Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Teaching is a MINISTRY....a letter to my students

This morning after opening my emails, I realized how many of my students were simply STRUGGLING as they were dealing with life issues.  They are trying to handle the rigors of college, while simultaneously trying to navigate the vicissitudes of life. The spirit was heavy on me to not only be their teacher, but to offer the healing power of compassion and a hug.

This is the email, I sent both of my classes a few minutes ago.  Please know that my goal is to be your "safe space" if you ever need one, as well.
Be blessed!

I am writing this letter to both my Intro to AFAM class and my Gospel Music class...

In the last few days, I have received several emails from your classmates about life struggles.  Many of us are dealing with the hardships of life: the death of a loved one,  sickness of family members, your own illness, high stress levels and the list goes on and on.

I want to stop for a moment and encourage you.  Life is going to happen and sometimes those happenings really STINK!  The challenge is knowing how to come back after a setback.   Do you isolate yourself, stay in your dorm room and cry OR can you recognize that your classmates are struggling with their own life issues and are not scared if you need to leave class for a few moments to catch your breath?

When my father passed in January I told my Gospel music class (no problems), but by the time I told my Intro class, I was in tears. UGH!!!  I didn't mean to "lose control" in that moment, but it happened.  What was so comforting was your classmates (MY students) were so loving and comforting in that moment.  Many stayed to give a hug,  to offer "I'm praying for you" and others sent me an email message.  What a blessing!

Why do I mention this?  I want you to know that throughout your college career and life, you will experience hardship, struggle and loss BUT you don't have to run from it.  Share your feelings with someone you can trust and KNOW that you don't have to go through it alone.  I'm not afraid of tears and I won't run away if you choose to share that with me.

I mentioned, at the beginning of the semester, that my class is always intended to be that "safe space" where we can talk about 'race & class' without feeling judged or ashamed.  That's my job as a be a "safe space" for students as we navigate difficult topics in class.  But my job as a human being is to be a "safe space" for anyone who needs my help.  If I can't help you, I can definitely refer your to professional counselors.

So don't run from life, run towards those who can help you navigate life. 

Tomorrow is our last class before spring break.... Woohoo!  At the end of class tomorrow, I am available for a hug.  I just want you to know that you don't have to be depressed over spring break, but that someone cares for you.  So don't miss class tomorrow, bring your tissues if you need to and recognize that your classmate is going through their own life challenge, so there is NO time to judge you.  (Now, if you're sick.......keep your nasty germs at the house. Do not bring them to class.  I'm just sayin'......Ha!)

Blessings and enjoy the balance of the day.
Dr. C

Now walk it out...

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I’ve reclaimed February 28th!

This has been a physically exhausting and mentally draining week.  Last month, January 18th, Daddy took his last breath and life changed forever.  Although it may sound strange but, for a while, I felt as if I was alone in the world.  The 2 individuals who shared a love, which ultimately produced my 3 brothers and me, were both gone.  It’s an interesting feeling to say the least.  As I was speaking with one of my brothers, who shared the same sentiment, I realized that we received such a strong foundation from Mommy and Daddy that we had only ONE option….
It is now up to us to use THEIR foundation as OUR launching pad.  As I attempted to encourage him, I was actually encouraging myself and giving myself a “call to action”.

So my week went like this…. I had a cold when I led praise and worship, at my church, last Sunday.  By Sunday evening, the mucus had settled on my vocal cords and I was hoarse.  Monday morning, I caught a 5am flight from OKC to Philly to begin settling Daddy’s accounts and getting the rest of the furniture out of his apartment. (Praise God, we were able to bless people by GIVING Daddy’s items away.  No estate sale; just giving in LOVE.)  It was stressful, because the apartment needed to be cleared so we wouldn’t be charged for another month.   Although my aunts wanted me to stay with them, I needed to be at Daddy’s apartment to give myself closure.  As the apartment emptied, I realized that Daddy’s physical body was just a shell.  His spirit is what gave it life and I know that I carry a part of him with me.  Nevertheless, it was quite surreal to lock the apartment for the last time, to walk down the Parkview apartment hallway for the last time, to catch the slowest elevator (ever) for the last time, to check his mailbox for the last time and to turn his keys into the office.  This was it, but it wasn’t the end of the story!

My return flight back to Philly was leaving Wednesday, Feb. 27th  at 6 pm.  I needed to get back to OKC because the next day I had been invited to audition for a musical show (I shall not say the name.) and Byron and I had to drive out of town to make the audition appointment.

So let’s go back….

Just a few weeks earlier, I’d heard a commercial on satellite radio about auditioning for a show that we love to watch.  You know when you’re watching shows like that and people say “ you should be there”, I would always brush it under the rug because I was simply afraid to put myself out there. This year, I reminded myself what I’d been preaching all of 2018….my one word…..FEARLESS.  So I opened the website and immediately began the online submission.  I answered questions, had to record myself singing, upload another video and choose an audition city.  Well of course I chose the City closest to me.  What was funny to me .... the date of the audition was Feb. 28th.   
February 28th, 6 years ago, my mother died.  February 28th is also the last day to get Daddy’s things out of his Philadelphia apartment.   February 28th ; Really?!….I JUST HAD TO DO IT!
There was still no guarantee, but I was proud of myself for putting myself out there.  I honestly didn’t think I’d advance because I was sick when I recorded my video.  But then last week, I received a call from a casting agent inviting me to go to the next step…the live audition. Oh my!

So here I was landing back in OKC @midnight on Wednesday (still hoarse), greeting my family, washing a load of clothes, repacking my suitcase and waking up at 4am Thursday so Byron and I could drive to the audition City. What a crazy 24 hours!!!

We arrived in the city an hour before my audition.  I went in Target to change into my outfit and to get a medicine ball tea from Starbucks.  #stillhoarse Ugh!  This whole thing is just so funny to me!  I walked into the hotel, got my legal packet, and sat and waited as I talked to other individuals who would be auditioning.  I smiled, I talked, I laughed, I COUGHED, I listened and watched the other contestants either talking nonstop out of nervousness or sitting quietly.  I listened to stories of how some of them had auditioned in previous seasons or had gone to other musical shows to audition.  In my group, they were so much younger than myself and had this youthful bravado (remember, I am 47 and fabulous).  They talked about warming up and doing vocal acrobatics that morning and I’m laughing to myself....Geesh, I’m just trying to clear this crud off of my vocal cords.  I was so far out of my element, but I was meant to be there!

Anyway, they called me back.  I would have under 60 seconds to sing 2 songs.  Wait, WHAT?!  It usually takes me a whole verse to even feel the song.  Anyway, I walked into the room, stepped into the green box, stood on the yellow square and introduced myself.  Nervous yes, but before I sang I said, “ Six years ago today my mother transitioned, I know she is right here with me and I’m going to sing one of her original songs”.   One lady at the table asked the name of the song, I told her ”So glad He came” and began to sing.  Y’all when I started the 1st line, I knew I was off…I trembled and then cracked twice throughout the delivery.  But a sista kept going. Ha! I recovered and finished the song, but I knew that when you made it to this level, there was NO room for any flaws.  I stepped out of the room quickly and they called me back in to say graciously, “thank you, but not at this time”.  I smiled, said thank you and proceeded to grab my things.  As I was about to leave the room, the same woman who’d asked the title of the song said, “I’m sorry for your loss, it must be difficult for you”.  I thanked her, stepped out of the room, called Byron to pick me up and walked back to the faces of the group that I’d just sat with.  I told them I didn’t advance, but blessings to them.

I replayed the words in my head….“I’m sorry for your loss, it must be difficult for you”.  And I thought to myself, ma’am you don’t know the half…I’d mentioned my mother in the audition, but I hadn’t told them that I had just buried my father 6 WEEKS ago.  The funny thing was……I wasn’t struggling at the moment!  I stood in my agency and sang a song of Mommy’s and did something that she would have NEVER thought she was good enough to do.  Auditioning that day was not about making it to the final stage (although it would have been pretty cool… I’m not gonna lie); it was about me reclaiming February 28th, not as a day of mourning BUT rather a day of celebration as I stood in my own truth.  I was fearless, confident, calm and yes, hoarse.  I cracked and recovered.  I exited with my head up and wished others well.  Then Byron and I went shopping. Ha!
I am grateful for the experience!  I stepped out of my comfort zone to do something that, before last year, would have never had the guts to do.  I put Mommy’s music out there into the atmosphere and I’m sure she smiled and nudged Daddy, saying, ‘look out our girl…I always knew she was pretty gutsy’.

Why do I tell you this? ……………to encourage you of course.

Death of a loved one is a funny thing.  You go through so many emotions and sometimes, if you’re not careful, you get lost in your loss.  I have realized that with the transition of Mommy, 6 years ago, and Daddy, just 6 weeks ago, I can’t allow it to swallow me up.  Yes, I miss them.  Yes, I love them.  Yes, I’m tripping because I can’t pick up the phone and call them.  Especially with Daddy! I think I had pretty much accepted Mommy’s death after all of these years; but I was just in Philly with Daddy flying back and forth making sure he was doing alright.  In just 2 1/2 months, he was gone; now I was left with the honor of settling his affairs.  Just crazy!

Many of us are in this sandwich generation and realize that our parents will not be here forever.  We know that is true, but now I KNOW it as a reality.  It stinks and stings, but it’s part of the circle of life.  We can choose to crawl up in a corner, shrivel up and die, trapped in the sorrowful memories of death OR we can use the strong foundation and leap, celebrating the memories of a life well lived.  I choose to leap and I invite you to do the same.

The audition wasn’t the beginning for me.  Filling out the online application was my #SHIFT.  Making myself vulnerable for a few moments has bolstered me into going after even bigger things in the future.  I am no longer afraid!  My parents prayed too much, fasted too long and cried too loudly for me to just sit here and become immobilized by grief or fear.  The farther I go, the more I bring honor to their names.  I didn’t get here alone….James and Nelda Mattison submitted themselves to God and sacrificed for Dr. Sharri Lor Mattison Coleman to walk in her truth and be the ‘bomb-dot-com’(oh yes I am).  I know I will have moments of sadness and might cry when I talk about them, but I will not crumble.  I will stand in my truth and honor them as I honor the God in me.

February 28th and January 18th are still great days on the calendar.  I invite you to reclaim whatever your date is.  Do something you’ve never done before. Go somewhere you’ve never been before.  Allow that day to be the beginning of a new YOU!

                                                                 Now walk it out...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Are you living on cruise control? And how's that working for you?

     Have you ever felt like you were living your life on cruise control?  You set a certain speed a while ago and now you are moving aimlessly throughout life, trying to keep up.  Cruise control, in a car, works best when you're on the highway traveling, if it's a pretty simple terrain and not too many other cars around.  It works best when everyone is traveling at a similar pace.  As long as you keep steering and the car is under control, you are moving along just fine.  Let's say that you set the cruise control to 70mph, the car takes over. and operates at that speed.  If the terrain shifts and you now hit an upward hill, the car senses it and begins to accelerate temporarily in order to maintain an average speed of 70.  In like manner, if you are now traversing a downward hill, the car will decelerate accordingly.  Again, this works on the highway when you are alert and able to flow with traffic.  But cruise control is not your friend if you're tired or if there's too much traffic on the highway.

     Each year there are so many automobile accidents because the driver set the cruise control, but fell asleep at the wheel, rendering them unable to give the car a different command.  So the car simply continued cruising and the lulled driver never realized that the traffic had slowed, there was a sharp turn was ahead or that the terrain had changed.  Before you know it, the car and the driver have gone off the road.  The reality is most of these accidents end tragically and take out more than just the driver of this car. This type of tragedy occurs not because the driver was intoxicated or was a distracted driver, but simply because the driver was comfortable and allowed the car to operate on cruise control.

     But how many of us have set our lives up like this?  We've been following the same patterns day in and day out and not much has changed over the years.  The kids are fine, the marriage is fine, the job is fine so we keep doing the same things over and over again.  We 've grown accustomed to operating out of habit, rather than moving with a set goal or purpose.  We missed the exit or the opportunity to get off and travel on a more scenic route a long time ago.  We opt to stay in the center lane and keep up with the moving traffic, even though we know that there is an exit ahead that will allow us to slow down and enjoy the sites.  We know that we need to pause for a moment and refuel, but now we're moving at such a pace that we're afraid to brake and signal that we'd like to get off the highway to take a different path.  I must admit that in my own experience with driving long distances, one of the passengers will say that they need to use the restroom and the driver will drive past a few exits, in an effort to make good time.  It's usually not until the passenger has stated several times that they REALLY need to use the restroom that the driver will finally slow down and pull off the highway.  Now everyone inside of the car is stressed and it usually ends with the passenger jumping out of the car trying to make it to the restroom without embarrassing him/herself. (Yikes...I've been both passenger and driver in this situation.  Now that I stop and think about it....that's not cool at all.)

    We've gotten so used to doing things a certain way that now it's hard to admit that you really would like to change things up a bit and move at a different pace or pull off the highway temporarily.  So the family keeps moving in the same direction, the marriage is maintained, the job is adequate but not meaningful, the finances never change (operating in lack) and relationships don't evolve.  Don't misunderstand me, life is good and manageable, you're still relatively happy, but you've also hit a place of stagnation.  The people (traffic) around you is dependent upon you not braking nor breaking the cycle.  Everyone has gotten so accustomed to you moving, acting, existing at a certain pace that it might be uncomfortable for both you and them to slow down.  You're so fearful to "keep up" that you missed the exit because you were moving too quickly.  You feel the cars behind you bearing down on you and the cars on either side, keeping you boxed in.  You are traveling in the middle of the highway, many times feeling helpless because you feel like you are 'stuck' with no where else to go.

   Well I've got good news for you....

    It takes one decision, one signal, one action to end this trajectory and for you to regain control of your situation. One pause, one idea, one act of bravery to keep from traveling at a speed that could potentially harm you and those around you.  It's time to brake!  I didn't say stop, just tap on the brakes.  In your car, if the car is on cruise control, a gentle tap of the brake pedal signals to the car computer that YOU have now regained control of the vehicle.  This gentle tap forces the car to yield to the decisions and directions of the driver once again.  You can now safely move through traffic at a speed determined only by the driver.

     I believe that's what most of us need....a gentle tap on the brakes to break the cycle.  It's okay for you to want more out of life. It's alright for you to want to slow down and take in the scenery.  It's time for you to regain control of your life and operate accordingly. You think that by braking, you might miss something and will mess up the flow of traffic.  But the truth is, you're probably headed for a crash or burn out because you've been lulled to sleep by operating on cruise control.  You're only doing it because you are afraid to drive purposely again.  In fact, you've been operating like this for so long that you are now fearful of braking and breaking the cycle.  It's time to make a change.

     When you signal that you are changing lanes and moving, it also serves as a wake up call to the people around you to be more alert.  Don't be lulled by the status quo, the normalcy or the expectation of reaching your destination at a certain time.  Take charge and tap the brakes!  Slow down, be deliberate, be contemplative, be mindful and operate with intention, purpose and passion.  You don't want to miss this particular rest stop exit because the next one might not come for several miles.  Don't cheat yourself by going with the flow.  You're destiny is waiting for you!  Your intended purpose is coming up ahead.  Your life's work is calling your name just around the bend, so prepare to exit the busy highway and regain control of your life.  In this instance, cruise control is NOT your friend.  Grab the steering wheel, tap the brakes and regain complete control of your car and signal for the next exit.  Your life depends on it! The future of your family is wrapped up in it!  Your peace of mind is inextricably bound to it!

Now tap it out...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fearless is more than my "one word"; it's a journey.

     I may have mentioned previously that FEARLESS is my word for 2018.  And Baby when I say that God has been giving me so many opportunities to practice using this word.  I'm being stretched, but not to the point that it hurts though.  I'm being stretched, muscles lengthened and I'm learning how to breathe in all situations, just like yoga.  It's a slow steady stretching in my mind and in my heart.  I am learning to hear my own voice and not the voices of others who have good intentions, but don't know what God said to me.

     I am excited because I'm beginning to trust ME!  How can I solely rely on others who have never  done what I'm thinking about, but have an opinion as to how I might execute?  In all honesty, it's not really about what others have said, it's more about the little voice that plays in my head that projects my own insecurities onto the situation.  They NEVER said that I couldn't do it or won't achieve it, but that voice of  #littlemissinsecure has a funny way of showing up, which makes me talk myself out of the situation, based on the idea of what someone else might say.  Isn't that the dumbest thing you've ever heard?  Just foolishness! (Afraid of a might....HA!)

You're shaking your head because you know what I'm talking about!!! You've been afraid to move because you're waiting for "all the stars to line up"  or waiting to "get all your ducks in a row".  Well's time to let that mess go.  I'm about to share an excerpt of my sermon that I preached 3 weeks ago.  Here it goes...

~We’ve been stuck in a precarious situation because we expected someone else to get something accomplished for us.    

~We have been caught waiting on a person to act, when we carry the responsibility to do it ourselves. 

~We have been left on the side of the road, watching others pass us by because we weren’t prepared to go any further. 

Not prepared to write the book…waiting on someone else

Not prepared to start that business…waiting on someone else

Not enjoying your single life… waiting on someone else

Not experiencing joy in your marriage… waiting on someone else

Not applying for a new position, when you know you hate the job… waiting on someone else

Not going back to school to finish your degree… waiting on someone else

Sitting on the side lines complaining, & not jumping in the arena….waiting on someone else

Not ready to market your own ideas… waiting on someone else

Someone else to make us happy

Someone else to bring us joy

Someone else to help us out of our financial situation

Someone else to raise how kids

Someone else to motivate us

Someone else to cheer us to greatness

Someone else to drop everything to tend to our needs

Honey, there is no “someone else”…GOD IS WAITING ON YOU! 
God is so funny, because I  really thought I was given that word to bless the people, but I was really preaching to myself the entire time.  When I went back and listened to the sermon on Youtube, I realized that I was preaching myself into a frenzy, speaking my way into my NEXT and preparing myself to walk through the many doors that God has with MY name on it.  God be praised!
 I am really learning to trust God with whatever is to come next.  I'm not rushing anything or trying to please anyone.  I simply want to move and watch God unfold the path direction with every step that I take, without even knowing where the step is.  (I'm envisioning Micheal Jackson in The Wiz, when he is traversing the yellow brick road and the cobblestone blocks light up as he steps on them.)  Yeah, just like that!  
The path won't light up unless YOU MOVE.  The path won't light up unless I MOVE!  Let me just sprinkle a little word on it.....Joshua 1:3 says "EVERY place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses".  Or like Martin would say, while stomping his feet around in a circular pattern, "GET TO STEPPIN' ".  (Y'all sometimes I crack myself up. Ha!)
Anyway, let's go through this season of shifting and just be FEARLESS.  Your knees might be knocking as you move, but do it anyway afraid and watch God translate that into Fearlessness.  Let's stay committed to the process as we advance for the Kingdom.  God will get the glory and he'll just give us the opportunity to tell the story.  I'm excited, aren't you?!
So get to stepping and "Walk it Out"..........God's been waiting on you!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Right where He wants me

Have you ever been somewhere and had no idea why you were there, other than the fact that you believe God intended for you to be there?

That's where I am right now.  I'm here, in a place where I am currently anonymous, yet God knows my story and has set me apart.  I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.


I didn't fully prepare to be in this space, but I feel like I'm sitting at the precipice of a breakthrough, in spite of me.

My job is simply to be open.  Open to the idea that God wants to blow my mind. I will not allow my fears to block what God has in store for me.




Now I must...walk it out....

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

We should be there, but WE'RE NOT!

They said that you should never post vacation pictures when you're out of town.  Well this doesn't count, because WE'RE NOT THERE!

I woke up Monday morning at 5 am to cook macaroni & cheese, fettuccine alfredo,  steamed jasmine rice, sautéed sausage & onions and steaks for the boys to keep in the fridge as Byron and I would prepare to go on our wedding anniversary trip to Cancun Mexico.

Back story:
Byron and I will be married 21 years on Thursday, July 12th.  We decided to go out of the country this year, so when we found an all inclusive adults only resort we were so ready to begin vacation.  We found a deal through a 3rd party, but it wasn't the room that we wanted.  We had fallen in love with a 2-floor casita with it's own plunge pool overlooking the beach.  The 3rd party website only offered a junior suite at the time, so after reading all of the reviews online, we decided to ask for an upgrade once we arrived.

We did our final running around Monday morning and then headed out to the airport.  The flight was supposed to be about an 1.5 hours to Houston, a short layover, then another 1.5 hours to Cancun. Although the flight was full, we had an empty seat between us and slept and watched movies while onboard.  The pilot mentioned weather issues in Houston, so told us to remain seated and buckle up.  "Ladies and gentlemen, it's going to be a bumpy descent into Houston". No big thing... we've  been here before...we could feel the deceleration of the plane, then all of a sudden I noticed we were pulling back up into the sky.  The pilot didn't say anything right away, so I just assumed he was going to circle the airport and try again.  After 10 minutes, the pilot came back on the air and informed us that we were headed to Austin. The weather was too much for him to make the landing in Houston.  Okay, no worries...we'll be back in no time.  Besides we had at least a 1.5 hour layover anyway so we had a little time to spare before we could make our connecting flight.

So we land in Austin, in a remote part of the airport, to sit on the tarmac for at least an hour.  People were allowed to get up to use the restroom, so the aisles were FULL of people standing in line.  The food service had been cut mid-flight due to the bumpy ride, so now people were hungry. They flight attendants gave it to the 1st row and the passengers began passing bags of peanuts & pretzels row by row.  It was hilarious!  We were able to bear it because we believed at any given moment, we'd be heading back to Houston.  I wasn't too worried, because we learned that our connecting flight was also delayed.  Cancun, here we come! 

Austin was the final destination for 1/8 of the plane.  The pilot came on again and said that if a gate opened, he had been given permission to let those individuals off. (Their bags would come later.)  So we moved to an open gate, let the Austin passengers off and sat another hour at the gate.  They had to  do another head count and then told us to get off the plane to stretch and get something to eat.  WAIT...WHAT?!  I'm ready to get back to Houston, so we can be on our way to CANCUN.  After almost 2 hours in the terminal, they were finally ready for us to get back to Houston.  GREAT, only that the flight to Cancun just landed at a little after 6 pm... WITHOUT US.  My heart aches! We missed our connecting flight.

55 minutes later we pull up to Houston and get off to find out that the airline had already booked us for the a 3pm flight the next day.  (Hmmm let's see...our 5 day, 4 night resort stay would now end up being a 2 1/2 day stay.)  Because it was weather related, the airline couldn't pay for our hotel; however, they did call around for us to receive the "distress rate".  Byron is sick at this point and  I am barely holding on but we had to make some calls and decisions.  

1st praise report: 
The 3rd party called the resort for us and they decided to allow us to re-book the trip for another week without losing anything.  In fact, future dates would be cheaper and we would be able to get the 2-floor casita with it's own plunge pool overlooking the beach.  WON'T HE DO IT?!

Byron and I decided to stay in Houston for another night just to get some rest and recoup the day.  I called the airline and was on the phone for 56 minutes before we were disconnected. Nooooo.... I thought I was going to lose my mind. The agent called me back in 15 minutes and I just broke down in tears.
Praise report #2: 
They refunded our entire flight and will send two $100 vouchers for a future trip; we just had to purchase last minute tickets to get back to OKC.  It worked itself out. (No pardon me....the Lord worked it out!)  

Once all of that was done, we went for a swim ( I now have a small doesn't take much.) and now we're resting until we fly back home tomorrow.  It's not Cancun, but we learned a whole lot about patience and trusting God in the process.  The last 2 days have been a lot, but God is faithful! 

So even when the situation looks HOPELESS keep your head about you and trust God.  We sang this song on Sunday:
"I'm expecting great things, I'm expecting great things, I'm epecting great things....great things.
In my life, you do great things
In my home, you do great things
All around, you do great things
Eyes have not seen, but I choose to believe in great things."

I sang it and declared it before I knew we would have this crazy experience...and great things came to pass.  I encourage you to get a song in your heart, sing it to the heavens, believe God... walk it out.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The 11th Day

This has been an amazing 10-day journey.  At times, I wanted to cuss some folks out and at other times I wanted to be coddled.  I didn’t have many cravings, but at times I just wanted to sleep and be alone because I couldn’t explain what was going on internally.  Not only could I sense my body making changes, but I felt the aching in  my brain as I warred with myself.  Remember, I said from the very beginning that I wasn’t doing the cleanse to just lose weight, but rather I was doing it to jumpstart some things in my life.  The cleanse promised a jump-start of 10- 15 pounds if you followed the complete version and then the goal is to modify it and lose 1- 2 lbs  per week.

Here are a few things I learned:

  1.  I am stronger than I actually thought.
  2. Carrots are actually sweeter than a candy bar and they have a great crunch (great, if you need texture).
  3. When you make up your mind to do something, stick to it.  Don’t allow outside forces to deter you from your goal.  Heck, don’t allow internal forces to deter you either.  About the 8th day when I was ready to give it up, I had to quiet the voices in my head that said, “Girl, you’re good… you lasted this long…it will be okay if you just stop…you already feel better anyway”. 
  4.  I realized that I am the sole person responsible for my happiness.  So many times we place unfair expectations on others to love us, encourage us, make us feel important or special.  But that is just wrong!  You’ve got to love yourself first, be your own personal cheerleader and do things for you that make YOU happy.  When you are joyful, the law of attraction will bring joy to you.  It’s not about loving yourself because someone else is not doing it, but rather it’s loving yourself because you are worthy of self-love.
  5. Fasting puts you in tune with your body and your spirit, if you allow it.  There is something that happens when you have to pray and ask for God’s help.  HELP ME LORD… I WANT TO EAT THAT MAC & CHEESE THAT I JUST COOKED FOR MY FAMILY! (that was day 6, Father's day)
  6. It doesn't take a crowd!  I mentioned, in the beginning, that I didn't tell a bunch of girlfriends to join me because I wanted to learn to cheer for myself.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes you definitely need accountability partners to keep you motivated but there comes a time when it's just you and God and y'all need to be in conversation together.  ( I am grateful for my morning gym buddy  to help keep my body moving, but I wasn't going to ask her to join me on the cleanse.)
  7. Now that I've seen results, I want to continue making healthy choices.  It won't be as extreme as the 10-day cleanse but it will still involve at least one green smoothie a day. (Well the next 3-4 days I'll have to be Jesus Junior anyway, so as not to feel sick and bloated. That would kinda defeat the purpose.)
  8. This cleanse was a testament to myself that now I can begin accomplishing some of those other goals that I have:  beginning that next book, clearing up my credit, etc...  There ae so many other things that I must leave unstated, because I don't know what God has in store for me next.  As I continue to be available to Him, I know that He is going to have me doing some amazing things.  (Actually He's probably been waiting for me to get myself together anyway. Ha!)
 Alright that's enough for now, but I will share this news with you.
On Day 1, I weighed in at 216. 4 lbs.  This morning, Day 11, after much prayer and determination, I weighed in at ......drumroll please.....201 lbs.  That's a total of 15. 4 lbs lost.  I'm grateful!  I needed to see the drastic change to encourage myself to reach higher and farther.

So let me turn and encourage are stronger than you can even imagine right now.  Don't allow your past mistakes and failures keep you from reaching forward. (Remember I tried this a few years ago and quit on day 5.) 
Allow yourself to feel the hurt, the frustration, the weariness and move past it! You can do this!

So be encouraged and walk it out.....