Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I was using the self checkout aisle at Walmart last week, using a gift card to pay for my purchase. After running the card through the keypad, it reflected I hadn't paid my balance. I ran it through again and again. As they do when they see you struggling to complete your transaction, the Walmart associate overseeing the self scan stations came over to me and said, "Is it asking your scan your card?" To which I replied, "Yes! Everytime I swipe it it says ...and in unison we said, "Please scan your card" She took it out of my hand and scanned it. Ah ha!!! I was swiping my card through the key pad as you do with a credit or debit card; not SCANNING it as you do merchandise, even after I had been instructed...over and over again to scan it. I laughed and said to the teller, "God's just telling me I don't listen" I shook my head and again said, "I'm still not listening." We both shared a laugh and I went about my day.

I went about my day, unable to forget just how true it is. I'm great at talking; not so great at listening. (even my kids have told me that)

I may not be great at listening to the audible sounds of the earth. I'm a bit better at listening to the spiritual guidance of the Divine. If not for being a good spiritual listener, I'd never have sought to find the good when it was so hard to find it during Jonnae's illness. I'd never have blogged the last 9 months of her life and I'd not have created (with much help) her Celebration of Life one week before she passed. I may not hear all that well with my ears. I've been blown away, and incredibly blessed, with what happens when I listen with my soul. Today's no exception.

In January of this year, I reclaimed a room in our basement to convert into a home office. After having invested much time in dreaming about living in a house like one that was being built last year in our subdivision, overlooking a body of water (and after experiencing quite sacred moments from other waterfront properties) I decided I would paint the room a soft color like that of water. I didn't choose a true hue of blue. I chose more a robin egg or soft pale turquoise color.  I decorated the room with accessories we already had in the house, doing the best I could to create a nice room without much expense.

Although grateful for the space, it's never quite produced what I hoped it would. It's functional, organized, and what I didn't have for a work a space before. It's never provided the haven I crave or the flow of energy that I feel is blocked in the rest of our home, where so many memories exist of Jonnae. Although I embrace them all as great gifts, there's just something I can't seem to remove in the way of blocked energy. Too hard to explain and simply something I get to accept and live with for a while longer. So I press on.

I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me before, or why it did occur to me from out of nowhere last week, to check online for a large water scene mural. I googled and found many sites to shop. I think I invested the better part of an entire day considering and reconsidering my options. Still trying to keep cost to a minimum, after much back and forth as to what I would finally splurge on, I selected a smaller size mural than the ones I originally began looking at, based on the pale turquoise color of my already freshly painted room. It was the only scene that was not a true blue, but turquoise. It arrived within a couple of days and I applied it to the wall last weekend.

Although satisfied with the mural and the color of the wall as it's backdrop, I wasn't happy with the way the existing accessories in the room looked with it. The room needs to be more cohesive with colors of the white beach and cool teal waters in the print. I decided I'd start working towards creating a room that felt more like a refreshing retreat, similar to what you'd experience at a place on the beach.

While out today, I thought I'd swing by the HomeGoods store and use instore credit I had from a previous return I'd made a while back. I went in thinking I'd peruse the store to find a single lil treasure piece for the room, like a conch shell or something and it wouldn't cost me a thing. Well you know how it goes (especially if you're into decorating) My eyes kept finding items that would work perfectly to create the type room I was envisioning. As an artist, I usually only begin with a theme or simple idea and the creation just takes on a life of it's own. This shopping trip was definitely playing out like that. With not one, but 8 items in a buggy (that I got to go back to the entrance for because I didn't think I'd need one for the single item I would choose) In a mere second, as I was already having buyers remorse and analyzing this cart as 'retail therapy' my consciousness came alive to meld with my subconscious. As the revelation happened and goose bumps covered my body, I was in awe. How could I have not realized what I was doing before now?! I was creating the caribbean scene Jonnae had dreamt of experiencing through Make a Wish. All she wanted was to ride a horse on the white sands of a beach with crystal clear turquoise water. In that moment, any guilt I had about purchasing these accessories was gone. It wasn't a matter of retail therapy; it's a matter of acknowledging a gift from the Divine to create a space I can share 'with her.' The timing is impeccable too, as I'm most present to what would have been her 19th birthday this Friday. It's almost as if this caribbean room is her gift to me. There simply is NO WAY I can relay in words how much I've felt embraced by the combined presence of God and Jonnae today.

The  picture accompanying this blog was taken by my friend while we were on a walk this morning. We both stopped to soak up the SON as the rays shined so brightly through the trees in this amazing star burst. I recalled, as I stood there to bask in it's glory, Jonnae's statement towards the end of her life when as we saw the sun's rays in a similar way. She said, "It reminds me of Heaven"

I'm enamored by the glory of God, the brightness of Jonnae's spirit, how her presence can sometimes encompass me, and how today...my subconscious revealed it's plan to give me a place where I feel her in a special sweet way, encouraging me to press on and create whatever instinctively comes to me. It's a gift from the Divine.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Writing from the Heart

I so long to write more, blog more, speak more, and serve more. Funny how the 'business' of it all keeps getting in my way. I've invested a great part of the 3 years since Jonnae passed trying to marry my passion to a paycheck. I've had a grand vision placed on my heart. It's impossible for me to believe my passion can't also be my 'work.' I'll not give up and eventually I won't be so deep in the forrest that I can't see the trees, lol. 

I'm tired of trying to align my spirit with a business mind that's not within me. It's exhausting. Surely there's a place for me, an income to be had, where I can simply show up as me, excited to share strengths that are naturally already mine. Where is it? Do I really need to learn business to free myself from the pressures and stress of debt? Is there not someplace for me to go when I wake up that has an energy of life flowing through it and people who want to embrace what it is God's given me to share? Please Lord, make the way more clear!

There are a couple of reasons I've stopped writing. One is I can't seem to find a place to write that inspires me. There used to be a place I could write that will would allow thoughts and guidance to flow through me as they came. It was by Jonnae's bedside. Now, I get to experience most of my days from our home and for reasons that I understand, yet can't seem to explain, this home during the day has the same effect on me that cryptonite had on superman. It keeps me weak. I've tried different scenarios to get out of the house when the families gone off to school and work, none of them have worked. I've tried different places to write, different places to work on building a career. I've not yet found a fit. I'm prayerful that a solution will be revealed soon. If you are a praying person and you're reading this, will you offer up a prayer on my behalf? Ask God to remove the detours and show me the road (work place) for me?

A second reason my writing stopped was because my writing style is not for business. In my search to figure out how I build a career out of what I know and love to do, I've been steered to not write from a personal standpoint, to keep blogs to a word maximum, to make the headlines catchy and set me up as an expert. Who I am and what I write doesn't seem to fit the mold for how one grows a career. Talk about writer's block! 

Today, I've committed to sitting down and doing that which led me to fall in love with writing to begin with. Just write from my heart about the awarenesses I'm acquiring. They're personal to me, they may not prompt anyone to hire me or purchase something I've produced, but that's never been what inspired me to write before. Why should it be now? It doesn't!

My passions are writing and speaking words of encouragement and hope while always remaining truthful and transparent. That's 'my mold'. The writing ceased and the speaking opportunities lessened considerably also. As I was sold on someone's services who led me to believe he and his team would take over promoting and booking me as a speaker, I left that ball in their court and picked up a different one. I began planning a special June 8, Wacky Wednesday celebration to commemorate Jonnae's 3rd Heavenly Birthday. The momentum I had built up for speaking pretty much came to a halt as the company didn't deliver and I was head over heels in planning the biggest event I've ever hosted. Good news is, the "Wack Attack" celebration of Jonnae's Heavenly Birth was a sweet success. (video can be seen here - We had a "Wack Attack" video )

I have a wise friend who's been trying to get me to start up We GET To as a nonprofit. I wasn't purposely trying to fight her, or God, on the suggestion or get in the way of it. I just didn't see how starting a nonprofit from ground zero was going to answer my unemployment and financial issues, which are growing in their need for me to solve them. How would I have the energy and time to acquire the knowledge necessary for starting up a nonprofit on top of the looming tasks already at hand? I still don't know. However, I began getting nonprofit literature and resource information in the mail, from sources all over the place, out of the blue. This in the midst of me planning the special Wacky Wednesday celebration for Jonnae's 3rd Heavenly Birthday. I don't buy into coincidence EVER! God's hand in perfect timing is where I stake my trust. So I prayerfully began looking into the steps I'd get to take to form a nonprofit and get We GET To and Wacky Wednesday into more schools and hospitals. I consulted with many experts, filed Articles of Incorporation for We GET To, formed a board, and just this weekend submitted the extensive 1023 form to the IRS for tax exemption. Now, I GET TO strengthen my patience muscle as I wait to hear back from them. (Could be as long as 3 months to 1 year to complete the process after they've accepted our application.) and I GET TO return to figuring out a way to create consistent income.

As God often does when He knows my tank is beyond low and I'm running on fumes, He's sent me a boost of fuel to discern I'm on the right track. When I'm uncertain about where to go or what to do, or not sure I'm any where close to being on target to my destination, I'll get an email or phone call that's just enough to keep me going. I recently received a phone call from a Louisville school's program director who'd asked me to come speak to her 5th grade class last year. As it had turned out, the 7th grades' speaker was unable to make it the day this special programming was to occur, so both the 5th and 7th grade classes filed in together to hear the We GET To message. The director was calling to see if I'd be interested in coming back this year. She offered that the school still didn't have funding to pay speakers but was hopeful I'd accept the invitation to return anyway. She proceeded to tell me that she thought I'd be interested to know that the students are given a survey at the end of the school year that consists of several questions. One of them being what was their favorite event/activity for the year. She let me know that We GET To had made an impression on the children, for it was the favorite on many surveys. When I thanked her for telling me this and told her it was fuel for my spiritual tank to know the message had made an impact on several of the students who had heard my presentation, she corrected me and said, "Denise, it wasn't simply several of the surveys, it was the majority of them." She also made the remark it was impressive given the amount of time that had passed from the Feb presentation to June when the survey was given, when much else had been forgotten. I can't begin to doubt now! I can't base whether I speak or not to students on the sum I get paid. How can I do anything but sing when given such a beautiful testimony of Jonnae's legacy and the way I get to serve? I've gotta be in the right place doing the right thing.

God gifted me more. I was in a local store seeking silly accessories for infants. Still in my wacky get up, I'd just completed a Wacky Wednesday visit at Kosair. As we had just seen many babies, I was freshly reminded that I never have anything wacky to give infants. I decided to make it one of my days errands to find something. None of my suppliers that I shop from ever have wacky pacifiers, bibs, or things for infants to wear that are within our budget. Occasionally I'll find some fun bath mitts at the $ store. Anyway, a mother recognized me as the We GET To lady because of my share about Wacky Wednesday during a We GET To presentation I had given at her son's sports banquet. She approached me to let me know what her son had said on the way home after hearing the We GET To message. As she was speaking to me, another woman walked up to us, also having heard of Wacky Wednesday and gave me all the cash she had on her to purchase the items I had in my hand for the Wacky Wednesday cart. She said she had heard about the work I was doing and wish she had more to give. I assured her that her gift was generous enough, both financially for the kids and in encouragement for me to keep going. Seriously, should it be so easy for me to get distracted by business and the $ when priceless experiences such as this are what I get for payment? It may take a while for We GET To to be tax exempt and to build funding to pay a director, but I'm bound to be on the right path! This is enough proof for me!

As if this evidence isn't enough, I've been granted another beautiful gift of affirmation. I'm a bit creative and God's communication with me sometimes is as well. I was going to try and convey the gift, but it would make for an even longer blog and it's too difficult to try to convey. Let's just say a gift of nature was uniquely packaged and sent for me and I received with enormous gratitude and glee ;) 

I simply get to keep doing whatever it takes... whatever it requires of me energetically or financially to grow the We GET To message and Wacky Wednesday visions, regardless of how that looks on a resume or in our bank account. I'm serving God and serving my community. There's bound to be a way that can translate into serving my family financially. I'll keep seeking God for the answers and trust you'll repeat that prayer you said for me earlier again and again. Will you? :D

By the Grace of God,
Better Every Day in Every Way,