Say Goodnight & Go: Farewell HTX

“Why am I feeling drawn to this place?” I just came to visit friends. Yet every time I visit my heart is being pulled in a million directions. “What am I supposed to do?” These are my thoughts as I woke up July 6th. I head to church with my friends and cry all during worship, later that evening as I drive to whole foods, and I called my older brother crying. I cried all day (I feel so lame saying how much I cried but whatever…). It was evident that my heart was being moved. I did not want to address these feelings. A looming sense of loss covered me like a blanket. I sat on the roof of whole foods looking upon a city with a lot of questions and prayers. After eating my ice cream and reading some of a book, I left whole foods and headed home. I headed home knowing that I was going to move to this city. As scary as the moment was, I also felt a deep sense of peace.

This past year has been hard yet so beautiful for me. In spite of that, I realize how much growth needed to take place in my heart and life in order to be prepared for what God has for me in this next season.

On September 15th, I found a note in my journal from June 2011 that said “I think I am supposed to move to Austin but I am not sure when.” I forgot all about that note and moved on with my life and moved to Houston. I began working for Arrow Child and Family Ministries. A year and a half later, I resigned, and started my job at MD Anderson. It was at MD Anderson that I realized I did not have a passion for corporate america. I have a passion for families and adoption. I am a social worker. That’s my thing. I needed to return to doing something I was passionate about.

Thirty minutes after finding that journal entry on September 15th, I was emailed a job posting by a friend at my old company. Immediately applied for a case management position in the Austin area. Five minutes later they called to set up a phone interview. A few days later, I got the job and gave my two weeks notice, just like that.

I walked away from everything comfortable.

Everything that was set up for me.

I walked away from a successful career in corporate america.

None of this was in my plan and trust me I am a planner. My room may look like a nightmare most days but my plans are laid out and my binders are organized. This is the first time in my life I have needed to exercise radical obedience. What an adventure it has already been and I haven’t moved yet.

So here I am, completely humbled.

Not even trying to figure anything out anymore.

I am going.

Houston I have about 7 more days to soak you up.

Since I am not far, this is merely see you later. Not goodbye.

xoxo

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P.S.

HHope will still carry on in Houston. I will be working towards establishing HHope in Austin.

HHope Alief ISD Baby Shower

When I set out on this journey to start a non-profit (HHope), I did not know how everything would come together but with the support of family and friends the dream has come to life. On the HHope website I wrote a blog telling everyone more about who we are. Currently, we are planning a baby shower for the sweet teen mommies of Alief ISD. This is a huge partnership for us and we are so excited to come alongside them and offer our support. In order for us to host this event, we need your help!

Please see the information for the #EssentialsForMommy Campaign. We are looking for Individuals,businesses, women’s ministries, and small groups (aka home groups, life groups, Flow groups, grow groups, etc.) to help us by sponsoring a mommy. Groups can come together to financially donate so we can shop for the donations or they can buy the items and we will pick them up from you.

To financially support a mommy it is $150. If you would like to participate in buying the items needed for each mommy please see the list and instructions below.

What each mommy needs:

Step 1. Buy a Diaper Bag 

Step 2. Fill the diaper bag with at least 10 of the items listed below:

  • Wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Burp cloths
  • Neutral colored baby clothes
  • Travel size diaper cream
  • Soft baby blanket/miracle blanket (swaddling blanket)
  • The little travel reusable ice packs
  • Bibs
  • Bottle
  • Baby socks
  • Small/travel first aid kit,
  • Disposable diaper trash bags
  • Mints or candy for Mom
  • Shout wipes/or a Tide stick

STEP 3- Purchase Large Box of Diapers (Preferably Huggies or some name brand). Each mommy must have a lar box of diapers.

*You can purchase 276 Huggies size 1 diapers from Walmart for $50.

 The total price for the diaper bag, goodies inside, and the diapers will be around $150 or less.

While you are shopping for items, please take pictures and hashtag #EssentialsForMommy #HHope

Please consider partnering with us! We need to gather donations for 15 mothers by October 24th. If you are interested in sponsoring a mommy please email me at faitth.brooks@hhdream.org.

Thank you for dreaming with us!

**Important note*** We are in the process of completing the 501 (c) (3) application, however, until we submit our application to the IRS, your donations are not tax-deductible. Once we are able to accept tax deductible donations, we will let you know. Thank you!

XOXO

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Are You Really Ready?

No one said risking it all wasn’t scary.

BUT I think staying still is scarier.

#Write31Days

Day 1

Have you ever had those prayer times where you are proclaiming your undying love to God and you tell him “Yes, Lord I will do whatever you want me to and I’ll go wherever you want me to go!”

Be CAREFUL

BE VERY CAREFUL

You may find your world turned upside down. All the sudden what you planned (which was a pretty stellar plan, by the way) will be null and void. Things will shift and change and what you thought this next season of your life would look like has taken a turn in the opposite direction. When I begin to wonder why that happens, I remind myself that I said “yes”. I chose to be interrupted. In fact, I cheered for it. I cried out for it. So really, there should be absolutely no shock when I get exactly what I prayed for. Nonetheless, there is still shock. There is awe. There are moments of silence and mourning for what you will lose and faint smiles and a flicker of excitement for what you will gain.

So to my fellow reader friends, BE CAREFUL.

You may not be ready for the life of surrender you are crying out for.

It will cost you something.

Matthew 10:38-39 “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.

The price of losing my life in order to find it in Christ is invaluable.

I will risk it all for Him. Every time.

(With tears in my eyes, butterflies in my tummy, and a mustard seed of faith)

No one said risking it all wasn’t scary.

BUT I think staying still is scarier.

XOXO

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Tales of a Nappy Headed Sista.

I have been saying for months that I would blog about my natural hair and the products I use. First off, let me say that I love my natural hair however it takes work. I was reminded of how much work it takes last night when I decided to wash my hair. It took 2 hours just to wash condition and twist my hair. After that debacle I was ready for braids, ASAP.

I put my hair in mini-twist recently and to my surprise it took me 6 hours over the course of two days to complete this style. This is the story of my life. I see a style and then I decide, “hey that looks easy, let me try it!” By the time I am finished the sun has set or I am up until the wee hours of the morning. So to my dear sisters or vanilla mommies with beautiful chocolate princesses, you need to expect hair care to take some time, really a lump sum of time. There have been many nights where I loathed doing my hair, I just wanted to go to bed, but when you have natural hair, you must style it. The whole, “I-will-just let-my-hair-do-it’s-own-thing” is not cute.

So to all the vanilla mommies of chocolate babies,  if you are getting your daughters hair braided, pack a lunch, you will be there a while. If you are just getting her hair styled at the salon, bring a book or electronic device, you will be there a while. Every African-American woman can attest to the ungodly amount of hours you will spend at the salon but there is something about walking out of that place “whipping your hair back and forth” that makes all the hours worth it. Because Lord knows, I did not wait all those hours in the salon for my hair to look a mess. My hair must be laid.

There are a few essentials you must know about natural hair:

1. Its nappy and curly. Everyone has a different curl pattern. If you are tender headed, God bless you and good luck combing your hair.

2. It must stay moisturized at all times.

3. Keep the hair in as many protective styles (braids, weave, buns, two strand twist, etc.) as possible to prevent from breakage.

4. (For the Vanilla mommies) If you get your child’s hair straightened, do NOT do it in the summer. They will play and sweat it out almost instantly. DO NOT GET IT WET.  If their hair gets wet, its over. DONE. The straight hair is now non-existent and the curls are back. Now you just threw away $60 +.

(DISCLAIMER for the vanilla mommies: If your daughters hair is not straightened, then getting it wet won’t hurt it at all. It will just make it more curly.)

Being natural is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t like doing your hair, I recommend you pay for a stylist or go back to the creamy crack. Of course I don’t recommend the creamy crack for everyone but not everyone needs to go natural. You must be willing to put in the time and effort to make sure your hair or your daughter’s hair looks decent. This takes dedication because sometimes my arms feel like they are going to fall off after braiding or twisting my own hair. This desperate place is dangerous because I morph into a child and pout to my self about doing my own hair. This is ridiculous I know, but once your hair is no longer a baby fro and it gets the length you have been praying for; you will find yourself desperate for sleep because you don’t want to go to work looking like a maniac in the morning. All the black brothers will thank you for representing the natural sistas well and not coming out of the house looking like a hot mess. I can’t tell you how many black men have told me how much they like my hair and how glad they are that it looked right because “not every black woman can be natural.” I find it funny sometimes but trust me ladies this is a topic of conversation amongst black men.

Okay people, I am done rambling. Let me tell you about some products that have given my hair life. When I first went natural I could not figure out how to keep my hair moisturized. I tried several products but none of them worked for my hair. Using coconut oil was not enough to keep my hair from feeling dry and brittle. curling smoothlie

Thank God for Shea Moisture curl enhancing smoothie. This stuff changed the game. No more dry hair. I put coconut oil in my hair and plus the curl smoothie and my hair has life.

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I use creme of nature aragon oil shampoo and conditioner. (There are so many shampoos and conditioners out there. Try a few and see which one works best for your hair.)

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Thank for Lord for ECO styler gel. This gel does not flake and performs many miracles for my hair. I would be lost without this stuff. 

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When you really want to get your edges laid and you have rebellious curly hair on your edges, use Murray’s. This stuff will get your edges to obey. You don’t need to use a lot, just a little. Try it and you will thank me later.

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The oil I moisturize my hair with the most is coconut oil. (I also use jojoba oil and olive oil too.)

I have not reached the point in my natural hair journey where I am making my own products but there are plenty of beautiful sistas out there that are vlogging about it and offer great hair tips. I have learned how to style my natural hair from youtube. There are a lot of youtubers out there who make tutorial videos. For my vanilla mommies check out these channels : Donedo Naptural85 My Natural Sistas Mocha Kid.

By no means am I the hair expert. I have learned a lot through trial and error. I will be posting once or twice a month about my natural hair journey. To all you naturals out there, keep going. Your hair is beautiful and so are you!

This is a cute video, watch it.

xoxo

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Just Getting Started

After getting no sleep at my dad’s house, I was rushing to get to a lunch with friends Saturday afternoon. Looking back over the past few months and reflecting to where I am now, I am humbled. I have blogged about my journey and healing over the past few months. Blogging offered me a way to be authentic with my feelings and to be honest publicly. I’ve always loved writing but posting on this blog has allowed me celebrate with others in moments of triumph and tough times. To those of you that have been reading along, thank you.

This weekend, I was able to laugh and cry with two friends who have come alongside me and offered unconditional love and friendship. Their accountability has stretched me and challenged me in a new way. Saturday we were celebrating all of the monumental moments ahead of us. I am launching HHope and moving forward with planning some great projects. One friend got a new job and the other a new car. Instead of us talking about our pain, we were celebrating the fact that we got through a tough season. We were celebrating prayers answered, dreams being birthed, and goals accomplished. Life can be tough at times but God is good.

I can’t wait to look back a few months from now and see what God has done in our lives. Our age does not determine whether we will be successful or not.

I broke up with fear so I could pursue my dreams.

Heres’ to launching out and believing that God can do the impossible.

I can’t wait to tell you all more about HHope and what is next!

What are you all dreaming about?

Keep Dreaming,

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Dreaming Keeps Me Awake At Night

One of my friends called me last night with the best news ever. We squealed like little girls for while, bursting with excitement. Do any of you dream with your friends? If you don’t have a few trusted people to dream with it’s quite boring. My old roommate and I have talked about our lives and dreams for years. To see a glimpse and a part of that dream come to life is heart warming. It’s inspiring. It’s worth squealing over. I’ve said it time and time again. My friends are world changers. They have the most giving hearts. I am so privileged to know them.

After dreaming with my sweet friend, I could not sleep. I laid wide awake. So of course I started to write until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. When I woke up, I was plastered to my pillow half-regretting my writing escapade into the wee hours of the morning. Yet, part of me woke up really excited and fulfilled because a dream worth pursuing is worth staying up late for. Dreams are worth believing in. Worth praying over. Worth crying over. Worth fighting for.

I believe Generation Y is a significant generation. We will either make a huge difference or mess everything up. I like to think that we will make a huge impact. I get excited when I see my peers starting a business, creating an app, becoming lawyers and doctors, moving overseas, getting married, having children,starting amazing careers, and writing. We have something to offer this world. We may be young but our age doesn’t define us. We all have something unique and significant to offer.

The next time you feel like you have failed because you don’t know what your dreams are, haven’t found your dream job, or you feel really stuck; remember that you are valid. Keep working towards your dreams and goals. Things take time. Our generation believes in instantaneous success that will involve little-to-no effort, unfortunately, that is a shallow point of view. If you want something bad enough you will work for it. Educate yourself in college or trade school. Get some credibility and knowledge. Learn to present yourself as a professional. Carry yourself with confidence. Write out your goals and things you would like to accomplish. I recently wrote out my #Next5 (Goals I want to accomplish in the next 5 years). If I actually accomplished 3 out of the 5 goals, I would feel really great. My goals are pretty ambitious and a little fear started to creep in but I told fear to shut up.

 

So if you are like me and your dreams keep you awake at night, keep dreaming & drink a lot of coffee.

I’ll be introducing you all to a few of my friends who have big dreams and goals in a blog series called “Not so Ordinary Dreamers”. They are doing great things in their communities. I can’t wait to introduce them to you! Gen Y, let’s stick together.

 

XOXO

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Beauty In A Broken Shoe

Somehow breaking my shoe, broke something inside of me.

[God speaks to me in the oddest ways so just keep reading]

As weird as that sounds, my last blog revealed what I’ve been struggling with, and I’ve been dead set on showing up in my life. I’ve been set on being present and not shrinking back when I make a mistake. I’ve been set on showing myself mercy instead of criticism. I’ve been set on choosing joy instead of wallowing in sadness. I’ve been learning that comparison will fail me every time. However,the one thing I’ve been trying to learn forever, is how to except and believe that I am beautiful. I wanted to really see it all the time. I wanted to see what people see in me.

Can I tell you something?

My idea of beauty is not what true beauty is. I’ve felt like beauty equates to women who seem to have their “hair done, nails done, and everything did” I am not that girl. While I enjoy dressing cute, I don’t wear heels all the time. I would rather wear flats. I’m not the chick that needs to be perfectly put together every time I step foot out of my house. I’ve considered myself the “girl next door” in looks. Not drop dead gorgeous but good looking. Still, in spite of feeling beautiful when people tell me or looking in the mirror and thinking, “okay today you look alright”, I had yet to get it for myself. Don’t get me wrong people, I’ve been working on this area of my life. It has not been neglected. I have a plethora of Christian books about beauty and purity to supply a whole youth ministry. Somehow I still missed the point.

Today, I was almost at my job (I have to walk about .25 miles to my actual office from my car) and I hear a tearing noise. My worst fear was happening. I stopped. Looked at my shoe and thought okay it’s fine. I Looked back up, took one more step, and then the strap on my shoe broke. Now I was faced with the problem of walking really weird all the way to my office. My shoes were making that awful scuffing noise and I was trying to hold them together. I tried taping them at my desk and that failed. I managed to get through the day scuffing my way through the office while my shoe was held up by a binder clip.

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Yes, I know, so tacky but I was desperate. Feeling confident about my contraption I decided to walk back to my car with my binder clip shoe on. I seemingly fixed the problem right? So why should I worry? I cross the street no problem, than I get to the sidewalk and immediately my shoe falls apart again. By now, This is when the light bulbs start going off in my head,
I realized that I could work really hard to hold something together and scuff my way through it. I could walk around trying to blend in and make sure no one knew my shoe was falling apart. Or I could just take my shoes off and stop pretending that they aren’t broken.

When I took my physical shoes off, my mental shoes and blinders came off too. All the sudden the way I wanted to feel about my value and worth was clear because I changed my perspective. I wasn’t worried about being put together. I wasn’t comparing myself to those with their shoes on or how nice or expensive they were. I was enjoying my freedom. My feet were touching the unsanitary heat-filled concrete. And with every step on the .25 mile walk to my car, a little piece of self-doubt vanished. I got home looked at myself in the mirror and I could finally see what everyone else sees.

BEAUTY.

Hopefully it won’t take you breaking your shoes to get a breakthrough like I did! I have no clue how these revelations come to me and bring me freedom but God knows how to speak to me.

Here’s a little poem I wrote about beauty:

Beauty beauty
I want to be you
Easily desired
And easily pursued
They told me what your made of
And I’m buying all the ingredients
But when I dress up like you
I don’t get the same results
You get love
I get side hugs
Measuring up to you and Proverbs 31 is much too hard
I’m not sure all I am is all of what you are
Then again maybe I’ve been given the wrong ingredients
I got my recipe from magazines,TV, men, and music
They have got you all wrong
You are strong
You are brave
You are wise
You are lovely
Yet, somehow you were belittled to looks only
If beauty was just looks, we would be in trouble
There would be no room for
Intellect
Character
And integrity
All of which encompass beauty
A Beauty that exists everywhere
A Beauty that is seen
A Beauty that is heard
A Beauty that is adored
A Beauty that is roared from the smallest soul to the oldest
I am beauty and so are you
Roar Beauty Roar

 
XOXO
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