

So whenever it cools off, I am really, really looking forward to planting my Zebrina.  

Word with the Wise Wednesday: Tanjie Brewer

1. What important life lessons have you learned so far?
That everyone carries a vibration so be aware of the energy that you send out.  Be ready to uplift.  Be positive.  My Mom would always say, "Think it not strange... when trials and obstacles come your way, they are meant to build and strengthen your character... to shift you to the next level."  It is important to shift your thinking and attention from the negative to the positive.  

2. How is the world today different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?
It is very different.  As a child, I was very green and innocent and I saw the world that way.  All I saw was community support, warmth and unity in neighborhoods.  Today I notice how the world seems cold and indifferent at times; however, I do my best to cultivate the nostalgia of yesterday in a way that is relevant for today.  

3. What has been your hardest lesson to date?
Embracing the moments and not rushing through the details.  
Now I live in the awareness of fully savoring what is...

4.  What do you want people to remember about you?
That I exemplified the character and integrity of Christ.  That I was an on purpose worshiper (at home and outside of my home) who inspired others to discover their beauty, gifting and creativity.  

I have know Tanjie for over a decade.  She brings excellence and positive intention to all her endeavors.  She is a beautiful, positive and sincere person... inside and out!  If you need help with your fitness goals, wardrobe, inner motivation or nutritional information, connect with Tanjie! She promotes optimal fitness and esteem for life through her L.O.V (Lifestyle of Vitality) Challenge.  You can see some of the L.O.V. Challenge participants in action here:

Founder and CEO of Stylish and Fit, LLC, Tanjie Brewer is a certified personal trainer, a licensed Zumba & Yoga instructor as well as a Wardrobe Stylist & Fashion Designer.  Stylish and Fit, LLC styles the body & the wardrobe.  When you feel good, you look even better! Be stylish. Be fit.  

Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone

photog by Jadyn Noelle Photography
A friend posted this comment on Twitter and it literally made me laugh out loud.  We tweeted  and laughed back and forth about it.  Ugly = mean was my friend's final tweet and I responded something along the lines of Ain't that the truth!  Subsequently, I went from laughing to pondering the weight of truth within the statement.  Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.  Such a simple statement.  So powerful.  So true.  

As I think about some of the most beautiful people I know, they each possess a radiance that starts within and is reflected on the outside as well.  Inner beauty,  the true catalyst for outer beauty, trumps all. 

So the question for today is are you beautiful *handsome for the gents* or ugly?
I'm not talking about your personal evaluation of your eyes, nose, face, smile or other assets, either.  This is a question that requires us to look within and ask: What is the condition of my heart?   How do I look within?  What's really going on skin deep?

God don't like ugly...

Beauty is as beauty does I have heard folks say... 

So what does Beauty look like?
Beauty is thoughtful, patient and kind.  It responds with a pure heart, expresses sincerity, speaks the truth in love and seeks to build up others.  A Beautiful heart is an open heart, one that embraces life to the full.  Beauty is welcoming, loving and supportive, thinks of others first and wants what is best for all.  Faith, love, hope, trust, encouragement and forgiveness are all expressions of Beauty.  

How does Ugly look?
Ugly is hasty and mean.  It crafts and holds onto lies, tears others down, and reacts with anger, hatred and aggression.  Ugly refuses to accept truth and insists on winning at all costs.  Ugly thinks only of self, sees no way but it's own and blames everyone else.  Ugly one ups, tears down, excludes and takes pleasure in causing others pain.  Gossip, jealousy, envy, hatred and strife are all synonymous with Ugly.   

When I read through the two descriptions above, all the words describing Ugly actually sound detestable.  The words describing Beauty sound desirable and attractive.  Beauty describes all the traits that I want to emanate, so that is where I purpose to live life and I hope you will join me.  Now is the time to become the Beauties that we truly are because if Ugly can go clear to the bone, well Beauty can too.  

Simple Abundance

"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities.  It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we shall tend."  -Sarah Ban Breathnach

When I came across this quote the other day, it really struck a chord in me.  It's a reminder to see the cup as being full to overflowing.  Every moment of every day, I decide whether I cultivate a heart of abundance or a mentality of lack.  Sometimes I get it right.  Sometimes I don't.  The cool thing is this: when I find myself leaning towards notions of lack, I am able to shift my focus and recalibrate my settings.  It's a conscious choice (meaning I decide) to embrace the abundance that is mine.  

It is important to embrace simple pleasure and enjoy life everyday.  Even during the tough times, there are still sweet moments to cultivate and savor.  While the expression of enjoying life will vary from person to person, if you are stuck, reconnecting with your inner child is a great place to start.  Laughing, viewing life with a twinkle in your eye, being open to making new friends, having a happy heart, playing outside, singing, coloring, drawing and being silly. Your inner child never goes away and it is never too late to rekindle or rediscover your free-spirited, fun, and fabulous self.  

The keeper of a childlike heart possesses a great source of wealth for abundance is a state of mind which can be experienced in a variety of ways.  Indulge at a 5 Star restaurant or frolic at the park and have a picnic; run through the sprinklers or go barefoot, play in the dirt, hit the art museum, feed the birds, and bake cupcakes with sprinkles.  Sing loudly, laugh often, share something with someone you love, write a letter, sit and do absolutely nothing, play kickball, volunteer or go for a swim.  If you have lost the wonder, you must find it again and take heart... finding it again is much easier than you think.  Just open your heart and embrace the gift of life that is already yours.  Appreciate the beauty of the horizon, the sunset, an established tree or sapling, a treasured moment or possession, even another person.  When you realize and appreciate the riches that you already possess, life opens up like the flowers of a beautiful bouquet.  Let's tend the lavish garden of abundance.  Look around:  We are rich.  

Word with the Wise Wednesday: My Brother

1. What important life lessons have you learned so far?
Living a truthful life is a better life.  The best life, actually.  And a positive outlook goes a long way.  It is very magnetic and attractive.  

2. How is the world today different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?
When I was a child, life revolved around important milestones and memories that were behind me.  Now as an adult, it's about the milestones and moments that are in front of me.  

3. What has been your hardest lesson to date?
That consequences are universal and nothing can change a consequence. 

4.  What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
I would want people to remember two things actually: That I exercised wisdom and got results.  I don't just want wisdom without results or vice versa.  

groove is in the heart

A few days ago, I realized just how much I enjoy dancing.  I've always LOVED music and can cut a rug with the best of 'em. Truly. I am a dancing dancing dancing... (boomboomboom) dancing machine.  From competitive cheer routines (READY... OK! *clap*) and parties galore to my kitchen or living room floor, I am not afraid to drop it like it's hot.  I have even contemplated dropping it in church, but (thankfully) I rethought that.  Somehow gyrating and church just don't seem to mix... unless of course you're gyrating for Jesus, right?  LOL... kinda... Email me if you're interested in joining my new church dance group! I know I'm not the only one... right? 


OK... well, the other day while watching Thomas the Train with the lil' man of the house, I got up to grab a drink.  While singing along with the theme music, I found myself in the kitchen with one hand in the air snapping and waving while I'm grooving and working it to Thomas the Train theme music.  ("They're 2, they're 4, they're 6 , they're 8 shunting trucks and hauling freight...")  Yeah... I was breaking it down something fierce.  If you do not know this fabulous song and would like to get your dance on, crank your speakers and click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8actQ7Adw0                                                                          

Club dancing to Thomas the Train... never woulda guess it in a million years, but oh well, I guess it doesn't take much if you love to shake ya groove thang. What about you?  Love to dance?  Got a favorite song or two or three?  

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