Brown Sugar Refocuses in the Pearl of Africa…

So, I’m straight up typing this blog on the steps of the ADMIN building on the campus of Watoto – Suubi Village. I’m able to overlook the campus, listen to the administrators discuss next school year, hear the children talking, and enjoy this 60-ish degree weather. There’s a bit of an overcast so the day is cooler than it’s been, and this gentle breeze low-key has my nose running, but it’s amazing. Everyone is returning from lunch now, and the teachers are walking up the stairs where I am. They are all so courteous. Several of them remember our names from the Education Summit and were able to call me by name, or told me to send greetings to someone else on our team here. They are so kind and generous here!

I didn’t hear Roy the Rooster this morning, thank God. Before I move on to the next day, I absolutely need to back track a couple of days. I’m a little behind in blogging because we don’t have Wi-Fi, and our days are just so full!!! One of these days, we went to see the Watoto Children’s Choir practice. These children travel all over the world singing songs of worship, and they are awesome for real! When we reached the church campus, it took us a minute before we could find out where to go because we were so intrigued by the goats and baby chickens. It’s hard to take us city folk anywhere. As we descended the two ridiculously steep steps of the van, we could hear the children rehearsing. I can’t even explain how full of life those children sounded and we weren’t even close to the building. Some of us walked towards the building, but most of us danced all the way over there. It was like your body couldn’t not celebrate on the way over there!

When we walked into the room, the children were finishing one song, and we sat there in awe! Because of the maturity of the voices, I was expecting to see a room filled with teenagers. I believe the oldest child in there was Brian, and he was 14 years old. I was tickled at the choir director sitting in front directing those children for their lives honey! YAS!!! She was on it! When they finished rehearsing that song, one of the adults let us know that they were in the middle of rehearsal and would love for us to worship with them. The director signaled for them to line up and the children quickly and quietly filed into a bowling pin formation. Then they passed the smallest girl in the room the microphone. So we’re all sitting their smiling super goofy like Americans do in another country, and as soon as that baby opened her mouth, all of our mouths dropped. The power that billowed from that tiny girl left us astonished! She welcomed us in perfect diction and dialect, and she had a smile that illuminated the entire room! Her presence was huge and she demanded your attention. By the time I snapped out of it and thought to record her, she was wrapping up her part. My bad ya’ll.

So the children began singing and dancing and the room sounded like it was filled with 50 children rather than the 15-20 that were in there. Those children were so anointed. I hope I can upload a few of the videos so you can grasp what we experienced. We danced along with the children and had an amazing time. When they got to this song that talked about here I am God. This is the very best I have to offer… I was so moved. To see the love, joy, and hope in those children’s faces moved me to tears. I’m standing on the front row watching these children genuinely express a love for God and it sparked something in me that shifted my focus here. I needed to clearly see the people in Uganda so I could serve them, but before I could serve them, I needed to identify a root that needed to be snatched out of my heart.

Big question of the day: God what is it I’m allowing to fester in my heart? Show me what it is, and give me the strength and courage to uproot it, and the guidance on what to do next to keep it from growing again.

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Day 2 in The Pearl of Africa!

This morning, I woke up to a rooster yall. I real life rooster cock-a-doodling at the top of his tiny lungs. It was 4-cussword-am. I was able to peep one eye open to realize the sun hadn’t come up, and think of a few different ways to shut that rooster up for another 3 hours, then I drifted back to sleep. My alarm went off at 6:15, and it was time to get up, get dressed, and see Kampala. We’re staying at the Mission House, which is absolutely beautiful, and we were all excited about what the day would bring! When we got downstairs, the chef hadn’t yet finished breakfast, so Judith (our Mission House host) walked with us to tour the grounds. The avocado and Jackfruit trees filled the backyard, and were surrounded by the most beautiful flowers. We asked Judith how they get those massive avocados and she said that they either fall from the trees, or one of the boys will climb up to retrieve them. We headed back up front to the kitchen, which is similar to a large covered patio for breakfast. He prepared, eggs, toast, bananas, and freshly squeezed mango juice. I literally drank like four glasses of that juice. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do know that this coffee is nothing like the states! The team all enjoyed breakfast, then we loaded up the van to head to orientation.

On the ride there, we were able to see the culture of Kampala. How nearly everyone has a skill for survival. No one was standing on the streets begging for money, there were various fruits, clothes, and items for sale. We stopped first to exchange our currency, and it low-key felt like a Colombian drug deal. Think about it. I walk up all discreetly cause I have this wad of US dollars in my hand, then I slip it to someone through a glass window. She placed my bills in the bill counting machine then counted out Ugandan shillings. I asked for a receipt and an envelope then tucked it in my fanny pack and discreetly walked back to the van. Ok maybe it wasn’t like a Colombian drug deal… Maybe that was just my overly imaginative self… Whatever!

We reached the church and headed into orientation. Everyone was so nice and excited to meet us. We were told about the history of Watoto, and watched a video about their neighborhood project. I remember the campus pastor on the video saying, “how can I claim to be a Christian, and not do something about the things that break Jesus’ heart?” The resonated so deeply with me, that I was able to apply it immediately. I started jotting notes in my phone. They offered us fresh apple juice (It. Was. So. Good!) Once we completed the orientation, we walked around to Living Hope Ministries. This ministry is for the single mothers Watoto has helped. Their mission is to embrace single mothers (bringing them in and walking them through healing and forgiveness), empowering single mothers (teaching them a skill), then equipping them with a job.  When we walked into Living Hope, there were about 20-25 women tailoring and crafting. We were able to purchase items here to support these women. There were clothes, bags, stuffed toys, necklaces, bracelets, etc. Of course I fell in love with a doll, and this amazing bag! We were able to talk with the women until everyone on the team purchased their items, and prepared to leave. As we told the women thank you, and waved goodbye, they all waved, told us goodbye, and began to do this trill sound! I almost OO-OOP back, but I held it in yall.

We loaded the bus, and headed for lunch. We ate lunch at Café Java, and the food was so good and the portions were so large, that we all ate until we hurt (literally). So we all dragged ourselves back to the van to take the commute back to the Mission House. When we got there, everyone was ready to take a nap, but we actually ended up hanging out in the front yard doing yoga (Alisha got her forearm stand!), talking, and getting to know each other better. I sat on the porch talking and working on my presentation while Vikitta braided hair, and Andrew, our other host, laughed at us all evening. It was a good first day! The bus rides were eventful and the people here are beautiful. My big question from today was, “what does this look like in Memphis?”

Brown Sugar Travels to “The Pearl of Africa,” UGANDA!

The day had finally come, and we’re traveling to Kampala, Uganda! Last night, I still had to unpack wash and repack from Atlanta, get Kelcie packed and dropped off, try to see Rowan (which didn’t happen-aggressive eye roll), and tie up any lose ends. Well, I started watching Handmaid’s Tale and got all the way caught up in that show!!!!! It was soooooo good!!!

I finally had everything in place or so I thought because I absolutely left some things behind, but I was packed! I had written bae 15 “Open these when…” letters because this would be the longest time we’ve had apart since dating, and had everything else in place. All 15 members of #TeamUganda were packed, prayed up, and headed to the airport. There were a couple of minor incidents, but nothing major. Our first flight was from Memphis to Minneapolis (3 hours). Next up were all of the international flights. You’re served breakfast, lunch, and dinner on international flights, and I really don’t even remember how many times we ate! The next flight was from Minneapolis to Amsterdam (8 hours) very nice airport, but we had to search high and low for a place to charge our phones! The next flight was from Amsterdam to Kigali, Rwanda (11 hours). I can’t even explain to you how I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown from the screaming… nah that’s not strong enough. Wailing… yes that’s more accurate! Wailing babies on this plane! We understood how that flight must have been long and tiring for them, not to mention how their ears must have hurt, but there was one little toddler… Think of Junior from the movie Problem Child. Lil baby was climbing over chairs, sticking his finger in other people’s plates. Running up and down the aisle poking people, and shrieked whenever he had to sit down. This is when I took the zzzquil. Probably more than I should have, but I’m sure yall understand… The final flight was from Kigali to Entebbe (about 45 minutes). I started watching Bad Grandma’s on this flight, and laughed out loud quite a few times! I have to see that whole movie soon. I walked around the plane a bit when I got too restless, and almost knocked myself senseless in the bathroom when we hit a little turbulence, but God is good! LOL Between resting, eating, and watching movies, we didn’t have a bad journey at all.

After going through customs, and picking up our luggage, our host Andrew met us at the airport and drove us the hour to Kampala. Add in the layovers, and that gives us a whopping total of 36 hours of travel time! Bruh…

On the drive to where we’re staying, Andrew explained to us why Africans wait so long to get married. He said that when a man and a woman go on several dates, the woman generally asks, “is this serious?” When the man finally makes up his mind, they enter what is called the visitation phase. This is when the man takes the woman to meet his parents and he meets her parents. BUT, the woman tells him to get her something nice, and the man is responsible for buying her dress, and gifts for her family. The male sibling always gets a nice gift. In the next phase her family begins to negotiate with his family on how much he will spend for the marriage ceremony, and the groom decides on who will attend with him. The larger, the better. Most African marriages stop here, some go on to have the final large ceremony. This is the one they fundraise for, and it’s usually a huge celebration!

I’m sure that most of you noticed the same things we noticed when Andrew was sharing this with us, and that’s the amount of money the groom spends. What I noticed was how valued family is in this process. That’s something many of us have lost along the way. Family…

We made it to our living quarters around 1am and we were all pleasantly surprised at how nice they were, yet aggressively exhausted. We all settled in and crashed in spite of the family of dogs barking all. night. long. outside.  Day 1 in Uganda will have to be amazing, and it starts at 7am….

Brown Sugar Is Beyond Grateful!

gratitude “Healing begins where the wound was made.” -Alice Walker

Thank you. Thank you to the person in G. Alston restaurant in Cordova, TN who followed your heart today. That small gesture moved me today, and you did it anonymously. So, secret person who loved on my son and me today, let me share a story with you.

This season has absolutely been a challenging one. The kind of challenging that makes you realize you’re an adult. The most recent curve ball life has thrown me deals with my son. I worry often about him because of his lack of male role models. I think it’s so important for little black boys to be connected to someone who looks like them. “Women have been forced to choose time or money out of fathers who are too selfish to understand that kids need BOTH.” I stopped trying to figure out how to get his father to be consistently involved in his life years ago and started putting him in sports with firm and invested coaches. I want him to have an outlet. I want him to have everything he needs to prevent him from becoming the little angry black boy who’s a good kid, but made a bad decision that will cost him his life. Well, in spite of my efforts, he’s still angry. He has questions that requires answers from a man, and some days it deeply frustrates me.

Just this morning I sat in my bed in tears about this little magical boy of mine. He’s so smart, outspoken, energetic, curious, and competitive. I watched him drag himself down the hall to my room wrapped in his blanket (he’s totally not a morning person) and wondered how could someone not want to spend time with him? How could someone not want to walk around and explore all this world has to offer with him on their shoulders? All I wanted to do was sit in bed and think of a master plan, but realized all I needed was to trust the Master’s plan. So, he and I got up and headed to church. We called my daughter on the way to see how she’s enjoying Chicago, and walked into service.

I can’t begin to explain the peace that washed over me the second we got inside. Today, I got up and dressed up. I didn’t look like what I had been through. These past three weeks hit me back to back like Drake. Behind the car accident my kids and I were in a few weeks ago, and the financial strain I faced with being forced to pay for my son’s hospital bill on my own, I walked into church and surrendered.  Worship was what I needed. The atmosphere was what I needed. Being a friendly church was what I needed. During the alter call, I told God that I came with expectancy. I was laying my worries, things I didn’t understand, and situations I couldn’t control at His feet. I asked for guidance and patience as a mother, as a leader, as a woman. I was restored today. No matter what was thrown my way recently, I can say I’ve literally hung to Ephesians 6:12 for dear life. Despite the many tears this season brought, I remained grateful. Because I know He knows the plans He has for me, in the midst of some really tough situations, I chose to express an attitude of gratitude. Even when I had valid reasons to be angry, I knew that what mattered most was the two little people who watch me intently. I want them to be able to mimic my habits, not my tantrums. “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.” ― Octavia E. Butler

After church, I decided my son and I would go to brunch. We sat in the church parking lot strongly disagreeing about McDonald’s. No matter what he said, we were not going to McDonald’s. Period. I remembered that G. Alston’s wasn’t far from me and I’d been wanting to try it. So, we went. The place is absolutely beautiful! My nine-year-old was less than enthused. There were no golden arches. No playground. No menus to color. Me on the other hand absolutely fell in love with the ambiance of the restaurant. My response to each room caused him to give the place a chance. Then Kita waited on us and reigned him right in! She was attentive and descriptive in describing the menu to him. After we placed our order, he relaxed. We played a few rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors. I let him order coffee (against my better judgement). We held conversations with the other patrons seated near us. But most importantly, we talked. His insight shocked me. After explaining a few things to clear up his innocent thinking, he actually laughed and said ahhhh! I was tickled at the fact that we were talking so intently, but overjoyed that he trusted me with his feelings.

Our food was absolutely delicious (definitely going back) and we had a ball. He asked for a to-go box, and when Kita came back with it, she told me, “your bill has been handled.” I was stunned. I told my son what she said and he was just as shocked. After Kita walked away, he recalled the message in Kids Life today that talked about being generous. “Momma, why would a complete stranger be so generous to us?”

I knew when I headed to the restaurant that I should probably take Rowan’s advice and go to McDonald’s, but I wanted him to experience that restaurant, so we ordered modestly. I had no idea that someone would be led to pay for our meals. You may have felt like it was small and insignificant, but let me tell you what you really did. You reinforced what it means to be generous to my son. You reminded me that gratitude is the tool that turns what’s been placed in my hands into more than what I need. You are the present reminder that God takes care of His people… when we least expect it. Thank you for your obedience to God’s call and your big heart for a couple of complete strangers. I pray that you receive the same generosity 100 fold!

 

Brown Sugar is a Single Mommy…

“Some days she has no idea how she’ll do it, but every single day it gets done.”

Screenshot_20171212-090007.png Being a single mom (SM) was not a goal I set out to achieve. I never envisioned my life this way, and yet, here I am. Being a single mom has become the norm in our society to the point where I believe we have become desensitized to it. There are so many memes and videos slithering around social media that bash the livelihoods of single mothers as if it’s a curse!

I’ll admit that one of my challenges in transitioning from marriage to single-momdom was the fact that I had two children, no wedding ring, and my last name was different than my kids. I know… I know… Who cares what people think, right? But it wasn’t me I was concerned about. It was the questions I knew my children would have to face knowing they wouldn’t have the answers. As time passed, I cared less, and equipped them more.

Being a SM for me kinda sounds like this:

I wake up every morning around 5:15am and humbly sit on the side of my bed like that little fox meme, then I get my day started. I shower, get dressed, check my calendar to see what’s due today, wake the kids, get breakfast ready, chat with them, fuss about them getting dressed without it turning into WWIII, pack their lunches, check their faces, and head out the door. Then it’s on to battle a 40 minute commute while reviewing vocabulary words and study guides, and life lessons about friends, drop offs, then I head to work to love on as many of the 500 kids in my building as I can. After work, it’s check homework, talk to my kids about their day, run them to their extracurricular activities (This is literally every night of the week except Friday), cook dinner (unless I drive past Sonic and I’m dog tired) cause they pack all the leftovers for lunch, bedtime routines, and once they’re in bed, I work on any unfinished tasks from work until I drift off to sleep.

That’s my weekday routine (cause I assure you that my weekends are literally the same), and I do all of this like most single moms, with very little help. The above doesn’t mention how I have to reroute and adjust when one of my kids is sick, or I have a parent-teacher conference at one of my kids schools, or I’m sick. Either way, single moms have ZERO DAYS OFF! Unfortunately, I don’t have help with the day-to-day needs of raising them. I don’t get to say, “Naw I can’t get them today,” or “I can’t get to his/her game/event this time,” or “Let me give it to you next payday,” or just simply not answer my phone on issues pertaining to my babies. I’ve tried telling MLGW to wait, and that still hasn’t worked, so I know I can’t do it with my children. Being a parent is not optional.

I remember my mom having the sex talk with me when I got my period (Which might I add is even more agonizing when you’ve experienced this life altering event LOL). It was so short and to the point. “You can get pregnant now, and don’t have no babies, cause once you have them, they yours.” I used to think she was so cynical, but in real-life, I can’t find the lie in what she taught me.

Being a mom is a hard job. I try not to complain, but let’s face it, I’m human. I absolutely love my children; I couldn’t imagine who I would be without them, but I’m doing a job designed for two people! So I get overwhelmed, and tired, and confused, and unsure, and stressed. These emotions are all associated with parenthood. I haven’t even scratched the surface of how it feels when things fall apart at work, or in dating, or just because. One of the hardest parts of being a SM is that EVERYTHING falls on you no matter what. All of the educational needs and concerns, financial needs, doctor’s visits, their emotional crisis, their correcting, fostering good habits, monitoring their sugar intake (because they will literally eat junk ALL day if you allow it), and everything in between.

There are days when it seems almost unbearable, so I get a good, healthy, private cry in my shower. It’s so symbolic of honoring, acknowledging, and releasing those emotions. Once I’ve done that, I’m ready to get back on the grind.

I allow my children to hear me thank God for them each day, and ask Him for wisdom to be the mother He’s called me to be. Without that prayer, I don’t think I would have made it to this point. That’s what I call grace…

I typed this blog to encourage all of the single mothers who are hurting, broken, discouraged, angry, struggling, and/or have simply lost hope. You’re not alone. It’s not just you. It’s not just your children. It’s not just your situation. Hear me when I say: Sis, you have been graced for this season, and NO one can do this job like you! You were handpicked, so, fix your crowns and werk mommas!

“As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible, and trust GOD with the impossible.”

 

Brown Sugar is a Career Woman…

When I say, “I’m an educator,” people generally respond with, “I don’t know how you deal with these bad kids!” Usually forgetting that they too were once a hardheaded teen… Or maybe that’s just my story.

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People who make assumptions about the work I do very rarely comprehend even half of the story. They somehow never know that educators:

  1. Usually stop everything when a kid comes up and says with authority, “I need to talk to you cuz I’m trying not to fight.”
  2. Rearrange their entire schedule because their willingness to transport a graduate back to school 2nd semester determines whether the kid continues pursuing a degree or drops out.
  3. Check their account when a kid doesn’t have the bare necessities for college.
  4. Build rapport with their students so solid that they can call kids by their ENTIRE name in the hall because it celebrates their uniqueness.
  5. Sit a kid down and ask, “what happened?” Then listen to them tell the story of how their 38 year old mom went to the doctor in April for an ache in her shoulder, and was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer. By the time it was detected, it was stage 4. This kid became his mother’s caregiver and a guardian for his three younger siblings his senior year of high school all while working a job after school, and maintaining his GPA in all honors classes. Days after his mother celebrated her 38th  birthday, she passed. Within six months of being diagnosed, she was gone. All he wanted was his mother to see him walk across the stage. So he becomes the kid you scream the loudest for during class day… The kid you hug the tightest on graduation day…
  6. Hold a pregnant student’s hand and rub her back while she’s in labor, care for her newborn child while she completes her End of Course tests, snaps her pics while she’s at work and prom, tell her how proud you are of her, and lay her body to rest… All within her senior year of high school.
  7. When a parent becomes irate and belligerent, these educators bury their own anger, to comfort the embarrassed child… showing the parent that you can’t believe the hype; we love kids here.
  8. Stand in front of your class to fuss about student’s making bad decisions, only to wake up to a message that one of your students was killed…. by one of your other students. Both of those students sat in that very class the day before.
  9. Help the valedictorian understand her worth and that she deserved to prep for Harvard and Yale interviews.
  10. Help clean dirt, grass, and blood off a student after an attempted rape attack on her way to school.
  11. Work a 15 hour day, and still come home just to put your children to bed so you can go back to working on your laptop.
  12. Purposely search for at least 5 kids a day to tell them:
    1. “I’m proud of you!
    2. “I see you trying. Just need to know I see you!”
    3. “You look cute!”
    4. “I heard how you killed on that math test!”
    5. “I love you!”

This list doesn’t even scrape the surface of the work educators do every day. I don’t just “deal” with bad kids. I teach kids. I listen to kids. I correct kids. I guide kids. I laugh with kids. I support kids. I go to bat for kids. I love kids.

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

 

Brown Sugar Relaxes

My work week leading up to Fall Break was like nails on a chalkboard. Not that annoying feeling that makes you want to stop your ears up and cringe, but more like that blank face, “why?” feeling.

blank face

 

We experienced blow after character-attacking blow, so by Friday I embraced my break with open arms! I may have even shed a tear from the excitement.

The first quarter of the school year had been a demanding one. I’ve had a lot of late nights and early mornings that required lots of caffeine “for the juice,” and several erasers for the mistakes. I don’t even think I realized just how mentally, physically, and emotionally bankrupt I really was from it all. I remember waking up Tuesday morning leading up to Fall Break, and the moment my feet hit my plush carpet, the words, “I know I’m not just suppose to work and pay bills all my life” escaped my lips. Seriously, I wasn’t even aware that I said them until I plopped down on my yoga mat. I made a mental note to tune up my self-talk.

20170929_061014.jpg During yoga that morning, I always whisper to my heavenly Father, and I remember saying, “Daddy, I need rest.” Well, Abba keeps His promises ya’ll, because a church friend invited my daughter to go along with her daughter to an indoor water park for the week, and my son spent the week with his dad. Which left me all alone…. Yep, you guessed it: To rest! \0/

I had a few odds and ends to tie up the first couple of days of my break. Unfortunately, I’m still going to court dealing with unfinished business from my divorce (seriously peeps, REALLY pray and put some thought into who you’re deciding to spend the rest of your life with before exchanging those vows. At times, this divorce has felt like a chicken pox scar – impossible to get rid of). But eventually, my bag was packed, my room was booked, and my itinerary was set! I headed to Hot Springs, AR. The drive up was a regular dysfunctional concert. If there was a genre to choose, I chose it, and I knew ALL of the words to every song. #GoMe

Hot Springs has a Martin, TN feel to it, so I actually felt right at home. The hotel room faced east, and overlooked Lake Hamilton. That first morning, I literally woke up to the sunrise bursting into my room. I really wanted to see it too, but… rest won. So I caught the sun spreading it’s ostentatious beams throughout the sky around 8am. It was still just as beautiful and breathtaking though.

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After grabbing breakfast, I headed to the trails for some hiking. I don’t think I’d wrapped my mind around the fact that I was hiking until I reached the trails and saw these three “Paul Bunyan” looking dudes with their equipment, and hiking boots, and stuff. I looked at them, then I looked at my Nike warm up and sneakers, and said, “Meh.” I wasn’t here for them. #YOLO

The hike through the woods was honestly life-changing. I replaced roaring cars for a babbling brook, loud voices for chirping birds, too busy people consumed with their cell phones for the rustle of the wind dancing in the trees, pungent trash for fresh air. I don’t think I’ve ever been as at peace as I was in that forest.

After crossing streams, and hiking up hills, and doing the tango with a bed of boulders, I reached this landing. The cliff looked real “Circle of Life-ish” when they were doing Simba’s baby dedication on Pride Rock-ish. I stood their overlooking the trail I had just crushed and was in awe of God. As I sit in my bed typing this blog, I can still smell the rich scent of pine trees and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. In that moment, I found peace. I never knew peace could make you so hungry though… #ijsIMG_20171014_164645_720.jpg

I stayed there in that atmosphere a little while longer, then made the trek down the mountain. There were a few other memorable moments from my stay in Hot Springs, but the fact that I was able to unplug from everything, and find peace in the midst of what felt like a Hurricane Katrina type storm (work stuff, death a student, personal stuff, just life) surpasses my understanding. I’ve taken for granted how attainable peace can be, and how important it is to make self-care a non-negotiable.

Fast forward. I made it back to Memphis, and ironically, I crashed. I slept a few hours, and woke up feeling more rejuvenated than I’ve felt in months! Like MaDear used to say, “I slept for old and new!” My self-talk is back on track, and most importantly, I achieved what I set out in search for in Hot Springs; I feel rested. There’s wisdom in knowing how to listen to the sometimes subtle, and sometimes screaming cues your body gives you. Moving forward, I’m not operating from a place of “burnout” that causes me to shrink back when faced with a challenge. I’m ready to push through any growth barrier I come in contact with to reach my destiny.

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“We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.”  

-Thich Nhat Hanh

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