Monday, February 15, 2021

The Write Enhancement: Repairing Love and Relationships

Hello #JustWrite and hello February!! I'm sure most of you reading this had an interesting January especially after reading the book Pivot that was featured in last month's blog and book club discussion. This month's topic is about love and relationships. As we know February is the month we celebrate Valentine's Day, a day set aside to celebrate and commemorate love in all forms from family, friends, and intimate relationships. This month's discussion will be centered around the book, "Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love" by author Dr. Sue Johnson. For over 30 years, Dr. Johnson has demonstrated success in her expertise of couples therapy and adult attachment. She has won numerous awards for her development of her acclaimed Emotionally Focused Couples and Family Therapy (EFT). Her best-selling book speaks to her therapy which has helped many to repair their love and relationships. It has also been utilized in a workshop format. The following is a quote from Dr. Johnson: 

This quote speaks to how many of us have experienced love in this lifetime. Love has been a picture of bliss for some while for others, love appeared to be a false reality of hurt and shame. No matter where we are in life, we all desire love and relationships. As a matter of fact, we were all created to love and relate. No matter what life has brought us through, we all deserve to love and to be loved. Of course that love should be from a healthy place though. In the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks a similar message about love to his disciples in two verses. "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you", John 15:12. "These things I command you, that ye may love one another," John 15:17. These two verses speak to the overarching message of love according to the Gospel. We as believers are not only commanded to disciple each other but we are also commanded to love. Discipleship happens in singleness and marriage. Dr. Johnson's book mainly speaks about love and how it is important to find what disconnects many from their spouse and the tools that can be used to mend those relationships. Those same principles can be applied for everyday relationships with others and ourselves. We all deserve healthy and whole relationships. Join Just Write's book club discussion on 2/23 at 6pm with host Lynette Dandridge as she dives into these principles and connects the dots to the picture of repairing and enhancing love in relationships. 

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Write Shift: A Time to Pivot

 Happy 2021 #JustWrite!!

We all can admit that all of 2020 and the latter part of it set the tone for the shift that has taken place this year and it's only day 15. We've each experienced a shift, personally, professionally, spiritually, and most recently politically. I've witnessed with others and myself that the recent political shift has pushed a spiritual focus for many like no other. Many of us are on our face diligently praying and seeking God for revival and restoration. As always, the new year signifies new perspectives, new goals, and new projects. Also, most of us are seeking new business opportunities and new careers which leads to the following introduction for the January book of the month: Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One by author Jenny Blake. 

The word pivot means a turn, a rotation, or a shift. Jenny Blake is no stranger to a life's pivot as she "is a career and business strategist and international speaker who helps people move beyond burnout and create sustainable careers they love. She left her job in career development at Google in 2011 after five and a half years at the company to launch her first book, Life After College, and has since run her own consulting business in New York City" (Google Books, 2017). Her story resonates with many Generation Y individuals such as myself who have experienced constant changes within our careers and in some cases are left wondering what is next. Without giving much away, the book discusses four components when faced with a career change: Planting, Scanning, Piloting, and Launching. First, one plants by deciding that he or she needs to make a change by assessing their value and what they can bring to the table. Next, the scanning process includes the pursuit of new opportunities. A great network of mentors and advisors can assist with this process. Third, before any great launch there comes a moment of piloting one's opportunities. This means testing the waters and taking baby steps to reach the final goal. For example, before becoming the blogmaster for Just Write, I began blogging for myself and later as a freelancer. Once that previous season ended, I was confident to showcase my skills even further. The great thing about the pilot stage is that if something doesn't work, there is always the opportunity to receive feedback, adjust, and revisit the plan and scan stages.  Finally, there is the launching stage which is the moment one is enthused about new opportunities and ready to take the leap. It's like the saying goes, "don't reinvent the wheel." Find what works and continue on a journey of being fulfilled. Be sure to grab your copy of Pivot and look out for a discussion on January 26th. Remember future discussions for the books of the month are on the last Tuesday of each month. Whether you are a veteran writer or aspiring writer, continue to perfect your craft and work on those things that need improvement.

I leave you with the following quote from Dr. Martin Luther King: 

“Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” Here's to an amazing #2020Won!

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Write Steps: A Time to Dance


Hey #JustWrite!! We have made it to the end of 2020!! If that's not enough to do a dance, I don't know what is. We all can agree that we are all very fortunate to still remain in God's good graces after all that we have endured and witnessed this year. I know for me the last month of the year always reminds me to get things in order for the following year and just for the sake of sanity and peace. December is the 12th month and the number 12 represents God's order and government and soon after we will be getting into step for 2021. Speaking of getting into steps, when we all think of the word "dance", music comes to mind as well as a rhythm. When music and rhythm combine, we begin to move in step to the synchronicity of the two elements. Sometimes we can flow with the rhythm and in some cases, we become out of step and our dance changes. The important thing to remember is to remain in tune to where we don't miss a beat. Within the Bible the word dance is captured within several stories in the Old Testament. According to a post by Abandon Ministries, "The first mention of movement in the Bible, however, is in Genesis 1:2, where the Spirit of God was “hovering” (rachaph, to hover, tremble, shake, flutter) over the waters. This points to the fact that God actually uses movement in the act of creation. It is his movement that ushers in the creation of the next several days. While dance in itself is otherwise typically used as an act of victory and celebration, seeing dance as prophetic decree or enactment deepens its significance to one of a mighty weapon of war." Another significant story was the story of Miriam's "machola" or circle dance. This dance symbolized "the power of dance not only as a victory dance, but as prophetic enactment and paving the way for the Lord’s continued movement in our lives." This last line reminds me of the many praise dances most of us are accustomed to through our places of worship or in the comfort of our homes. Dances naturally evoke excitement and fun. When a person praise dances, it allows him or her to partake in worship while in the presence of God. Throughout this last holiday season of 2020, most of us will be with family sharing in memories, laughter, and an occasional dance or two. There's nothing much to say after that so I close with these last few words: let us all govern ourselves accordingly and continue to get in step with what is coming forth. As the song says, "I hope you dance."

Happy holidays and see you in 2021!!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Write Assembling: A Time to Gather

Hello #JustWrite!! Once again it's November and it seems like we were just ending another year not too long ago. As we know November begins the holiday season where we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. For some, it's the only time to gather with loved ones to create memories and moments. When we gather, we are 'coming together' or 'assembling' and from a technical standpoint, we 'collect' or 'accumulate'. As our political climate continues to evolve, it's very imperative to remember the importance of gathering. There is unity in gathering, a unity that is so needed during these times of division. The irony is that even though the pandemic created division with the lockdown and social distancing, we all have managed to become more unified than before. From a writing perspective, before we complete a project, it's imperative that we 'gather' all of our ideas and resources needed to create and finalize the end result. The Bible speaks on gathering in many ways through the following: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV. "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matt. 18:20 "What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 1 Cor. 14:26 "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind." 1 Peter 3:8.

Let's revisit gathering from a writing perspective. Most of us can recall the first written paper we had to submit for school. We can also remember the first time we had to seek assistance in finding resources and understanding how to use those resources to complete one's project. As writers, we classify resources as primary and secondary. Primary resources are more direct resources while secondary resources analyze and are reworked byproducts of primary resources. After identifying primary and secondary resources, writers research relevant print and electronic using various strategies. Depending on the goal of the project, writers should then identify if they need to utilize personal interviews and testimonies. After compiling resources, writers heighten their research even more by assessing whether each resource is relevant to their purpose and reliable. Relevancy includes developing the ability to read through each resource to see if it fits. Reliability of a source calls for the methods of critical thinking of the type, purpose, audience, quality, and current status. Of course, after gathering and assessing resources, the task of recording the information comes next.

Whether gathering happens from a social or written perspective, the goal for both situations is ultimately a composed project or an intentional fellowship. In almost two weeks, the majority of us will be gathering socially with our families to express our thankfulness. In other cases, some may be working on final projects for the year as new ideas are gathered for the upcoming year. Whatever the case may be, we all should use this time wisely and enjoy the processes along the way. I end with this quote, 

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. "_Leonardo di Vinci. 

Let's finish strong!!

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Write Contentment: A Time for Peace

 Hello #JustWrite!! We have made it to the last quarter of 2020 and it seems like the year just began. We all can agree that this year alone brought a lot of turmoil, discord, confusion, distress, unrest, and lack of order. When I saw that this month's theme was about peace, my spirit quickened as I was reminded of how much peace is needed in the world after all that we have experienced and will continue to experience. October 10th was World Mental Health day, a day set aside to acknowledge and share resources/encouragement for those who suffer with mental illness. All of us are or have suffered with a mental infirmity to some degree. After all that we have witnessed thus far, I know I'm not the only one who feels that the current events has triggered occasional moments of anxiety, depression, and other mental struggles. In some cases those struggles are a result of imbalances in the body that can be worked through with counseling, medicine, and alternative methods. The good news is that peace is present when we learn to find contentment in our present state despite adversity and other stressors. The word "peace" has many meanings but in this context, "peace" is defined as a freedom from disturbance; a state of which a war has ended. The subject of peace was discussed briefly in the December 2019 blog as we were closing out the year and preparing for 2020. I wrote on the subject of solace and loneliness as it related to the holiday season and life in general. I never imagined that it was preparing us for what we have experienced this year. Remember, as believers in Christ, we are in this world, not of this world. The Bible speaks on peace that only Christ can give, not what the world can give. John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." The scripture commands us to not give in to fear and weariness. Fear has crippled many of us during this time as each day consists of so many different reports. But as always, whose report will we believe? The world is exactly what is presented to us; a flawed mass of mess that should not be a surprise to anyone because it is not our home. I read the following Facebook post from Carine Lewis, a Bible teacher I connected with about 2 years ago at a women's conference: "I don’t think the average Christian in America has a clue to how intentional the god of this world, Satan, is in his schemes. Our ignorance, prayerlessness, addictions, and propensity to walk in division with one another makes his work incredibly easy when in reality, God has given us the kind of authority through Jesus Christ that should make his labor arduous. The Body of Christ should have barriers, but instead we have open doors to who the scriptures call a LION.😩 God, have mercy on your people. Have mercy on me." Whew!! What a powerful plea!! As we exit out of 2020 in the next 2 months, let's stay the course and pray a prayer of peace not only for ourselves but for the world. Also, let's pray that our hearts are content and prepared for what's to come. Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." 

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Write Labor: A Time to Birth

Hey #JustWrite!! We are in the 9th month of the year and today marks the 6th year of the blog!! Blogging throughout this time frame has definitely been a labor of love. My constant prayer as I write these blogs is that those who read continue to receive encouragement, inspiration, and value. Speaking of labor, the term is defined differently from work. "Work is what we accomplish by the hour and labor is intentional to the extent of doing the groundwork." Interesting how labor is describe as an action with intentions and doing the groundwork in comparison to work which equates to time. There is time in labor as well but it is more in tune with purpose and attentiveness. The Bible also speaks on the difference between work and labor. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 says, "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." During this season of uncertainty, many creatives have birthed books, podcasts, vlogs, and films. I recently had an opportunity to witness a friend's first film come to life. Much work was done to see the film come to fruition but it was the initial labor of every detail from script writing, location scouting, casting, and production that brought it all together. It is just one of many examples of how diligent work and purposeful labor work together for the end result of a birthed project. I've read numerous times on how the writing cycle is similar to the birthing of a baby. In order for a baby to be born, a seed has to be planted in fertile ground (mother's womb). As months go by, the mother's body prepares with each trimester for the growth and the eventual arrival of the baby in the 9th. In order for a book to be metaphorically birthed, seeds (ideas) have to be planted (written) on fertile ground (paper). Those seeds translate into a story and depending on the process of formats, publishers, and submission (trimesters), the book may be birthed sooner or later. This work and labor may be different for both processes but it yields the same result of birthing something.

Many of us are experiencing labor pains during this time as we are growing and preparing to birth our many projects which is synonymous to an expectant mother. As 1 Thessalonians 1:3 stated earlier, we must be faithful in our work with labors of love inspired by the endurance and hope in Christ. Remember Faith, Love, and Hope are the catalysts. Let's get it write and push through the pain and endure until the end. 

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Write Education and Understanding: A Time to Embrace

Hey #JustWrite!! We are in the month of new beginnings (#8 represents a new birth, new creation or new beginning, from Biblical Mathematics, Keys to Scripture Numerics) and I can see now that most of us have had to embrace several new beginnings this month with virtual school, new employment, home ownership, entrepreneurship, paid partnerships/collaborations, and of course writing books. Throughout this pandemic, the conversation that has come up consistently has been the new beginning of healing. All of us, whether black, white, etc. need healing but specifically it is past time for us in the black community to embrace our need to dissect our wounds and trauma in order to make sense of why we have our beliefs and views on situations. The truth is that many of us operate based off of unhealed traumas. I've said this in numerous spaces that writing became a source of therapy for me which led to my healing journey when I couldn't express what was happening to me. Because of that, relationships were hard to navigate at times. I thank God for showing me things and helping me to identify things within myself and my experiences that have carried me into personal and business matters. As a young black woman, I know that it is important for me to be healed in order to move forward and change the narrative. Many of us are living in false narratives as adults because as children we were never relational and affirmed, two things that help shape our emotional intelligence. We have believed every truth that's presented to us because we as a people do not take the time to educate ourselves and talk through the traumas and hurts that have been subjected to us from previous generations. I picked up on this in college as I was navigating different emotions on who I was as a young black woman. I was always identified as someone's daughter, sister, friend, student, etc. but I had to really look at who I was and why I responded to certain things the way I did. Where did it come from? It wasn't until I started to listen to my family members share their traumatic experiences from childhood and their responses to it which helped me to see why I was searching for healthy relationships and the need to be affirmed. My family had a deep wound of unhealthy relationships and lack of affirmation and other forms of trauma. My prayer throughout the years was always for my family to be healed by acknowledging the pain, seeking forgiveness, and moving forward. It's the only way to really be authentic in our relationship with ourselves and others.  Recently on Twitter I shared the following tweet: "The world knows about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) but what about this PTSD? (Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome) Here is a documentary about it." The documentary I'm referring to is a complement to this month's book club selection: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing by Dr. Joy DeGruy. You can view it below: 

In this video, Dr. DeGruy touches on how we as a people are still suffering today due to what has happened to our ancestors during slavery. When we as a people don't acknowledge the suffering and abuse of blacks in this country, then the false narrative about black people is further perpetuated in society. Many in our communities don't want to admit it but we tend to treat our own the same way whites treated blacks during slavery especially in the corporate setting (clinging to titles/positions instead of character building due to lack of being affirmed in childhood, the "I own you" "I run this" mentality when one is abusive in power, etc.)  We also see this in our families with how we handle situations with our loved ones especially with our children. There's always a power struggle instead of the need to understand and be understood. I think about the moments I've had throughout the years working with learning communities that were predominantly black. Because of their trauma, the majority of the students didn't care for any education. They wanted to share their hearts and experiences. That's what they lived through and were connected to. The students I encountered wanted to be heard and know that someone cared and not be so concerned with meeting a status quo or pushing a twisted, systematic agenda. We've spent years focusing so much on doing things by time that we've missed the relationship factor. This is just one example of so many layers to this trauma that it's overwhelming and an ongoing detriment to us. Please watch the video along with reading the book. For those of you reading the book, there will be an upcoming book discussion on Facebook with Kim and I on August 25th at 7pm. If you're able to join, please come ready to engage and learn. I look forward to the upcoming conversation as the ultimate goal is to communicate, educate, and advocate for our communities as thought leaders and scribes. As I've said numerous times in previous blogs, it's time for us to embrace each other, while educating and understanding each other's stories. Will you join us?

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley