Your mercy amazes me. We have such little time on this plane and yet we consume ourselves with trivial things + mere minuscule seconds compared to the glorious permanence we’ll find at home with You. Why do we use our time so frivolously? Why do we have so many temporary lapses of judgment when it comes to what is pure, noble—just even?
And yet, while we put You on the back burner as a people, allowing culture to overturn our very hearts from what is right… You still care about us. How are You so loving + so kind; so forgiving + so slow to anger when it comes to us?
God, my only petition is that You would show us how to become content with the cross you’ve assigned me to carry. Create in me a heart that desires what You desire, Oh God. Prepare me for the days ahead, Father. Make obedience + repentance my breakfast + lunch. Help me eat Your word for dinner, Dear Lord. For we know the day is coming that You would return—make us ready, Heavenly Father.
We have experienced so many highs and lows this year. The rollercoaster that 2020 tried to keep us riding had most of us feeling tired one day, excited the next day and completely blessed the following day.
Some of us experienced the fear of death lurking behind daily COVID-19 reports or the updates of each high-profile police-involved murder that plastered Black bodies across the internet like strange fruit.
*Give me a minute: I’m taking another moment to remember the loved ones that we lost this year.*
…But if 2020 taught me anything, it was this: You are not in control of this life!
Don’t get me wrong—there are definitely choices and consequences that we make and experience on a daily basis. But, even with each of those, God controls the final outcome. Sometimes we can understand why He chose to let things happen the way they have and other times, we simply cannot. But, when I tell you I found freedom in just acknowledging—again—that He is control of my life, it literally made me feel lighter and more at peace.
Then, I realized that although 2020 has been a crazy year—it’s also been a year of blessings! Many of my friends have gotten promotions, raises, transitioned to more fulfilling jobs and great career opportunities, AND most of us have started new “passion” projects and legally registered our businesses. I was even blessed with new consulting contracts and an invitation to participate in my first speaking tour. Oh! And, how can I forget laying the foundation for my first clothing line! Thankfully, we will have made it to this time next year with even more increase and provision.
In the Bible, Matthew records Jesus as He’s teaching us how to pray. Jesus says, “for your Father knows what you need before you ask him”(Matthew 6:8 NIV). But what would happen if we did ask Him?!
One of my favorite Psalms reads: “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (37:4). It’s an ever-present reminder that God wants us to live our best lives. (Note: And He will oblige us when we are putting His desires first. See also: Matthew 6:33.)
So, here’s the challenge: Let’s us to go into 2021 with a mindset of overflow and watch God show out.
Wondering where to start? Try taking twenty minutes out of your schedule every day to sit and hear a word from God. Think about all the ways He has blessed, helped, or sent encouragement to you. If you are consistent in this, I truly believe that your desires begin to align with all the goodness that He desires for your life. Also, in that time, you will a) grow stronger in your ability to see that only He knows the outcomes of our lives and b) realize that He’s taken His time to design each experience uniquely for us based on what our individual needs include.
Next, be intentional about writing down your goals. As I always say, take the time to “dream your best dreams!” Really sit still and give yourself enough time and space (and yes, freedom, too) to process what would make you happiest in life. Erykah Badu said it this way:
Third: Put those intentions on display!! I cannot tell you how many times I have penned a great To Do list for my personal goals, or household goals, or business goals and then lost track of which notebook I wrote it down in (or typed it, if perchance, I didn’t properly organize the list in my Evernote notebooks)! To avoid this, a simple trick that I have started using is huge post-it paper (I know it’s a little Being Mary Jane-ish, but IT WORKS!) Maybe having giant post-its thumb-tacked in your bedroom doesn’t work… Completely understandable! Try putting your list of goals on display anywhere that you know you will see it frequently.
Last, but definitely, not least: Be okay with not completing tasks/goals in your timeline. Despite having the idea years prior, so many of my goals were able to happen “just now” because my trust in God was stronger. (If I’m being completely honest, my obedience was more on point this year than ever before as well. But I’ll save that blogpost for another day.) Again, 2020 has been a lesson in learning to trust God’s direction as I completed the goals He’s set before me. His timing is always better and produces more fruit than I can anyhow. In fact, everything that I’ve needed to learn about running a sustainable business has either shown up by His handiwork when I least expected, (because God consistently exceeds my expectations) or because I was intentional about asking God to order my steps toward the exact opportunity I needed.
We have less than a week until 2021 arrives with new problems that need solutions and God-sent opportunities alike. Let’s get ahead of the year by starting on a positive note!
Can we commit to doing the #TheOverflowChallenge together?! Tell me something you’re excited to ask for God’s help with in 2021 in the comments below!
You know, I think I’ve always wanted to start a clothing line. I vividly remember sketching designs for our cheerleading uniforms in grammar school and re-designing all the hottest Nikes I couldn’t afford. I was customizing Nike’s before it was ever an option on a website. So earlier this year when I decided that I would design and make a few t-shirts, I knew I wanted them to be innovative. Like any entrepreneur, I’m pretty particular about what I put my name on. So the excitement that comes with putting the EbonySun logo on these designs is next level.
We* officially debuted two original designs last week at our very FIRST pop-event (pictured below). That means we officially slayed two goals this month! We already had the “Distinguish Yourself” design and the “#ProtectUs” shirt which made its debut on Juneteenth. So releasing the “Don’t Fold” and “Mind Your Business(es)” shirts next felt like a step in the right direction.
The catalyst for all of these designs are, of course, centered around personal lessons or and social issues—many of which I’ve written about on the Sincerely, Tyra blog or our social media platforms. So there is an intentional level of brand connectivity happening between the writing that we feature and these designs. Even the EbonySun logo and motto looks like something we would don on the Sincerely, Tyra side of the house.
Our next goal is to facilitate a collaborative of women-owned small businesses in the creation of a scholarship fund focused on teen mothers. The “#ProtectUs” shirt (originally titled the Rekia shirt) is a not-for-profit sale item for this very reason. Until the collaborative group is formed, this shirt is our healthy reminder to protect every facet of Black womanhood. This design will likely become the flagship for funding the scholarship fund. If you know of any organizations or small businesses that we should partner with for this endeavor, please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each shirt can be found on our Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/EbonySun) and custom orders can be placed using the following Google Form. Of course, we’d love our subscribers’ feedback on the designs! So hit reply and tell us what you think! Or let us congratulate YOU by sharing any goals you’ve accomplished this year with us!
*Right now, “we’re” a design team of one (perhaps, one and a half if you count assistance from my five-year old daughter). But prayerfully EbonySun and Sincerely, Tyra will be able to hire an administrative assistant and a design assistant before Quarter 2 of 2021. The best way you can support us with this next goal is through prayer. Thanks in advance!
**We = trusted team members are being spoken into existence.
We’re excited to announce that our mother company, EbonySun Chicago, is partnering with this dynamic group of Black-owned businesses next week to offer you all NEW merch (like new NEW… not even on our website… exclusive NEW) and of course, boxes of Sincerely, Tyra-authored books!
So I’ve been listening to a lot of Drake and Anita lately. But somehow in between them, I was able to come across this song, Sacred Space, by India.Arie. Honestly, between her and Anita’s Tidal playlists, I’m rethinking the type of love that I need and want in my life.
There’s a lyric in this song that India sings: “When this life becomes a fight. You are where I put my gloves down.”
…Honey, that hit my spirit in different way. Those lyrics expressed a type of love that exudes peace, comfort, and sanctuary.
Listening to it made me think about whether those things could exist naturally between two people or whether a couple would have to work toward finding and maintaining that type of love.
There are so many ideas and suggestions about love within our culture. An obvious example can be found in love songs. Anita’s and India’s repertoires are even better examples. I’d like to say that Drake might have one or two ideas about love that are actually solid. Maybe…
But it’s difficult to determine what to require from love these days. The dominant theory of our culture doesn’t even seem to value love much. So it’s definitely not effectively teaching us what to REQUIRE from love for it to be long lasting and beautiful.
Are there prerequisites or demands of love for it to be one’s sacred space? What are some things that you require from love for it to feel right and good? Share in the comments! I’m learning! So help me out! 🥰😩
I want to hide… Literally just want to get under the covers, ball up like a baby and hide. Why? Because of this feeling of rejection—and how I chose to respond to it. Disclaimer: This post is going to share my flawed reactions to a recent male friend’s choice to be in a relationship with someone else. No details about his identity will be revealed because, well, that just wouldn’t be fair.
If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you probably remember the following quote:
Posted in January of this year, the photo reached just shy of 2,600 individuals and sparked 41 profile visits on Instagram. Cool, right?
Well, it probably would’ve been dope—if I actually would’ve taken my own advice. You see, I entangled myself intimately again (this time, building what I thought was a stronger friendship) with the same man this post was about just three months AFTER I wrote about being content with us not being in a relationship.
Now, let me be honest this time around, I have not really been self-aware these past few months. I thought that I could be intimate with him and not catch feelings. Honey, I had it mapped out so clearly in my head.
…Until, we started acting like real friends toward each other. Because of this new pattern of interactions, my feelings grew exponentially faster than his did. When I realized he had become interested in someone else, again lacking self-awareness, I thought “okay, cool, we can still just be friends.”
Big pause here: Show of hands. How many of you think I was ready for us to just be friends?!
Seriously, what was I thinking?! Deep down, I knew I wanted more from the beginning and should have been honest with myself enough to create boundaries to let him know that as well.
But that wasn’t the choice I made. So when he decided that he did NOT want a relationship with me again—one would likely think: Oh, she knew it could end this way. She’ll be fine.
I did know that it could end this way and yes, because I’m an adult who made the choices I made, I SHOULDA been fine with his decision. But, for the sake of my own personal growth, let me tell you why I wasn’t:
I do not handle rejection well.
…There I said it.
I’m honestly just not used to it. I was one of the top students in school all throughout my life. Got rewarded left and right for my intelligence, work ethic, and ability to help others. I was popular in college and am still very much the person everyone has a good time around. Other guys are vying for my attention. So why wouldn’t he want to be in a relationship with me?
That was the million dollar question that I didn’t realize I was even struggling with this time around. When I say struggle… it took TWO good friends to sit me down on TWO separate occasions over the course of this past week for me to realize that I have been giving this man hell over a choice he FULLY has the right to make. (Note: 🥴🤦🏾♀️ is how I feel admitting to this and realizing I’ve been acting like crazy person. I’m supposed to be cooler than this.🙄)
Last Friday, without knowing about my situation, one of my best guy friends was venting to me about a woman he’s been involved with recently. Hearing his feelings about her actions confirmed that I had been irrational with my expectations of the man I was only intimately involved with. So, it was then that I decided that I was over it. At least, that’s what I thought.
Then, yesterday, after sending a text to the man that explained how I felt—about him not choosing me—I called another good friend for validation when he told me I was wrong. How could he say my feelings were wrong? But, because my circle keeps it very real with me: she told me I was DEADASS WRONG for some of the things I said to him. Ultimately, I apologized to him because of that conversation and her ability to help me see a different perspective.
So this morning when I get another like on the Instagram post above, I realized that this feels terrible because I’m not used to feeling “rejected.” I wanted something from him that he didn’t want from me. Hence, the REJECTION.
If I was more self-aware or problem-solving this for one if my own friends, my advice would be that:
1) I could have chosen to not fool around with this man.
2) I could have been real with myself—and chosen to correct my attitude toward our time together.
3) We were just two people making decisions about what we wanted in the heat of each moment.
4) Despite how much you disagree with their choices, you don’t always deserve an apology.
5) Sex and friendship does not equal a relationship.
Everyone has choices to make in life and we’re not always going to like what other people decide. These past few weeks have helped me to become more aware of my own choices and although I still feel bad for how I was treated and how I decided to react toward the man, I’m thankful that this experience has granted me insight. Next time, I know to be more upfront with myself.
How do you know when you’re not acting like yourself? Have you had an experience that caused you to act differently than you normally would act? What lessons did you learn about self-awareness? Full disclosure: I’m still learning and your comments may help me grow!
Warning: The following video is footage of a memorial that was built to honor Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau, a 19-year-old Black Lives Matter activist from Florida who’s body was found dead one week after she went missing.
What does it mean to protect the Black woman at all costs?? Physically… Spiritually… Emotionally… Can we finally have a conversation about this? What am I to tell My Joy when she sees Black women’s bodies deteriorate and mangled as consequences of being on the front lines?
I’ve been trying to get active and get rid of this 2020-Stress Body. One particular Saturday morning after My Joy and I are walking/running/playing soccer on the track, I notice a faint crying sound. As we get closer, I realize a tiny little girl is hunched over crying, another (older) is about five feet away standing under a tree (looking lost). So I asked the child crying what was wrong and where her parents were. She pointed to a man who was across the field walking on the opposite side of the track and said he’s walking and said “he’d needs three more (laps) and I’m hot!!”
And homegirl is boohoo-ing, okay! But to her credit, it was like 80 degrees at 10am. So I look to confirm that the man is indeed across the field and tell her everything is going to be okay. Of course MyJoy walks over and gives her a hug (🥰🤗). Then a few mins later she says she’s hot and thirsty, too. So I walk her to the car to get her water, trying to watch the two girls the whole time. I end up asking Sameyah if she wanted to get her ball to play with them.
Ultimately, I don’t know his story, he could have been frustrated, trying to blow off some steam or perhaps clear his mind. (I didn’t ask). And when I spoke to him, he seemed generally nice—even thanked me for letting MyJoy okay and for talking to them. But, when we left the track, I was still disturbed by the entire scene.
That led to a rabbit hole of other questions:
How are we supposed to raise our girls to feel protected and cared for in this climate? What message does it send to these small girls if not even their father can console them when they’re emotionally distressed?
How am I as a woman supposed to be open and honest with the men in my own life if they are constantly battling demons of repressed anger from injustices seen and unseen?
How is it that there is no official number of Black women missing in America? Did you know that there are an estimated 64,000-75,000 Black women and girls who are currently missing in the U.S. Not only is that a huge number of open cases and families in pain, but that’s a huge gap in our estimate as well. It feels… unacceptable.
How do we solve this? I don’t mind saying so don’t have the answers. So I’m looking to this village for some viable solutions.
Leave a reply if you’ve ever had a similar experience or if you have solutions to some of the questions above.
Here’s a question: What does it mean to “match energy?” The other day I was writing and reflecting on a few things and a thought came to me: “Vow to never again reciprocate anyone’s negative energy….”
It’s no secret to the people that know me the best: I don’t “match energy” well. When someone does something or says something offensive to me, I normally ignore the action. It took me awhile. Whew, Chile! Talk about growing pains. But I realized that if you’re not in my personal circle, what you and say and do doesn’t hold much weight with me. 🤷🏾♀️
Moreover, trying to match that person’s negativity always makes me feel worse in the end anyway. Quite honestly, my conscience eats me alive when I do lash out at other people, because I know better. I know that I’m supposed to strive to follow Jesus’ example and even He could ask for the forgiveness of the very people who crucified Him. Jesus’ connection with the Father and desire to please clearly overruled His desire to “match energy.” His example is leading me to learn how to practice matching God’s Spirit—despite my flesh.
The word came to me and I’m sure it won’t be easy, but I have to “vow to never again reciprocate anyone’s negative energy.” So to help me with this, I’ve been reading Ephesians 5 and listening to a song called “Bliss” by Jubilee Worship.
Have you ever had to grow in this or a similar area? Share your experience in the comments below. I’d love to hear your story!
—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤
Dear God, today, I say your will, not mine… . Father, take my heart as an offering. Take my mind, my body, my dreams and my thoughts—You can have it all. . Mold my heart to love You even more. Shape my hands to serve Your people without complaining. Fix my mind to always remember that You are my help. . Wrap us all in Your loving arms so we feel protected wherever we may go. Cover us, Heavenly Father. Mind, body and spirit is Yours for the taking. There are areas in our lives that only You can see what the outcome will be. I extend those as offerings as well. We have been grieving too long for things that are not like You. We commit to letting You be in total control of our situations and our circumstances. Work on our behalf as You have been doing. You can handle it better than we can anyway. . And while You’re doing that, we will praise Your Name. We will sing of the magnitude of Your presence. We worship You. Reign forever and ever and ever. Capture our attention again with Your Holy Spirit! We invite You to rain down everything that You have for us. As we continue to give You control, grant is the patience to be at peace with this next season, with the people in our midst and with ourselves.
So, “The Goddess of Self-Care” looked up and realized I’d been taking care of everyone else’s needs first. I love to help others and am usually the person friends and family run to when they want something done. I also really struggle with saying the N-word, at times. You know, “no” is not as easy to say as it seems.
But I have been experiencing some sleepless nights and feeling a little less focused lately. Of course, feeling depleted and run down all the time is not how I want to live my life. So I knew something had to change.
Yesterday, I went to a family cookout and all I did was laugh out loud, enjoy my family’s company and eat (of course). When I got home and reflected on my day, it made me re-evaluate my own behavior and ultimately understand that I need to start modeling how others treat me by how I treat myself.
—Spending time with family will do that.—
So, in an effort to be accountable to myself, I’m noting three things I want to do more of (for me) to refurbish my self-care practice:
1) Write more. I have been putting it off lately. 2) Be intentional about saying no—sometimes. 3) Dedicate time each week to spend with people who make me feel appreciated and whole.
What are some things you need in this moment in life to invest back into yourself? I’d love to hear your updated self-care plan in the comments below!
Listen, sometimes what looks like an obstacle is actually an opportunity!
If you can, take the babies with you to vote today.
It’s a reason they are out of school and we are off work at the same time!
It’s the perfect opportunity for them to see the process and learn something.
My Joy had so many questions.
But don’t get it twisted, we definitely had the Black mom’s “don’t touch nothing… don’t ask for nothing… don’t breathe on nothing” talk before we left out the house.
And I Lysoled (I now declare this a verb… It took auto-correct six tries before it decided to let me be great) all of our outerwear when we came back in.
Then we prayed over mommy’s vote, our health and the health of the seniors that live in the building where my precinct is located (and, of course, 5-year-old-life things like play doh and her crayon colors).
Yeah it sucks that we have to vote (and actually work while we’re at home, might I add) during this period of chaos and confusion… But there is definitely a small bright side.
Crazy quilts are unique and innovative quilts created from scraps of material. They're crafted from odd pieces that don't always match or fit together without the work of an artist. My hope is for a world that values this unique artwork. I blog to make IPOC authors and their works more accessible, to make all the pieces fit together.