Tag Archives: growth

Random Blog #3

Hey!
I feel amazing. It’s a refreshing feeling. I’m not as tired as I once complained about and the feeling is priceless. BK is 3 months old! I can’t believe how fast the time is flying. She amazes me everyday. Seeing her smiling face (which looks nothing like mine) every morning is a blessing within itself. Some days I just want to stay at home with her and play all day long. Never have I known this kind of love.

I love being a mother. Though it took me a little while to embrace, I can actually say it’s the best feeling in the world. Last year around this time, I had just found out I was expecting. I was afraid and excited all at once. It was then that I began wrapping my mind around what it meant to bring forth life. What I have now is so much more than what I could even think of. (Ephesians 3:20 moment in full effect.)

I can remember being one of those women who bragged about NOT having children. I now chuckle when I read a status update that says something like: I’m glad I don’t have kids to tie me down.
Some women make the choice not to have children and that’s all fine and dandy. But my life didn’t have the same purpose that it does now that I have a child. Everything I do has an effect on her life. That’s so deep and intimidating at times. Even when talking about myself I have to remember that she’s watching and listening. I am her definition of what it means to be a woman. That’s so scary to me. I’ve been given a huge charge to mold and shape and be an example.

I take it day by day and I am confident that God has prepared me for every obstacle I’ll face in motherhood and life in general. Knowing that my strength comes from Him makes it so much easier. One thing I’ve learned in the past three months is that it gets better. When I brought her home from the hospital I had no idea what I was doing. I cried a lot. I spent a lot of time wondering if I would ever get the hang of things. Once my hormones leveled off and I treated her like a baby (instead of expecting her to be able to do everything on her own) I regained my composure.

I still don’t feel like my “old” self and that’s to be expected. I’m a different person with a new title: Fabulous Mommy! I embrace it and I know that being a mom doesn’t mean being perfect, but I’m working on it.

 

Motherhood: A Brand New Me

Motherhood: A Brand New Me

Until next time,
Be blessed & Live Well.

Chanell Nicole

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Getting the Hang of Things

I’m slowly adjusting to my ever-changing role of wife/mom/teacher/friend/blogger/whatever else I am these days.

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This week I have been blessed with so much more than I could ask for.

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I returned to my old school and it’s been a seamless transition. Kids are still kids and I appreciate the time spent teaching and learning from them. It makes me miss the baby and cherish our time at home even more. I thought I would have severe separation anxiety but I’ve been fine so far.

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However slowly, I’m finally getting the hang of things. I feel more competent each day. Even when nothing goes according to plan (see picture above, it’s so hard getting her dressed sometimes), I can always get a smile out of the situation.

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I can’t believe she’s two months already! Time is flying by and before I know it she will be walking and talking.

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At her two month check up all went well. She is gaining weight and growing like a baby should. I’m so proud of her. She’s so observant and gives me smiles when she feels like it.

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Yesterday, while talking to a friend, I was encouraged. She had made extensive plans this weekend and not everything panned out in her.favor. Did she cry?  A little. Did she wallow in pity and doubt God? No, she counted her blessings. Given the extent of the situation, I may have reacted differently, but she offered me another option.

All in all, things could be worse so I count my blessings daily.

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How many blessings did you count so far today?

Until next time Live Well and Be Blessed.

Chanell Nicole

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New Hopes, New Dreams, New Ways

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” – India.Arie, A Beautiful Day

When I decided to embark on the journey of the 31 Day Reset, I knew it would be a challenge. One, I’m a sporadic blogger. I love, love, love to write, but blogging is a challenge for me to keep up with. I’m pretty sure I have over 100 blog ideas in my queue, written down in worship notes, in journals, everywhere! It’s the execution phase of blogging that trips me up the most. This is something I WILL OVERCOME by the end of this reset.

Since the beginning of the reset, I have become a lot more productive because I chose to. That’s a great feeling, too!

So, let’s get into day 2

Day 2 of the 31 Day Reset; Conduct An Honest Self-Assessment.

Okay, this was harder than I thought it would be. The object of Day 2 was for me to force myself to own up to the areas in my life where I’d like to improve upon in my life and to encourage me to build on what’s already great about it.

I listed the things I disliked and liked about my Lifestyle, Work,  Education, Finances, Family, Health, and Relationships.

The most poignant of the points I wrote down where the following:

Lifestyle: “I like the freedom my lifestyle gives me while embracing the discipline of being a Christian. I like that I have peace and no real worries. I like that I have time to write (even though I don’t always use the time).”

“I dislike that I can be lazy with my leisure time.”

Work: “I like that I impact others through my work.”

“I dislike that I am out of work right now.”

Education: “I like that my degree in Sociology taught me a lot about society and how people think; it increased my level of inquisition. I like that I am seeking an advanced degree and all the possibilities that come with that.”

“I dislike how society sees a degree in Sociology as broad and unnecessary. I can do less procrastinating when it comes to doing homework.  I sometimes feel like my Master’s graduation date is far away.”

Finances: “I like that God provides all my needs despite my current employment situation.”

“I dislike the feeling I get when I can’t contribute to my household financially. My credit could use work. I need to save more (see Work).”

Family: “Both parents are living and that is a blessing! I LOVE my family! I love the new closeness I have with my siblings that has come with maturity and is a blessing.I love that my family is growing and Brooklyn is kicking!!!  I love all my families!”

“I dislike when I argue with my dad.” (sigh)

Health: “I like the glow of my skin, the ability to exercise, and that I have mental stability through a spiritual foundation. I can walk, I can see, I can hear, I can speak without the assistance of anything or anyone!”

“My thighs and arms are looser than I’d like. I need to keep my mind clear of comparison. I should think more vertically and less laterally.”

Relationships: “I married my best friend. He is supportive. I have great friends who support me and encourage me to keep writing and keep going. I have friends who love God and are ambitious! I have friends near and far and each one fills in where they belong.”

“I could do a better job at appreciating everyone MORE (friends, family, everyone); take no one for granted.”

So, these are the thoughts I wanted to share regarding my self-assessment. I can honestly say that writing out my thoughts (of which I didn’t share everything here) helped see which areas of my life I really need to tune in on.  It’s always a good idea to do a self-assessment at least quarterly to see where you are and how that lines up to where you need to be.

After this assessment, I am on to  New Hopes, New Dreams, and definitely New Ways!

 

Photo via my Instagram: @chanellnicoledotcom (follow me!)
Me and my newest addition! So blessed!

Be blessed.

Chanell Nicole ♥

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Running on Empty

Sometimes life has a way of draining you. Not necessarily in a negative way, just in general.

With all the new hats I’m wearing, I feel rather drained these days. In addition to my new role as wife, I’m also a Christian,  friend, sister, daughter, student, tutor, job-seeker, sporadic blogger, partner of a production company and so much more. Being a (temporary) housewife isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. There are expectations other than watching daytime television to be met. Beyond cooking and cleaning, I’m part of a team, a support system. It gets tough but I’m not complaining. Really, I’m not.

In an effort to be a more effective person and meet my spiritual, personal, financial, emotional, educational, and physical goals, I have embarked on a challenge. The 31DayReset is a “month-long transformation experience… that will encourage you to become a better,  happier, more successful person.”

I’ve seen this challenge on Twitter quite a few times and just passed it by. But yesterday I found myself clicking the link to see what it really entailed.  After reading the details of the Reset, I decided to join in.

Here’s Day 1

My tasks for today include:

1. Choosing a Reset Notebook to track my thoughts, feelings, “aha” moments, throughout the challenge.

A good friend of mine gave me these months ago. I’m finally using them. 🙂

2. Choosing a personal mantra. My mantra is: I can do this.

3. Choosing a theme song. My theme song is “A Beautiful Day” by India.Arie.

The lyrics to this song are perfect for the journey I’m on. The affirmations throughout it will keep me going each day of this challenge.

I pray to become a more grounded, humble, efficient, punctual, honest, and loving person by the end of this reset.

Wanna join me? Go to31 Day Reset and get started!

Blessings to all.

Chanell Nicole ♥

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Weathering the Storm

 

 

So, this weekend tons of people prepared for Hurricane Isaac’s arrival to the Sunshine State. As a native of Florida I know that at any moment between June 1 and November 30, I can expect the arrival of a tropical depression, tropical storm, or, even worse, a hurricane.

As a child, the possibility of a storm would stun me to silence. After hearing the news reporter say, “Hurricane ABC is on the way,” I would run to my room and tuck myself under the covers, sick to my stomach. Besides the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the inconvenience of Hurricane Wilma in 2005, I haven’t really been affected by storms; nothing short of a few missed school days and a few hours  without lights.

Based on the news reports my area was only in the “cone of uncertainty” (a term dubbed such after the failure of forecasters to give adequate notice to residents of Louisiana before the turmoil that was Katrina), I wasn’t really worried about much. I just took it as an opportunity to annoy Rumple and listen to the rain.

Fast forward to Saturday and there was tons of rain. And. That’s. It!

It got me to thinking that I’m better at weathering storms. I didn’t worry. There was no grocery store haul or fill up of the gas tank. Basically, I treated the storm as another rainy day.

It didn’t really put a damper on my weekend as I had plans to attend a taping of an upcoming webseries (details coming soon!) indoors. Otherwise, Isaac did nothing to set me back.

In comparing this physical storm to a spiritual storm or personal attack, with time, I can see the storm coming I’m better prepared to weather it. I’ve reached a level of maturation and I’m at that place with God where I know He has prepared me for it. So, when someone brings me negative information or I find myself in a sticky situation, I don’t panic. I simply sit back and enjoy the rain, thunder and lightning, and if I have to go outside and jump through a few puddles, I make sure I’m wearing cute galoshes!

How do you weather your storms?

Chanell Nicole ♥

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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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Tawny #6

At home, I went to Reagan’s room and stood in the doorway, expecting her to be asleep in her bed; though it was way too early for her to be home from school. I could smell her baby powder and lilac scented essence. For the first time since having her, I missed her.

I trusted Scott and knowing him, he had pulled a stunt out of spite of me not wanting to marry him. He saw the passion in my eyes when I spoke about acting. I guess he figured it was more important to me than raising my daughter. His decisions rarely confused me but I was stumped.

On the other hand, I could honestly say that he was the one person on this earth I trusted with the well-being of Reagan. Well, besides me, of course.

I would soon have to find something to busy myself in the absence of my baby. With little true friends in Miami, I had spent the majority of my time there being a mother to Reagan and co-parent to Scott. Most of my friends had been made (and some lost) during my years on the West Coast. When I had down days, I usually called Papa or my high school best
friend, Chelsea.

While I was riding the wave of fame Chelsea had moved from Miami to New York. Though Chelsea and I didn’t speak on a daily (or monthly, sometimes yearly) basis, she was more than a friend, she was the sister I always wanted. What I loved most about our bond was that we could go any length of time in between conversations and always picked up where we had
left off. It had been far too long. I needed a friend at that moment.

“Teresa Jackson!” Her alto voice sang on the other end of the phone.

“I think I dialed the wrong number,” I joked in reference to her using my real name.

“Girl, you will always and forever be Reece to me. I don’t know no Tawneeeee.”

We giggled like school girls and caught one another up to date on one another’s lives. Chelsea had parlayed the perfect post-teaching job into a great life for herself in New York. When she lost her teaching position due to budget cuts, she was asked to be the guardian of a 16
year old actress in the Big Apple. Once then-famous Racquel McDougal was old enough to live on her own, Chelsea remained in the city.

Though she couldn’t land a writing job at her favorite black women’s magazine, she was able to blog her way to the top; securing sponsors and a cult-like following. Writing under the pseudonym Mahogany Jones, Chelsea was able to discuss controversial topics while maintaining her very Christian point of view in real life. Chelsea, a hopeless romantic to boot, had found herself in love once again. This time with a tall, Nigerian lawyer named Tunde.

“He’s the one, Reece,” she cooed during our marathon conversation.

“So, you’re finally over Jared? We’ll see.”

“Yes, we will. We’re coming down there next week. So you’ll get to meet him.”

“Get the fu-uh –udge outta here.”

“Yup. So, be sure to have Miss Reagan ready for Auntie Chelly and Uncle Tunde. We’re staying on the beach. We’ll be there for a little over a week.”

“What’s the occasion?”

“His cousin is getting married. His parents are in Nigeria and he’s the only boy so he has to represent for his family.”

“Cool. But, um, you won’t be able to see Reagan.”

I had to break down all the particulars about Scott taking Reagan and me not having his new number. It wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. Chelsea took it lightly, too.

“Oh, well, Scott only wants what’s best for Reagan. We both know that. He’s probably not over the fact that he’s not her real fa-”Chelsea blurted without thinking.

“What does that have anything to do with it?”

“Nothing. It’s just. You know what? We can talk about it in person. Just know I had a talk with Scott recently and he’s a good man. You ever thought about that, Teresa?”

“Not you, too. If I hear how good of a man he is one more time, I think I’ll probably drop dead.”

“Be my guest.”

After a thirty-second pause we both broke into laughter. Chelsea and I could never stay mad at one another for over a minute. We had always respected one another’s differences enough to know when to say when. Though her comment about Reagan’s father bothered me, I knew it came from a real place.

Over the years, Scott and Chelsea had formed a brother-sister relationship. It was Chelsea who answered the phone on those late nights when Scott called to see if I had been with her when I went missing. Chelsea was Reagan’s unofficial god mother and would’ve been named my maid of honor if I ever committed to marrying someone.

Chelsea’s family made me their daughter when I was a rough,  fourteen year old girl from
Liberty City. Sure, at first, I thought she was a snobby Oreo with no street sense, but over the years I’d seen her struggle and recover just as much as anyone else. She had made it in New York so she had to have some kind of heart about her. Where I was strong, she was weak and vice versa. I had watched her pray for me many nights when she thought I was asleep across the room from her.

She loved me like her mother had given birth to me and I was so thankful for that love.

“So, have you been going to worship service?”

I had known this question was coming sooner or later.

“No. I’m making a conscious effort to try and get to hell as quickly as possible. Pre-marital sex? Check. A child out of wedlock? Check. What else?”

“I think you pretty much covered it. You want me to bring you gasoline g-strings or boy shorts?”

“Lemme think. Boy shorts. They make my butt look better.”

“Duly noted.”

“Honestly, Chelsea, I don’t think I can go back there.”

“Why not? All have sinned and-”

“Fallen short of the glory of God, I know. It’s just that since Scott and I broke up I don’t wanna go by myself.”

“You and Scott broke up over a year ago. Don’t tell me that’s the last time you’ve been.”

“Uhhhh. Okay, so I won’t tell you and I don’t need a lecture. When I get it together, I’ll go back.”

“All I can do is pray.”

“Please do that. Seriously, I need it.”

“I know. That’s why you called me.”

I heard her voice smile on the other end of the phone. I smiled as well.

“You ready?” she asked.

“Yeah. Let me get down here.” I knelt down beside my bed and clasped my hands.

My best friend, sister, and prayer partner sent up a prayer so heartfelt and sincere. I had no choice but to allow God to do what He would. By the end of the prayer we were both in tears, reconnected in a way only God could permit. I was ever so thankful and ready to move forward; accepting of what God had already done.

To be continued…

♥ Sepia

Hey lovely readers! What would you do if you were in Tawny’s position? Do you remember Chelsea? Are you glad she’s back? Let’s talk about it!

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A Letter to Young Sepia

Hindsight is 20/20

If I knew then what I know now

If I could turn back the hands of time

Ever wanted to go back in time?

I have experienced tremendous growth as a woman this year. Through it all, I am realizing that I am a woman of resilience. I bounce back quicker and emerge stronger. I love and forgive and I am learning that God made me to be different and I LOVE IT!

 It  wasn’t always so easy for me. If I could go back and tell Young Sepia a few words, here’s what I would say:

Dearest Young Sepia,

You are a beautiful creation. Love the dark skin that you are in.

Sepia in grade 3.

 Your worth lies in your heart and not between your legs. The boys you like may not like you back but don’t let their lack of vision lessen your value. One day, you will get it right. In the meantime, nourish the friendships you have. Embrace all that makes you unique. Take pride in your intellect; wave it like a banner. Being smart is in fact the sexiest thing you can be right now. Don’t beg for attention. Write down your feelings and tell others of your hurt but don’t be too vulnerable.

Despite what you hear everyone’s not doing it. If they are you don’t need to. You are special and worth the wait. Love does not hurt or lie or cheat or steal. It won’t make you do anything you don’t want to. Form your own opinions. Speak up for yourself. Be proud to be you.

A very skinny Sepia. Circa 2000. The last week of Senior Year in High School.

In a few years, none of this will matter. There will come a day when you realize who your friends are. Some of them you don’t even know yet.

You will move to New York. Yes, New York! Just wait and see.

Subway smiles. 2009. NYC

Sepia, remember to always tell the truth even if it hurts. Be respectful and confident. You can be wrong sometimes, too.

One day, you won’t worry about designer bags or name brand clothes or matching your shoes to your shirts. You will learn to run in high heels and love it!

Though you will give your heart away many times only a select few will know what to do with it. Only One will truly love you back. He’s been there all along but at twenty-two, you’ll finally hear His call.

Sepia, when you lift the veil of fear you will finally see real success. Trust your gut. Be different. Be a lady; seen and not heard. Let your light shine. Stand up for your beliefs even if that means standing alone.

Love you before you love anyone else.  Don’t cry so much.

You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. Trust me. You will get over Mike, David and Maurice. The seven years following college will shape you more than you know. Hold on. It will be a rollercoaster ride.

Young Sepia, as I close this letter, I want you to know:

1. Everyone can’t handle your dreams; share them sparingly.

2. God will become your closest friend.

3. Grandma was right about a lot. Listen closely.

Can’t wait to see what you become.

I Love You.

Sepia in Sepia. 2009

 

Sepia N. Brown

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Someone Like You…

It’s funny to look back at how much God has shaped, molded, and changed me. Sometimes I’ll look and see a glimpse of my old self and smile, cringe, or just marvel at the distinction.

As I mature, my tastes continue to evolve in all aspects of my life. Most recently, I’ve realized that I can’t stomach certain genres of music. No, I’m not referring to rap, country or alternative; they all get rotation on my pandora station.   The style of music I refuse to listen to goes across all genres: DEPRESSING.

Even in the midst of my blue Mondays I’d rather sit in silence than  hear someone singing about love lost or the after-effects of love gone wrong.  It’s like  how-to guide on suicide. Sure, the songwriter was painting a picture, drawing from a place where that was his/her only release, but some of the songs out here are just, sad.

I’m mature enough to know that I can’t apply these songs to my life or facebook status (“In my feelings” – what does this mean, exactly?).  Additionally, I think about the persons behind the songs. What mental state were they in when they wrote the song? What are their beliefs? I’m guilty of quoting Dwayne Carter a few weeks ago, but that’s not something I live by. It’s a catchy quote, not my personal mantra.

I’m sure someone, somewhere has proven scientifically that music has a physiological (and psychological) effect on the human body. Take me, for instance. When I run, I tend to listen to upbeat, catchy songs that will make me feel invincible while panting the 2-4 miles I usually attempt.

 Listening to the depressing genre of music makes me, well, depressed. My most recent musical purchase – and the first album I’ve bought since around 2009 – was “21” by Adele, which chronicles the demise of her last relationship (sound familiar?). I bought it because I’m a huge fan of Adele (“Hometown Glory” will be in my first movie). Her voice is magic. The only gripe I have with her is the attachment she has to her ex-boyfriend. In a youtube video of “Someone Like You” performed live in her home, she talks about the song’s inspiration. Her words: “When I was writing I was pretty lonely and pretty miserable…. That relationship, that the entire record is about is really summed up in “Someone Like You” it changed me in a really good way. It made me who I am at the moment… I can imagine being about 40 and looking for him again and turning up and he’s settled and he’s got a beautiful wife and some beautiful kids and he’s completely happy and I’m still on my own. It’s kind of about that.”

The lyrics are somber and laced with melancholic attempts to say, “I want you back”. It’s like Adele was drained of every ounce of self-worth. She’s basically begging this man to still love her.  It be’s like that sometimes… But I don’t see myself going back there… Sigh.

Listen:

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited

But I couldn’t stay away I couldn’t fight it.

I’d hoped you’d see my face & that you’d be reminded

That for me it isn’t over yet.

 

Nevermind I’ll find someone like you.

I wish nothing but the best for you too.

Don’t forget me I beg I remember you said:-

“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead” yay.

 

I listened over and over until common sense forced me to stop the song altogether. It had started luring me in. Adele’s voice, like playing a Beetle’s album backwards, was telling me to come into the blue zone with her. The thoughts in that place under my fro just clicked. I had an  epiphany, like, “I don’t want someone like you. If I did, I’d be with YOU.”

 Gone are the days of wallowing in what was. I must live in what IS; right now!  Again, I love, adore, admire Adele’s voice, but why spend an entire album singing about someone who has moved on? Says the same woman who  spent an entire six or seven posts blogging about break ups and heart ache… I  guess  sometimes you gotta get it out. 

As the album title states, she’s only “21”. What more should I expect? Those were some weird times for me as well. There’s no love lost for Adele. I realize I’m not in “that place” anymore so I appreciate the art for what it is, art, not my life.

Sometimes it lasts in love; but sometimes it hurts instead…

Thoughts?

Sepia

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