Archive of ‘KB’s Journey’ category

The Courage to Hope

Years ago, I clipped a powerful quote out of Essence and pinned it to a cork board in my apartment. The quote read,

The three pillars of deep spirituality are faith, hope, and love—yet it is courage that enables all three.

Listen, man. That quote blew my mind at the time. When I decided to focus on 1 Corinthians 13:13, I made my way back to those words and decided to really spend some time thinking about what the writer was trying to convey.

“Hope” is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” It is a word that we often use lightly like, “I hope they have this dress in my size” or “I hope Rihanna hurries up with her album.” Yet, to hope deeply for something requires an immense amount of courage. One has to really believe that it can happen and that can be scary. At least, it can be for me. There are so many projects and businesses that I have always wanted to launch but I haven’t because of fear. I’m talking the kind of fear that holds me back and keeps me from feeling hopeful about the future.

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Introducing the 13:13 Series

13_13 I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. Not just what it means on the surface, but what the bible has to say about the word. It’s no surprise that this search led me to one of my favorite scripture passages, 1 Corinthians 13, which is all about love. This passage is so rich with words that help us understand what it means to love deeply and it concludes with this seemingly simple statement…

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Faith, hope, and love are three pillars that are absolutely necessary to have in order to live a fulfilled life. In honor of this verse and in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, I have taken on the challenge of writing 13 blog posts in 13 days that touch on faith, hope, and love. I’ve wanted to do something special on the blog for February for the past few years, so I’m excited. I guess love has that effect on me.

Links to the posts are below:

Keeping the Faith When Life Says “Nah”

These Beautiful Pillows Bring the Love Home

The Courage to Hope

{Giveaway} Faith, Hope and Love Prints

15 Valentine’s Day Gifts under $50

Monday Motivation: Focus on Real Love

10 Ways to Do Good with Your Boo

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Elevating My Style & Beauty Game

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While browsing one of my favorite blogs, The Style and Beauty Doctor, I came across Danielle’s post listing out her 2016 style and beauty resolutions. Reading her list made me think in detail about what I wanted to accomplish this year in those two areas. Looking back at pictures from years ago, I noticed that my interest in my outward appearance took a dip as I took a step back from the social scene. During my pregnancy, I practically fantasized about reinventing myself after giving birth. Post-North West Kim Kardashian West was/is my muse. She was everything when she re-emerged with the blonde hair. Don’t remember? See here.

Yet, with all of that fantasizing, I never thought about writing clear goals for my style and beauty game. After thinking carefully, here are my top five focus areas for the year.

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Monday Motivation: Encourage Someone

A couple of years ago, I wrote one of my favorite “Monday Motivation” posts about the power of encouraging yourself when you are going through one of life’s many tests. In that post, I shared:

A winning mindset is the key to prospering today, tomorrow, and years from now. So, how will you speak life into your dreams and goals today? Take some time to really think about the answer. It could be one of the most important thoughts that you have today.

When it comes to speaking life, it is just as important that we also do that for the people in our circle. You never know how far a few positive words can go with someone who feels like giving up or who needs a little extra oomph to power through their day. I love these Encouragement Postcards from Lara Casey because they make it easy (and beautiful) to give a quick pick-me-up to my friends.

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I received two of these cards with my Powersheets and put them in the mail this morning for a couple of my girlfriends. I wanted more so I just ordered a set! They are perfect for sending small doses of inspiration on a regular basis and that’s why I love them. The great thing is that a set of 20 postcards is only $8 and 10% of the profits will benefit Love One Another Project.

How will you encourage someone this week?

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Photo: LaraCasey.com

Five Tools That I’m Relying on For A Great Year

“Get your life together and keep it together.”

This is my mantra for the year. With so many moving parts in my life these days, I am being intentional about how I spend my time and my energy. As such, I knew that I couldn’t kick off 2016 without some helpful tools to keep me focused and on track. This is the first year where I have taken steps like this. It’s like they say… “If you want different results, then you have to do something different.”

Here are the five most important things that I am relying on to help me jumpstart this year and keep me focused on God, goals, and order.

5 Tools for 2016

  1. NIV Bible for Women ($23) – I already had a couple of Bibles, but I was looking for one that incorporated devotionals and lessons throughout. I learned about this Bible when a friend, Halleemah, shared the news that she was tapped to pen one of the devotionals. One of my goals is to spend at least 15 minutes each day with the Word, and this Bible is certainly helping me do so.
  2. Lara Casey’s Powersheets ($35) – I have been waiting to get my hands on these sheets for monthssss. In November, I finally snagged a six-month set and committed to using these to help guide my goal-setting for this year. What I love about them so far is just how thorough they are. This process has really challenged me to reflect on where I’ve been and what I want to change (and WHY). I’d love to dig deeper into how they are helping me, but think that it is best to save that for its own post.
  3. Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner ($58) – Planners are my friend. However, I’m pretty particular about what works for me. Last year, I went through three planners, including the Passion Planner, before settling on something that worked. For this year, I decided to up my planner game and find something that was cute, functional, and really addressed all my needs. Voila! My research lead me to this planner. I love it so far and really feel like I made the right decision.
  4. Colored Sharpies – You know how Pinterest can gas you up and think that you can do anything? Yeah, well, that is what happened to me when I thought that I could color-code everything in my planner without losing my mind. I color-coded ONE DAY of appointments and to-dos and was like, “Nah.” However, having colored Sharpies around is still incredibly beneficial. It has helped me highlight very important tasks and makes writing notes and thank you cards much more fun. They didn’t work out for my planner needs but I know that I am going to rely on them a lot this year.
  5. Podcasts – I am all about podcasts these days. Now that I’ve gotten the hang of things, I’ve decided to listen to them when I’m pumping or nursing. The two that I can’t do without are from Myleik Teele (Founder of curlBOX) and Mattie James of Mattieologie. Myleik has an incredible energy about her and she is a mentor-in-my-head. While she focuses a lot on business, she also delves into personal topics for a well-rounded batch of conversations. Mattie’s podcasts are dope because she focuses a lot on building your creative brand and blogging. As I dive back into blogging, I’m looking forward to using some of her tips.

How are you planning to make this your best year yet?

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Finding My Way Back

In case you missed the previous post, I stumbled back into blogging after a six month absence. For those of you who have kept up somewhat with this site, you know that tends to happen often with me. Something happens in life and I just find myself feeling a little uninspired or, in this case, too blue to really find anything interesting to say.

After learning that I was expecting in late-March, the world really shifted for me. I’m sure that every expecting mommy says that, but I really felt it… hard. I’m not going to get into the details in this post, but I’ve been working through pre-natal blues, insecurity, anxiety, and plenty of excitement (of course). Don’t ask me how all of these feelings have been co-existing in my body because I couldn’t tell you. But, when you combine those emotions with a busy work schedule and somewhat of a personal life, it leaves little room for blogging. I just wasn’t there… My heart wasn’t here. Hell, I didn’t even know that my site looked CRAY for the past few months because I wasn’t staying on top of theme and WordPress updates. When I’m checked out of something, I am CHECKED OUT.

So, what changed? Why am I back now?

Good question. In the past couple of months, I’ve been on this quest to connect with my most authentic self in an effort to usher a lot of fear out of my life. Fear of always saying the right thing. Fear of being perfect. Fear of not doing things the right way. I realized that I had packed myself into a box of my own doing as a protective measure but it no longer served me any good. As I move closer and closer to bringing this baby into the world and being on the other end of one of the purest and truest relationships in this world, I have been craving authentic connections.

I decided that I would eventually make my way back to the blog but not until I was ready to start keeping it incredibly real. So, what will The Fabulous Giver talk about now? Anything. Everything. Life and such.

Don’t worry. I still believe in brand voice/tone and content themes… As such, don’t expect to log on one day and find 600 words on why the Republicans’ view towards women’s health are incredibly dangerous. I’ll save that one for someplace else.

Just know that I’m finding my way back to this blog, to my voice, to the real me.

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With These Red Shoes

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Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and will mark the sixth year that I have rocked red pumps for the occasion.

With these red shoes, I have encouraged women to start important conversations about their health and making informed choices.

With these red shoes, I have welcomed hundreds of women to events designed to inspire and educate them about HIV.

With these red shoes, I have presented at national conferences about the role of online communities in mobilizing people around HIV.

With these red shoes, I will remind my sisters that one in five new HIV infections will be women.

With these red shoes, I will advocate for women of color who are disproportionately impacted by HIV.

With these red shoes, I will continue to educate myself on related issues that put women and girls at risk for HIV, including partner violence, lowered self-esteem, and mental health.

With these red shoes, I will stand alongside thousands of women across the country to #RocktheRedPump today, tomorrow, and moving forward.

Rock the Red Pump

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Multiple Sclerosis & HIV: An Unlikely Connection

This week, I’ve been thinking about my mother a lot. Mainly, I’ve been thinking about how proud she would be to see how far I’ve come with my career, my personal life, and with Red Pump. We started Red Pump a year after she passed away and I can’t help but to wish that she was here today to gush over my photo in Essence or to reassure me when I’m too exhausted from juggling so many hats.

For me, my mother was the prototype for fabulous giving. As a teen, she volunteered with different groups and also taught a Sunday school class at her church. When she moved to Chicago, she continued her season of service and found groups to devote her time and attention. I’ll never forget how she would take us with her on Monday nights when she tutored foster children at the Harold Washington Library. Her commitment to that role landed her a Volunteer of the Year award from Volunteers of America. I still display that award proudly in my home as a reminder of how far doing good can take you.

Living with multiple sclerosis inserted many challenges in her (and our) day-to-day life. I’ve shared before about my experience as a youth caregiver but that is only part of the memories. For every challenge, there were plenty of happy moments. I just wish that her MS wouldn’t have gotten in the way of us creating so many more.

 

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This week is MS Awareness Week, a time where we are asked to take action to help others learn more about MS and what they can do to make a difference. One of the asks of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is that we spend this time “creating connections stronger than the ones that MS destroys.” For me, the connection that I have to health education and activism is far greater than anything that this disease could EVER destroy.

The fight against multiple sclerosis was the first cause that I’ve ever rallied behind. In high school, I volunteered at the annual MS Walk, did multiple presentations on MS, and racked up service hours after school in their office. I continued that commitment in college and in the years right after my graduation. At this point in my life, I don’t have as much time to physically devote to MS and it would seem that HIV has “stolen the show” so to speak. That’s not the case. I will never forget (or forgive) how multiple sclerosis has impacted my life, or the role that the disease played in my mother’s passing.

Without a life impacted by multiple sclerosis, I don’t know if I would be as passionate about causes or service. I don’t know if I would have the tools or desire to be an advocate. I don’t know if I would have ever started The Red Pump Project. So, as I recognize MS Awareness Week, I will make a donation to my local chapter of the MS Society, but I will also raise my voice louder for anyone who needs a champion. From MS to HIV, it is my sincere prayer that my efforts make an impact.

More importantly, I pray that I continue to make my do-gooder mother turned angel proud.

To learn more about multiple sclerosis, a debilitating neurological condition, check out this helpful section on the National MS Society’s webpage.

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Red Pump Rocking with Essence Magazine

“This is incredible! It’s like a Black girl’s dream.”

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When I told my best friend that The Red Pump Project was featured in the March issue of ESSENCE Magazine, those were the words that she shared. Well, that was after a lot of “OMGs,” “I’m so proud,” and “I’m not going to cry.” I totally knew what she meant though. Essence is such an incredible magazine for Black women and to be included for my passion project is incredibly empowering.

When Luvvie and I first started Red Pump in 2009, we just wanted to make a difference and BOOM. Here we are. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s been a worthwhile one. I am over the moon about this article and have not stopped swooning over the red heels/red ribbon image. Dear Essence fashion team, y’all did that. So fabulous!

Next Tuesday, on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Red Pump will head to New York City for our first event in the Big Apple. In partnership with Essence, we will host Red Power Conversations, a free evening of powerful dialogue about the issues that affect HIV & Black women.

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Our lineup of panelists is incredible:

  • Hydeia Broadbent – renowned AIDS activist
  • Deborah Levine – Executive Director of Love Heals and the President of the National Black Women HIV/AIDS Network
  • Dr. Rowena Johnston – Vice President of Research at AmfAR
  • Charreah Jackson – Lifestyle & Relationship Editor at ESSENCE and our new Red Pump NYC ambassador (whoop whoop)

If you are in NYC, I would love to meet you at this event! You can find all of the details and RSVP information here.

Also, if you would like to stay in the loop on Red Pump happenings and our #RocktheRedPump campaign, check us out on Facebook and/or sign up for our newsletter.

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