Happy February: Goals and Vision Board Checkin

Okay I’m a day or two late, but don’t judge me I was engaged in lots of Superbowl nonsense Sunday and it was well worth it–my team won! Then I had lots of work nonsense to deal with on Monday. Thirty-three days have past since many of us declared our goals and pasted magazine cutouts onto cardboard boxes and now it’s time to check on how much progress we made. I’ll go first and you’ll share your progress in the comments.

 

Goal Progress

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I am excited to announce that I met my first writing goal. I finished writing Tempted to Touch on January 18th. Now, ask me have I finished typing it (that’s another story, but you can find out why I started writing it longhand versus typing in my post Fighting with the First Person). Once I’m done typing which I hope is this week I’m on to working on the next book in the Grace series, Riches of Grace (tentative title–cast your vote for the title on the Home page). Just in case you’re wondering how I was able to knock out my first goal so quickly here are some things that helped me.

How to Meet a Goal

-Establish a timeline

-Work towards it everyday so that you don’t have to play catch-up

-Get two partners: an accountability partner to keep you on track and an encouragement partner to tell you’re doing a good even when you might be sucking. It will get you back on the road to your goals. If you can find a 2-in-1 praise the Lord!!

 

Vision Board Progress

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All I can say is all glory and praise be to the most high God. My vision board is divided to address the needs and desires the innerman and outterman. I can see both visions being addressed and I can’t take the credit for it. Of course, this isn’t magic, it’s really quite simple (if you let it be). I make myself available to God and express my desires to Him they are being met just as Psalm 37:4-5 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

Innerman

To address the needs of the innerman, I’ve signed up for Bible reading plans and whenever I feel that tug from the Holy Spirit I’m learning to drop what I’m doing and pick up my Bible or pray. Despite a lot of calamity at work, I’ve been putting my best face forward, as my visionboard suggests.

Outterman

I repeat I can’t take any credit for the vision coming to pass. On my visionboard I pasted to cutouts that said “My books are great bookclub finds.” What happens? I received a review from Michelle Monkou on the USA TODAY blog, Happy Ever After, that begins with “Bookclub alert! Born at Dawn is the perfect story for a hearty discussion.” and prior to that my Born at Dawn was selected to be the book of the month for the African-American Christian Fiction Book Club on Facebook.

Just to take the mystique out of this let’s come to the common understanding that first of all, “every good and perfect gift comes the Father of lights in whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning” (in other words if He said it He will do it). The good that I’ve received is not because I’m good, but because He is. Secondly, Deuteronomy 28 says that “The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand;”  Of course, that means I have to do something with my hands (so do you). I had to put my book out there for God to bless it, but once I did my part He did His part to bless my vision because my vision is aligned with His. I want to be a tool in His hand and He wants to use me and bless me.

Have you accepted that for yourself? The Lord wants to use you and He wants to bless you? With that in mind–where are you in the Vision 2015 process? Approaching a goal, on target, or way off? Share your progress or your pain and then let’s figure out how we can march on in Jesus name.

Pathways to Your #Passion: 2015 Goals and Visions

So, if you’re over 18 you’re probably already familiar with the rhetoric that surrounds the ringing in a New Year–“New Year, New Me”, “This year is going to be better than last”, etc. etc. etc.

Now, in all honesty many people abandon this motto after January or at least after the first trial or obstacle of the New Year smacks them in the face, which is why I generally don’t set resolutions. However, this year I’ve been entertaining two things: vision boards and goal setting. Neither one of them are new concepts and as an educator I’m quite familiar with goal setting, but I’ve never applied the  practice to my new writing career.

Goal Setting

I think my soul sis, Unoma Nwankwor’s posts about goal setting have rubbed off on me. In one of her recent Facebook posts she quoted the late Dr. Myles Munroe in which he stated that your goals should, “create your priorites, determine your desicions, dictate companions, and predict your choices.”  That inspired me to set some wiriting goals (I know I should probably have goals for other areas of my life–give me a break).

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Vision Boards

Vision boards have been around for awhile, but I have been kind of hesitant to create one. A certain part of me felt like, one it’s kind of New Agey and two it kind of takes away from the whole notion of “have your way in my life, Jesus” if I’m drafting up my vision. I believe in Habakkuk 2:2, when it says write the vision, the word meant write the vision that the Lord had given the prophet not the vision the prophet wanted to write, but after some investigating and polling I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. So, I created a vision board. My understanding is there are no rules to vision boards except making sure you have a clear objective.

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I divided my vision board into two parts: the inner man and the outer man–what I want for my spirit in 2015 and what tangible things  I want. I included some scriptures that spoke to the vision I was creating and my faith. Two of those scriptures are:

“If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. Thou shalt decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.” Job 22:23-28

“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5 

These scriptures will keep me focused on my ultimate goal–to hear my Father say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” while at the same time they address the fact that I still long for some of the things that the Gentiles long for. I want to be a powerful Christian (decree a thing), I want to live comfortably (gold as dust), and I want to prosper (God made him to prosper). 

The second half of my vision board addresses the areas of my life that I’d like to see the manifestation of these scriptures–in my writing and in my home. A vision is only a vision until you put the leg work to it, but having one gives your legs some direction to walk in. 

What are your goals for 2015? What does your vision for 2015 look like? Please share your goals and vision boards and as I update you on my progress I look forward to hearing about how you have progressed in 2015. 

#CoverReveal : Seasoned with Grace

On July 28, 2015 my second novel, Seasoned with Grace will be dropping and you know I had to share

the cover with you.

SEASONED-WITH-GRACE

Synopsis: Sentenced to probation, thirty-year-old, supermodel Grace King must put her plans of transitioning into acting to extend the longevity of her career on hold. Desperate to keep a close eye on Grace and his job Grace’s ambitious lawyer, Ethan Summerville has her complete community service in the last place Grace wants to be. His church.
 
Instead of God, Grace finds a “chocolate drop” of a man–Brother Horace Green. However, Horace isn’t looking for a supermodel. He wants his woman saved and sanctified, but Grace has never met a man who has been able to resist her. Will Horace compromise his faith for a taste of fortune, fame, and Grace?
 
While Grace focuses on the pursuit of passion Ethan finds one director willing to take a risk and cast Grace in his debut film, but this role fits Grace all too well. Will this film revive Grace’s relationship with God and her career or bring her closer to destruction?

Seasoned with Grace is available on Amazon for pre-order now

#Pathways to Your #Passion: Stay in Your Lane

There is nothing new under the sun, which means that regardless of what you’re passionate about there is someone who shares the same passion and may be making great gains in the field or industry that you are trying to break into. As you look at their resume it seems like you’re standing next to a giant and you are a dwarf. They’ve made so many gains and in such a short time–how could you possibly compete?

Don’t.

Let me say that again. Don’t.

The pathway to your (your) passion is not a competition. Nor is it a race. It’s a marathon.content (2)

You’re going to go around the track a lot of times. Some laps you’ll eat up and others will beat you down and have your legs feeling like jelly. You’ll see other runners turn the corner while you’re still holding an aching rib, but don’t fix your eyes on their race, instead with patience run the race that is set before you (Hebrews 12:1). Stay in your lane. 

 

The pathway to your passion is yours and you don’t have to replicate anyone else’s success or try to match or beat their time. What you have to do is walk or run the course that Lord has laid out specifically for you recognizing that there is no limit to what God is able to do for you, through you, and to you.

 

See you on the other side of your passion.  

Born at Dawn Launch Party Recap

I’m a wee bit late in sharing (I’m sorry), but I went from Launch Party Mode to traveling to the National Black Book Festival (recap coming soon).

Listen, God showed up and showed out. Everyone who said they’d make didn’t, but everyone who did make it supported Born at Dawn 100%. A midst traffic delays in the sprawling city everything came together, praise the good Lord! Check out some photos and video from the event below.

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We also had some scenes from the book acted out. Here’s one clip:

 

Did you enjoy this clip? If you’ve read Born at Dawn please let me know what you think of Esdras’ portrayl of Marvin? If you haven’t read Born at Dawn please get your copy today.

 

Pathways to Your #Passion: Find Freedom Through Courage

Recently, our FLOTUS shared some words of wisdom that she would have said to her younger self: “…Stop being so afraid! That’s really what strikes me when I look back – the sheer amount of time I spent tangled up in fears and doubts that were entirely of my own creation. I was afraid of not knowing the answer in class and looking stupid, or worried about what some boy thought of me, or wondering whether the other girls liked my clothes or my hair, or angsting about some offhand comment someone made to me in the lunchroom.”

While Michelle’s (I can call her by her first name right) advice is useful for the young girls she was speaking to this advice hold true for those of us walking along the pathway to our passion or actually at a standstill because we’re concerned about how others will receive us and our dream. We’re too wrapped up in the notion that I’m new to this, no one’s ever heard of me, no one else has done it this way. Our fear has us bound and is preventing us from getting to the other side of our passion. Today is the day to follow the Lord’s commandment to Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9)

Which fear will you tackle first? Share your results as you capture the land. See you on the other side of your passion.

P.S. In case you’re wondering how do I know it will work. Well, here is my testimony. I received an email near the beginning of September about applying to participate in an online conference. I didn’t apply right away because that fear of being rejected because I’m the new girl seized me. I shook it off very quickly and applied anyway. Guess who is going to be a panelist on SORMAG’s Online Conference? 

SORMAG Con Panelist

Pathways to Your #Passion: Connect to Your Source

The pathway to your promise isn’t a straight one. There will be boulders that you have to try and circumvent, there will be tiny pebbles that will appear to be minuscule yet cause you to stumble greatly. There will traffic jams that will make you believe that you will never reach the other side of your passion on time. But time and success are relative when you connect to your source.

I don’t know what your picture of success looks like and I don’t know what date or time you’ve stamped and connected to the moment in which your success will be cemented in the sands of time, but you must know this, “for promotion cometh neither from the east, nor the west, nor from the south. God is the judge: he putteth one down, setteth up another.” Your success isn’t dependent upon all of your elbow grease, your networking, the midnight oil you burned, although those things are necessary factors in the equation. If you want to reap a harvest you have to sow some seeds, but the rain comes from the heavens and heaven is His throne. You must connect to your source to reach the other side of your passion.

Connect to Your Source:

1. Let Him in on your plans and intentions. Be honest with God, He can take it.

2, Let Him in on the timeline you have. Again, be honest with God, He can take it.Psalm 75.6-7

3, Ask Him what He wants and realign (trust me, you will have to realign) the vision you have for your success.

4.  Spend time in prayer and even fasting to get into the heart of God and really understand what it means to walk, run, and ride, to your passion with Him by your side backing you.

5. Then get to marching. Your pathway might look different and you will feel different, but once you’re connected to your source reaching the other side of your passion will be a blessed journey and you will experience success before you experience success. Remember your success is not dependent upon you or anyone else, but in you putting your trust in His righteousness, in His abundance, in His faithfulness, in His provision, and in His vision.

How do you currently connect to your source?  How have you found strength to carry on? Do you feel better knowing that your promotion and exaltation is in God’s hands?

Born at Dawn #Book #Brunch and #Launch #Party

It’s almost time for the release of my debut novel and of course that means it’s almost time to TURN UP and celebrate. The Neophyte Author, Nigeria Lockley would like to extend an invitation to the Born at Dawn Book Brunch and Launch Party.

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At the party you’ll have the opportunity to:

Tickets

For tickets to the live party at Pearl Studios click here: Born at Dawn Book Brunch and Launch Party 

For tickets to the virtual party on Facebook click here: Born at Dawn Virtual Book Launch Party

Sponsors Include:

Tyora Moody

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Colette Harrell

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Unoma Nwankwor

Unoma

Please be sure to check out and support the work of these wonderful Christian authors and I can’t wait to see at the party on, Saturday, October 18, 2014.

Pathways to Your #Passion: Make an #Investment

If you want to get from 34th Street to Chinatown you have to invest in transportation to get there. If you want to get from New York to L.A. you have to invest in transportation to get there and your passion is no different. Walking the pathway to your passion involves you making an investment (actually two).

1. Your time. Getting to the other side of your passion is going involve late nights and early mornings. Getting to the other sideInvestment on Pocket Watch Face. Time Concept. of your passion means you can’t be turned up at every event and tuned in to every show. It may mean giving up your lunch break to network, to read and study, and while social media has become an integral part of running almost every business you’re going to have to take some time off every now and then.

Here are a couple of ways to cheat and steal time to:

  • If you commute capitalize on it. Dictate notes to yourself if you drive or type up documents on the bus or train.
  • Social Media Hack: Link your twitter to your Facebook page or vice versa to hit multiple sites at once. Then log off and if you’ve got it bad turn off the alerts on your phone until you’ve accomplished something on your passion to-do list. 

Investing your time will be taxing physically and mentally, but the result and reward will be worth the sacrifice and the same can be said for your second investment.

2. Your money. It’s been said before, “you have to spend money to make money” and it has also been said, “I don’t have any money (that’s why I’m trying to get to the other side of my passion)” So, no one ever said the part in parentheses, but you get the point. Your funds may be limited, however that does not mean you can’t an investment in your passion. The Bible demonstrates in Luke 19:16 that a servant who was only given one pound by his master had ten when his master returned. If you have a dollar you can afford to print a few color flyers at Staples. Considering that every field, profession, and passion may require a different type of investment I’m going to offer some general tips for investing in your passion.

  • invest to energy concept - euro in bulb - piggybank However slim your budget is devote some of it to attending a conference, workshop, after work mixer, etc. The relationships and partnerships you form there will be worth triple the value of what you paid to attend the event.
  • Admit what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. Spend your money on your weakness. What do I mean by that? I’m not techy, but I knew I could manage setting up a website on WordPress, therefore I didn’t spend any money on that. On the other hand I’m not tech savy or visually inclined enough to create a book trailer, so I invested my pennies on that. I then submitted the book trailer to bloggers and reviewers to in order to set up interviews.

In your mind you can’t afford the investment, but I want you to look around your apartment, look in your closet, and your children’s closet. Are you looking? Count how many items or purchases you have made in the last year that were over $100 and were not essential to anyone’s survival. If you counted more than one item then you have the funds to invest in your passion you’ve just been misappropriating them. Redirect those funds starting now.

  • Simple Investment Hack: Brown bag it for a month and pay yourself what you would normally spend on lunch. Invest your proceeds into your passion.

Do not be afraid to Make an investment in yourself.
Do not be afraid to Make an investment in your passion.

Yes, investment is a tricky, slippery, and sometimes unreliable venture, but this is your passion we’re talking about and when done properly it will garner a great reward. The servant in Luke 19 was made ruler over ten cities because of his savvy investment skills. He did it with one dollar. What can you do with a peso and some passion? Now let’s bring this thing home and think of someone you can recognize, like Tyler Perry who invested all of his money into his plays until he was living out his car and look at him now. Your passion is worth the investment and it is time to start investing now. 

How are you going to invest your time and your pesos into your passion? Which one is going to be the most difficult investment for you to make (start with that one)?

Be blessed and of course, I’ll see you on the other side of your passion! 🙂

Pathways to Your Passion: If You Mean to do This Find a Mentor

There is nothing new under the sun, so regardless of how original your point of view is or how groundbreaking your idea or business concept is there is someone who else who has already charted the landscape and can guide you through the process.

If you mean to live out your passion, if you believe you’re meant to do this then one step you have to take on the Pathway to Your Passion is to find a mentor. You might seek out thisMentoring - Golden Key. mentor in a traditional way or you may be blessed with one that is appointed to you like Paul and Timothy. God linked them to each other and the younger in the faith learned from his predecessor how to lead, how to worship, and how to serve through his appointed position. 

The same holds true for us all whether you bake cakes, write books, or work in the court of law. The passion inside of you that calls you to your profession is an appointment that is divinely anointed and full of growing pains, challenges, and a multitude of options. One of the best ways to navigate through all of this is to find someone who has arrived at the other side of their passion, who is walking boldly, and occupying their territory. 

Depending on the profession your passion leads you in there may be organizations already set up that will help you find a mentor for example, educators may consult their local union or the American Federation of Teachers, doctors can consult the American Academy of Family Physicians if their school doesn’t offer a mentoring program, but us creative folks have to think outside of the box. Attend a conference where you’ll have the opportunity to reach out to others in your profession. Establish a connection with the person you’d like to mentor you and simply ask them. It can be as official or as flexible as you deem, but that relationship is necessary for growth, guidance, and help as you walk the Pathway to Your Passion.

At the 2012 Faith and Fiction Retreat with Michelle Stimpson
At the 2012 Faith and Fiction Retreat with Michelle Stimpson

My mentor is my unofficial mentor, I reached out to her a few years ago for some advice and I haven’t stopped since then. This week as she walked me through an issue I was struggling with both in my professional and personal life it occurred to me how essential the relationship I have with her is to me reaching the other side of my passion. In the Bible there are plenty of examples of the necessity of having a mentor, a leader, a guide to show you how to operate in the Spirit and use your gifts. When I think of the impact that Michelle Stimpson’s work and words have had on me I feel like Elisha, and all I want is for God to give me a double portion of the anointing that is in her, on her, and working through her. 

Find the Elijah of your passion–the one who is doing it greatly and glorifying God and follow him or her. See you on the other side of your passion.