25: Life Updates, Goals and Other Musings

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

WELCOME to Authentic Love: God, Relationships, and Life!  This is our first post of 2018, and I thought it should consist of some life updates, goals, and other musings rolling around in this brilliant noggin of mine.

OK, let’s get started! 

First, I am officially 25 years old! I celebrated a birthday last Thursday.  Oh My Gosh, I feel so old!  Ancient.  I can’t really explain the feeling but it’s like I’m more aware of 30 being around the corner than a year ago.  I felt a light bulb switch within me, where my concern is more about becoming settled within so that I can create a legacy for the generation to come.  My concern is now more about my influence rather than my inadequacies and my excuses for why I can’t be great are dwindling one by one.   I believe that this year is going to be one of change for me.  No longer will I hide behind fear and inward brokenness, I have given myself the permission to be my God-created self, clothed in transparency and truth.

Second, like every year, I have mapped out a few goals for this year. Here they are:

  • #1- To settle into who I am.  I have spent so many years, explaining why I am “this particular” person, that I have lost time appreciating, valuing and thriving within my difference.  It’s a goal of mine to take time this year to value me.  When you’ve spent so many years devaluing yourself, it’s like a culture shock to actually come to a place of genuine, pure self-love. I was the person that had a love for everyone else, but herself and that pattern to downplay what’s on the inside is being destroyed this year.
  • #2-To stop apologizing.  Like many, I suffered from people-pleasing tendencies, apologizing for things said and done.  However, I am no longer apologizing for other’s preferences on who I should be, how I should speak, how I should address things and etc.  This year is one of OFFENSE: oh well, if one doesn’t like the heat, they should stay out of the kitchen.  A lot of people confuse, Christianity’s requirement to love to equate being a pushover and doormat- subjected to the opinions of others, but Christ was neither.  He loved well and spoke his mind.  He threw shade like a sport, called the Pharisees vipers and threw over tables in the temple.  He had no problem being passionate, reckless and even offensive because, at the end of the day, He stuck to his beliefs without apology. Ultimately, in life, ©©© I strive to be like Him!
  • #3- To build this brand/grow this audience.  I think that growth is very important and that this blog is made to be bigger than what it is.  I’ve been lazy and super complacent out of fear, like what if I pour my heart into this next phase of the blog and it still fails, but I’ve already failed by not trying.  So this year, I’m going to take some risks with this blog. (HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE- YOU ALL ARE FREE TO CALL ME OUT!) For real, I want to do more in my interaction with each of you. Please feel free to email me your suggestions:  Should I post more?  Should I post more dating articles? Should I share more personal stories?  Poetry or prose?  Let me know! (Click on the Wanna Contact Me page and reach me there!)
  • #4- To rebuild significant relationships.  Keyword: significant.  I’m not striving for trash-filled/toxic people to return, but I am open to mending fences with healthy relationships that may have evolved due to various circumstances.  I think mending, forgiveness, and restoration are VERY important and these are things I am willing to do.
  • #5- To share my gifts with the world.  I think I’ve allowed intimidation and insecurities to stall me for too long.  Like I’ve equated the value of my gift with the success of someone else’s and that is not the mindset to have.  My gift and it’s potential to thrive has nothing to do with anyone else and therefore, it would a great injustice to live life intimidated to the point that I don’t produce.  It’s time to come out of the shadows and to thrive.

Lastly, here are several musings that were bouncing around the ole noggin waiting for an opportunity to be set free into the world, willing to be shared with each of you:

  • You are enough. Period.
  • You are allowed to be different.  Again, drops mic *
  • Who you are is just as significant as anyone else.
  • You don’t have to live in sadness.  I’ve believed the opposite for way too long, it’s time to live in the freedom that is joy
  • Your past has nothing to do with your future.  For real, NOTHING!
  • God still loves you.  I promise you, He does…
  • Change is good, in fact, change sometimes is BETTER.

Well…it’s been real! ✌️

Until next time,

Simone 💋

 

FIC: https://img0.etsystatic.com/180/2/12908381/il_340x270.1190471518_qcwk.jpg

*FIC = Featured Image Credit*

Creators Unite: 2018 is the Age of the Creative!

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

As 2017 begins to wind down, and this year quickly comes to an end.  I don’t know about each of you but this year (for some) was one void of inspiration and creative flow.  I spoke with some of my other friends who are creatives, and they expressed a great disdain for this year in regards to their creative ability.  Again for some, 2017 was the year of the creative block.  Artists, writers, innovators, struggled to imagine again.  We saw this inward turmoil when we looked to the films released, the music heard and even the articles written about our favorite celebrity icons.  It was as if the creative breath of our nation, left with the new presidency and the hope of good, imaginative thought took a downward turn.  Don’t get me wrong this is not a political blog and the new year is not going to change that, but 2017 for a lack of better words : purely, ardently SUCKED!  It was a taxing year of tension between struggle and progression and society once again found skepticism in the intentions of good spoken by humanity.

This year alone, I wrote less than the year before.  I lacked inspiration, hope, time and ingenuity and frankly loss my love for the written art form.  The greatest tragedy is for a creator to lose the ability to create again. I bet those with one-hit wonders could identify with that statement, and too long for the day when they can create something new.  That is my heart’s desire to create something new, to be an endless stream of creative thoughts and ideas in my pursuit to demonstrate love to those around me.  The same old- same old, is BORING and  my attention span for what is lackluster has expired.  I want to create, and I want to create something legendary.  Even some of you, my friends, I watched you hit a glass ceiling with creativity as your posts began to be more prolonged and your woes more apparent.  I have great news… I believe that the year coming is the year for the creatives!  It’s going to be a year of renewed vision, more innovative ideas, and just a stream of creative output.  It’s the age of the Creative!

So… was that a diatribe against 2017?  I guess it was… though I am grateful for 2017, for God has been extremely good to me, it has been extremely hard filled with intense pain.  Yet, the pain I’ve experienced, did not kill me.  I’m here, I’m grateful and I’m ready!  I’m ready to hit the ground running, looking to unite as we create together.  Creators Unite!  For it is our time to shape and influence the world, and the works we set now will be admired for generations to come!

Thank you to each of you for believing in me!  I appreciate every comment, read post, shared post and I love each of you for it!

I believe in each of you.  I believe in your work, your writing, your heart’s desire for good and I wish you the best this coming year.  Are you a creator?  If so, this is your time!  

Much love,

Simone 

©Simone Holloway, 2017

Seasons Change

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

This week has been a long one, better yet this year has been a long one- just looking forward to 2018.  I am the absolute worst at recognizing that things change.  I  can be in something for so long and not realize that the very thing I’m invested in has changed.  I add this to my list of faults, which include being a hoarder of individuals (relationships and friendships) , to my frustrations with the “process” that leaves me bee-lining for the door.  Today, I sat in my car and came to the realization that seasons change.  People change, situations change, opportunities change, and seasons change.

I realized that my aversion to change came from my desire for security.  In my mind, the steadiness of my relationships equate the level of security in my life. But this concept, is a false expectation placed upon mankind. Ultimately, our security can only be placed in God. People are fallible, they will fail us.  They will disappoint us, we cannot expect people to rock with us forever.  Some might say this is a very negative concept, or one shared by a pessimist- but I refuse to engage in this false hope that those around me are incapable of hurting me, in fact it is the people that are closest to you that hurt you the most.  I believe that once we remove the security we have placed in others, and we place it in God- it relieves us of the expectations that we’ve placed on these individuals to demonstrate stability in our lives.  Security in God makes us stable and stability within ourselves create our ability to withstand change.

Friends, I implore you to find security within the Father- for He is the only one that is stable and consistent.  He never changes!  This is the best news possible, because if you’re like me and you’ve dealt with the flakiest of them all- or perhaps you are the flaky person, it’s a relief to know that regardless of what happens, He won’t change.  On good days and bad days, He is still the same!  On the days we feel like superheroes and even in moments when we feel like villains, He is still the same!  Always and forever, He will be good.  Let these truths encourage your soul, and may you find that He is your rock (steadfast and consistent).

I love each and every one you.  I hope you all have a great evening!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: http://cdn3-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2008/11/seasons-montage.png

Revived Belief

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

I’ve been bursting with experiences that I’ve been dying to share with each of you.  I think creativity and inspiration has this amazing way of being fueled by life and for the past week or so I’ve increased my pursuit for the presence of God.  I can sit here and pretend that I was not in a low place, that I had everything together and that my faith in the promises of God concerning me was rock solid- but ladies and gents, that would be a lie!  In fact, my belief in what God said about me wavered and my trust in the one who held my future faltered.  You see, my biggest fear was that what I was believing God for concerning myself was never going to come true and once again I would be disappointed and left without security.  Friends, I had no trouble believing in the God of miracles for others or even each of you- but I had a hard time believing in myself.  For years, I believed the lie that I was inadequate, that I wasn’t good enough that I was a mistake, that my uniqueness/difference was a curse rather than a blessing.  It was out of this pain, that propelled me to believe so strongly in others – to push them towards their differences and to champion behind their tailored greatness.  Pain pushed me to love more yet I felt emptiness on the inside…

It’s usually the ones who love the most that have experienced such harsh heartbreak.  It’s usually the most accepting individuals that experienced the most rejection.  It’s usually the depressed  that seek to bring others joy and I lacking belief in myself- championed and believed in others.  Even those good works could not bring me fulfillment and after while the seeds of awesomeness that God planted on the inside became neglected and poorly maintained.  It is the grace of God that pushes Him to challenges us to produce a return on the investment he has given us.  It’s like the Father loves us so much that he refuses to let that seed he planted within us to die from our own hands.  Friends, the tables turned and the Father began to point the light on me and where I was in this faith walk with Him.  He began to challenge me! He flashed the light on my hypocrisy- how could I sing of his goodness and not believe he was good?  How could I testify of his power and not believe his power is applicable in my life?  How could I speak of his impartiality, yet believe that he was being partial in my circumstance?  God came for my hypocrisy- he challenged my faux faith.  In the end to not believe in myself,  is to not believe at all!  The same God that love my family and friends, love me. The same God that cares about those I attend school with, cares about me.  The same God listening to the prayers of my mentors, hears me when I pray.  He is just as concerned, bothered,  and alert concerning me as everyone else in the universe.  He loves us all!

It was time that I began to believe- for without faith, it is impossible to please God because we must first believe that He exists that he would reward those that seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).  We have to believe that he will make good on his promise.  Over a stretch of time, God has revived my belief in him and most importantly in myself.

May you find your belief again!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: http://naumankhan.com/wp-content/uploads/181105-Believe-In-Yourself.jpg

©Simone Holloway, 2017

The Aftermath of Creativity

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

I don’t know about you all but sometimes I just erupt into this ball of creative energy.  It’s like everywhere I turn, my desire to create increases and my concentration upon the task at hand decreases.  It’s very rare that you meet someone who is full of creativity and logic at the same time.  I was talking to my brother about myself and I said, “You know bro, I’m full of contradictions- housing both boldness and insecurity. I’m a walking oxymoron.”  I think those who hold creative mindsets, ideas and etc are walking oxymorons- mixed with things that don’t make sense but just happen to work! 

But what about after I’ve hit the high of creation, well I quickly become super sleepy for a few days.  It’s like my body can only handle the creative process for 24 hours and then I am drained longing to recoup so that I can do it all over again.  I believe that is why the Father longs to teach me rest because even he at the height of his creative power- he created man and was so as I could imagine it drained of himself and decided to rest. He took that seventh day to rest! He placed everything he could into the creative process and then recouped to begin the process all of again. 

Wow, that’s encouraging! God placed all of himself into the creation of us that is was imperative that he rested. So what is the aftermath of creativity, I would argue that it is the necessity for rest!  Creativity fuels the necessity to rest and when we operate and create but don’t rest we burn ourselves out before we can relish in the work of our hands.  So, I encourage you all to create, accept the contradiction that you are and embrace the ability to rest- for God being love and judgment, fire and cloud, peace yet a man of war teaches us that contradictions are not only good but difference should be celebrated. Create yet rest! 

Until next time, 

Simone 

Fic : http://drwillsparks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/creativity.jpg

Rock

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

I can’t remember the last time,  I shared something with you all.  I’ve been consumed with school, church, extra-circulars and have carved out some time to hear from God to speak to you.  So… I was thinking, what good is a home without a solid foundation? 

Really though, if the foundation is cracked underneath the house- how long does that house have before it caves in?  

I would say, not very long.  Foundation is everything!  The one thing, the Lord has been speaking to me about is foundation.  Specifically, the foundation of our faith,  and our churches.  As I was sitting in this study room, mentally prepping for finals- I was reminded of the parable of Jesus about building our houses upon rock vs. building them on sand.  You know the story! Maybe??? We are supposed to build our houses on rock so that when the storm comes and the winds blow, our houses can withstand that storm.  If we however, build our houses upon sand: when the storm comes and winds blow, our houses will cave in and fall to the ground.

So what are our houses?  Our house is our heart.  The innermost sections of ourselves, the center pivotal focus of our spiritual walk with God.  It is in our hearts that we make a majority of our decisions.  Similarly, where our treasures resides, our  heart resides there also. So as a believer, someone who follows/believes in Christ, it is very important that Christ is positioned at the center of our hearts.  It is very important that he resides within us there.

So if our house is our hearts, what’s so important about rock?

Rock is sturdy, steadfast, not easily moved by condition and circumstance.  I’ve never seen a rock adjust because of someone’s feelings or because someone had an opinion about it’s purpose or use. Rocks remain in position regardless of the change happening around it.  Therefore, if our faith in Jesus is built on a rock, it can’t be easily moved by bad news and awful circumstance.  Unmovable faith is not shaken by sickness, disappointment,  or loss.  Unmovable faith is not shaken by the validation or opinions of others, but remains steady during times of change.  Unmovable faith is built on a rock.

So… what about sand?

Sand is unsteady,  not sturdy, inconsistent and easily moved by condition and circumstance.  When we go to the beach, as soon as the tide comes in the sand underneath our feet moves in response to the seawater.  Therefore, if our faith in Jesus is built on sand, it’s fickle and changes based upon our feelings.  If we feel like we love God, then we do.  If we feel like we don’t, then we don’t.  One day He’s friend, next day He’s enemy.  There is no consistency in the time we spend with him.  There is no consistency in our witness and if others were looking to us to point them toward him, they would not find the way.  Faith built on sand, breeds confusion, anger and waste.

Why does this matter?  Things in life are going to happen.  Some good and some terribly bad- it’s apart of the process and if our foundations are cracked or not steady then when these times come we won’t know how to withstand the storm.  Can you imagine being in a home with “sandy” foundation in the middle of a Hurricane?  Think about it, the fact that you are within that home can costs you your life.  Would you not rather be in a sturdy home built on a “rocky”/ solid foundation?  I believe that God is challenging our foundation, and he wants us to truly find out if we’re built on rock or if we’re built on sand.

Since we are the church, when we gather together- in an organized fashion, either we are worshiping on rock or we are worshiping on sand.  Churches built on rock produce fruit, demonstrate maturity and walk in true love.  Churches built on sand live in carnality, produce church hurt and discord, and contain a building of immature stagnant individuals.  Let’s build upon rock, in fact let’s build upon the Rock who is Christ himself.  He is worth building our faith, churches, and simply our lives upon.  Let’s build upon Him!

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

Words of Jesus, Matt 7:24-27 NLT

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: animatedviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/flintscomp-01.JPG

 

Rise Above It

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

Well.. it’s Wednesday, and it seems like today has been one of those weird days when you are exposed to the hearts of individuals.  So, I’m in this class where probably less than 10% of the students look like me or have walked through similar life experiences.  Literally, there is only one other African American female in this class with me. There is only 6 African Americans in my law section and only 20 African  Americans in my graduate class which consists of approximately 209 students. This breakdown is very important because today we discussed a government provision being used (stretched beyond) its initial purpose to create a moral avenue in eliminating discrimination for African Americans to utilize public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants and etc…

For a moment I would like for you to imagine yourself as an African American female (me) sitting in a room of your peers and hearing all of these arguments on how the government abused their power and should have went to the legislature to rid of those discriminatory concerns… I sat and I thought about the same legislature that for a period of time did nothing to rid the lynching of Black Americans, or the same legislature that for a period of time turned a blind eye to Japanese intermittent camps, or the same legislature that for a period of time disregarded the concerns of equality for women’s rights.  Maybe I am being a cynic, a skeptic, or a very pessimistic person and if that’s the case – oh well, but at the end of the day: history has demonstrated to us that if we leave it up to various individuals to make decisions for the minority group, those in the position of minority remain in their position.  It is always the voice of the majority that becomes loudly concerned with the rights of the minority, this pseudo-concern with the “abuse” of power to help those who are on the bottom of the totem pole.

So what can we do?  We can rise above it!  I realized a long time ago that there is a stigma in society betting on my failure, gambling on me becoming a statistic, an example of what’s been seen before.  However, I refuse to allow the notions of this corrupt world to dictate how I should live my life and whether I will succeed or not.

When I decided  I truly wanted to be a lawyer, I knew I would be an oddity: a female in a male -dominated profession, a black girl in a white world.  I prepared myself to be the one that stood out, I prepped for the “black” jokes, the comments on my level of sassiness, and the questions of whether if angry I would beat someone’s behind.  I prepared for the notion that some would perceive me to be an angry black woman, that many would deem themselves more privileged and deserving of their position than I.  I prepped to wear my hair straight for interviews because at the end of the day, an employer is looking for a reason not to hire me and I knew that if I was the only African American in the office I would be judged harshly for the actions of the firm’s  previous attempt at diversity.  I knew all eyes would be on me and I prepped for the smiles and nods and the shocked faces when those who wanted “Simone” from the resume instead got “Simone” a beautiful chocolate girl in real life.  I knew that our society was not as progressive as we prized ourselves to be but I chose to rise above it.  Even now, I am rising above implicit racism- I’m rising above the barriers of society.  I am rising above it and no one nor nothing can stop me from succeeding in who God has created me to be.

Lastly, as a Christian,  I believe that we are to be the bridges between communities, we are to love people as people and not deal with individuals in any type of fashion based upon race or ethnicity.  Additionally, I believe in the gospel of a multi-racial, diverse heaven: that when we go home to be with the Lord there is not going to be any segregation- we will have to worship, live,  and explore our awaited paradise together!  Being that we were all created in the image of God- I believe that I as a black female am just as well crafted and beautiful in the sight of God as my Caucasian brothers and sisters.  SO… I choose to take the high road, I choose to rise above it and become more than I even imagined for myself.

If this post is too much or if this offends you, it’s okay.  The truth is supposed to offend, it’s supposed to convict so that we can produce the change that we desire.  I want you to face your barrier (whatever that barrier may be) and RISE ABOVE IT! In the face of adversity, rise above it!  In the face of danger and oppression, rises above it! In the face of uncertainty, rise above it! In a world paralyzed by fear, rise above it! In a society controlled by hate, rise above it!  My challenge to you all today is to change what you don’t like around you- no longer must we wait for someone to invite us to participate in change: it’s time for us to create the change we seek! Brothers and sisters, let’s rise above it!!!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: http://interactive.nydailynews.com/2016/01/black-history-month-unsung-heroes-of-civil-rights/img/birmingham-childrens-crusade.jpg

Nothing Else Matters

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers –

This is an early blog post from my usual stuff but I have something that is burning on the inside of my heart.  I think it is so easy to get caught up in things that have no power over our lives, things that relatively do not matter.  I’ve heard this before- life is trivial, it’ll eventually come to an end and all that we cared so deeply about will fade away.  Thinking of what was to come used to terrify me especially since I barely had a true grasp on the life I’m living now.  But then something hit me…. The only two things that matter are: (1) Is God real? (2) If so, is He coming back for us someday? 

We live in a world that points no to the above questions.  Think about it- if God is real, how come we have suffering?  If God is true, how come he has not come back for his children yet?  To hold on to one’s faith in the midst of today’s chaotic atmosphere is the true test of victory and many have fallen under the hand of disbelief mixed with fatigue.  I woke up around 4:30 AM pondering these questions.  As I fell to sleep, I believe that in the next few minutes – the Lord began to speak to me.  We get so caught up in questions like, do they like me?  Will I ever succeed?  Will I ever make my parents happy? How will my life pan out?  but at the end of the day- these things mean nothing if God is not real and He is not coming back.   Our hope in our future is that we have a God that understands exactly what is coming and can lead and direct us toward our greatest potential.

Life outside of Him, does not matter.  I closed my eyes and I dreamed an evening in my life; church, fellowship with my bestie but there was a twist – this was the night the Lord decided to come for me (His child) and as I dreamed my spirit ascending to meet Him in the clouds- I was at such peace  because God is real and He is coming back.  Peace overcame me as truth was manifested in my midst and everything else faded to the background.  It’s time we live our lives as if God is real and as if He is coming back, and it is when we approach life with this mindset that we will see true change among us.

The children of God has gotten lazy; too lazy to care about the poor here in our neighborhoods, too lazy to love those who need love the most, too lazy to care about the homeless in our cities- we are too lazy for the revival we profess to desire.  We pray for the harvest, yet we do not want to till the ground and prepare the land for rain.  This has come from not finding our true answer to the questions above: Is God real? and If so, Is He coming back for his children?  When we come to the place where we can truthfully answer these questions- we will see the change/ revival we seek.

I believe that God is real and that He is coming back for me.  One day, when I’m living life as I usually do – He will be in the clouds, waiting to welcome me home.  It is this hope that drowns out all of the bad around me, that makes the fear fade away.  Nothing else matters, because the One who matters the most is with me – guiding me in life to bring me to that fateful day.  It is with this hope that I live this life with abandon and that I give my all to the Lord until my last breath.  Friends, fade in the hope that is in Him and be at peace.

Grace and Peace be unto from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:2)

Until next time,

Simone

 

Valentine’s Day

Today marks a  day for love

love without partiality and hypocrisy….

I’ve tasted of this love & I

with all of my might – extend

this love to you.

One thing is surely true,

nothing can separate us- our hearts

sewn together as one.

A great prize, we won each other.

It’s a day when I remember my eternal gift

love unconditional, from glory to glory…

changing the very story of my life.

To  a husband, I would become wife.

And to a galaxy, stars in the sky

completing creation’s purpose of beauty.

It’s today that I see…

I am blessed.

Blessed beyond measure,

no matter the stormy weather…

Because this love have given me

sunny days…

Maybe I’m in a love haze.

As the smoky glory of God wraps over our being,

in you, His love is freeing-

making forgiveness, easy and breezy

and beautiful

you are suitable…

for me.

©Simone Holloway, 2016

©COVERGIRL, 2016

FIC: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/57/98/3f/57983fcb0715b293fd6094acfda3f9a6.jpg

 

 

Rejoice About What’s To Come

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

So…I applied for a promotion on my job and didn’t get it. There seems to be a recurring theme going on in my life where I would apply for something and not get it or not succeed in the magnitude that would expect. Envy and jealousy began to cloud my heart as I saw familiar names of those that got what I desired…but I rebuked those evil spirits and began to use my mouth to congratulate others. If the door doesn’t open for you then it wasn’t your door in the first place. As I get older I realize that what’s mine can’t be taken away from me, might be delayed a bit but it can’t be taken.  So the position wasn’t mine and I’m okay with accepting that. We need to come to the place in our lives where we only accept what’s ours and if things don’t work out- it’s okay because God has something bigger and better waiting for us. 

Stop mourning over what you didn’t get and rejoice about what’s to come.  Rejoice, because what’s coming can’t be taken away from you- for it belongs to you an you alone. Be encouraged friends and know that God’s plan is perfect even in the midst of our imperfections.

Until next time,
Simone

Simone Holloway, 2015