New Quarter = New Goals Accomplished

New Quarter = New Goals Accomplished

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.

Our warehouse is small but mighty.

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. 

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EbonySun logo and motto.

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 info@sincerelytyra.com


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!

—Sincerely, Tyra 

*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. 

Last Sunday’s POP-UP event display.
EbonySun’s Creative Director, TyraShange, wearing the “Mind Your Business(es)” shirt.
Prepping the “Mind Your Business(es)” shirts for the Pop-up event.
The “#ProtectUs” shirt gets a new colorway!
Getting the “Don’t Fold” Shirt prepped for special delivery.

ISSA POP-UP EVENT!

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!

Join us and share the good news! Happy Sunday!

—Sincerely, Tyra

EbonySun is a lifestyle brand created to showcase positive images of Black life.

Love: A New Inquiry

Yes, I’m that mom that sings to the babies in their sleep! 🥰 Judge ya mama 😂

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! 🥰😩

—Sincerely, Tyra

What About Self-Awareness?

What About Self-Awareness?

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!

Sincerely, Tyra

Self-awareness? How do you know when you’re not acting like yourself?

Prayer for Inner Peace

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…‬
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Father, take my heart as an offering. Take my mind, my body, my dreams and my thoughts—You can have it all.
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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. ‬
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‪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.
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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.


In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen!

Chicago Peace Project Revisited

Chicago Peace Project Revisited

(Politickin: The Chicago Peace Project participants discussing future goals, ancient societies, and their favorite cartoons while creating art in trauma-informed breakout sessions facilitated by the Teen Arts Council members.)

(Drop Me Off at the L: Teen Arts Council members facilitate an icebreaker called Mr. Taxi Driver for The Chicago Peace Project participants.)

Is it still Friday? Cool, this “Flashback Friday” is dedicated to the Chicago Peace Project and our awesome day with local artist Karen Perkins and the Teen Arts Council youth. Chicago Peace Plan is a curriculum that I created to foster meaningful exchanges between teens and youth from different neighborhoods.

As the youth talked about their future career and entrepreneurship goals, ancient civilizations and favorite clothing, I thought about the meaning of trauma-informed care. When Black boys talk about ancient history and Black girls laugh and find happiness in the moment. I kinda feel overjoyed.

Were there experiences like this for you as a young person? Share how you benefitted from it in the comments below!

–Sincerely, Tyra

#SlayTheDream #chicago #peace #project #blackboyjoy #blackgirlmagic #osc #chicagobility #chipeaceproject #art #traumainformedcare

Move on, Sis!

Move on, Sis!
Graphics designed by EbonySun, LLC.

Having a conversation with a good friend and she asks me about a guy that I used be involved with wondering about the “end story.”

So I told her we grew apart and let her know that I really believed he didn’t want a committed relationship.

She went on to ask how I knew that he didn’t want one. My response: “If we both wanted the same thing, we would be in a relationship right now.”

I had to explain to my friend that I knew this because he never made a deciding move. Don’t get me wrong now, we’re not on bad terms. We don’t hate each other. We simply aren’t meant to be committed to each other. And ultimately, his actions (or lack thereof) spoke for his desires.

As women, sometimes society wants us to wait around for the man to “get his mind right,” “get his stuff together,” and figure what he wants—or even, lead him into the relationship.

But sis, let me you something: You know what you deserve! Don’t let that man distract you from living the life that you want or sit around waiting for him to pick you.

GO LIVE YOUR LIFE!

The man you’re supposed be with will come along and make his intentions very well known, sis!
—Sincerely, Tyra

Go Deeper | #GRWM

Go Deeper | #GRWM

“You are in the air I’m breathing in…”

Good morning God, what a beautiful reminder of Your omnipresence; that Your Spirit is meant to reside in me; that I’m enough just the way I am; that You care despite ______; that You are always desiring to get closer to me…

Thank You for coming after me. Thank You for sending Your peace; thank You for sending Your love in ways that I didn’t know I needed. Thank You for breathing on my situation. Your Spirit came in the room and covered it.

“I didn’t know I could have a friend like you.”

Amazing…

Battling every giant on my behalf…

Bold enough to take on all my doubts…

Creator of everything…

Comforter…

Deliverer…

Deliberate…

Friend and Father…

Great listener…

Matchless…

Reviver of the dead and hopeless…

Strong, yet merciful…

You can have everything that’s within me… Keep challenging me… Keep expanding my prayer life… Keep ushering me into the purpose You have for my life… Keep leading me into the full depths of knowing of Your sacrificial love.

In Jesus Christ’s Name,
Amen

Continue reading “Go Deeper | #GRWM”

Comments on Control and Being Still

Comments on Control and Being Still

Bruh, here’s a not-so-secret secret: I struggle with being in control.

If I’m being real, I can paint a picture for you. Give me a second… Okay, so:

A. Sometimes, I roll my eyes at people who I think don’t know what they’re doing instead of helping them.

B. Although I’ll say when I’m wrong, I want things to be my way in relationships because I know best.

C. At work, my patience is only reserved for my teens—because every adult should “know better than” fill-in-the-blank.

I know, I’m highly flawed and I’m sure there are a few more examples that could be added to the list.

And yet, I’m working on it. This life gets difficult and tiresome and people don’t care and, at times, we get frustrated or ready to clap back or move before the next step of our journey has been revealed to us.

But God operates differently than we do. Just when we think we have control over the situation, there’s a turning point with the purpose of our getting closer to Him; remembering He’s the head; and that He requires our TRUST and FAITH and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that He is in control.

Last week, I was struggling with changes at work. The week before that it was a change within my personal life. Change will always come. That’s literally how the cycle of life works. It dawned on me (mid-complaint) about one of these changes that I sounded foolish and faith-less. I literally had to stop and say to myself: “Fear or faith? You gon pick one or nah?”

In this season, God is reminding me that with our FAITH should come the desire for us to be still and allow God to take control over every situation in our lives.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

Philippians 2:13 NLT

Praying that He continues to stretch my heart to match His desires as I wait on the way He wants me to move forward. AND that I have the sense to take each of these that I wish to control to Him in prayer.

Sincerely,

Tyra

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Yo I’m tired now that I’m actually sitting still

—BY MYSELF. Finally.

Hosted an event, facilitated class today, and an hour and a half-long admin meeting.

But God gave me the strength… This is a Gal. 6:9 moment. Just being able to sit still, alone.

Grateful for a day filled with great conversations, but I am really gracious for this moment to:

—just sit.

—reflect.

—breathe.

—collect my bearings.

—center myself.

—rest my mind.

Did I say breathe?

I love building community, but it comes with a price. I had a guy ask me out to drinks this weekend—and I said no. For a few reasons, but mainly because I’m looking forward to recouping from today and this week and the very similarly structured week ahead.

In fact, the thought of not going to church on Sunday crossed my mind, too. Now that I’ve sat in my car one Tasha Cobb song too many, I have to go and get My Joy with a smile on my face and with energy I do not have this evening.

And I wonder: How many more of us are running on fumes?

As we move into Mother’s Day Weekend, I pray that after the celebrating and the gifts that you get a moment to just breathe the sacred air found in solitude. I pray your weekend is a reflection of your actual priorities and passions and not solely those of beloved family members. I pray you get to breathe in the midst of it all.

Have a blessed weekend!

Sincerely,

Tyra