New Moon in Gemini Tips…

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Photo Courtesy of Space.com

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master. If you do the math and spend one hour a day studying something that is around 27 years. At 34 years old I can’t think of anything that I would consider myself a master of. Maybe writing, maybe teaching, maybe learning… but even with teaching – methodologies, what we know about the brain and the social, political and environmental contexts constantly change, so I don’t know if one is ever really a “Master Teacher.” A master teacher is ultimately truly a master student. This week, I have realized that I suffer from “Oh, squirrel!” brain, and I’m learning to make peace with that. I also launched a new professional website, donnienicolesmith.com.

At first I was going to get rid of this site, but then I realized I still need this digital studio and lab to think out loud. DonnieNicoleSmith.com will be reserved for professional, business and “suited & booted” things. DonnieNicole will be reserved for social commentary, magic, astrology and all of the other glitter, stardust and “oh squirrel” things.

Yesterday there was a New Moon in Gemini. I have Gemini in a couple of places in my chart including my ascendant. I am “Gemini Rising.” So the astrology this month is going to be super strong for me. I am by no means an astrological expert, but I’ve been studying long enough (about 3 years) to navigate the basics.

My rituals included:

  • Burning a New Moon in Gemini Candle from House of Intuition.
  • Burning sage essential oil in my oil diffuser and lavendar cone incense.
  • Adding Agate, Green Aventurine and Citrine to my altar (all stones with correspondences to Mercury). All astrological signs have a ruling planet. Gemini’s ruling planet is Mercury.
  • Writing down my intentions connected to the areas of my life that Mercury influences:
    • Communication
    • Information
    • Networking
    • Travel
    • Trade
    • Merchants
    • Commerce
  • Remember that every month there is a new moon and a full moon. The new moon is a good time to plant seeds, begin new projects, vision, dream, etc. We’ll talk about the full moon when it arrives. Whatever starts at the new moon will be reviewed or “closed” in 6 months at the full moon. It is helpful to keep track of intentions and then six months later to read back over your intentions and do some reflections around lessons learned, insight, clarity, etc. Life is the greatest teacher but it moves so fast, unless we have ways to capture what’s happening and reflect, we will continue to find ourselves reliving the same cycles – in the same way that the sun rises and sets, every single day. Although the sun rises and sets everyday – new things are happening – temperatures change, people are born, and people transition, seeds are being planted, and fruit is being harvested. If we don’t pay attention, we could make the assumption (and mistake) that today is just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that…
  • Correspondences are like time tested formulas or prescriptions for calling forth and working with certain energies. When researching correspondences, I generally try to confirm it in at least two or 3 reputable sources before using or trusting the information. I keep a binder/notebook of correspondences organized by intention (protection, love, creativity, etc.).
  • The window for New Moon Rituals is 3 days before to 3 days after.

Most professional astrologers say that the most impactful elements of your birth chart are your Sun Sign (the one that most people know by heart), your Rising Sign (some astrologers say that this is more important than your sun sign and will provide more accurate insight) and your Moon Sign (provides insight on how you process and deal with your emotions).

Here are some helpful articles and resources for understanding how the New Moon in Gemini may influence and impact you:

Emotionally Intense New Supermoon causing major shifts & disruption via Elephant Journal. 

Affirmation Horoscopes via Chani Nicholas. If you have the opportunity to purchase one of Chani’s courses please do so. I am a regular customer because not only does she provide good information, she is a great instructor/teacher. Her horoscopes and astrological advice really allows you to personalize the information!

Jessica Lanyadoo Horoscopes via The Hoodwitch.

New Moon in Gemini via Mystic Mamma.

Happy New Moon!!!

How To Manifest

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Caption: A list of my goals from 2004. 

I am a huge believer in the law of attraction, in energy, and in our ability (in collaboration with the spirit realm) to manifest certain things into our lives. I have been in intense study for the last year or so, learning best practices and the methodology behind manifestation.

My earliest memory of manifestation starts with High School. I used to write these lists of my future goals, two of included graduating from college and eventually starting an organization. I am happy to know that those two things have happened. Here are some tips for manifesting things in your own life.

1. Bring the idea from your head & heart into the real world. Use all 5 of your senses in order to actualize what you want to manifest into the real world. What would it look like? What does it sound like? What does it taste, smell and feel like? You can create a vision board and/or journal to really get your ideas out of your head and into the world.

2. Speak to trusted people about the idea. When you verbalize what you want, you are that much closer to manifesting it. Especially when you speak to people who love you and care for you and want to see you have your hearts desires.

3. Ensure that people will not be harmed or minimize harm as much as possible (to avoid the cosmic/karmic boomerang). When it comes to manifestation, things are generally going to work out for your greater good and for the greater good of others. Be sure that in manifesting your desires you aren’t causing harm to others, because that may be the reason why your desires won’t manifest.

4. Make room in your life for whatever it is that you want. If you want to manifest a new business, start the process by securing the domains and social media handles. Begin writing your business plan. If you want to manifest love, take yourself on dates and give yourself the love you want from another. Create literal space and time in your life for whatever you are calling into your life.

5. Be sure that what you want is intrinsically motivated. Do not try to manifest something that is really to impress or please others. That’s not genuine or authentic, and you may in fact get it but be unhappy or unfulfilled. Manifestation has to be about you and your contribution to the universe.

6. Realize that time is more complicated than just dates… there are seasons… Understand that we do not have control over when things manifest in our lives. Sometimes it happens quickly… sometimes it can take years, but ultimately when and if it does happen, it will be at the time that is most appropriate for your life. Don’t give up faith and hope. Keep living life and before you know it, you will be looking at what you wanted actualized. Ecclisiastes 3 is one of my favorite verses:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

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Caption: A list of my goals at 18 years old. I actually need to go back through and add more checks to those things that I have accomplished. 

7. Keep living and firing on all chakras (cylinders)… Manifestation is connected to gratitude. It is difficult to manifest when you are working with energy of desperation, bitterness, or anger. Be grateful for what has manifested in your life, in order to make room for more. When your fists are balled up, you aren’t able to open your hands for more blessings.

8. Have a vision but also be fluid about the execution of the vision. Things may not manifest exactly as you envisioned. For example, if you want a house, you may get a condo at a really good rate. Ultimately the house is about ownership, and the universe may give you want you want in another form.

9. Do the work… What you want isn’t just going to fall out of the sky. You actually have to do the work!

10. Do the research… Do your due diligence to figure out the steps to manifest your dreams. Is there a financial component? Do you need to hire consultants or contractors (in the case of interior design or real estate)? Do you need a stylist or photographer? Write out the steps from idea to manifestation, and do your research so that you can know what you are getting yourself into.

11. Connect with others who have already manifested what you’d like to see in your life and LEARN. You will not likely be the first to manifest or the last. Try to connect with others who are doing what you want to do, or who have what you want to have and learn. Not from the perspective of jealousy or envy, but from the perspective of being a student of their success. Remember that you may not be able to take the same exact path that they took, but you can certainly learn lessons from them.

12. Be reflective. Think about what you are learning about yourself and others as you work to manifest. You are likely going to learn lessons about patience. About collaboration. About resilience. Be sure that you learn the lessons intended for you. Healers often say that lessons in life repeat until we learn what we need to learn. Do you find yourself facing similar challenges over and over again? There may be a lesson or a “board” that you haven’t been able to pass, but need to in order to get to the next level.

13. Understand that everything that is supposed to happen will happen and that just because you want something to manifest it may not…. but even that is ultimately for the greater good. “What’s meant to be will be.” “If it comes, let it. If it goes, let it.”

14. Listen to your gut & your intuition. It is truly the 6th sense. In addition to the 5 senses, there is a 6th sense. Your intuition/your gut. It is just as valid in terms of processing information as the other senses, and some even argue that it is more helpful in processing information. Don’t be afraid to follow that little voice, or that feeling in your stomach.

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Caption: A list of my goals from college. The checkmarks represent those things that have been accomplished. I actually need to update it because I have more things to check off. 

15. Pray. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer! Pray to your God! Write letters to your God. Speak to your God. Prayer is significant, as I believe that we need spiritual guidance or spiritual support.

16. Fast. Fasting is a spiritual act. It helps you to hear the spiritual messages and clear away the spiritual clutter. It is a form of submission, and of gaining control of the “flesh” or carnal body.

17. Seek spiritual guidance. Seek spiritual advisors (pastors and priests). Seek healers. Seek astrologers. Sometimes you may need some insight from another spiritually strong individual.

18. Use crystals and other spiritual tools that are known to hold certain energy. Here are the top crystals for manifestation:

  • Citrine (manifests abundance)
  • Quartz (amplifies your desires)
  • Rose Quartz (for manifesting love)
  • Amethyst (for manifesting wisdom & spirituality)

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Another tool that I like to use is the Vision Board. You can read more about making a vision board here.

I created an ultimate bucket list, which I call my Manifesto. Check it out here.

Why I Love Crystals…

My grandmother used to live in a housing complex called Holy Temple when I was a little girl. I have such fond memories of living there with my grandmother. What I remember the most was that behind her complex was “the woods” and attached to the facade of the building were these stones that my cousins and I would call crystals. My cousins and I would regularly pry crystals off the building and I remember being told to “stop messing with those crystals.” In my little girl mind they were endless. Thinking back they were both clear and pink. Likely clear quartz and rose quartz.

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Caption: Me holding Smoky Quartz with inclusions. 

Growing up I was a tomboy and I enjoyed spending most of my time outside. I was most happiest when I could climb trees and be out in nature. Sidebar: Once, my cousin Vanecia and I were determined to build a real tree house. We created a floor using mesh wire, added carpet, and even had plans to call the phone company to get telephone service. We found all of the materials for the tree-house scavenging around the neighborhood. The tree was located in the back yard of our apartment. Kansas City Trees were made to be scaled and climbed and apparently developed into housing lol. Your girl has always been resourceful!

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Caption: A labradorite heart my husband bought me for my birthday. Visually this is one of the most magical stones. It literally looks like it has light inside of it. 

In High School I became obsessed with Saul Williams. His poetry and his writings inspired me to do research. His first project was called “Amethyst Rock Star,” and he frequently talked about Saturn. You can learn more about Saul here. I started looking up “amethyst” and “Saturn,” and getting into astrology, but it was astrology light, because I didn’t move beyond my Sun Sign.

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Caption: Me holding a large piece of my favorite stone – CITRINE! How I wish I would have purchased this beauty! 

Fast forward to now. The last year or so I have found myself returning to nature and the earth. I have found myself craving ground & being grounded. When I had a miscarriage with my first child in December of 2011 while 5 months pregnant, I found myself clinging and reaching for everything that I could grab hold to, and the one thing that I felt most connected to was God (“the source”) and Mother Nature. I also don’t think it’s an accident that one of my earliest memories is connected to a place that I used to live in called Holy Temple.

I’ve always been spiritual.

I’ve always believed that there is power in our daily spiritual practices – what we do day to day. How we treat people. What we decide to do with our time while we are here on this earth. These have all been things that I’ve thought about for as long as I can remember.

Currently, I have a pretty large collection of crystals. I like crystals because:

(1) When I hold them, I feel something. Depending on the stone, I have feel warmth. I have felt my heart rate increase or decrease. I always feel something.

(2) Crystals are thousands of years old and they come from near the earth’s crust. Something about that keeps me humble and keeps me accountable for my time here. In the scheme of the universe, our presence is nothing but a “flash.” I want my flash to be meaningful and to contribute to the evolution of our species and our planet.

(3) Our ancestors used them. From the Ancient Egyptians. To the Mayans. To the Ancient Chinese. Crystals have been revered and have been a part of ancient civilizations cultural significance and collective consciousness. There is so much that we can learn about now and about the future from our ancestors. To determine the trajectory of something, one only needs to look back and follow the patterns. Check out this powerful article written by one of my favorite guides Bri Luna in Essence Magazine here.

(4) In the same way that certain foods contain vitamins and minerals, I believe that crystals contain certain properties. There is no denying the fact that the sun shining on us, has an effect on us. There is no denying the fact that plants “cleanse” the air. Why would crystals be any different?

(5) I started my next trip around the Sun almost a month ago, and I want to get better at mastering myself so that I can focus more on my assignment on this planet. It is so easy to get wrapped up in things that don’t matter (see what I did there…). That is not to say that there is no room for fun or for joy. I just have this insatiable desire to learn and to work in tandem with the energy that is me, and the energy that surrounds me. Since I am nothing but a flash, I want to give light. I want to be a spark. I want to give warmth. I want to highlight paths. I want to be able to radiate so brightly that the darkness doesn’t matter.

Helpful Resources:

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Caption: The window display at Spellbound Sky, my favorite metaphysical store, located in Los Angeles! 

If you’re looking to purchase crystals you can do a search of “Gemstone Stores,” “Crystal Stores” or “Metaphysical Shops” and they usually come up. In Chicago, I usually go to Precious Possessions in the Loop. In LA, I LOVE Spellbound Sky (I was sold when I saw the unicorn in the Window).

Upcoming Posts:
(1) Manifestation

(2) How I Organize my Crystal Collection

 

 

Couple’s Field Trip: Oriental Institute

“And as an mc you will study verbal magic
But watch what you say ’cause you’ll attract it
Control your subconscious magnet from pullin in havoc” – KRS-One

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Che & I decided to visit the Oriental Institute to check out the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead Exhibit. One of the pillars of our marriage is learning together. For the last year or so, I have been studying Metaphysics, Reiki and Energy pretty heavy. As I get older I am concerned with alignment of my mental, physical, spiritual and emotional energies as well as growing my capacity to be a better human being in all ways. I’ve had glimpses of experiences where I’ve been in total alignment and I’d like to make that my norm. I also have high blood pressure. In addition to changing my diet, increasing my physical activity and transforming my relationship with stress, I have been interested in holistic approaches to addressing.

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The Ancient Egyptians basically used the Book of the Dead to guide the deceased person into the afterlife. They believed that if a person could navigate the afterlife, pass the judgement of Osiris and the other Gods, then they could attain immortality.

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Here are some of the notes from the exhibit

“Osiris, his sister wife Isis, and their son Horus, formed one of the primary divine triads of ancient Egypt. The trio evokes the epic myth of Osiris involving his murder by his brother Seth, his mummification by Isis, and his redemption by Horus. Through the spells in the Book of the Dead, ancient Egyptians sought to emulate Osiris by triumphing over death. They assumed his identity in spell 69 by reciting: “I Am Osiris, brother of Isis, while my son Horus with his mother Isis, saved me from my enemies who do everything evil against me.” The dead gained their Osirian form as a result of the appropriate funerary rituals, which ancient texts described as “giving an Osiris to” someone.

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“They believed that language and writing were imbued with magical power and that reciting and recording such declarations would make the statements come true.”

“Like all of us, the people of Ancient Egypt wondered what would happen to them after they died. to alleviate the anxiety about our human mortality, a life-affirming religion developed in ancient Egypt that emphasized the possibility of immortality – an everlasting life in the hereafter among the gods. Each Egyptian needed to undergo the proper rituals of embalming and burial to ensure their continued existence in the next world. Magical spells of ritual power accompanied these rites. So powerful were these words that Egyptians wanted to take the spells with them to the grave. To do so, they gathered the spells into a compilation we now call the Book of the Dead.”

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In addition to using papyrus, “spells” were also inscribed on other items including linen bandages, amulets, coffins, sarcophagi, statues, stelae and the walls of the tomb.

“To the ancient Egyptians, these spells were called the ‘spells of going forth by day,’ a reference to the ability of the soul to leave the tomb at dawn.”

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“The Book of the Dead, then, is a grimoire of magical incantations intent on resurrecting the deceased, and turning them into a powerful immortal spirit, called an akh in ancient Egyptian. As an akh-spirit, the dead joined with the sun god Re as he sailed in his solar barge across the sky during the day and with Osiris as he ruled the netherworld at night. Living relatives often petitioned the akh-spirits of their ancestors to intercede on their behalf in earthly and spiritual matters, for akh-spirits were divine entities like other gods.”

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“The ancient Egyptians sought to change reality by speaking words out loud while performing accompanying ritual actions. Through the power of magic, they believed that saying it made it real.”

IMG_7896“The heart was the seat of thought for ancient Egyptians and carried with it the memories of the individual. In the afterlife, the dead recited spells against their own heart, using magic to maintain control over it to prevent the revelation of any misdeeds in the tribunal before Osiris.”

“Ancient Egyptians employed Book of the Dead spells for over 1,500 years from the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1700 BC) down to the Roma Empire (ca. AD 200). Afterward there was a rise in a new set of texts called the Books of Breathing. These Books of Breathing represent the las stage of Egyptian funeral literature before the Christianization of the country in the third and fourth centuries AD.”

The thing that I will take away from me from this exhibit is the power of the written and spoken word, and the importance of documenting culture in a sustainable way. My fear is that as we rely so heavily on technology that future generations may not be able to easily access our cultural artifacts. I also think that one can and does achieve immortality through legacy. Lastly, there is nothing more humbling than standing in a room of artifacts that predate not only your existence but that have endured for thousands of years. I can only hope that something that I, or that we create lasts that long!

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We were also excited to see the Ancient Nubia Exhibit with CRYSTALS!!!! Nubia was originally called Kush.  There was lots of jewelry that included Carnelian, Quartz, Shells & Rose Quartz.

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4:44 – Another Possible Meaning To Jay-Z’s Album

 

4:44 has been in heavy rotation in my speakers! Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I came across this possible meaning of the title of Jay-Z’s new album. I’m not going to lie, initially it went right over my head, but that’s the beauty of good art. I was doing my spiritual work and came across this on AstroStyle.com.

“444: Home base calling.

Four is the number of home and family. In astrology, the fourth house governs the feminine realm so if you see 4:44, an important woman may have just come into your life. What are your loved ones up to? Your inner circle could use your attention. You may have just met someone who is a soul sister or a friend who will achieve ersatz family status in the days ahead.

Your body is your soul’s home: are you honoring it with proper rest, exercise and nutrition? 4:44 could be a reminder to eat more live, organic greens and purge your environment of toxic stress…including people who you don’t really trust. Listen to your heart: are you getting the warm fuzzies or feeling panicked when you think about the people around you? This might be a wakeup call to protect your space and the loved ones who inhabit it.

In tarot, 4 is The Emperor card, the wise, protective father figure, seated firmly on his throne. The appearance of 4s may also call you into protector-provider mode. What do you have to share with friends and family? How can you make life safer and more secure for your brood or entourage? Be a leader.”

It’s interesting because in interviews Jay-Z has said that he woke up at 4:44 a.m. to write the song. I wonder if he knew that the universe was also talking to him?

It’s Time For Us To Turn Off The Noise & Turn Up (The Frequency)!

I came across the pic on Instagram:

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I immediately thought of one of my favorite Outkast songs “Slum Beautiful” where they say “Hey girl, what’s your frequency/ and can I come there frequently…” I also thought back to the AAHH! Fest where as the EARLY SHOW stage manager, I had to wear a walkie talkie. The interesting thing about the walkie talkie was that if I wasn’t on the same channel as someone else, we couldn’t communicate… So… what do Outkast and Walkie-Talkies have to do with the point of this post… we have to go back to High School Chemistry…

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All matter (including the human body) is composed of atoms and all atoms vibrate. The higher you vibrate… the more energy you produce… the more momentum you create… the more power you have. Without going too deep into the science of it all, sometimes we have to turn down (or off) the noise and turn up the frequency.

The noise is anything or anyone that is keeping you from fulfilling your purpose and destiny. It could include dream chillers and killers, those folks who never have anything positive to say about your goals or your ambition. It could include people who purposefully aren’t on the same channel that you’re on… those whose life trajectory is very different from yours (perhaps even polar opposite). Those who don’t seem to bring anything valuable to your life and perhaps, may even be taking things away from your life. The noise can even be yourself… that mean little voice that creates doubt and insecurity about who you are and where you’re headed.  Are you creating so much noise (drama, mess, paralyzing fear) in your life that you can’t get things done? When we think of noise, we don’t think of pleasant sounds… we think of a distraction, an intrusion, and discomfort. Today. not tomorrow, it’s time to off the noise and if you can’t turn it off, at least turn it on and turn up the FREQUENCY.

The higher the frequency (in sound) the more times a sound wave goes from a cycle from positive to negative to positive again. There are some frequencies that are inaudible to the human ear… my goal is to be so spiritually aligned that I’m operating on that level frequency…

I started this post with Outkast, and I’ll end it with them too… “Vibrate”

“Every boy and girl, woman to man/ when you feel you’ve done about the best you can/ mother *** the wagon come join the band/ vibrate higher…” Let’s vibrate at a higher frequency ya’ll, starting right now!

How I Start My Day Off Right…

For the last two weeks I have started reading my bible every single day. If you type in “Youversion” in the App Store, an icon that says “Holy Bible” Pops up and it is made by LifeChurch.tv and filed under reference. The cool thing about the Youversion App is that you can select your translation (in my case I prefer the NIV).

A friend recommended a daily devotional called She Reads Truth. You can browse for She Reads Truth Devotionals and they are delivered daily to your mobile device (which for me includes my iPhone and my iPad mini).

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You can check off the passages as you read them, and then there is a daily devotional which is basically a reflection on the verses for the day. I like the She Reads Truth Devotionals because they are written for women.

Since I’ve started reading my bible & the devotionals daily I’ve realized:

(1) Hearing God’s voice daily makes me see, hear and feel everything more clearly. Rather than just using my own eyes, ears and emotional thermometer, which can be egotistical, one-sided or limited, I am encouraged to look at things from a larger perspective with more compassion, deference and wisdom.

(2) It is easier to confront my fears. Fear can be paralyzing. When I read my bible it boosts my confidence. It’s like having your own spiritual body guard. I feel mentally strong.

(3) It streamlines my decision making process. It is a daily reminder of my values and my priorities. It becomes easier to avoid the behavior, people or experiences that “test” my values and “poke” my priorities. I am a woman of virtue. When I am out of touch with God, it is more difficult to make decisions. Imagine seeing this first thing in the morning:

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(4) I have less stress. I am reminded that while there is a lot that I can control, there is so much that I cannot and I can’t spend my time worrying about those things. I simply pray about them and allow God to work his magic.

(5) I feel more motivated. It is easier to do what needs to be done daily and with a better attitude because I am reminded that my life has a purpose and I have a mission. My morning bible reading is like a spiritual cup of coffee every morning.

I’m not a member of a church but I pray daily, read my bible daily and I try to live a life that honors the magnificence of the creator. I’m deeply spiritual and my worldview is based largely on Christian principles. I try to follow the 10 commandments and I try to be a reflection of God’s light.

SIDEBAR CONVERSATION:

*I confess, I do not go to church every Sunday. I was pretty much raised in the church, and it is very difficult to find a church home where people aren’t distracted by the pastor (he/she sometimes becomes their God) or each other (church folks can be extremely judgmental and cold). The truth is, I may eventually find a church home and when I do I want it to be a place where the pastor actually teaches from the bible – I want to be challenged and I want it to be grounded in the word.  It would also have to be a church that is accessible to nonbelievers with a commitment to addressing social justice issues. Until then I focus on my personal relationship with God and encourage others to develop their own personal relationship.

We May Never Get What We Want…

First, I have to than my dear friend Lauren for introducing me to the She Reads Truth Devotional Series.  I downloaded the YouVersion bible app and my daily devotional is delivered there right to my phone/iPad. It includes both scripture and a reflection about the scriptures read for today. The app also works like the Kindle App where you can add notes & highlights in different colors. Today’s scripture was Genesis 29:14 – 35 and Genesis 30:16-21.

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It was the story of two sisters, Leah & Rachel and a man named Jacob. After reading the story my initial thoughts were, wow, women have been having babies to try to get the love of a man for a long time. Verse 32 says, “Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, ‘It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” Jacob however, had always desired Rachel who was described as more physically beautiful. But then I get to the devotional. My #SheReadsTruth sisters say “Leah may not have been ‘lovely in form,’ but she was exactly what God was looking for through whom to establish the house of David and the lineage of Christ.” 

In our world of rampant materialism and hypersexuality, it can be easy to get caught up in the wrong things. How beautiful your face is, and what type of shoes you have on your feet really don’t matter in the end and it has little bearing on God’s will for your life. I used to be really insecure about my nose… like really insecure. Now, I affectionally call it my Olmec Nose:

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I’m trying to spend less time obsessing over things that are out of my control, and focusing on things that I can control like my attitude, my reputation and my reactions. I’ve been blessed with many things I desire – a good husband & a healthy marriage, a home, a career and countless other things. Praising God for those things opens up the floodgates for more blessings. Complaining about that which we don’t have floods our hearts and our minds with the evil sewage of feeling inadequate, lethargic, depressed and negative. In stead of being useful to the kingdom, we are useless during those times. Leah was so caught up in worrying about Jacob, that she didn’t see that she was the one God chose to establish the house of David & the lineage of Christ. What are we NOT seeing that God is protecting us from or preparing us for?

How gracefully do we accept those things that aren’t meant for us? How gentle are we? How much do we love IN SPITE of hurt or disappointment… How good are we accepting that we may not get what we want, but God will always give us exactly what we need?

Send Lauryn Hill Some Mail in Jail

I’m a huge fan of Lauryn Hill, and have been since I heard her sing as a High School Student.

It was Lauryn Hill who gave me the courage to rock my natural hair at the tender age of 17…

It was Lauryn Hill whose album title forced me to go read Dr. Carton G. Woodson’s The Miseducation of the Negro 

It was Lauryn Hill who spoke the language of my innocent and unwavering teenage love with lyrics like… “I get mad when you walk away / so I tell you leave when I mean stay…” and “These buildings could drift out to sea / some natural catastrophe / still there’s no place I’d rather be….”

I’ll go to my grave saying “And while you imitating Al Capone, I’ll be Nina Simone / and defecating on your microphone” is the best line in rap EVER.

But the point of this post is to let you know that Lauryn Hill is currently incarcerated for the next 3 months due to tax evasion. This hit close to home not only because I’m a fan, but because my mother was incarcerated when I was little girl . Lauryn Hill has six children – the youngest is 1 years old and the oldest is 16 and incarceration is difficult for any family.

One thing that is really important to those who are incarcerated is mail, so let’s overwhelm our sister with our love, our words of encouragement and our prayers. You can send mail here:

Lauryn Hill #64600-050
FCI Danbury
Federal Correction Institution 
Route 37
Danbury, CT 06811
 
Love Lauryn
 

Please feel free to grab the flyer and repost it on your site/social networking.

 
 

A Year Is A Marathon… Not A Sprint

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I used to run track in High School and as I enjoyed time off from teaching yesterday, I started really thinking about 2013. I love the optimism and the ambitious energy that surrounds the start of the new year. I too have my laundry list of things I’d like to do and accomplish this year. I get so excited, but I also had to give myself a reality check and a reality check for me equals a reality check for you too!

This year will be comprised of 365 days, 52 weeks and 12 months. We have to be prepared for the long distance which means we need to pace ourselves! You don’t have to lose weight, clean up, and do a full transformation in one day or even one month. Change takes time. Be patient with yourself and be patient with others but don’t give up on yourself.

I posted this on Twitter & Facebook today:

“With every thought we think, we either summon, or block a miracle.” – Marianne Williamson

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I started reading The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson today. The first mention of the book came via Twitter from Bevy Smith (@bevysmith) who hosts high-profile networking dinners. The second mention of the book came less than a week later from Shanel Cooper-Sykes (@shanelcooper), during Midnight Meditation (a weekly conference call hosting 1,000 participants that starts with inspirational words/reflections from Shanel and ends with guided meditation). I respect both of these women and decided to download the book to my Kindle and have not put it down since I started!

I spent a lot of time organizing and cleaning my office which lead to me joining the Scrappypedia Scrap Stash Organization Club. You can join the club here: http://www.scrappypedia.com/article/join-scrappypedias-scrap-stash-organization-club/. I was able to order prints (for a “Wall of Fame” Project for my hubby and for regular scrapbooking) as well as to rekindle my relationship with Mozy (an online computer back-up system). I’m looking forward to the challenges this year! I also discovered Your Fairy Craft Mama who has a huge list of January 2013 prompts for blogs and scrapbook pages. The list is so good it was worthy of being printed out lol! A New Blog called Organized Scrapping launched today!

I spent time connecting with family and friends on the phone and via text. There are some people that I intend to get closer to in 2013! I intend to make more phone calls, send more texts, make myself available on Skype, send more emails, and hand write more letters.

I intend to update my blog at least every other day! You can also follow me on Twitter (@blkgrlunmasked), Follow me on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/donnienicole/), or e-mail me privately at donnienicolesmith@gmail.com.

I’m going to follow the advice of Farrah Gray (@RealFarrahGray), American Businessman and Philanthropist, who said via twitter:

“Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book, make sure you write a good story.”