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?

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: Don’t Dwell in Defeat

So, I’m shaking things up a bit here with a video blog, I guess that’s a vlog (right). Nevertheless, this is the second post in the Pathways to Your Passion Series, “Don’t Dwell in Defeat”. Just press play and rejoice with me today.

 

See you on the other side of your passion!

Pathways to Your Passion: Stretch Out

Everybody wants to pursue their passion. Yes, even that one friend you have who does nothing, but binge watch episodes of their favorite show wants to ascend into another realm of life. But not everyone can and when I say can I mean they are not able to stretch out comfortably, acknowledge their passion, and believe that God is large enough to carry them to the Outdoor sunrise yoga girlother side of their passion. Through the Pathways to Your Passion together we’ll march into a robust life built through fellowship with Christ and the pursuit of our passion. Yes, I said together, I have not arrived yet, but I’m willing to walk with you.

I haven’t decided if this will be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. As a matter of fact I am going to stretch out on God and let Him determine how often I post Pathways to Your Passion. 

There is a way to live and walk in passion. That walk isn’t meager or lowly nor is it an easy pathway to travel on, however it’s a journey you won’t forget. So, let’s take the first step toward you living a life of passion.

Pathways to Your Passion Exercise One

Stretch Out. This exercise will require a small amount of physicality. The muscle you’ll use the most is your mouth. 

1. Have a conversation with yourself. If you really want to hold yourself accountable write it down your answers read them and pick them apart.

Ask yourself: What is your passion? What is it that you desire to do most in life? What do you expect to receive and achieve from this passion?

Desire can be a fleeting thing and you may discover in two weeks you’re just a bandwagon dreamer–hitching your hopes and aspirations on whatever is trending, appears to be glamorous, or is synonymous with great gain. Don’t fret should you discover this. We’re just stretching before walking the path. Repeat number one until you find consistency, a common thread, and peace in your heart.

2. Share This Passion. 

Praying Top ViewGet on your knees and pour your heart out to God. Ask Him to search your heart and reveal your true motivations. Stretch Out on Him. Be open to what Jesus has to say about your passion. Is you passion one that can and will glorify God? Is it good for you? He won’t withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly (that also means if your walk with Christ is a little crooked and one of your legs isn’t shorter than the other then it’s time to get right). It’s time to–Stretch Out on Him. Don’t be your own roadblock.

Don’t stop sharing. Tell your mama, tell your papa, tell everyone you know once you get the green light from God. That can come in many forms for each one of us. I knew I could write when my pastor said, “If you’re going to write a book go ahead and write it time is winding up. Whatever you’re going to do for the Lord do it now before He returns.” So, listen for His voice (it may come when, where, and from whom you least expect it to). It is necessary for you to use discernment in this area there are dream killers, crushers, and stompers waiting to deflate your dream, but if you’re always walking around protecting it then you haven’t stretched out on the Lord yet and you’ve already let doubt suck the passion out of you because you’ve been so busy hiding and thinking about what everyone else thinks that you can’t revel in your passion. 

3. Look in the mirror and remind yourself of your new position.

Say, “I’m comfortably stretched out on God. I acknowledge my passion  fill-in the blank, and I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is large enough to carry me to the other side of my passion. 

Uomo ai raggi x stiramento dolore braccio4. Use the muscles that you just stretched.

Repeat each exercise as necessary and don’t forget to come back and share your progress on the Pathway to Your Passion. 

 

More Than Monday featuring Nigeria Q. Rolling-Ford of Couture Cake Boutique

The Neophyte Author is excited to present a woman who went into business to dispel the myth that black businesses have horrible customer service. This week’s “More Than” Monday feature is a sweet treat coming from a mom who demonstrated the characteristics of a Proverbs 31 woman when it came time to provide for her family. Nigeria Rolling-Ford owner of Couture Cake Boutique, LLC shares how to overcome when you feel like giving up and the process of re-branding, which is something important to consider when trying to elevate your business or stand out from the crowd. Not only is Nigeria a great baker she’s my name twin (LOL).

What motivated you to start Couture Cake Boutique?

Couture Cake Boutique began with the realization that my family’s financial needs outpaced what we were currently earning. We would corset cakesoon have a high school senior that would need a ton of financial help and I needed to generate more income by doing something that I loved to do.

Your company recently underwent the process of rebranding–can you explain what that is and what prompted you to do this?

Yes. Rebranding is when a business changes their logo, mission statement, and/or advertising with the goal of taking the business to another level.

My rebranding began in January of 2014.  As I mentioned earlier, when I began this business it was more out of a financial need.  However, Lil Man Bronx Fondant Cakeas my customer base began to explode through word of mouth and social media, I decided to make a real go at it with the hopes of being able to one day leave my day job and focus solely on Couture Cake Boutique.

How do find time for yourself in the midst of running your own business, running a family, and working full-time?

I multi-task.  Those of us who are moms or actually anyone in today’s fast-paced world knows what it means to wear multiple hats.  I have extended hours and am always available to return a request for a quote or question from a client simply due today’s technology.

Has there ever been a moment in which you considered giving up? How did you resist that feeling?

Yes.  I recently took on a job that was larger than I could handle.  This particular job simply did not turn out well and I was crushed.  I wanted to all but hide under a rock.  But, I learned what my limits are.  The very next day my phone began to ring off the hook with potentialruffle cake business.  Lol.  We don’t actually have phone hooks anymore.

What advice would you give to any woman who desires to be “more than”?

My advice to any woman who desires to be “more than” is to simply be more than.  Sometimes if you walk in the actions of what you want to be, you will find that you have become just that.

 

For some custom made cakes, cupcakes, and excellent customer service (trust me I know Couture Cake Boutique supplied the cupcakes for the Born at Dawn Cover Reveal Party) please visit Couture Cake Boutique online at: 

Where are You?

Happy June!!

Welcome to the midway point of 2014! Can you believe that six months have passed already? I can’t either. Now that we’ve arrived at this point in the year this is the perfect moment to do a self-assessment. 

Where are you? Are you closer to your goals? Closer to God? Or have you already given up, given in, and grown frustrated in all your striving six monthsbecause you have not yet seen a result. Now is not the time for that now is the time to make your petition known to God. Now is the time to reassess your goals and make sure that they are aligned with Christ’s will for your life, “for no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” say Psalm 84. Of course that means if we haven’t received what we have sought after we must make sure that what we want is good and that we are walking uprightly. 

So, as you mark your calendar with an x or whatever it is you do to count the days I ask you, Where are you? Where are you in your walk both in the spiritual and the natural? What do you have to do to get where you want to be? There are six months left in 2014 to get there. Let’s Gooo!

SisterGirlFriends: Nikki Thompson, Nigeria Lockley, Cherylrese Lynette

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This Tuesday the Neophyte Author had the opportunity and privilege to appear on a segment, “SisterGirlfriends” on the Sharvette Mitchell Radio Show, During the show we discussed why I write fiction for the renewed mind and the characters in Born at Dawn. 

Two other awesome soul sisters, Nikki Thompson and Cherylrese Lynette, shared how they’re spreading the gospel and worshiping God with their gifts as well.

If you missed it please take listen by clicking on the link below. Post your comments and questions here and remember to support these other women of God as they spread the word of God.  

SisterGirlFriends: Nikki Thompson, Nigeria Lockley, Cherylrese Lynette

 

More Than Monday featuring D. J. Blackmore

This week our “More Than Monday” feature comes to us from Down Under. The Hunter Valley of New South Wales Australia is mostly known for coal mining and Sermilon, however it is also the fertile ground that author D. J. Blackmore grew up on. D. J. began writing at the age of fourteen and has not stopped even though she was told that only “the very good and very lucky” become published authors. Despite rejection and five children D. J.’s words have grown into more than what was predicted, but exactly what she wanted them to become. 

 

What motivated you to become a writer?

DSC_9302altI liked words. Right from my very first days at school, I have vivid memories of the first learning words on cards, and having the pleasure of recognising them. I was encouraged by an English teacher in my teenage years never to give up my writing. I don’t know that I ever could. It is both my master and my friend. It drives me on to create, and comforts me when I want to talk.

 

 Are you a full-time writer?

I am a mother of five, so there are days when I don’t write at all. I’m not perturbed by this, and I don’t feel especially guilty, because there are times when I work day in, day out, and it’s a hunger that drives me on. There’s always some laziness when I put something down and have to sometimes push myself to start over where I left off. Yet when I do, inspiration eventually flows, but only through the effort of labour.

 

Ultimately, what is your vision for you, your books, and your writing career?chartertoredemptionlarge

I don’t know how many books are in me. I don’t know how much time I have on this earth to share all I would like to, but I’m in a hurry. It’s important to me to give this gift of words while I can. My vision for my career is ultimately to flourish, but in all honesty, from the moment of
publication, that was honour enough for me. The years of hoping, and trying and waiting, the years of rejections are over. The hard part is over. The best is yet to come. 🙂

How were you able to overcome and deal with the frustration of being rejected? 

I suppose that for the most part, I didn’t take the rejections personally. Sometimes I did question whether I was wasting my time in continuing to write, but the fact was that the enjoyment and the thrill of writing didn’t diminish, regardless of outside opinion. I had enough belief in my ability that I thought that determination would win through in the end.

What role does your family play in your writing career?–support system or inspiration?

My daughter Sarahane has been an endless inspiration and encouragement to me. We have plot talks that we share as friends, and it’s an enjoyment to both of us.

What advice would you give to any woman desires to be “more than”?

We can never rely on anyone else to give us belief in ourselves. No one can ever truly give us a sense of worth of who we are. That’s something that comes from within. In the long run, if you think you’ve got it, keep going, long after everyone else has forgotten about you. Continue on with determination. Don’t feel the need to try and win people over with your talent, because your ability will shine in the end.

And for those of you desiring to become published authors, If all else fails, have your work professionally edited, check to see if that particular publisher is looking for the story you’d like them to accept. It may be that the manuscript is too long, or too short. It may be that there’s such an influx of work that they need to delve into, and they just happen to be having a bad day when they look at your work …  

 

To learn more about D. J. Blackmore and her work please visit http://www.djblackmore.com.au/

If you’re looking for a great historical fiction read or you want to try something new please order D.J. Blackmore’s debut novel, Charter to Redemption.

Connect with this fabulous mom of five and author of Charter to Redemption of Twitter @DJBLACKmore1

chartertoredemptionlarge

 

 

If you know a woman whom you believe should be featured in More Than Monday please feel free to nominate a woman by sending her information including where she can be reached at to the Neophyte Author at nigerialockley{at}hotmail{dot]com with “More Than” in the subject line. 

When God Turns Things Around (I’m Going on Tour–Virtually for Now)

In my mind I planned on launching the greatest publicity/marketing campaign ever. I contacted a publicist (she was too expensive). Then I decided I would hire one or all of the book publicist I’ve seen marketing some of the trailblazers of my genre. I was all set and geared up to work with them and then a friend of mine needed a loan. Now we all know how this story goes…I handed them the money…emphasized I needed this money to take over the world…so far I haven’t seen a dime…and I keep on seeing them with new stuff (but that’s another story). After some prayer the Lord reminded me that “the wicked borroweth and payeth not again” and I on the other hand was supposed to lend with out expecting to be repaid. I sucked it up and then said, “but God, how am I going to promote this book?” and he told me to run on.
 So, I spent this week running my fingers across my keyboard–typing emails requesting features and interviews from bloggers and blogtalkradio show hosts and you know what? Praise be to God, I’ve begun booking three different tours. Two pre-release and one post release. When God turns things around He really knows how to work a situation out. The God of the Bible is not dead nor are His promises.
 
I hope you will join me and support me while I tour the web on the first of many Virtual Book Tours.

Don’t forget to Pre-Order Born at Dawn TODAY!

Virtual Tour

April 26th-May 1, 2014

Ribbet Edit_Virtual Book Tour

 

Tour Schedule

April 26th Larry Toombs Gospel Radio Show Call (646)478-0999 to chat with Nigeria LIVE!

April 28th Weaving Stories of Faith, Hope, and Love

April 30th Michelle’s Book Stop

May 1st UC His Glory BookClub

More Than Monday featuring Shaw Bernard

Boy or girl. Adult or child. We have all pursed our lips together or practiced raising our eyebrows in an effort to ensure that we give good face in any photograph being taken of us. For Shaw Bernard giving good face comes so naturally that she is now image (1)molding the next crop of models and actors at Strut Modeling House, Brooklyn’s Premiere Modeling School. As CEO of Strut Modeling Shaw Bernard demonstrates that at the end of the day it isn’t just about what on the outside that counts. 

This Monday she shares with the Neophyte Author the importance of having a backup plan, self-confidence, and how to stay rooted and grounded when you are successful. 

How did you get your start in the industry?

At the tender age of fourteen (14) people started suggesting that I should consider modeling because I was standing at almost six feet (6’0) at the time. I had no idea how to go about pursuing that and neither did my mom. Eventually, I started getting connected with people in the industry, (makeup artists, hairstylists and photographers) who wanted to work with me. I enjoyed the experience and everything that I have learned has been very beneficial in the operations of my very own modeling school.

With your stunning features and portfolio you could easily just be a model–what led you to step behind the camera to groom future stars?

Being just a model is unrealistic, at least for me. Unless you are a super model, you should always have something to fall back on, especially since longevity in the industry is very few and far.  At this stage in my life I am concerned with building a brand, and not just being seen as a model.  I am extremely passionate about modeling and I also feel compelled to empower young people. So, starting Strut Modeling House was the perfect combination of my two loves.

How do you manage to maintain your sense of self in an industry that is focused on the image or appearance of things rather than reality? 

First things first, I have to give credit to my relationship with God now. Prior to that, I did fall prey to pressure of the industry standards to the point where I did not even feel adequate to model anymore. Now, I understand that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and no one can fit me into their box of what is considered beautiful.  I also have a ton of love and support from my husband, relatives, and close friends.  They keep me grounded and constantly remind me that I am capable of being anything I want to be.

Since you run a specialty business how do you manage to turn a profit during difficult economic times? 

Fortunately because what I do can translate into an academic atmosphere, I receive contracts from schools and non-profit organizations to teach modeling as a way of enhancing self-esteem and building strong characters. When things are not progressing as I would like them to at my studio, I have those other outlets to keep me a float. My studio is 1100 sq feet so I also rent it out for various events and that covers the bases as well. Needless to say, I am able to capitalize on many different levels.

The fashion industry has gotten a bad rap when it comes to embracing the beauty of African-Americans, have you found that to be true? If so, what does it take to make an impact in an industry that isn’t always accepting of African-Americans?

image (2)100% yes. I have personally encountered situations where they blatantly expressed no desire to cast black models, or agencies saying to me “you’re not what we are looking for.”  I believe that doing the work I do at Strut is a step in the right direction of change. I expose my students to the industry and teach them about having self value, the importance of perseverance, and to never let anyone discourage them by projecting their own insecurities on to them.  The industry is the way it is because not enough people are standing up for the injustice. Since the desire of many is so strong to make it as a model, they compromise at all costs.  Personally, I am not interested in doing so, which is why I am making my own path.

What advice would you give to any woman who desires to be “more than”?

Women should know that they are more than, rather than desiring to be so. It is important to have self-worth and surround yourself with others who value you as well.  A woman who is more than lives according to her own rules. She is not confined to the limitations placed on her by others. The first step to knowing that you are more than is embracing who you are, the good, bad, and indifferent. Believing that there is no one else like you. And lastly, a more than woman should not be afraid to stand out from the crowd despite when others are playing it safe.

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If you’d like to learn how to give good face and strut down the sidewalk or catwalk like a pro with Shaw Bernard please visit:

Follow Strut on Instagram @strutmodelinghouse

 If you know a woman whom you believe should be featured in More Than Monday please feel free to nominate a woman by sending her information including where she can be reached at to the Neophyte Author at nigerialockley@hotmail,com with “More Than” in the subject line.