I Will Remain A Soldier Until The War Is Won.

Being black in the world is difficult, no matter if you were raised rich, poor, or somewhere in between. At some point, the fact that you are black will become a thing. I admit that in the past I have wished that I wasn’t black, because of the racism I experienced. I wished that people could see me, not just my skin color. Leaving North Texas for Atlanta, I got to see black people thriving in a way I’d never seen before and it has given me a sense of pride in who I am.

For the entire month of February, Black History Month, I challenged myself to post a picture and a few lines on Instagram every day about a great person in black history. I’m 16 days in and it’s been an amazing experience. It’s easy to think about Black history month in those first few days because it’s everywhere in the media. But as time rolls by I find myself just going to back to business as usual. I am my ancestors wildest dream so taking a moment to reflect on their sacrifices is the least I can do.

So many times throughout history black people could’ve given up accepted their lot, but they never did. When the arms of the oppressor had them in a choke hold they kept fighting for what they knew was right. There’s this incredible strength ingrained in African people that won’t let us stay down. That’s not to say that the war is won. Injustice is still rampant in America and beyond but I know that we won’t stop striving for equality. Through racist politicians, tiki torching white supremacy, police brutality, or whatever else this insane world throws at us we will still be here.

And for your viewing pleasure I give you The Roots performing Civil Rights freedom song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”



An Unexpected Gap Year

I’ve made peace with the fact that my education will be on hold for a year, and I have something now that I haven’t had in awhile, a lot of free time.

In spring of this year I experienced one of the worst bouts of depression and anxiety in my life. I was struggling to balance a full-time school schedule, increasing responsibilities at work, responsibilities at church, and just life in general. As summer began I decided to end my work with the church and with no school I felt like I could finally breathe. I caught up on all my tv shows, read a lot of books, and rested when I wasn’t at work. But there were still things to be done, as much as I didn’t want there to be.

There were 3 exams I needed to take in order to be fully admitted into the Teacher education program at my university. I wanted to study for them, I did. I bought the practice tests and the study guides, I scheduled time in my week when I would sit down and study. But when those times came I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The thing was I dreaded returning to school. I was not ready to jump back into the hectic life of a working student. So I put off my exams as long as possible. My choice had consequences. I would have to wait all the way until next fall, a full year, before I could be fully admitted. At first I was upset, what a mistake I’d made! I was afraid that this dream I had of being a teacher would never come true.

I’ve made peace with the fact that my education will be on hold for a year, and I have something now that I haven’t had in awhile, a lot of free time. It feels like I’m an artist sitting in front of a blank canvas, I can do anything with this time. I can focus on things I haven’t had time to before. So what will those things be? Maybe I will focus on my writing, finish that short story, or join a writing group. Maybe I’ll buy that camera I’ve been wanting forever. Maybe I’ll resume learning to play the Ukulele. There’s literally a ton of creative endeavors on my to-do list and I finally have the time to do them. It’s exciting and overwhelming as I try to figure out what to do first.

All choices have consequences but not all consequences are bad. Sometimes they open doors you never had before.

Goodbye 2016, We Won’t Miss You.

We have to live the best lives possible… The world is crazy and there’s no way to know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Let’s make 2017 the year we shrug off all our fear and anxieties, live passionately and purposely.

via Daily Prompt: Hopeful


2016 was an interesting year to say the least. The terrorist attacks in Europe and Orlando, the deteriorating situation in Aleppo, the shootings of black people by police and the shootings of police in reaction. Then there was the election, Brexit, the deaths of many pop culture icons, and that whole killer clown thing.
The general mood of 2016 was that it was a terrible year, that things are worse than they’ve ever been. Personally, this past year reminds me of that saying “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Because it’s always been this awful it’s just that now social media and 24 hours news cycles keep the bad news constantly in our faces. Black people have been killed unjustly for hundreds of years, wars where civilians are killed happen plenty, and America has seen it’s fair share of questionable presidential candidates. Death, lawlessness, hatred, murder are and have always  been apart of our world.
So what can we learn from this? What can we take from 2016 into the new year that’s beneficial?

We have to live the best lives possible… The world is crazy and there’s no way to know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Let’s make 2017 the year we shrug off all our fear and anxieties, and live passionately and purposely. Do the things that make you incandescently happy, offer your hand to a neighbor in need. I’m not talking about another meaningless resolution but an actual life change. Let’s not waste one more moment not loving our lives, because this is our only shot at this. Those people in war torn, impoverished countries could only dream of the opportunities that we have right in front of us.

This is not only a call to action to you but to myself as well. 2016 challenged me mentally, emotionally. I found myself depressed by the world and my place in it. I thought to myself “The days are passing so quickly, am I making the most of my time? ”
In the new year I vow to spend less time doing things out of obligation and more time doing things because I actually want to. I want to continue nurturing my gifts, and exploring my passions.

So what’s calling your name in the new year?

2017 is going to be a roller coaster so buckle up, put your hands up and enjoy the ride.

Second Thoughts, Third Thoughts, and Sometimes a Fourth.

via Daily Prompt:
Second Thoughts


I am the queen of second thoughts, very little I do is done without a second thought, and a third thought, and sometimes a fourth thought. I am a closet control freak and sometimes fully thinking things through can give me the illusion that I can control how it plays out. Keyword there is “illusion”, my sub-conscious knows this but that doesn’t stop my conscious mind from overthinking.

The overthinking stems from self-doubt. I doubt the first thought that’s why I must give it a second. Should I finish college? Am I going the right direction? Am I pursuing the right things? Or the right people? Did I choose the right health insurance plan? Everyday the thoughts cycle through my brain as I reevaluate my life. I often wonder what life would be like if I had had less self-doubt in my past. Would I be finished with college? Would my life be going in a different direction than it is now? I believe the passions I have now were always meant to be mine. I  still would be writing and working with kids but maybe in a different way.

I tell myself that I will be more decisive in the future. Not overthinking but strategic thinking, but I’m lying to myself. I’m an introvert and we’re characterized by our propensity to overthink. But what I can do is not overthink to the point of paralysis, and pray and trust God to lead me. They say self-doubt is God doubt, and I’d never want to doubt Him.

Of all the things I constantly think and rethink about, of one thing I can be sure; one way or another it will all work out. My life may end up being something wilder than anything I could’ve dreamed up. What I want to work on the most is not letting the anxieties of the future outweigh the numerous possibilities. Yes they’re a lot of things that can go wrong but they’re also a lot of things that can go right and that is the part that I have to focus on.

When The Prayer Isn’t Answered

Earlier this year I prayed a big prayer for something I knew there was no way I could accomplish on my own–to pass my College Algebra class.

I had great faith that God would answer it and it didn’t happen. I wondered why? I wasn’t lazy about it, I gave it all I could. I studied and did homework for hours, I paid attention in class, asked questions, got a tutor! I figured if I gave it all I had God would meet me there, but it didn’t happen. Oh how I cried, and cried, I hated that I tried so hard and it didn’t materialize.

Math & science have always been tough for me, I can remember as a kid just crying during my math tests. So this semester I’m taking Cell Genetics and Biology, shoot me please. I can already tell its going to be tough, this stuff is so boring to me, and I am stressing.

So in a recent cry session to God, I realized the reason I am so stressed is because I had lost some faith in God. I’m stressing that he isn’t going to come through for me again. I felt like he had let me down before, in all of my Walk I had never felt like this before. So what I did I do? I googled bible stories to read when you feel God has disappointed you. The story of Job popped up in my results. If you aren’t familiar with it the story it basically goes that Job was this awesome Godly man and God allowed the devil to test him because he knew Job was of great faith. The devil threw a LOT at Job and I do mean a LOT, all kinds of sickness and death. But he came through it with his faith still intact and he was blessed tenfold. Now did he ever feel disappointed by God? Heck yeah he did.

If Job can keep the faith, surely I can.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” Job 42:2 ESV

I may never understand why things happen the way that they do, but I do know God has plans for me and they will come to fruition. I have to believe that or he isn’t God to me. So I renewed my faith, knowing that disappointment will certainly come but God is still God and he still loves me.

Here’s little inspiration for you if you’re questioning God right now, keep worshiping through the sorrow. It’s hard, but trust me God will come to you at that moment and fill you with his peace. It will work out!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Here’s some worship music to get you started.

Letter To My Loves

Valerie Sjodin  www.valeriesjodin.com
Valerie Sjodin

My heart weeps for my loved ones who have not thought about their eternity. There is so much in the them that could be used. But it’s staying hidden away. My heart hurts for my sweet birds that are still caged, let the One with the key set you free. He wants to see you fly not fall. I must stress to you my dear ones that this world is false, and will not last forever. Don’t put your faith in it, instead put your faith in something that is forever. Something that cannot crumble. I love you so much, as you know. But I have felt a love so great that nothing will ever compare. I want that for you, I want to see you flourishing. I want you to have that ceaseless peace, that unhindered joy. Forget about who you were, and start thinking about who you can become. Despite what the world may say people do change. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. He has the power to transform you into something you never believed you could be. Come on my family, let Him in! He’s waiting for you!

What is life without Faith?

It’s not life. If I have no faith or hope for the future, then I might as well find a nice dark corner in which to keel over and die. What is the point of living if there is no hope for the future? I know life can pull you down in the mud and it feels as if you’re sinking deeper and deeper. But even in the bleakest of moments God is still working on your behalf. I have had times in my life that were pretty gray. I was in pain in my physical body as well as my soul. I could hardly gather the strength to walk. I needed God to move in my life desperately, I cried to Him nearly every night. The only thing that kept me going imagewas my faith that God was going to deliver me. And that this extremely difficult time was for a purpose. I knew God was building me to be a stronger and more faithful person. I had to keep believing that or let the world bring me to my knees. That doesn’t mean that I just sat back and waited for things to change. I made a conscious effort to change my circumstances. And after I did all that I could do in my human power, I let God take care of the rest in His supernatural power. I admit there were moments where I wasn’t 100% positive that God would see me through it. But I remember His word, Psalm 38:2 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” God wants us have the best possible lives. Lives full of purpose and promise, not full of depression and bitterness. Jesus did not die on a cross so we could just muddle through life while slowly dying on the inside. Why not put your faith in Him? What is the alternative? The only other option is waiting for death.