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 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.
Listen, we are all guilty of this. Life throws curve balls at us, makes things uncomfortable & we instantly neglect anything that brings enjoyment to our lives. We become so consumed with what is going on around us that we forget to take a moment away & still try to enjoy life. We instantly kick into overdrive by trying to get things back in order & neglect everything else including anything & everything that makes us happy.
A very good friend of mine has a milestone birthday today. She organized this beautiful get together to celebrate. However, with some new stressful events that have transpired she has contemplated canceling. Now do not get me wrong, I totally get it. But sometimes just having a moment to not have to worry about the cares of the world is just what the doctor ordered. We need moments away. We need happiness. Joy. Moments that remind us what life is about. Moments that remind us that despite what is going on around us- it is going to be ok.
We have to take better care of ourselves. When things go wry our natural reaction should not be to punish ourselves out of enjoyment. We have to work hard to push ourselves out of ruts that may cause us to miss out on life’s beautiful moments. In fact, in these moments, we need to expose ourselves to more positive experiences as a way to keep our hearts, desires & passions pumping through us – giving us life & keeping is alive. Unfortunate things happen; things we can not control. Therefore it is important that we make the things we can control count. Because at the end of the day, that is what truly matters. You know, the moments we MAKE count.
Hey Conglomerates!! I’m back & my trip to Jamaica was amazing. It was exactly what I needed to feel refreshed & ready to hit you with new content & get my mind right. Being in the tranquil environment of Jamaica gave me alot of time to reflect. It helped heal me from all the chaos I left behind in the United States & all the turmoil I spent months surpressing. Jamaica was the release I needed to get back to being me & I am so grateful. Which leads me to today’s memoir.
A few months ago I was in a short lived relationship with a guy who shortly decided that the relationship did not suit him. I was devasted. I instantly made it an issue about me & what I could have done better to keep my relationship flourishing. Despite how much I overanalyzed, I came up short; EVERYTIME. However, as of late, I have come to the realization that what I was making an issue about me; very well was NOT an issue about me. Instead of self loathing & blaming myself, the truth is that – everything not for us is not because we did something for it not to be for us. We so quickly take rejection and make it an US issue instead of a THEY issue. We do this with everything. We do this with interpersonal relationships, jobs, interviews, etc. However, sometimes, regardless of the circumstances, the fit just was not a fit for us.
I have been learning to accept that there are things that just are not destined for me & that how hard I want something & try to make the pieces come together; God has the final say. This is when faith comes in. I have to believe that through FAITH God WILL provide better & sometimes the loss at that particular time can very well be protecting me from heartbreak or disappointment in the future.
So love, stop trying to muster up the answers to questions that you probably really should not get the answer to. Do not beat yourself up trying to figure out how you could have changed your situation; instead thank God for the lesson, reflect on the experience & wait for the best to come. The hardest thing to accept is that regardless of how much we plan, things really just are not on our time. Sometimes there are potholes & roadblocks in the way. That alone just builds our resistance. Because the truth is, you can not control anything other than getting to the finish line. But you just have to ensure you get there.
I have always lived a pretty structured life. Being the only child of a single parent who was pursuing her own career goals; structure was a significant part of my life. I had long school days from 8-5 & was in bed, faithfully, by 8; every day with the exception of Friday & Saturday. However, Sunday came around & the routine started all over again. I had no sibling to put a radical dent in our daily routine, who was a rebel that defied the odds or who would help me break the rules when my mom thought we were sleeping. That being the case, I submitted to what was of my life- consistency.
Now do not get me wrong, I lived a good life, stable & full of love. However, the constant routine forced me to become a revolutionist to the consistent functionality of my day. I wanted to live a little, have a bedtime past 8 pm & hang out with friends, unplanned. Fast forward a few years, past the years I rebelled & settled in; that same desire to live a little is back & stronger than ever. In my 30s I would say I appreciate consistency. I appreciate structure & I can appreciate what consistency & structure has afforded me in my life. However, I have a desire to live more than what my adult routine requires of me.
Life is more than working every day & paying bills. Responsibilities do not have to take the fun out of life. Although I recognize this, I have been challenging myself to live up to my new found perspective. Money & possessions do not come to the grave with us so it is imperative that we do this life thing while we are alive & truly be able to live. We can still be responsible without restricting ourselves to uneventful schedules. There is nothing wrong with ensuring we live a life full of experiences. Experiences allow us memories & moments to cherish. It exposes us to different people who can be quite amazing. It allows us to have stories to tell & moments so epic that they can not go anywhere but the grave with us.
That’s what life is about! Experiences! Experiences are more than sad & bad times. In fact, they should be devoted to ensuring that we are good enough to ourselves that we truly relish in the moments because they are ours to relish in. It is out choice & it is up to us to determine what we make of them.
**Speaking of living life for experiences, next week, there will not be a memoir available on Sunday. I’ll be taking my own advice & will be in Jamaica celebrating the matrimony of friends. Once I return, we are back to the regularly scheduled program.**
Good morning!!! I am extremely excited to present to you a memoir written by Guest Inspiration, Alexandra Claudio. She was the first Guest Inspiration to share her story on the Nickkie&Co platform with her Self Care memoir, Our Greatest Investments Start Within https://nickkieandco.com/2018/03/04/guest-blogger-alex/ .
Today, she is back again still advocating for self-care & talking about her individual journey in getting to know herself. Continue reading to learn more about her pursuit in getting to know & love herself more; it is truly inspiring.
If you are anything like myself, you also like to shy from those moments where it finally makes sense why a parent has laid a jewel on you. My shiny ruby in this case would be, “Don’t rush into dating Alex, you barely know yourself”.
Ever since I was the bright-eyed 13 year old, I’d always wanted to be the girl in the romance novels that I’d have my nose in during lunch periods at school. I wanted to be that heroin that had it all – the thriving family, the successful career and a doting husband. SO with that being said, I’d always be less than satisfied with my mom’s reply to my whiny questions of “Ugh, when can I have a boyfriend???” – I mean because, how can I get that thriving family started without one, am I right? Fast-forward, major heartbreaks in and years the wiser I find myself finally saying “Aha!” It all started one rainy Saturday when my emotions were running high because “Netflix and chilling” with my business plans and glass of warming Chardonnay was just was not doing it. I got fed up and took to Google.
Never too proud to read a self-help blog or two, I came across information about a 30-day challenge for self-love. I laughed to myself because I thought why would people need to be challenged to love themselves? Then I began reading through the blog and eventually decided to participate. Each day there was a different self-love related task to complete. Some tasks were written, some done via role-play, meditation and reflection. My “aha” moment came on Day 7 of the challenge wittedly titled “Getting to know you”. I was challenged to write about 3 to 5 perfect dates. They could be romantic, fun – whatever I wanted. Then I was to imagine/visualize going on these dates for the very first time while remaining extremely detailed, I had to write the typesq of dialogue I would have as well as behaviors and actions – all as if I was having these dates completely solo. This challenge was so difficult for me! So I backed off of it for a day and then had to reflect on why it was actually challenging me. Then, here it comes “Aha!”
In and out of so-called “relationships” since age 15, I now at nearly 15 years later completely understand how at the time my romantic journey began I was far too young, vulnerable. The stresses while dating young greatly affected how I thought relationships were supposed to be, who I was supposed to be. I just knew what any girl knew then, how to keep a boyfriend around: please them, have common interests,be attentive, neat, funny, interesting etc. these skills I have mastered but, had I given up the journey of getting to really KNOW myself for wanting to be “ready” for that oh-so-meaningful relationship? I believe this is why it was so hard for me to imagine truly enjoying my own company – I am so used to having someone show me approval, affection, and attention from outside of myself. To render this I have since decided to take my challenge a step further – rather than looking externally for these satisfactions I will first look to myself! I know my worth, more importantly I know what type of heart I have and what I deserve, so who better to treat me than me? To amp up this challenge, taking it past 30 days I recycled a shoebox and inside I have cut and folded pieces of paper. On each paper I have listed a date idea, dates that I have always wanted to go on or try and ones that sound like quick getaways. Each start of the month I will shake up the box and choose a date! Whatever I choose I will make plans for it right then and there because I will no longer put myself on hold. The exciting part too is that I never know what I will pick and it will all be fun, classy, sexy ideas that I love. As I continue to self-date through out this challenge and experience, I know that I will begin to truly know myself after all.
Faith is the act of believing in the things that are unseen. As humans it is only normal for us to want evidence or fact to back up what we believe. However, some of the excitement in life is having the ability to believe in something that has not tangibly come to pass. It is about believing that something exists or will happen even when there is nothing that is telling us so. For instance, faith has allowed me to stand in the midst of my storms knowing I could get through it. It is how I know that God exists & is protecting me. Faith provides me comfort in knowing that before my last day comes, everything is going to be ok. The things I once stressed about would have already resolved itself & because of that I am at peace.
Faith has given me that peace.
Faith gives us something to look forward to; something to believe in. Because of how faith manifests itself in our lives we are able to live. Many of us get through life because of faith. We start off with dreams that we eventually strive for & we pursue action steps to get us to where we want to be. Taking these action steps is the first step in initiating faith because the truth is, none of us would work for something we did not believe would come to pass. So when we go to school, fill out job applications, have a job interview, send our children off to school or get in the car to go somewhere; we are activating the principles of faith in believing that it is going to all work out in our favor, that our children will be safe, & we will get to our own destinations safely.
I want you to keep this in mind in the eye of your storm. Because the good thing about storms, they never last forever. If you are working hard toward something, never forget that all races have a finish line & since you are the only person running the race of your life- it is inevitable that you will get there. Faith is the gasoline in your gas tank that keeps you moving forward. When you feel your tank going on “E”, you have to motivate yourself to keep the momentum. Do not give up! Sometimes life is about navigating through it with the blindfold on- trust yourself enough to do it.
Every couple of months my church comes together in agreement to fast for 3 days & spend time with God. We end our fast with a celebration we call a “Prophetic Night of Worship”. It is an exciting night that encourages those within the walls of the sanctuary to feel the move of God. In this setting, prophetic wonders happen that are specific to people’s individual situations & need for healing. It is truly a beautiful thing to experience; so beautiful it is difficult to put into words. However, I can say that every time is a new experience, but yesterday was specifically special.
I was in the line of prayer when the guest pastor came to pray over me, she asked for my hands. When I gave them to her she grabbed them firmly & asked me what it is that I do with my hands. I responded that I write; she smiled & started to pray for me. Her desire to pray over my ability to write was confirmation that what I do every week is a gift afforded to me by God & that I am not doing this every week for nothing. That night, my desire to spread love & encouragement through my writing was confirmed to be the right thing.
It is important to bring this up because I need you to understand that you have gifts too. Not just one, but multiple. Many people walk around unsure of their purpose & what their talents are. They look at the talents of others & attempt to compare it to theirs. There is no need. Your gift is your gift. It is yours to do with it what you please. It does not matter what people think, nor does it matter if it’s “flashy” enough for people to be shouting your name or increase your wealth. Just embrace it & manifest your desires in this gift because when God has a calling on your life the limits are non-existent. So keep working on perfecting your talents, keep striving to get it out to the world, stay encourage & steadfast. You have an imprint to leave on this world, this is the sure way that you will do it.
There is no surprise that through life we all have our own different experiences that effect us differently. How we perceive & cope with this may vary from situation to situation. Therefore the generic ways people, blogs & other outlets encourage us to heal is not always so helpful. In fact, more often than not, we become extremely hard on ourselves because we have decided that the appropriate way for us to heal is the way other people tell us we need to– false.
Our experiences are uniquely ours so the way we choose to heal is entirely up to us. We can receive words of encouragement but when it comes to the act of healing there is no cookie cutter method to doing so. Unfortunately, we just have to allow ourselves to go through the motions– the good, bad, the ugly & the worse. Sometimes we need help getting through it but we should never allow ourselves to be confined to the way the world tells us is the best way to heal. The world is not us & it does not know us better than we know ourselves. As long as we acknowledge that healing takes time, we are already well on our way. There is no need to add unnecessary expectations & time frames to the process. We just have to focus & do what needs to be done to get back to who we really are.
When we emerge; we will very well meet the next & better version of ourself; regardless of how long it took us to get there.
Happy Sunday!!! I will be honest enough to tell you that there was almost no memoir for you today. Not because my heart was not in it but because I was out late spending some time with like-minded individuals that I just met yesterday. It was truly amazing. We talked about any & everything under the sun from relationships, finances, marriage, friendship, goals, aspirations, etc. However, I need you to see the important part in all this–
I just met these people yesterday!
Sometimes we spend so much time being anti-social or reserved that we do not realize that strangers can add something of value to our lives- a lesson, confirmation to what we know or to be a living example of something we believe or aspire to have happen for our own lives. If we stay secluded, avoid events where people we know are not attending or limit our circle to our immediate circle of friends we lose out on the opportunity of encounter. We gain something new from every interaction & yesterday further confirmed that for me. In talking, laughing & interacting with these individuals yesterday I am elated because not only was it a great time, it was further revelation that my friends & I are not crazy for the goals that we aspire to have. There were married couples, parents, students, career professionals all sitting in one place sharing point of views, dropping gems, being ourselves & giving me, a single career woman, who wants to one day be married, a glimpse into what my social life with my future spouse can very well look-like.
So today, I encourage you to socialize more with strangers. At events sit next to people you do not know & start talking to them. Do not limit your interactions to solely the people in your circle. Network, meet new people, encourage someone, be encouraged, have an unexpected time with unexpected good people -you will be surprised what you will get out of it. Some new encounters can evolve to forever bonds, guarantee a great time every time you link up or be an encounter that will stitch a lesson into your memory you will never forget.