+

Do It Afraid

My dad lives on a fixed income. For years, he’d tried to send me money and for years I’d tell him I was getting along fine without it – all I really wanted was the handwritten letters he’d send me in the mail because THAT was gold.

But somewhere along the line, he began to insist – or he’d send it through the mail anyway – and I decided to go along with it.

My dad wasn’t around for a lot of reasons when I was younger (you can read about that here) but then he was. And now, he’s showing love in the ways he shows love – 30 second calls, handwritten letters and money here or there.

This time, my birthday is coming up so when I picked up the phone, I knew what time it was.

For the last year or so he’s been putting money in my account which is different than before. He’d usually just send cash but his memory is so compromised (my dad has epilepsy and anxiety attacks) that oftentimes we spend 5-10 minutes on the phone trying to line up the numbers.

(I pick up the phone)

Me: Hello

Him: Ok give it to me one more time

Me: 09876 – 67890

Him: Ok (slowly repeats) 09876 – 67800

I repeat and he writes and usually by this time I’ve said, “touch the numbers as I say them” and about 5 minutes later he has it! Joyfully, he gets off the phone only to call me an hour later with the same ask. So we do it again, and again, and again. And we do it again until he gets it.

Now, as stated, I’m getting along ok without the extra money and I’m grateful for that but this is how he shows love so I continue to engage. For him, it’s about me and for me it’s about him.

This exact scenario happened yesterday, and he called me back and left a message saying “I’m not going to do it (deposit the money)because I’m afraid I’ll get it wrong.”

Then it hit me. I do the same thing. I’ll ruminate about something, try to get it down, but when it’s time to do it or say it, I’ll be paralyzed by fear because I don’t want to get it wrong.

And that’s me with a lot of things. I’m super confident at work but in other situations I’d rather be quiet than get it wrong and honestly that hasn’t always served me.

I am proud to report that my dad did “get it right” but it was on the heels of him feeling like he wouldn’t.

If there’s something you want, or need to do or say, and you’re afraid to because you may get it wrong, feel the feeling and do it anyway. Do it with love but do it anyway.

You should’ve heard him when he called me back. He was excited and laughing – feeling good! And that’s how I want him to feel all of the time – not gripped by fear but overcome with joy because he conquered one.

Does this sound like you? What are you afraid to do because you might do it wrong?

Do what my dad did. Do it afraid, and who knows, joy may be waiting on the other side for you too.

Love,

Tiffani

+

The Lord Will Align

Lately I’ve felt like I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster – sometimes up, sometimes down and sometimes, somewhere in between.

But both times I got into my car this week God showed me that He’s completely in control and can bring alignment in any situation.

During my first trip, I got into the car at the exact time someone I’d once met was on the radio. She was talking about her school and how they were serving children during the pandemic. What are the odds that I’d get in the car at the exact time she was on?

Then, while on my way to the dentist, I was listening to the radio and heard a segment that talked about how to be safe in the dental office.

These two things were so random and unusually aligned that I am convinced it was God. While I would’ve been fine without this information I believe God used it to show me that even when I think he’s not working, He IS!

Even in the small things, in the things we think don’t matter…He is there. He’s lining things up for you and me!

What if I thought it was a coincidence? How easy would it have been to dismiss these instances as happenstance. But instead, I choose to believe – I choose to believe God is speaking to me through these circumstances.

How has God been speaking to you? Are there things happening around you that can’t easily be explained? Does it feel like it’s more than a coincidence?

Lean in. Listen closely. God is trying to tell you something. Don’t be afraid to ask for more clarity or more awareness. He wants to talk to you.

Love,

TiffaniJane

+

Found Me

I’ve been hiding and I’m finally ready to show my face.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time it may seem like I’m open and vulnerable like this all of the time. But the truth is, I’m not. I’m super private and at times, I’m even reluctant to show my face.

Why? I don’t know. I think I’ve always felt like I was good in the shadows. People who know me, know me and those who don’t, don’t. Being the center of attention isn’t really my thing and even this, this blog, has been a huge faith walk for me.

For the longest, I chose a profile picture that didn’t show my face. I didn’t want to be seen or found. And sometimes, I have to convince myself to post a picture of me in an outfit I love.

Maybe it’s because the social media world can be so cruel, maybe it’s insecurity? I don’t know but I’m done hiding my face.

With that, I’m also done conforming to things and ideas that are not for me. I’m coming out of my shell bit by bit and although it’s uncomfortable, I’m doing it.

I don’t think it’s God’s design for us to hide or to be so overwhelmed by what other people think that we’re afraid to make a move or to show our faces.

2020 is one of those years where, if you can, you just have to jump out there and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

With Love,

TiffaniJane

+

We Lost A Super Hero

Today is the day after Chadwick Boseman passed away.

It’s a sad day for many of us who’ve experienced intense grief and loss this year. It’s especially sad for those of us who are grieving the loss of a super hero we didn’t know we needed.

Chadwick Boseman left an indelible mark on us all. His work was powerful and intentional. And our children, Black children, will grow up knowing Black super heroes exist, Black excellence exists and the places their parents were once locked out of are now open and available to them.

Chadwick Boseman and I attended Howard University. We weren’t there at the same time but as an alumni, there’s a special kinship we feel with anyone who has recited the “I am a Howard University Graduate” manifesto before going off into the world.

It’s a bond that, at times, can be hard to explain. We’re tied to a legacy that connects us to spaces where we’re allowed to be all God has called us to be (and more) and to be it while being cheered on by people we may never know and faces we might never see.

Collectively we’ve lost our beloved civil rights heroes, our sense of normalcy and just about every week or month this year, we’ve been forced to see beautiful Black bodies slaughtered as we scroll through our timelines.

I’ve had enough. When Covid came I foolishly believed the rest of the world would stop – that only Covid would claim and take lives – but we’re losing life in unimaginable ways, consistently and frustratingly.

We lost a hero. And while grieving this loss, we’re also grieving the loss of the world we once knew – one where hugging each other was the norm and holding each other was safe.

I’m tired y’all. My soul is tired. Hold your loved ones close. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Live now, love now, forgive now and heal your heart NOW. Tomorrow is so far away from today. Live in it and enjoy it because we don’t know how many todays we have left.

Rest in peace Chadwick Boseman. We’re grateful you blessed us with your talent and your spirit and that you left part of you with us, forever.

Love,

Tiffani

+

A Season for Planting

Everything in me is telling me this is a season for planting. I am convinced that what’s planted during this season will be harvested during the next.

The harvest may be monetary but it also might not be. The fruit could be the literal fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

But to get to the fruit, you first have to plant! What seeds are you planting during this season?

Over the years God has been teaching me how to endure. There’s been a spiritual, physical and emotional endurance He’s called me to. In the process, He’s taught me to be faithful, and patient with others and with myself.

I had my first full on panic attack this year after months of having brief moments where I couldn’t breathe. As a result, I’ve had to learn to endure through life’s trials by first preparing my mind and body for what’s to come. What seeds were planted? Meditation, mindfulness, and faith.

God is preparing us for something. He’s preparing us for our season of plenty. And He’s doing it DURING this season. Don’t miss it, embrace it!

This is a season for planting. Ask God what you should be planting. Then, obey and wait for your season of harvest. It’s coming.

With Love,

TiffaniJane

+

The Fruit

It’s time for me to get some of my trees cut down. I’m from California and cutting trees down isn’t something I’ve ever thought about. We were taught to love and conserve the earth. So getting trees cut down, even if it’s to protect my and my neighbor’s property, is a hard pill to swallow.

While searching and learning about the tree cutting process, I learned that although you can cut branches and tree limbs that hang over from one property to another, if there’s fruit on the overhanging tree, it’s not yours to take. 

As I was writing this, I was sitting on a porch, looking at what looked like peaches growing on a nearby tree but no matter how much the tree hangs over the fence, the fruit belongs to the owner.

Think of every good thing you’ve ever wanted – purpose, love, health, hope, prosperity… Then think about the tree. Although you can see the fruit, you can’t grab it. Instead you have to go to the owner.

But, who is the Owner?

Lately I’ve been talking with a friend about purpose and how to know your purpose in this ever moving, ever changing and complicated world. And as we have our discussions and move through this Bible app together, what keeps coming up is drawing near to God, going to the source – asking the Owner.

God knows all and sees all. He has stored up, every good thing…for you. He knows all of the answers and He knows the deepest desires of your heart.

What if all you had to do was ask?

Asking doesn’t mean you’ll get it immediately. All it means is God has been brought into the equation and will carry things out as He sees fit. Once you ask, you have to be willing to wait. God does things in ways we’ll never understand but He gets the job done.

So, ask the owner – the owner of the heavens and the earth and everything in-between. But don’t ask and walk away. Keep drawing near to Him, , listen intently and wait for the fruit. You can see it can’t you? It’s right there. Ask him for it. The Lord will provide.

Love,

TiffaniJane

+

Reality

A picture is worth a thousand words but during this social media age, oftentimes pictures tell stories that aren’t true.

The picture above is me in July of 2012, faking it.

About 8 years ago I went on vacation with a friend. A week earlier I’d gone through a pretty tough break up. Because I didn’t see this coming and we’d spent a lot of time planing this trip, I didn’t tell her.

Being the rockstar friend that she is, she asked about my then boyfriend – while we were in line at the airport  – so I shared the details with her.

I tried to put on a brave face and have a good time, and for the most part I did, but there were intense moments of sadness that sent me into a tailspin.

Even with these moments of sadness I managed to post pictures that told a completely different story – one I wished was true. The picture above and some others from the trip were of me fighting back internal tears to project an “I’m ok” persona. 

All of the memories from this trip (thanks Facebook!) remind me that we have to be honest about what’s going on with us. It’s taken me a long time to answer, “How are you doing?” honestly and thoughtfully.

We tend to hide. We hide behind problems and smiles hoping no one notices the deep battle within.

Cancel that. Cancel the idea that you have to be ok all of the time. Cancel the thoughts that keep you from saying how you’re really doing and feeling.

I’m not saying to tell everyone what you’re feeling. Instead, pick and choose who you can share this side of you with. Pick and choose what you post and be careful not to filter your feelings because somehow, someway they’ll come to the surface.

And to be honest, and practice what I’m preaching, I’m struggling a bit today. I’ve cried enough tears to fill a shot glass. At the same time, I’m actively doing what I can to change my mood. This is real life. Everything isn’t good all the time. Good days and bad days abound. I’m working through mine.

With love,

TiffaniJane

+

Delay is Not Denial

As I watch virtual graduations, weddings, and birthdays I’m reminded of how precious life’s moments are. I’m also saddened by the fact that so many aren’t able to celebrate with loved ones.

At the same time, I’m reminded that delay is not denial.

I’ve heard the above saying for years but it rings true now more than ever. So many lives have been put on hold – plans postponed or even cancelled –  refunds given for events that may not happen and sadly, jobs lost and a general feeling of hopelessness. 

Twenty-twenty, once dubbed a game-changing year, has literally changed the game – forever. We’ll never (hopefully) in our lifetime have another year like this – one where we can’t hug or hold those near and dear or pursue our passions in quite the same way. 

I was so hopeful on New Years Eve. I stood in church and shouted joyfully not knowing that God was going to flip it in more ways than one.  I know God’s ways are not our ways and I’m sure He has a plan for it all. It’s just….in my wildest dreams, I would’ve never thought Covid would happen! 

But, with all of that being said, the truth is….all things are STILL possible. A pandemic has never been able to stop our God and although this year and years to come will forever be changed, God’s still on the throne. He is still in the blessing business and He can bless you and me in the midst of all of this.

The baby, love, the promotion or increase can still happen in 2020! We’ve got a lot of year left! I’m once again hopeful and looking to make the most of whatever God decides to do. He’s calling us to lean on Him corporately and that’s what I’ll continue to do. Will you join me?

We may come out with some scars and bruises come 2021 but the victory is in making it through.

So be safe, keep your head up and your mask on. Delay is NOT denial. God’s got a blessing with your name on it and not even Covid can stop it.

With Love,

TiffaniJane

 

+

One Hundred

This is my hundredth blog post! Please take a moment to celebrate with me!

3

In this blog I’ve shared 100 ways God has transformed me over the last 4 years. There were times when I was reluctant to press publish or didn’t share on my social media pages because my posts were so vulnerable and so raw. But now, vulnerability comes more easily and I feel more free than I’ve ever felt.

At the top of the year, before knowing we’d face a pandemic and even before I knew I’d change my blog name and site, I accepted what a I heard at a revival – that 2020 is a year of ministry.

This blog, and the original from which it was birthed, is my ministry. It’s me giving the world what God has so freely given me – freedom, revelation, and renewal.

In this blog I’ve battled dating while celibate, healing while hurting, and forging ahead while holding the promises of God close to my heart.

I am becoming all that God has designed me to be and I’m so glad I get to share my journey with you!

Thank you for reading and continuing to read my blog. The best is yet to come!

5

With Gratitude,

TiffaniJane

+

Revolutionary

These days taking care of yourself is revolutionary. So I implore you, if you can take time off from work, take time off.

Oftentimes we’re pulled in so many directions it’s hard to know where to turn. And now more than ever some industries are going into overdrive. It’s as if folks have forgotten there’s a pandemic going on and that the continued murder of Black people in general and on camera is not in any way traumatizing.

Well it is. All of it is, and many of us are experiencing layers of trauma on top of what’s already going on in our lives.

It can be tempting to not take time off because you’re working from home – To deprioritize yourself in favor of someone else’s agenda but I’m urging you, if possible, take time for yourself.

I took leave to attend virtual counseling appointments during the work day when I couldn’t schedule them in the evening. I made a commitment to myself not to spend too much time over the summer (I’m an educator) glued to email and preparing for the fall. There will be time for that but for now I need to rest.

Can’t fill any cups with an empty one.

I used to feel guilty using sick leave even if I needed a mental health day. I’d call in sick and then go to work – literally sacrificing my mental health to be present for others and not for myself. I’m done with that.

And then this happened – this article popped up on my timeline and illustrated my feelings almost exactly. 

There’s a life I want to live and I intend to live it. I’ll give my all when necessary, work, plan, coordinate, and facilitate what I’m supposed to but I’m no longer sacrificing my health.

So take a day off and if you can’t, take an hour but do it for yourself. The work will be there – that’s a promise – But please take care of you. Work (and the world) can wait! 

With love,

TiffaniJane

+ Photo by Diego F. Parra from Pexels

There’s A Rainbow Somewhere

After enduring a tough week as a nation, it rained.

On Saturday the rain was so heavy I felt it in my spirit. It was a take cover, check your drain, stay indoors type of rain.

After the rain was gone the sky reemerged clearer and more beautiful than ever. While looking out of my window I said, “I know there’s a rainbow somewhere.”

I can’t even front, last week was one of the hardest weeks I’ve experienced in a long time. Covid19, the long standing existence of racial injustice in this country, and everything else that comes with.

While there were bright moments during the week, at each turn I was reminded that you have to take the good with the bad, the joy with the sorrow and sometimes they’re running after each other like an uncomfortable game of tag. Each day I woke up feeling good but as the day went on, even as early as 8 am, sorrow would get tagged in and the day would take a dip.

But today, as I amass the courage to regroup, and the strength to endure I’m reminded that somehow somewhere ALL of this is working for our good.

The woes of the world have never stopped God.

So as you go through your week, please know that God is still in control and blessings are still showering down even at a time like this. God is not done. He has a plan when rain is coming down in sheets, as homes are destroyed, lives turned upside down and even when some lives are lost. Please know that in the midst of it all there’s a rainbow somewhere and God has it all under control.

With Love,

TiffaniJane

 

+

Stolen Innocence

One of the best things about being a kid was being able to stay home from school and on one particular day, my mom granted my wish. I had my day all planned out. I would eat, watch TV, and lay around all day.

Then, I heard a knock at the door. I ran to my mom’s room to ask if I could answer the door and she said yes. I don’t remember if they said they were the police or not but I remember needing my mom to come to the door to answer it.

She cracked the door just enough to ask what was going on and within seconds police officers came charging in. There were at least 6 of them. They threw us on the couch and started searching the house.

They turned the house upside down. No explanation –  Nothing, until after they were done.

Apparently there’d been a bank robbery in the area and my mom’s car fit the description. They were looking for a grey Buick (my mom had a grey Buick), and a man, a Black man with salt and pepper hair.

I remember it like it was yesterday. My mom said, “If your brother was here they would’ve shot him.”

It took a long time for me to understand what she meant. There was something I was missing –  The man they were looking for was short, my brother is 6’4. My brother was also young – At the time he was around 17 so he didn’t have salt and pepper hair. For the longest, it didn’t make sense to me until it did.

As I’m writing this I’m also realizing my own flawed logic at that age. When did I start equating crime to being shot or killed regardless of the type of crime? And why did my mom think the same?

It wasn’t something I learned at home – It had been something I’d seen. On TV when people committed crimes they got shot. It was in all of the movies. But my brother? Why? He wasn’t a bank robber. He was a high schooler and he certainly didn’t have salt and pepper hair.

Although he didn’t fit the description my mother said they would shot my brother because he’s Black. 

That was my “talk”. I was around 10 years old.

Black families in America routinely have to have “the talk” with their children. I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about the, not all police officers are here to protect and serve, talk.  The keep your hands on the steering wheel talk. The, yes sir and no sir, talk and the, you have to narrate your every move, talk.   It’s a cruel rite of passage.

What’s incredible and equally unnerving is the story I wrote above repeated itself when I was in my late 20’s. An early morning knock at my apartment door with a covered peep hole and windows forced me to call 911 at 6am not knowing the police were the ones on the other side.

They were looking for a woman, a black woman who didn’t look like me at all. It was like a horrible flashback. They too came in and searched my apt. While the officers were kind that day I cried. I cried a snotty messy cry.

I didn’t cry when the police showed up at my house when I was 10 years old, but there I was, about 15 or so years later standing there in my robe wondering what happened, again. 

It’s one of those memories you tuck away because it’s too painful to recall but it’s also one that rises to the surface in times like this.

For some of us the stories are worse. But many of us remember how old we were and where we were when we realized the police were a threat to our safety and not the source of it.  But I’m one of the lucky ones.  My brother wasn’t home and no one was physically hurt. But the incident left an imprint on my mind that my 20+ and now 30+ year old self has been forced to revisit. 

Thank God my brother wasn’t home that day. Thank God.

TiffaniJane 

%d bloggers like this: