I’m Speaking at a Mother’s Day Brunch!

This was my one attempt to freestyle a voiceover on top of my reel. I joke about being a rapper but this is difficult. I think I’m done with that tho🤞🏾. My brother likes to explain his battle rap picks to me. Apparently, yesterday was a major kings vs queens show in the culture. Yes, I looked it up @caffeine @urltv on IG! And it’s so amazing to me how freestyle battles work. Like how can I come up with captions off the dome, but can’t actually rap in front of people to save my life?? In fact, thinking about my poems: I have a lot of really dope one liners strung together (like a clothes line🤣)…. Anyway, I really do love rapping as a form of communication tho. 😩

Battle rapping is like the most interesting version of public speaking to. I have think I can appreciate it because I love to talk. For each part of my work, I get to have some of the dopest conversations + experiences with inspiring people. And then, I get to talk about those experiences—and y’all actually listen to my stories. Life is good.

So, I’m curious to hear from my audience. If you’re still reading this, I hope you’ve been captivated by my stories! Whether you’ve been following the SincerelyTyra.com blog, watched my lives on social media, listened to one of the 45+ podcast episodes that I’ve hosted, numerous community events or meetings facilitated, or read my poetry, I wanna hear your favorite TyraShange story! Shoot me a quick comment below to share!

Oh, + if you’re still with me, grab everybody + they mamas because I’m battle rapping next week! Just kidding! But I do have a speaking engagement at the AOT Mother’s Day Brunch on Saturday, May 7th! Get your tickets here: Forever Grateful. We’d love to brunch + kick it with you this time next week! 💕

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Tell the story + #SlayTheDream

Abbott Elem Faves | Read the previous blog, too! 💕

A Four-Page Letter to Black Women Who Work, Teach or Learn in Higher Ed Spaces

Abstract: Don’t work at North Park University without an exit plan. Don’t attend North Park University as a student of color without being prepared to advocate for your needs—often alone.


Please accept this as my letter of resignation from the Assistant Director of Student Success, Careers, and Internships role at North Park University.

If you only read the above summary and commit to learning from that viewpoint—I’ve been vindicated. But if you choose to continue reading why I am leaving NPU, please note that this resignation letter is also an open letter to the students who I had hoped to impact.

As Black women, daughters, mothers, consummate professionals trying not to walk on eggshells in front of ever-present white tears, we are often handed the bare minimum in return for our expertise, hustle and patience.

Bottom of the totem pole and yet still able to be socially branded as resentful, shoulder-chipped, and lazy all at once. How Sway? I’m glad you asked: Partly because representation in spaces where we are othered upon arrival intentionally narrate our stories differently—especially on a campus as white and conservative as North Park. And once we leave, our ability to narrate our experience all but disappears the second we clear out our work space. Well, this Black woman has always had an issue with the hunter being glorified and the lion being shamed in every way. So, not on my watch.

Before I continue, let it be clear that I had to operate an entire department on my own without proper onboarding and often without divisional leadership, and months without access to my department’s funding. Since January, I’ve entered bi-weekly meetings with leadership asking for their vision and strategic plan and how the implementation of career services fit into that vision and plan. Being met with the sound of crickets would’ve been a better response than the amount of actual feedback I received. It was only God’s humor and provision that kept me from feeling surges of anger and sheer disrespect when I found out that this same leadership wanted to hire a Director of Career Services “to work with” me and run a department that I had been operating single-handedly since June. Make it make sense. 🙄

When offered the position of Assistant Director of Student Success, Careers & Internships, I knew there was going to be work to do. I would be directing a department that is generally supported by at least 4-6 staff at other colleges and universities (NACE, 2021) and 8-10 staff on the high end.

But, at North Park, this meant:

I was solely responsible for approving internship eligibility for students; teaching one Career Planning course that would increase from two sections per semester (Fall 2021) to four sections per semester (Spring 2022) without any pay increase and little notice ahead of time (Dec 22, 2022, in fact); planning workshops and large-scale events; conducting registration appointments for incoming students; advising current students; producing content for the department’s social media account; helping COMPASS Peer Mentors find ways to stay connected to their first-year mentees; and motivating students to share information and resources with one another.

My Career Planning 1030 students will tell you that the merging of Career Services and Student Success really meant something to me as a faculty member and administrator. In fact, with 12 years of curriculum and program design, youth development and community organizing experience, it meant the world to me to have the opportunity to conduct research alongside, support and train a student body of 1200 scholars. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to reach all the North Park students by myself and it wasn’t in my budget to hire another full-time staffer. So, I endeavored to do the best I could to impact as many students in the most effective ways I could until my office’s capacity increased.

Here’s a break down of the total number of students I’ve met with:

I accomplished 439 in-person touch points with students over the course of 154 business days. I know this because I used simple sign-in sheets to track nearly every student who walked into my office or who attended any workshop I hosted between August 30, 2021-March 31, 2022. But, 439 does not account for summer hours spent preparing for the arrival of 11 COMPASS Peer Mentors and 43 COMPASS scholars 10 days before classes began. Nor does the number include any of the registration appointments I led with incoming first years and transfer students. Add my virtual touch points (email-only conversations and MS Teams Meetings) with students and that total increases again.

Oh, I can’t forget that I had 76 students enrolled in my Career Planning sections. If I calculated every time each of them attended class, 439 student touch points would increase once more. While I love teaching, the amount of work it took to coordinate my calendar to fit those 439 individual student touch points, often left the Student Engagement Front Desk Team disrespected by impatient students and a little salty with me. Many of those students, however, had no clue that I also had to have meetings with colleagues, started hosting a weekly drop-in resume workshop, planned events, and took time to prepare materials for lectures and class discussions, or grading assignments. In hindsight, I was running myself into the ground trying to maintain a broken system.

Until I started to ask myself: Why would I, as a new staff member, be expected to do this much work without any increase in pay, an adequate promotion, an increase in my budget, or any other viable resources and benefits? Could it be that North Park University’s structural racism trains my colleagues to view me as a “mule of the earth” and deserving of this much work to prove my professional worth? The thought left me aghast and exhausted thinking about the same leadership team that proved favoritism was real within my first 90 days.

Here’s where my experience gets even more covertly racist:

  • My position and decision to implement a standard for collaborating with my office was completely undermined by senior-level leadership’s approval of internships for 9 students when the Dean of their major departments all but harassed cabinet members into compliance. Then, had the gall to conveniently add 4 more students to the original list weeks later. (Here’s a cringe-worthy fact: One of the students added onto the list didn’t even request to be registered for internship credit and only found out when the university added the overload fees to their account.).
  • I have been completely ignored by a key colleague that I am supposed to consistently collaborate with . I’ve emailed this person SIX times since February 28th about student internship registrations for Summer ‘22 students whose selection was erroneously added on their current Spring ‘22 schedules. Six emails with my direct supervisor cc’d and not a peep from either of them about the issue I was raising or a response about how long it would take the Office of the Registrar to correct the issue. Here I am trying to act as an advocate for NPU students and being ignored. Then, this week I was cc’d on an email from the faculty advisor of one of the students registered for the wrong internship semester. In the message the faculty member is informing the Office of the Registrar of the same error that I emailed them about. THE VERY NEXT DAY, the colleague that I’ve already emailed SIX times (with no reply since February 28th) miraculously remembers my email address and forwarded the faculty advisor’s email to me to inquire if said colleague had made a mistake with that student’s registration. *stares in side eye*
  • I was told that my Black daughter (age 7) didn’t need to be on campus while I was assisting a colleague (after working hours at that) coordinate an evening event for his pre-orientation program. (Did I mention this same group of students became my responsibility after he left due to similar piss poor treatment by senior-level leadership in other departments?) despite the fact that it was SUMMER, she was not bothering any students and a white male faculty member and his toddler were kee-keeing in the halls of Johnson’s Student Engagement Center with the University President.
  • I have been gas lit by a gas lighter that’s in denial; had to look racist white devils in their e-thuggish faces and remind them not to talk down to me in these internet streets, and had to teach collaboration to a few colleagues that originally only saw me as competition.

Did I mention that I started this role 10 months ago yet?

Gaining the trust and respect of the student body was my first priority with implementation and enhancement of the internship process following closely behind.

So, to the students who I did not get a chance to say goodbye to: I can only imagine what we could have accomplished if we had the right support on the front end of my time at North Park or at the beginning of your entry point as a student. Please understand my decision to resign has nothing to do with North Park’s student body (even those of you who were a little overbearing sometimes 😊). I highly respect and appreciate the relationships that I was able to develop with students and some of my colleagues. Despite my experience, please don’t mourn for this Black woman because God has blessed me with some great opportunities to look forward to and I’m leaving campus literally smelling the roses thanks to a fine group of coworkers on the southern end of the Student Engagement office.

If you endeavor to attend (or stay at) North Park as a student or to begin a new role at the institution as a staff member, remember these final things:

  1. You don’t have to compromise who you are for the institution and its needs. If you know that you’re a good person, stand in your truth.
  2. Psalms 18:20 and 25!

To the Black women who work, teach, and learn in Higher Ed spaces across the world: we see you, they see you! Your extra effort is visible, but is it healthy? Whatever your answer: Please remember to look in the mirror and love on yourself before you head into the office each day.

Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Click on #GRWM | Prayers on our menu!

Thank you + thank you!! 🖤

Affirm yourself today, Queen! 💕 #SincerelyTyra

Choosing to Dream More

My sleep patterns have been wayyyy off since the beginning of the year. I mean, I haven’t seen the back of my eyelids for 8 consistent hours in IDK how long.

Between work, family, + service, I interface with at least 15 people/day. That type of constant external energy in your space can wear you down physically, emotionally, + spiritually—if you let it.

Of course, I did this time. My body even had the nerve to let me get sick! But I told myself I’d be all about my joy in 2022 + there’s no joy to be found in baggy eyes + congestion. So, I took some remote work days + increased my sleeping hours each night to get me back to healthy.

But February + being sick ultimately made me realize:

I’m trying to dream more + #SlayTheDream more this month. So, I’m being intentional about: 1) slowing down (meaning: saying no to days packed with multiple meetings/appts), 2) reading more physical books 📚, 3) reading my #SlayTheDream Affirmation cards before bed and 4) taking⏳time to just be by myself in March.

What do you need to leave in February to make sure your health is in tact? Comment below + let us know!

If you’d like to purchase your #SlayTheDream Affirmation Card Set, click the link above or head over to the shop page. 💕 Use it everyday for a week. Then, leave us a comment to share if it helped you dream your best dreams!

—Sincerely, Tyra ✍🏾

Purchase your #SlayTheDream Affirmation Card Set!

Know Your Worth 👑

Saying outta love. 🗣: You can’t add tax before the original value.

I know it’s cute to say “add tax” now. But you gotta remember that before you can add tax, you have to know your actual worth. 👑

Our #SlayTheDream Affirmation Cards are designed to help you level up your self-worth + remind you how dope God created you so you can get back to sharing your dreams. Grab one for you + a friend!

SincerelyTyra 🖤

Prayer for What’s to Come:

God, I trust You. I trust what You’re doing in my life. I know that You have nothing but my best interest at heart. In your hands are the inner workings of so many details. I don’t even need to know them all because I trust that You don’t know how to fail. And so, whatever You do on my behalf: I’m cool with. Do You, Heavenly Father. Reap all the glory off of my life. Bear fruit from my yes + my trust + my acceptance of Your matchless + divine plan.

In Jesus Christ’s Name!
—🖤

Quick Poll

Prayer for Guidance + Insight

Heavenly Father, El Roi, Jehovah Jireh! At the mention of Your Name, we rise up to rejoice! We gain great peace after praising You, Lord because prayer changes our perspective! You keep us in ways that we could never know + a you fight battles in front of us that seem impossible to win. God, You are the God of the Angel Armies + the God of Gideon + the God that shook the earth a thousand times over when Man did not obey Your call to obedience, kindness + freedom. We take pleasure in knowing You love us, God. But we stand in awe of the thought of You desiring more time with us! You, the God that is Creator of all things in every universe + galaxy. You: the God of the Heavens, the earth, the same that formed me in my mother’s womb + transformed her body for me to be delivered into this world. You are our beacon, lighthouse, and way finder in dark times! You are the God of mighty transitions + unexpected blessings! You are a guarantee, a closer, a victorious warrior, and redeemer alike. I thank You for parting the wind, snow + sleet on my behalf. I thank You for protecting + covering my car on the highway. Jesus, You were my eyes when the snow picked up so heavy, it made cars that were right in front of me invisible to a plain eye. Thank You for Your hands covering my hands and Your power resting on my decisions, Holy Spirit. We are blessed to only count the cars + trucks that were turned over this weekend versus being one of them. God, I pray that every passenger connected to one of those vehicles is now safely back home + resting from the tumultuous night. Let them see the light of Your day + know that You were the one that opened their eyes. Let them rise from their beds to give You the praise + honor that You are due! Get the glory out of our testimonies today, Heavenly Father!

Reach out to us again + help our people know that You have not abandoned us, oh God—but only wanted more time with us! The enemy has done a number of our families. He has all but taken our men and boys. Mothers are weary, sisters are afraid + burdened with raising sibling-children. We want to feel Your love, God. But some of us don’t know where or how to begin to accept Your love + tender mercy. The rest of us are simply tired this morning, God. So I say thank You in advance for the way that You will build up our strength + develop our endurance today, God. Grant us a Ruth-like endurance, God. Bring forth a healing of the land for us to be able to eat from it, God. And when it comes, rain down a Tirzah-level of tenacity + help us wipe every weary tear, so we can get back to doing Your work. Help us to strategize versus being reactionary. My life depends on Your vision, God! Grant me the favor of Your insight + discernment. Bear fruit from my yes + my no in this season, Yahweh! Take me + make me everything You need me to be, BUT prune away the very things that would work to keep me seeking Your face. Let no man, woman or situation get in the way of my desire to share Your love, Father! Keep me from being so naïve that people try to use me for their agenda. I need Your help like never before, God. Correct me in the ways that I fall short, uplift me to be able to continue caring for Your people. Protect + guard my heart to stay away from anyone personally or professionally that would only take from me without wishing to restore. Let my real friends show up like stars—bright + unified. Let them outshine anyone who You would see as a distraction, Most High. Fill each of our cups to the brim with love, kindness + Immense Joy! Only You have the power to make our purpose produce fruit. Set our paths straight so that we can grow + flourish in the position in which You desire to water us. + Help me to take my energy back from those that don’t deserve or appreciate it. I have soo much more work to do with You guiding my hands. Thank You for trusting me!
In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen!

I’m reading: 2 Chronicles 29:11 + Job 26

Them Project Kids | Poetry

Boardroom Babe 👸🏾✨

I used to think I looked presidential here. Maybe I should rename this to “from the PJs to the Presidency” 😂

Anyway, this is the first poem from a book I’m working on called: “Soul Fed.” If you like it, tell me in the comments! If you really like it, buy my first book, “A Smothered Scripture” tagged here. 📚

✍🏾

“Them Project Kids”

Like living in a prison.
Painted cinder blocks,
only insulation between you
and the outside world.
Barred windows, stifled dreams
into believing there was no escape.

But on the other hand:
we lived in a hope
called relationships.
My mom knew all my friends
–while forever reminding me
“You ain’t got no friends.”–
and our neighbors actually borrowed
sugar after telling my grandma every
little thing they saw me do
(out their window)
on my way home from school,
or what they overheard me say to Jonathan
when the elevator door opened,
or whose house I ran to trying
to flee the bullets.
We were a village in a war zone.
We were the natives of a military territory.
We were aliens, the first illegals and refugees:
all trying to break the curse
without knowing how
to get us free; we were damned.

—Sincerely, Tyra 👸🏾

#BHM Moment | Google: Ida B. Wells

Dear Queen: Listen to When Queens Link 🥰

I Don’t Want My Child to Become a Hashtag!

#INDICTVanDyke #J4L

#INDICTVanDyke #J4L

Beloved, you’ve been living in the dark if you think that there’s not an active war on Black bodies across America right now. Laquan’s murderer, ex-CPD vigilante, Jason Van Dyke, is due to be released from his country club prison on February 3rd FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR? What type of asinine, ludicrous, bull …Nevermind, I’m too cute to cuss. But, it does make me hella angry when I look at my brother and his friends, or my students and mentees and wonder:

How many more hashtags before I’m crying over one of them? Or before your family members are left crying over your Black body?

Click the link in my bio to sign and share the #INDICTVanDyke #J4L Change.org petition! We need 100,000 signatures to REMIND our elected officials that they need to push US Atty General Merrick Garland and US Atty John Lausch to press FEDERAL charges against Jason Van Dyke for the 16 bullets he unloaded into the body of 17-year-old, Laquan McDonald. This was a SENSELESS MURDER of a Black boy. Don’t live in the dark thinking it won’t happen again if we stay quiet! SIGN IT AND SHARE IT WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS!

Let’s get #Justice4Laquan #J4L and send the message to his family (black boys his age) that he has not been forgotten about!

IF YOU WANT TO DO MORE, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!

Go sign this + share it with your followers!

*No copyright infringement intended! I DO NOT own the rights to this @kanyewest song. 🖤

#policebrutality #blacklivesmatter #laquanmcdonald #blackbodies #blackstudentunion #blackamerica #solidarity #sturggle #freedom #justice #injustice #community #communitywellness #community #publichealth #COVID19 #moneychallenge

All action. No missed shots.

Only moves + vibes. 🎯

The Importance of Memory Lane 💕

Here’s why I like Facebook memories so much:

This picture was taken after I published my first book, A Smothered Scripture, + before I ever started planning recent large-scale events professionally (meaning: I was doing it for free for years for Denison University. What a time! You think I do it all now? …I had soo many dreams + goals back then!).

But there’s a story inside all of us. And, sometimes—when we’re not paying attention—we let the weight of the world make us forget who we are + all that makes us great.

On February 19th, I’ll be back sharing my story + motivating you to find your unique voice… Ya know, just in case you want to tell your story to the world.

Join me on the journey with the The Art of Transparency, Tour! We head to Memphis first, then Phoenix, have multiple Chicago dates, racing to Jamaica in November + more!

—Sincerely, Tyra #SlayTheDream 🖤💕

P.S. Many thanks to elder Harold Lucas for the opportunity + mentorship all these years!

For more information, click here: https://sincerelytyra.com/tyrashange/

To read about the High Rise Stories panel, click here: https://sincerelytyra.com/2020/01/19/slaythedream-a-catalyst-stories/

Choosing Joy, Week 1

2021 showed me that I could be the strong friend. But, 2022 is about me taking the steps to invest back into me. Just owe it to myself. 🥰

So, I started the year off doing more of the things that I love: writing, recording, check industry stats at work (🤓), planning + focusing on joy.

My theme this year is “Immense Joy.”

So I’m being intentional about actually absorbing the moment + filling my space with things that make me happier.

What did you focus on these first 7 days? Share your focus for the year + any theme you want to carry throughout 2022 in the comments!

Praying you have a peaceful, prosperous, + joy-filled year!
—Sincerely, Tyra 👸🏾🖤💕

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!

—Isaiah 54:17 🙌🏾

Stop That. 🛑

New Video Post… click on Blog on the menu!

Birthday Gratitude 🥳🥰

I created this quick video note to say thank you for all the birthday love! Huge thank youuuu to all my friends + family!

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Queen Whitney + Queen Mariah Linked Up

Friday Night Lights

When Queens Link – Ep. 5: “Be Ready” is up!

Poems are short stories. This one needs a title

Choose kindness.

Morning Prayer. 🙏🏾

2 Timothy 3:16, MSG version 🖤

Put him on ice, babe.

Running Errands

It gotta be family to get an answer these days. #otf #mine #thelife

When Queens Link: HerbHabitue

So, story time:

(Note: Click here, to listen to this episode of When Queens Link)

Two weeks ago, as I was preparing for my trip to ATL, I slid over to Office Depot to see what was up with my new retractable banner that I ordered + it wasn’t ready. 🤯

If you’ve seen her work, @HerbHabitue you know I was salty asl. 😩

BUT—the next day, I ended up missing my flight (in the most unusual way, in fact… but that’s a longer story for another day)…

So, I drive all the way back home.

It’s late + I’m weary by the time I pull up to the house. 😩

I get to my front door + guess what’s waiting for me? 😌

Yep! This beauty! We were clearly destined to be together this weekend. 🥰

I have designed visual aids like brochures, event fliers, program/policy handbooks—even my first website this summer.

I’d never done a retractable banner + didn’t have the time (or patience 😕) to teach myself before this most recent event.

But because I’m God’s favorite child, someone I follow on Twitter was tweeting about a sale she was having RIGHT AFTER I had made my mind up about not doing it myself. 🥲

Now, Jai, the owner of Herb Herbitue + I only know each other via social media.

BUT, she treated me (+ my brand) as if she knew me for years, chile.

It felt like I had worked with her before just off the intentionality of her correspondence.

Then, there was the VISION she presented! 😍

She designed the banner to look like a blog post. 🥰

As a new entrepreneur, I can understand not trusting other people with your entrepreneurial baby. But, she was very attentive to making sure I liked the final product.

This is what I mean when I say she “does not miss.”

I see so many stories bashing Black/women-owned businesses for being unprofessional…

TBH, I don’t know any examples, because all of the small businesses I shop with are dope—ESPECIALLY those owned by Black women. 💸😍

They most definitely #SlayTheDream.

My motto is “celebrate something about yourself.” So, as a black woman, it’s important to me to share the counter-narratives to all the hate I see toward Black-women in business.

So today, I’m lifting up the Black-owned, woman-owned business: HerbHabitue.

If you’re thinking about a new or updated banner for any kind of brand, take a look at the website/portfolio in her bio: @HerbHabitue.

This series is long overdue + I have so many more Black women-owned businesses to highlight and interview.

More to come…

—Sincerely, Tyra

Made My First Website 👩🏾‍💻

Quick Moment of Truth:

The post below is what growth looks like. I never thought to call myself a graphic designer almost ten years ago when I started playing around with all those apps that I used to add a visual to my quotes. Or even when I was building my MySpace page, but I digress. 😂

Photo of one of Tyra’s first graphic designs made on the now nonexistent Tweetgram app.

What’s crazy is that now I’ve created a website for a nonprofit organization simply because their leadership observed me trying to perfect my craft—and then actually liked what they watched me produce.

But even that isn’t what makes me a graphic designer in my mind. Now, I can confidently call myself a graphic designer because I can look at where I’ve come from—okay with the level I was at then—assess where I am now, + still know that God has bigger in store for me.

This “Tweetgram” photo is almost ten years old. It took time for Him to develop what I can now comfortably call my craft (one of ‘em). I have grown from my starting point because I believed God wanted more for me. And, we know that He wants more for me because I want it so much + He loves me like that. (That’s longer post for another day 😌).

When I talk about what it means to #SlayTheDream, I’m really talking about:

• the continuous growth of your dreams.
• the many small goals you accomplish that get you closer to your wildest dreams.
• + how you choose to achieve those dreams with expectation that the end result is already yours (but in God’s time, not yours).

My dream didn’t originally include being a web designer. But because I love creating + organizing information to be shared, it makes sense that I enjoyed this part of my journey. I gained some experience with Squarespace while creating/uploading content to help a friend/fellow project manager at the end of 2020. So when Quiet Storm asked me to design their new website in time for their nonprofit launch, I was able to use it again to complete this most recent project. My next design goals include: a) creating another website using a different, drag + drop host; b) to level up by building websites from scratch.

On the graphic design side of the house, my next goal is to make gains with the Adobe Creative cloud products. I’m loving Photoshop + Fresco + InDesign currently. In fact, I have always respected + been in awe of people that use it effortlessly. But, BABY, I have so much more to learn! I’m grown, but still growing. 🥰

What are some qualities or skills about you that God is saying keep working on; keep bringing to Him to perfect?

Are you satisfied with the idea of letting Him take His time to make you greater in those areas?

Get comfortable in the comments, if you’d like.

Have a joyful day,
—Sincerely, Tyra

Prayer for the City

Good + Faithful Father,

Help us to model our hearts’ desires after Your will for our lives. Let the sin of old (greed, coveting others’ possessions, back-biting, killing, lust) be struck down immediately. Heal our land + make it Holy ground again. We are desperate for Your trial of those that wish to punish the righteous, the chosen, the obedient. For we are not judges + executioners.

But You, oh God, can destroy strongholds and mountains alike. Turn our hearts back to You, Lord. Forgive us for every step taken without consulting You—leading us back into the wilderness. Face us, Father, with all Your light. Remove this veil of dishonor. Pick us again to show up as an example of Your kind + forgiving love. You, Lord of second chances, slow to anger with those that seek You + quick to blot out anything wicked in its ways; You are our only hope. You are our reason to rejoice.

We look around + see only devastation + rotting because we have forgotten Your command to purge the evilness. Forgive us for that which we allowed to consume our hearts + the hearts of our families without consequence, remorse, or even a whisper. Correct our vision + our hearts, God. Make us like Phinehas, Father God: ready to immediately disrupt that which displeases You. Our next generation depends on our current wisdom. But our disobedience will send them into ruin. Fix our lives + secure our futures, Most High. Create spaces for us to shift + thrive. We are deprecated by You for loving all things You see as detestable. Can You change our minds, mend our hearts, + help us to rebuild what we have destroyed?

We love You, Father. We just don’t know how to show it. Some of us are lost + need You to leave the herd on our behalf; seeking everything because we don’t realize what we really want is You. Have mercy on us, God, and thank You for Your never-ending love.

In Jesus Christ’s Name.

Amen.

Tonight, I’m reading: 1 Corinthians 15:55-56 and James 1:15

Dude, Where’s My Blog?

A few people said that I’ve been a little quiet lately. So, here goes:

I’ve been working. Working on various projects… Trying to make sure what’s for me is for me…Focused on alignment…

So, here’s a quick update on what we’ve been working on! Of course, we’ll be back with more #GRWM prayers, relationship updates, + poetry soon! In the meantime, pick your favorite project below and interact with us on your preferred social media platform! 🖤

A few of our projects that our readers may like to support include:

✍🏾 Sincerely, Tyra is my Facebook business page for my books and blog. We are on Instagram and Twitter, too. Now, let me be clear: This blog isn’t going anywhere. Social media simply helps us stay connected to you in a different way. Follow us on your favorite platform to keep up with our day-to-day journey + more writing updates!

👕 EbonySun Chicago is my Facebook business page that promotes my clothing line. ((☺️ That’s a sentence that the fifth grader in me (who used to draw/redesign our cheerleading uniforms, btw)—never imagined I be able to say.)) We are building this project out more and more each day and working on the actual website version. But, you can follow our other social mediums (Instagram and Twitter) to stay up-to-date, too.

🎉 While I’m talking about website creation, I just got my first paid opportunity to create a local organization’s first website. …Yes, their FISRT-ever website! This is big for the company as we expand our services!

📰 Community Connection is a Facebook page that I created + manage for a community information-sharing/peace-building initiative to connect residents in Grand Crossing and South Shore to positive events, mutual aid, and helpful information. The page is tailored to information for SS + GC residents, but I’d love to start one in other neighborhoods that need this positive energy/information sharing. I have a few youth that help create content or collect Community info. It is a sustainable, replicable model that she created to get them involved and add some paid experience to their resumes. Oh, and we are on Instagram, too @connectsouthshore. Follow us, beloved!

🎙Youth Development, What’s Working & What’s Not is a podcast available across all streaming platforms created by Jacquelyn O. Eadie + myself to provide a safe space for youth development practitioners, youth, parents, + village-minded folk to discuss topics that concern our youth and their needs. We’ve discussed everything from mental health to intergenerational conflict/miscommunication.

We love having guests on the show like Joseph Butler + Anthony Townsend and appreciate when our audience joins the conversation in our Facebook Live sessions. You can find us on IG, too!

🎤 And, of course, I cannot forget The Art of Transparency 2021 Tour! This platform has given speakers access to audiences across the globe! It is a stage that welcomes speakers to talk about their trauma, pain, and the healing journey for the purpose of helping others. There are a few more tour stops before the end of the year. Next up is Atlanta! To purchase tickets, visit the AOT website.

Comment below with projects (or even goals) that you’re working on. This is a safe space built for encouragement + accountability! 💛

Continue to #SlayTheDream!

–Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Dear Accountability Partners

I don’t do well with cluttered spaces.

That’s physical and mental space alike. But, in my line of work, I don’t often have much time to myself—so life tends to get really cluttered with things to do and people to talk to very quickly. (Anyone else ever looked up at 3 or 4 in the afternoon and realized that you failed to eat lunch? C’mon! I know I’m not the ONLY one).

So I’ve decided to plan 30-minutes in the middle of my to pray Monday through Friday, just so I can have time regroup and gather my thoughts. I’m posting to this to make you all my accountability partners. This is just a tiny step in the right direction.

I’ll come back at the end of May with a report on how I did and other techniques to carving out time for self-care that I gather as well.

What are you making room for?

How are you planning to make room for what your soul needs?

Tell me in the comments below.

Oh, and no, I don’t own the rights to this song. Jonathan McReynolds, please don’t sue me. 🙏🏾

—Sincerely, Tyra

ICYMI: Milwaukee was MIND-BLOWING!

If I had to try and describe it: Last weekend was really interesting, dope, eye opening, and just overflowing with love.

I can’t say how thankful I am to be able to tell my story on this platform. It is teaching me so many things about love (of every kind), support, business, family dynamic, legacy, how different people are coping with trauma, and how similar we are when we actually look at the types of experiences we need to heal from.

I performed a poem entitled, The Conversation, from my book A Smothered Scripture. I met some more amazing people. I wore my mask (doubled-up actually). I got my Grandma out of the house (with her mask on, of course). I learned something new about EACH of my tour mates that spoke about their individual healing process. (Seriously, when someone tells the same story twice and it’s as attention-grabbing as the first time… the storyteller in me loves that!) Oh, AND ya girl sold out of the EbonySun merch I brought along! Thank you, Milwaukee! 🥰

—Sincerely, Tyra

To learn more about the Art of Transparency Tour 2021 updates, click here.

WVON Interview | “Uplifting Our Youth During the Pandemic”

Last weekend, I was invited to for an interview on WVON 1690AM – The Talk of Chicago’s Community Health Focus segment for “Uplifting Our Youth During the Pandemic!”

It was a dope experience to have someone I respect asking about my work alongside some exceptional co-guests whose work I follow. Shout out to host Dr. Doriane Miller, Dr. Sonya Dinizulu and Ernest Sanders!

To hear the entire interview about ways we are uplifting youth and parents in our every day work, click the following link: https://fb.watch/4Q2mAlBSNK/

To view more on Dr. Doriane Miller of Urban Health Initiative: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/find-a-physician/physician/doriane-miller

To view more on Dr. Sonya Dunizulu of UChicago Med: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/find-a-physician/physician/sonya-dinizulu

To view more on Ernest Sanders of @ssworkschgo: https://www.southshoreworks.org/

To learn more about Gary Comer Youth Center’s work with 6-12 grade youth: http://www.comereducationcampus.org

What “Turned It Around for Me?”

There was a time when I was so fed up with myself and my surroundings that I actually considered…

…It’s a “turning point” story in all of us! To hear how it turned around for me and each of the speakers on the 2021 Art of Transparency Tour, grab your tickets and meet us in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this weekend on Saturday, April 10th!

FOR TICKETS: https://artoftransparency.org/…/turned-it-around-for-me…

Remember to bring your mask or stay home if you’re feeling under the weather! We will be socially-distanced. See link above for full details!

Sincerely, Tyra

A Moment of Gratitude

After a long night of filming, I realized I should say thank you! So, I went live on Facebook… at 12:00 a.m. …Yep! That’s how much you meant to me! In this video: 🎥
• I say THANK YOU to you! 🥰
• I talk about why I started my blog! 💻
• I share the meaning behind Shange! 🦁
• I say THANKS some more 🙏🏾!
—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

#SlayTheDream today!

To view the entire video, head over to the Facebook page or click here!

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