Category Archives: Sepia’s Thoughts

Random Blog: Post-Holiday Haze

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Happy Holidays! I had such an awesome time celebrating my baby’s first Christmas. I wanted to recreate the sandman in the picture above but we did so much running around that time did not allow it. Maybe if this Florida weather cooperates (and I have enough energy) I’ll go to the beach to make one before the year is out. Thank God for sunny Christmas days!

I’ve heard a time or two or three that your purpose is what wakes you up in the morning. For the past 11 months or so, I’ve been awakened at some point of the night or morning by the darling whispers (read: belting cries) of my baby girl. So, I guess my purpose as of late is being a mother and I am content with that. Sure, it’s one of my many slashes (wife/mother/student/…) but it has become the role that requires the most from me. 

Last night/ this morning I was awakened by something different: Anxious thoughts of the next few weeks. I’ll return to work, start classes again, host BK’s first birthday party, make newer, better, more perfect mistakes, and be better overall. That got me to thinking about my priorities. Rewind close to three years ago and I thought I wanted to be a lifestyle maven who attended great parties, wore fabulous vintage clothes, traipsing around town in high heels that cause no pain and my fro in the wind. Fast forward to today: my day-to-day is nothing like I’d imagined. I’m okay with that.  Life has shown me more perfectly what I need. While I’m always searching for a more balanced approach, I no longer want to pressure myself to be on any scene. Maybe this will change. One day. 

Based on this morning’s thoughts I want to be a little more under the radar and do more than I say. I guess as a resolution of sorts, I plan on living. Not spending an insane amount of time trying to pose for the perfect picture. This will require me to detach from social media a bit (aaaah!) and just live my life out loud no matter who likes it or not. I will live with intention and purpose and just be. 

I want to live like my BK: she’s not afraid of making mistakes, she’s fearless, she’s adventurous and she speaks her mind (as best she can at this point). She smiles and laughs and growls and is just fine with being herself. She’s pretty awesome and I get to be her mom!

With the holidays ending I’m looking at the upcoming year with promise. A year flies so quickly and we are often pressured into creating change quickly for other people. On a personal note, I had a baby almost a year ago. sure, I lost some baby weight but gained it all back (sure, this is a struggle for me but I’m human enough to share it). I realized that I had a household to run, a baby to raise, classes to take and a few jobs to do. Not making any excuses… like, none at all. I also, didn’t set any goals (this will change). So, there was nothing to look forward to. Enough about me,  I dare you to set reasonable goals but challenge yourself in every area of your life. Do something that scares you and just live. I have to do better and I hope you will, too. 

Be. Do. Live. 

 

Be Blessed and Live Well. 

 

Chanell Nicole ♥

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From the Desk of Chanell Nicole, Exhausted Mom/Vacant Teacher

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Are You there, God? It’s me, Chanell. Right now, if I wasn’t typing these words, I would probably fall face down on my desk and succumb to the tiredness that is my life. I am beyond tired and I just gave a busy work assignment to a group of 6th graders who need to be given step-by-step instructions on how to live their lives.

This is my "do your work" face.

This is my “do your work” face.


Did I mention how tired I am? Jeesh! When people (with kids and a sick sense of humor) told me to get my rest while I was pregnant, I took that lightly. While you can’t possibly sleep enough, I think I took those words to mean during the first few weeks of the baby’s life I would need extra rest. I had no idea they were referring to the REST OF MY LIFE!
When I close my eyes, my snoring immediately wakes me up, which means I should probably refrain from blinking while at school. Is this real life? Like, really? Is it?
On the phone with my sister trying to stay awake

On the phone with my sister trying to stay awake


Sleep-deprived is my first, middle, last, maiden, and married name right now.I am in dire need of a vacation, well, not even a vacation, but a nap would be nice.

While I have slept over four hours in a row since giving birth, a few more hours added to that would be GLORIOUS! Who am I?
I’m talking about a nap like it’s a slice of carrot cake cheesecake (mmm, that sounds good right about now).
With close to two hours to go until school’s out, I’m thinking of a way to “go home early”. Aaaahhh! I’m soooo tired.

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So tired that I’m letting my class talk right now. So tired that I’m overlooking the group of students that are blatantly cheating (I’ll get them later).
So tired that I’m wearing flats (for the rest of my life).
So tired that the thought of wearing heels exhausts me…
So tired that I want extra energy for my birthday, Christmas, and every day of Kwanzaa…
So tired that my next class will have a “free day” and do a computer-based assignment.

You get the point.
I’m a new mom who wakes up way too early to get everything done and is still just “on time” (not early) to work.
I have to come up with a way, a system, a method of expending less energy or using the energy I have more wisely.

Any suggestions?
Until then, I’ll be napping with my eyes open…..

Live Well & Be Blessed

Chanell Nicole

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Black, strong, smart, or not at all.

Last night after a marathon cleaning spree, I cozied up in bed and flipped through the few channels that my antenna picks up (no, I don’t have cable. yes, I’m still breathing without access to all those other channels that mostly play reality tv.). While searching for the show that would woo me into sleep, I stopped at The Tavis Smiley Show. I hadn’t seen Tavis on television in quite some time, so I decided to see what he and guest Jimmie Walker, of Good Times fame, were discussing. 

Jimmie Walker, most known for his portrayal as “J.J.” on Good Times, was promoting his new book and had mentioned a few highlights from his time on the somewhat controversial yet culturally significant series which ran in the late seventies. I had no idea that for the most part none of the cast members spoke to one another. Walker said he never spoke to Janet Jackson, ever, and that during his entire time on the show he had never had more than five minutes worth of conversation with John Amos or Esther Rolle. Great acting, right? 

What really sparked my interest, however, were his views on television’s “black out”.  According to Walker (and I’m paraphrasing here) with the exception to what Tyler Perry is doing (and paying for), there will never be another Black family portrayed on primetime television. I found this revelation to be quite shocking, but I get it. He went on to say, “if there’s a Black person (on a white show) he or she has to be an FBI agent, the President of the United States, the head of a medical department, not someone zany or funny.” 

 

That got me to thinking. He might be on to something. While I don’t watch a lot of cable television I have caught a few episodes of the many reality shows that display people of color in a not so flattering light. As a black woman, I know that we’re not all one way. So, why are we not portrayed on television as such? 

Is it that we as a people tend to take ourselves too seriously? Jimmie Walker brought up the characters of Phoebe on Friends and Kramer on Seinfeld. “If any of those characters had been Black, they would’ve been cut off the show.” 

Walker spoke about the backlash of The Cosby Show in the 80s.There were Blacks who only saw one side of the Black family story (those who embraced Good Times).  Writers were asked to come up with a counter to that show. Instead of the successful dual earner household, there would be a dysfunctional working class family. According to Jimmie Walker, once the concept came to the table Black writers decided that other Black families would not go for such a show. The characters were changed from a Black family to a White family and Married with Children was born. Interesting, right?

Can Black actors not be funny or silly without “setting the race back”? Personally, I’m not one who enjoys the minstrel show-type actor but tasteful funny works for me. 

I delved even deeper. I thought of all the “tokens” on predominantly white cast shows and not one of them is portrayed as the silly or funny one. Though there is no quick fix to this, it is something to consider. As a writer for stage I am VERY careful about how I portray people of color. I never want to put out anything that will be taken as putting us back a few years. (My partners and I sometimes disagree on what will and will not make the cut but there’s always a happy medium.)

I respect Spike Lee and Tyler Perry; Shonda Rhimes and Mara Brock Akil. I could go on and on about how things could change or how Blacks should be portrayed, but at the end of the day, it’s like trying to repaint a rainbow. There is a spectrum of what Black is. We’re people. On tv though, we’re Black, strong, smart, or not at all. 

Thoughts? 

Sepia ♥

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Don't let it steal your joy.

Greater than, less than, or equal to?

Early on, we are taught to compare. We use words like, better, stronger, faster, and prettier to compare objects. We use symbols to compare numbers. Behind those symbols are meanings.

 

I am < *insert random object/person/thought that evokes insecurity*

 

As of late, I have found myself guilty of compare and contrast. My thoughts have run the gamut of she’s skinnier but I’m smarter, he’s just pretending to be happy but I’m happier, they’re doing great things but I could do so much better.

Toxic, right?

 

Not sure where this came from but I know this is not of God. It is below me and it must come to an end. I can no longer compare my walk using someone else’s stride. It just won’t work. The one step I take may cover three steps for the next person and vice versa. I’m learning slowwwwwlllllyyyy that God has given us all something different to be great at. Sure, blogging may not be my strong suit but I’m willing to  keep at it.

I will stop comparing and start appreciating the gifts of others.

Over the past month I have been blessed to connect with a network of women who CONSTANTLY remind me to walk in my purpose. Their works inspire me to work harder.

Believe it or not, I’ve never been one to grind. Until a couple years ago I didn’t know the definition of true sacrifice. But now I know.

 

Long story short, I should be so focused on God’s purpose for my life that nothing else matters. It’s a process. I’m ready for it. One of the hardest things to do is to admit being wrong. The easiest thing to combat that is correcting and walking right. I’m on my way. Again. No comparisons allowed.

 

Before I go, I must thank a few women who have recently inspired me: Arleen Bishop (my mom, The MASTER of the Grind!), Charona Senior (my sister, and Camryn’s mommy just for being stronger than necessary ALWAYS), Elaina McCann-Brinson (for her motivation, innovation, and God-given perseverance), Syndy Colebrook (because she reminds me to “Keep Holdin’ On”), ToriAnn Hampton (my BFF and favorite on-screen star),Lindsay Gay (the smartest girl in the world who reminded me that “it” has nothing to do with me; you reminded me of my greatness!) Syretta Simon (sarcasm or not, she gets it, all the time!), Teara Davis (strength and beauty), Ashley Lorraine (you remind me to keep blogging), Laurinda Andujar (inspiring and rememebers to give God the glory above all), Erica Hearns (your post brought it to my attention that I was, in fact, comparing and contrasting), last but not least, the late Minerva Hall (Grandma, during our last conversation (that I can remember), you told me to be my own woman! I will. )

 

Chanell Nicole, Creator of Sepia Says

 

P.S. Remember to visit my new site and sign up for updates on the launch and other happenings! Thanks ♥

 

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Is This Thing On?

I’m alive! Really busy, but,  alive, nonetheless.

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Sooo much has happened since I last posted and I’ll probably catch you up on another post.

Just wanted to send a quick hello and say THANK YOU to every reader, blogger, friend, or family member who has checked up on me, or sent me an email in the part couple months. It is much appreciated.

Sepia Says will be evolving into something much bigger in the coming months so stay tuned. In the meantime, go to ChanellNicole.com and register for my new site!

Thanks for reading, commenting, and subscribing.

Chanell Nicole, Creator of Sepia Says

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Where Are You?

 

Where are you? At this very moment are you where you thought you would be? When someone asked you five years ago what your plan was, is this what you imagined?

 

If anyone would’ve asked me five years ago where I’d be right now I couldn’t imagine being where I am. (There are plusses and minuses to that statement, too.)

 

While studying the book of Genesis, I came across the passage where God asked Adam where he was.

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

– Genesis 3:6-10

It was shortly after he had sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit that Adam was questioned. I came to a realization that God, all-knowing in His ways, had already known where Adam was. It was His way of checking Adam’s mindset.

 

That passage made me ask myself, where am I?

 

I thought about all aspects of my life and re-evaluated my recent decisions. Would I be able to answer if God had asked me of my whereabouts?  Even further, it made me aware of the human-ness of Adam. Just like Adam, I sometimes “hide myself” from God after I feel like I have wronged Him. My hiding comes in the form of missed worship, avoiding friends, and isolation. I know that God knows all and sees all, but I still hide. I’m human.

 

Another point, until Adam sinned, God had not questioned him.

My quick takeaway?  When you sin, you are separated from God. When you walk with Him, He never has to question your location.

 

So, today, I strive to be in a place where He knows where I am, and more importantly, I know He’s with me.

 

Where are YOU today?

 

Share.

 

♥Sepia

 

 

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Diary of a Former Skinny Girl

Let me start this post by acknowledging the fact that I love the woman God is creating. I love all of her. So. Much.

 

Now that that’s over, I’m sure you’re wondering about the title. Even if you’re not, here’s the back story:

 

I’ve been what most would call skinny my entire life. It wasn’t until undergrad that I picked up the pounds. Even then, during my senior year I dropped so much weight my sister called me the Black Paris Hilton. I didn’t know how small I was until I saw a picture of myself, smaller than I’d been even in high school. I was comfortable with that body, but with time comes a slower metabolism. Add that to a budding relationship and you’ve got a lot of unexpected weight!

 

Sepia in November 2003

 

Fast forward eight years and I’m here. Longing for the girl in the picture. I have good enough sense to know that it didn’t accumulate overnight, so it will take quite some time to come off. Sure, I’m not morbidly obese, but I lack discipline in certain areas. Let me restate that, I lacked discipline in certain areas. I know exactly how I gained the weight: eating too much of the wrong foods and lack of movement.

So, how do I lose the weight? I guess I’ll have to do the opposite: eat better and move more!

 

I am one who has kinda struggled with my weight over the past few months. This is new to me. Like, I’ve always been skinny, so to be in the “thick” category is weird. Sure, there are some who want to be thick but I’m not one of those people. I prefer the semi-athletic, slim look of my late teens early twenties.  So, while I’m not what most would deem fat, I am uncomfortable with my weight and I am taking strides to do something about it.

Sepia in February 2012

 

 

 

It’s a sacrifice of time and tasty foods, but in the end, I WILL REACH MY GOAL!!!

I’ll need your support and will continuously update you all on my progress!

Here’s to a healthier, happier, me!

 

♥ Sepia 

 

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On Being Pretty

Believe it or not I haven’t always been pretty. I know, I know, hard to believe, right?  Well, it’s true. (One of my dearest friends has pictures to prove it! *insert shriek*)

I would like to think I swanned into my present-day pretty. I’m kinda glad it happened that way, too. See, growing up, sun-kissed, chocolate girls like myself weren’t always the  commercial standard of beauty. When you look different, you get teased and called names. My mom raised me to believe that I was beautiful at any shade, but she couldn’t go to school with me.

Now, I was not relentlessly teased or bullied, but I had my fair share of dark girl nicknames.

Eventually, I got older, my teeth caught up with the rest of my face, my once lanky legs became shapely and I finally figured out what to do with my hair. This didn’t happen until I was around 17. Yep, I’m the classic case of The Late Bloomer.

Don’t cry for me, Argentina. There were mildly annoying benefits. I was able to focus on classwork  instead of boys (most of the time) and I enjoyed high school without the pressure of being one of the popular girls. (I imagine it was tons of work keeping your hair done and making sure you didn’t repeat an outfit too soon.)

So, I blossomed into my young womanness in college but I didn’t become fully pretty until a little later.

When I say pretty I don’t mean the outward me. What I am referring to is that inner beauty, that self-love that no one can take away. That God-given peace of mind that comes with the full understanding that since He loves me I am worthy of love. The gifts, abilities and talents that leave others in awe… The ability to focus on Him and walk in your purpose; that’s real pretty.

I recently taught a lesson on Esther, the unlikely queen who saved a nation. She used her pretty for a purpose. (If you find time, read the story. It’s pretty amazing.)

I got the idea of my lesson from a line a close friend and I used to say to one another a few years back: DON’T WASTE THE PRETTY. (A quote from the classic dating book, He’s Just Not That Into You)

My initial question to the ladies was: “What does it mean to be pretty?”

One of the youngest audience members raised her hand. Once I acknowledged her, she replied,

 “Being pretty is not about what’s on the outside. It’s how you treat others. How you present yourself. Being pretty is the inner you that shines forth.”

 

Esther didn’t waste her pretty on just looking the part. She used her pretty as power, persuasion, persistence. She got the job done.

 

This lesson got me to thinking about my own pretty. My purpose. My walk. Me.

It made me happy that God allowed me to swan into the woman I am today. As a swan, I’m ever-evolving into His definition of beauty.

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. – 1 Peter 3:3 NIV

 

While I love to adorn my fro with accessories and have an affinity for vintage dresses, the pretty that I strive to possess is that which is pleasing in God’s sight. My pretty is my purpose. My purpose is His will. It wasn’t an easy process coming to terms with my pretty as I still have unpretty moments. With time, I find that each day is a chance to walk more perfectly and let my pretty shine for the benefit of others. I can’t define my pretty in a sentence but these words that you’re reading are a portion of it. I pray that I am able to unveil more parts of my pretty more frequently for His glory. I give you permission to do the same.

 

 

Share your pretty.

 

Sepia ♥

 

 

 

Revisiting Engagement

Happy New Year!!!

 

(is it too late to say that? oh well, let’s get to the writing!)

 

A while ago I wrote “Not Married, Engaged” (it’s a long read but super worth it). I’ve re-read that post over and over again. It’s a reminder of the mindset I can embrace when I allow God to guide every aspect of my life.

When I revisit that post, I wonder to myself: Who is/was that girl? Sure, I’m the author, editor, and creator of the piece, but I’m wondering when I got to the point where I was okay with being, well, me!

If you’re wondering, yes, me = single, unmarried, childless, and fabulous!  (ha!)

I now know that it is in His purpose for me to be in whichever state, marital status (and why is it called marital status if the only status that actually involves marriage is the married?), career or living situation I may find myself and still be content.

It wasn’t easy to get to that place. I had to let go of doing things my way and start doing things in a way that was not so popular. At the time, it meant hanging out with my BFF instead of my (then-non-existent) B-O-Y-F-R-I-E-N-D. It was an awesome time, actually. I took trips, tried new restaurants, and  had a carefree, centered nature about myself.

Today, I’m close to being back there and I don’t doubt I’ll return sooner than later. What I’ve learned since penning “Engaged” is that it’s a journey. Following God and being dedicated to Him and His works is the toughest relationship you’ll ever be in. For believers, it’s what one strives to do daily. Most recently, I’ve had a few mountain top moments, but there have been brief valleys as well. As a young woman always seeking balance, I strive to have more up days than down. More days that He will be proud of.  A couple of years later, older, wiser, and more experienced, I count myself blessed to be able to adjust my thoughts.

I no longer think being fully engaged necessarily means being without a significant other. For some, that’s a posture that may be necessary. One of the things I’ve learned is : No man is an island. I need people.

A wise man once said:

” When life gives you lemons… Go find the other people with the water and Sugar… Contrary to what you’ve been told, you can’t make lemonade with just those lemons… And you won’t arise from your despair alone… Everybody needs a little help. And sometimes you gotta go find it. ”  – This Guy

 

All in all, in revisiting “Engagement” I’m finding that while I’m not as engaged, I’m getting there. One day in the right direction. I give you permission to get (re) engaged. It’s so worth it.

 

 

Where are you in your “engagement”?

Share your awesomeness!

 

Sepia ♥

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On Turning 29

I should’ve posted this on June 13, 2011, but today I’m cleaning out my Draft folder so here goes nothing:

 

On my 29th born-day! I felt ahhhmazing!

 

 

Almost a month ago, I turned 29. Time sure flies when you’re busy living!!! I have learned so much about myself during this last year. As a woman, I am blossoming and becoming more aware by the moment. I’m not sure what 29 is supposed to feel like, but I feel amazing!!!

In less than 365 days, I’ll be 30, Lord willing. I’m so thankful for the lessons, the blessings, the tears, and most of all: THE LOVE!

When I look at my life and all that I’ve learned, I’m sure I can come up with 29 things I’ve learned and am thankful for…

1. God is love… Truly, He is merciful.

2. I don’t know everything there is to know about writing. I’m ok with this.

3. When I walk, people listen. (yes, walk, not talk)

4. Confidence is key. Cockiness is ewww.

5. Forgiveness is the best gift I’ve received. I need to give it more freely.

6. Getting over something is not as valuable as getting through it. The process builds character.

7. I am more girly than I give myself credit for.

8. I make perfect mistakes.

9. Though I hate (like really) exercise, the results are worth the work.

10. What others think of me is none of my business and does not guide my decisions.

11. Prayer is power. Pray for your enemies daily. It may give you power over them.

12. Relationships come and go and come and go; true friends will hold you down in every season.

A great evening out with great friends!

 

 

13. Doing things alone is freeing.

14. You are what you say you are. Speak life.

15. Ill-fitting clothes make you appear… ILL.

16. Seasons change.

17. Family is sometimes hard to love but the love is what holds the bond together.

18. All you have is right now.

19. Everyone doesn’t understand my vision. That’s cool. My eyes are in my head for a reason.

20. I’m okay with not being married. Thank God! This took about three years to come to grips with.

21. I’m not a perfect blogger and I like it that way.

22.  I am a lifestyle maven. Yes, I am!

23. When I walk in my purpose others reap the benefits.

24. I cook well but not often enough.

25. I’m not a teacher. I’m an artist who teaches.

26. If I turned on the ringer more often, I wouldn’t have to return so many calls.

27. I am no longer afraid of love.

28. Being me is super awesome. I wish you could try it!

29. I’m not sure what 30 is supposed to feel like, but 29 has been an amazing year so far. I wouldn’t trade it in for anything!

Thanks for reading.

 

Sepia ♥

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