Spread Joy…

The holiday season has arrived & Christmas is quickly approaching. Stores are promoting sales, lines are long, packages are delivered in shorter time frames & traffic is everywhere. But along with these things we have been conditioned to accept; there is something else that is inevitable with the holiday season- depression. I hate to put a damper on such a cheerful time of the year, however, this season is not so cheerful for everyone & seasonal depression is real.

I know we can get caught up in our own lives but please take the time to reach out to your loved ones. Many people struggle silent battles, especially during this time of the year. What is meant to be a joyous time decorated with lights & bliss is a dark abyss for others. Therefore, we have to be sure that we do not forget them by letting them know we are here.

Small gestures go a long way- phone calls, text messages, loving pop ups, friends-mas get togethers, movie times, etc. Sometimes it is not about talking about the issues, it is just feeling that someone is there. So if you have not heard from a friend in a while, please just take a few moments to check in on them, tell them that you love them & make your presence known. The possibility that they have been busy is there; but in the off chance that it has been a struggle for them; you have just become a glimmer of light in their dark tunnel. Remember, the holiday season calls for togetherness & inclusivity not just gift giving & holiday hustle. Use this time to empathize & spread the joy others may be missing.

A Time To Be Thankful

To be thankful is to feel or express gratitude. During difficult times & the hustle of the holiday season; it is easy to lose track of the “simple” things that have been afforded to us that we often take forgranted. It is easy, especially during the holidays, to fret over superficial things that will not necessarily matter in a few weeks. We get caught up in the sales advertised by retailers & bound up by the financial burden of purchasing gifts for loved ones. So today, I want to inspire you to be thankful even when your desired situation appears bleak.

As cliche’ as this may sound, every day truly is a gift. Every day we have our health & sound mind is an added bonus. Anything aside from that is an opportunity to start each day over; to make it better than the last. Having a thankful mindset will have a significant impact on our day, our perspective & allows us to be more aware of the little blessings that make each moment worth living.

So I urge you not to get caught up in what you don’t have & appreciate what you do. You woke up today, have the means to read this memoir, have love to give, are loved by people who matter to you & are given new mercy every morning you open your eyes. So don’t stress over the unknown. Don’t become overwhelmed by what you lack or the things that will make your life easier. God will provide relief. So in the meantime, as I always say, relish. Relish in the moments, the opportunities & the possibilities & be thankful for them. Because a thankful heart is a blessing to itself & those around it.

Kindness For Sale

Kindness is the act of being friendly, generous or considerate. Since I started Nickkie&Co I have been an advocate for kindness, humbleness & humility as a default response. However, today, I still advocate for the the same thing but want to stress the importance of being kind without the need of the public eye. See social media, with all the wonderful things it has allowed us to do, has also made acts of kindness feel CHEAP.

With social media, it appears people may be more inclined to express random acts of kinness, however at the cost of exposing the need of the other person. Our generation has picked up the habit of recording our highest moments while showcasing the lowest moments of someone else. The temporary praise from acquaintances is so short lived that I wonder if it is even worth it. Because to pump up our own egos, we put the spotlight directly on an individual who would likely rather be invisible in their current state.

So today, I urge you to be mindful of this. I ask that you continue to be kind but do so just to make someone’s day a little easier or to put a smile on their face. Do not expose people’s hardships for a few cheap minutes of glory. Because life has an interesting way to humble us & at the lowest moments of our lives we would not want the world watching us on LIVE. Be kind because it is the right thing to do. Be kind because your heart inclines you to do so & be kind enough to make a difference for those who may need it without expecting anything – glory, praise or blessings in return. Because at the end of the day, it is you who has to lay down & live with you. Make sure you like who you presented yourself to be that day. Be kind without a cost.

Kindness & Dominoes

During my adolescence & early adult years I had a severe chip on my shoulder. I was aggressive, impulsive & very, very defensive. I never gave people a chance to get to know me nor did I give myself the opportunity to get to know people. I saw people at their worst & I kept them there. I did not believe that people could be nice “just because”. I was convinced kindness always came with a price. I believed, that if you were too kind, you left yourself vulnerable & susceptible to being misused, mistreated & taken for granted. I allowed my own pain to dictate how I viewed my relationships. Many people, unless they proved otherwise, were very disposable to me. It is sad, but I believed that before I was kind to anyone I had to put them through hell first. My love was like a thorned rose; beautiful to see but abrasive to the touch. I felt that being “hard” was an attractive quality & that the people meant to stay around would stay; regardless. I was popular & had quality friends who I loved dearly. However, my love often was a bit sour in it’s delivery. Being raised with tough love made me believe that tough was warranted in every & any situation; even though that was not how tough love was delivered to me.

I am twenty-nine now & it took me to be twenty-eight years old to realize that how I was is not at all how it is supposed to be. It is ok to be kind to people even when they are undeserving. It is ok to be kind to strangers even though I do not know them. Most importantly, I learned that it is never ok to allow the people who love me to be the direct recipients of my pain. I have learned to appreciate the people who have stuck around even when my internal scars were expressed in my behavior. I can not imagine where I would be if people always treated me the way I deserved to be treated. I appreciate the kind gestures people have afforded me even when I was less than deserving. It is because of those kind gestures I have been able to make a conscious effort to exude what the Nickkie&CO. platform represents– Love, Kindness, Graciousness & Jesus.

I am proud that I can look back at who I once was & see growth. It is amazing what a few months did for my life & what the following months continue to contribute to my growth. I am more appreciative to those around me. I smile often. I have been open to learning to forgive & I walk up to strangers reminding them how beautiful they are & their importance in this world. All things I would have never done or considered before. Today, as a flawed person still trying to figure it out, I tell you that being kind is a habit that can be easily embraced & replicated. It can make the world of a difference in our lives & the lives of others. We all struggle differently, so contributing to making the world a better place, simply by being kind, can stand out significantly to someone who has lost hope in people; like I once did.

Being kind not only helps improve the lives of others, it is beneficial to us in many ways. Kind gestures feel good. They make us happy, empathetic towards others & it is the most empowering thing we can ever offer someone. Keeping this in mind during your daily interactions will open you up in new ways. You will not get it right all the time nor will you be perfect. Even as I strive to be a better version of myself, I acknowledge that I am not always my best self at all times. I err, & am not always the best representative of kindness when my emotions get the best of me however, I understand that it comes with time. If we join together in spreading love & kindness there will be less people like my adolescent-self & more people making conscious decisions to brighten someone’s gloomy day simply based off of a kind gesture they received from someone else. After all, kindness does have a domino effect– touch one heart to reach many others.

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Leaving A Legacy

At some point of my life, up until recently, I always had, what I believed to be a clear understanding of what success is & what it looked like. Now that life has had it’s fun with me by showing me many times that life would never be what I expect it to be; I have a different understanding of what success is. Naively, I believed success equated to a career, the large house I would live in, the luxury car I would drive, the amount of money I would have in the bank & the picture perfect marriage with happy & healthy children. But I realize now, that success is so much more than what I once believed it to be. I am a firm believer that success has less to do with monetary values & more to do with the things that are free.

Success for me is the ability to live a spiritual & joyful life that makes me so high, I will always find the positive in whatever negative thing life may throw my way. Success is the positive & healthy relationships I build with my friends, family & loved ones that are full of support, understanding, knowledge & laughter. It includes accepting myself as I am, loving myself enough to know when I am being mistreated & being ok with removing myself from the equation because I have learned to put myself first. Although, acquiring material riches are not my motive, I understand that success includes leaving behind a legacy for my family to enjoy once I am no longer here to enjoy it with them.

Through this pursuit, I understand that I am not living this life for me alone. I understand that, god willing, there will be generations started from me that will live on this earth long after I am gone. Though I strive to reach my pennicle of success, I understand that my actions can surely effect my bloodline. Hence, why I strive to be my best self now, so that I could be my best self for them when it is time. I understand that being the best version of myself for them includes dealing with intergenerational shortcomings that may have been passed on from generations before me. My ultimate indicator of success is not to have a perfect family, but a family that is conscious & aware of their inconsistencies & are willing to deal with them. I want to contribute to experiences that do not haunt them & drag into their own interpersonal relationships. Because the truth is, the way they will love, will have everything to do with the way they are loved. I strive to not curse my family so that they have the best chance at their best life; in which ever way they choose to acquire that. I want to ensure that when they reflect on who I was & what I did for them they understand that, although I am not perfect I have done all things with them in mind. Who knows, maybe my great grand children will one day find this Nickkie&CO. platform & get the best understanding of who I am, who I strive to be & if I have done so successfully. I will never know, but I do know that what I leave behind for them is the best thing I can offer them.

We are getting older, people pass on & life continues whether we are her to enjoy it or not. So, it is important that we leave the generations after us something that will allow them to spread their fruit unto the earth by leaving something that can contribute to their quality of life. Life is so much more than what we can do for ourselves. Though we should strive to enjoy every aspect of our lives, it should consist of more than temporary financial riches & unpaid debt. Significant life lessons & true assets can do more for the livelihood of your family than the reflection of what once was or what could have been. Invest in them in ways you would have wished to be invested in & let the rest of your work & sacrifices manifest.

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Be A Blessing…

Good morning Conglomerates,

We are here again, together, for another week. I can not express how much I appreciate your willingness to stay with me on our self-love pursuit. Today, I want to discuss the importance of loving & being a blessing to someone else.

Since I was young, I have always wanted to contribute to helping & making a difference in the lives of others. I thought I could save the world by helping everyone & making the people on this earth happy & healthy. As I got older & real life situations started to take place in front of me; I realized that obtaining such goals, alone, was more difficult than I ever thought it could be. Nonetheless, I did not negate that every little contribution counted significantly. That is why I started the Nickkie&CO. platform. I wanted women, as the significant figures we are, to come together, educate & speak life into one another so that we can each be empowered & inspired to inspire one another.

As time progressed, I began to see the influence the weekly memoirs have had on people, which convinced me that I could do more with this platform. Not only did I want to whisper, shout & yell empowerment for those who need it; I wanted to follow through with action. As a result, I now proudly present myself as a philanthropist who acknowledges a need & contributes to a solution. I do this because I find significant importance in being a blessing to someone else other than myself. I realize that I can not be so willing to accept favor from those around me without paying it forward in some way. I need to try to make a difference in the lives of others the way favor & blessings have made a difference in mine.

So often we leave our arms wide open to accept the blessings that rain down on us but often we forget to share those blessings with other who may need it; especially if we do not know them. In this life it is apparent that I can not be a “gimme-gimme” type of person; I am not built that way, though sadly some people are. But if we lived in a world where people gave freely, in different aspects of our being, it is my belief that it will be small strides in the right direction. In a world that constantly reminds us that it is cruel & selfish place to be, it is easy to forget that there are kind people that still grace this earth. I was reminded of this yesterday.

Up until the end of today, I am hosting a book bag collection for the children of domestic violence survivors, who are in safe haven shelters, for the upcoming school year. Personally, I made a Nickkie&CO. goal of ten book bags but in such a short notice & with the remainder of the day left, that goal has been surpassed. Together we collected twenty-seven (& counting) book bags. All, will be one less thing these parents need to worry about for their children. I am moved by the people who came together to contribute & I can not express how truly amazing it feels. What seems like a small sacrifice to us can surely be a BIG blessing to someone else. I am so happy to know that good people saw the vision & contributed to the cause.

Granted, all blessings do not require price tags because you can be a blessing to someone else without having to spend a dime. Love is a universal language & it is expressed in so many ways. Kind gestures, sweet hellos, small reminders, smiles, prayers or even an encouraging word or two all allow you to be a blessing to others. Blessings also do not have expiration dates so you can give it forward at any time. Though you may be in a place where it seems impossible – finances are tight & emotions are off- making a daily practice to add a little sunshine in someone’s life can significantly have an impact on the way you feel through out the day; in some odd way, being a blessing to someone else, will bless you, threefold. Just as our friend, Ms. Karma comes around for the negative, she is very consistent with the positive. So be someone who exemplifies what the contributors exemplified to me; that good people, in one way it another, still walk this Earth & care to make a difference.

Until next time.

**As of 8/28/2018, Conglomerates raised 42 filled bookbags for the families in DV shelters. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.**

Ephesians 4:29

No EvilWelcome to another self-love Sunday, Conglomerate. I appreciate you joining me another week to kick off your week on a positive note. This week I want to address a topic I am certain has effected more than a handful of us. Most of my life, specifically during my adolescence, I had to deal with people dictating the outcome of what my life was going to be. Whether I disagreed with a directive or expressed myself in a way they did not agree with; they would often tell me I would not amount to anything. I was often reminded that instead of making a difference in the world I would be a pregnant teenager (as if that is a death sentence) or end up in jail. Granted, I was not always the most friendly but I was far from malicious. I would be the first to admit that I was DEFIANT & I gave the same respect that I felt was given to me. If I felt disrespected or threatened, I would talk back, defend myself, & seek to humiliate who I believed to be my aggressor. As adolescent teenagers, for some of us, behavior like I had is all apart of the process of growing up & falling into your role in life. The growth process takes on many facets even if it is not the most glamorous. So for the life of me, I can not figure out how my adolescent behavior warranted such definite assumptions of who I was destined to be; a girl whose life will be short-lived because she would “shamefully” end up pregnant or in jail.

Now that I am an adult who has turned out to be everything they never believed I would be; I recognize that people tag negative expectations on the lives of others based on their own standards of living. In my evolution, I have learned that people prefer to influence through negative affirmations instead of the opposite. They would rather remind you of all the things you have done wrong instead of pointing out the things you have done right. They rather point out characteristics they find less appealing instead of pointing out the beauty in them & they prefer to attack your self-esteem by pointing out your flaws instead of teaching you how to use them in your favor. So today, I want to express the importance of speaking power into people, especially our young people. Collectively, we need to help others realize their worth by speaking positive affirmations over their lives; despite what physical & mental state they are in. People are not always resilient to negativity & if exposed to it enough, they can easily believe it. I reflect often on the things that were said to me & I cringe at the possible effects people’s negative statements could have had on me. I am grateful today that I did not believe what they believed I would be.

Let us not be like those people; the same people who hate something so much in themselves that they would rather impose it on someone else instead of uplift them. As we get older, time changes & our roles in life shift, let us not forget that life is a process of growth. Though we should encourage maximizing one’s potential, we should never encourage someone to reach & settle at their highest potential as it enforces limitations on them that require them to stop evolving, learning & being. That being said, let us not dictate someone’s potential because that gives the message that someone can never be more than what we said they can be. Let us speak light where there is darkness & life where there is none. Let us not contribute to breaking down someone else’s character & forgetting to look at our own flaws. In the same way we look in the mirror & speak life changing affirmations on our lives, we must do the same for others. Never be a part of the reason that someone believed they were not good enough. Someone will always remember you for being the one person who believed in them in contrast to the many that did not. Kind gestures & words reap so many more benefits to the world than those that hurt. Make the difference. Be kind.

Kindness is free, sprinkle that sh*t everywhere.  

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Ephesians 4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (NIV).