#TJT When They See Us: Resources

Tonight, Kathryn Freeman and I hosted a discussion about the film series When They See Us on Netflix. For those if you who do not know, When They See Us is about a group of boys known as the Cental Park 5 (now known as the Exonerated 5) A group of young teens accused of raping Trisha Meili at Central Park in 1989. During this Instagram #TuesdayJusticeTip Live, we discuss the details surrounding the case and our points of view.Here are some helpful resources:The Harm of wrongful convictionsConsequences of dehumanizing languageBook: The Condemnation of BlacknessKnow your rightsHow When They See Us is impacting the presentYou can follow Kathryn on social media: @KathrynAnnette You can follow Faitth on social media: @FaitthB 

2018 Travel Recap


This year, I traveled to 30 cities and 3 countries. Some of my travel was for work and some of it was personal. All of it was an adventure and worth every moment of my time. I also moved from Houston, TX to Greenville, SC in May. This was a year of change and discovery.  Since I began traveling more in 2014, I realized that experiences are more memorable than any gift I've received. Since then, I've made it my mission to travel more and have unforgettable experiences. In this blog, I'm sharing my 2018 favorites: favorite experience, favorite city, favorite country, and favorite hotel!This year I traveled to:

Greenville, SC (Before I moved to here!)

San Francisco, CA

Nashville, TN

Austin (3x's)

Edmond, OK

Bentonville, AR (2x's)

Houston, TX (2x's since moving away)

Dallas, TX

Fort Worth, TX

New York, NY

Chicago, IL

Omaha, NE

Ellisville, MO

Knoxville, TN

Woodbridge, VA

Columbia, SC

Las Vegas, NV

Temecula, CA

Mesa, AZ

Mid City, OK

Birmingham, AL

Atlanta, GA (7xs)

Columbia, SC

Charolette, NC

Asheville, NC

San Antonio, TXMontgomery, ALNew Orleans, LAColumbus, MSPanama City, FLCountries: 

Havana, Cuba

Progreso, MexicoAddis Ababa, Ethiopia


Favorite Experience: Legacy Museum  and National Memorial for Peace and JusticeI went to the opening weekend for EJI's Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.  This was my first time to Alabama. Montgomery is a small town but we all know about Montgomery, AL because it's known to be the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. I learned a lot of new things and mainly I was moved to tears. We as black people have overcome and endured a lot. Grateful for the ancestors who have gone before me, I won't let their fight for equality be in vain.

Favorite City: New YorkI booked this trip on a whim with my friend Sharon and her cousin Catherine. We decided to hang out in NYC for her birthday and we loved it. This was my second time to NYC and I got to visit a few places I hadn't been to before. We went to the top of the One World Trade Center. Ate Pizza at Roberta's (TWICE!). The second time we went to Roberta's we ubered and walked two blocks in the snow-- just so we could eat this pizza again. It was that good. We Brunched at Le Barricou which is this delightful French Bistro with an amazing Brunch Menu. We ordered way too much food but enjoyed every bite! We got our nails done at Local Honey, this was a cute chic place and all of the employees were super kind. We visited the Museum of Modern Art's Charles White Exhibit, drank Coffee at Manhattanville Coffee, got some healthy drinks at Grass Roots Juicery, and ate Lunch at KAFFE 1668 with an old friend!  We also went to a host of thrift stores around the city. It was truly a memorable trip.

Favorite Country: EthiopiaI went to Ethiopia for work. I had REAL macchiato's NOT the Starbucks version and my life was changed. The coffee was delicious- I had more macchiato's a day than I'd like to admit. I shopped in Addis and purchased genuine leather purses for cheap. The people are so kind, welcoming, and friendly. I had a life changing conversation with one of our partners there and our talk has stayed with me all year. This is a beautiful country. I hope more people visit Ethiopia!
 
Favorite Hotel: Springhill Suites By Marriott I am in love with the remodeled Marriott Suite hotels. Y'all I remember when suite rooms were boring, lacking functionality, and a "last" option hotel. Now, I will book a Springhill/Courtyard Marriott Suite hotel in a heartbeat! I stayed in about 7 of their locations around the country and I have no complaints. The staff was friendly.  The accommodations were incredible, beds comfortable, and they all had complimentary breakfast and a social hour. If you are looking for a place to stay, check them out!sh-main-0001-hor-feat.jpg Happy Traveling and Cheers to the New Year!

Mom, thanks for seeing me.

As many of you all know, I moved! I now reside in Greenville, SC and with all moves there are adjustments. I know this well, as I’ve moved a good bit. I got my own loft apartment and it’s lovely in every way. My mom is living with me and getting a feel for the city. She has been really supportive of me as I make this space home.One of the hardest parts about moving, which I knew would come, is leaving my friends behind. My best friend, my sisters, my "mom" friends, my married friends, all the people. And it was especially hard to leave my single friends behind, I worked hard to cultivate friendships with my single friends. Oftentimes, these were friends from different “groups” or even phases of life. But individually I’d kept up with them and we would meet up to hang out and talk life and dreams and everything else in between. I knew I would be giving that up. And I know “you’ll make new friends” is true but that takes time and intentionality to cultivate.My mom and I have been exploring the city and learning more about Greenville. Today, I was tired and in a “food coma” from the locally made pasta I ate, it was delicious.She walks in and told me she has a surprise for me.She hands me a flower and says “I know people will be focused on all the mothers tomorrow, I wanted to say happy Mother’s Day to you as you’ve been motherly to your nephew and other children. You’ll be a mom one day too”. Cue the water works and the tears from a deep place, often left untouched. She gave me my favorite snack and a plant for my new hanging pot, all in effort to say, I know you're hearts desires and I see you. You can never underestimate the power of kindness.So to all the aunties, god-mommy's, sisters, friends, etc. I see you. You're valued and loved. May you know just how important you are on a day where some celebrate and many mourn. There's a place for you too.Mom, on a weekend that’s supposed to be all about you, thank you for seeing me. Happy (early) mother’s day to the realest mom a girl could ask for.

Saturday, we wait. Sunday, we rise.

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I am moving.Before I share all the details of when, where, who, and how; let me start from the beginning of this journey for me personally.A few years ago, my friend Patty and I were reflecting on Saturday, the day after Jesus died, and how in life we have Saturdays; days of grief and pain. The beauty is Saturday does not last forever. Our hearts anticipate Sunday, the rising, the resurrection. In order to get to Sunday, we must endure Saturday. During this time, I've been in a liminal space between where I am and where I am headed. The wait has felt like, anticipating a package in the mail but it hasn't arrived yet. You know its enroute, you just don't have it in your possession.The past 7 months have been heartbreaking and healing for me personally.  It's been my Saturday and I have cried more times than I can count. It hasn't been easy but saying yes to Jesus will and plan for my life has and will always be the best yes, I've ever given.While traveling on tour for work a few years ago I got this deep sense that I would move and I wouldn't stay in Texas. The main thing keeping me in Texas was my family. I decided on the tour the two cities I could afford to live in (I love you Cali but I am not ready for you to have all my money!) were Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC. Both cities caught my attention but I came home tried to re-settle into Houston beginning of 2017. I tried to truly settle in but I just didn't feel deeply connected. I LOVE Houston so this was really weird for me. I've also stayed to myself quite a bit in this season so I really wasn't sure what God was up to.One day I pondered moving, once again, but now I lived in a townhouse with my brother, his wife, and my nephew. It didn't seem feasible and I really wanted to be a part of my nephew's life. My parents moved us to Texas away from family so I know how it is to grow up away from your aunties, uncles, and cousins. My brother and I always talked about staying close to one another if we could so moving was off the table for the moment.A few weeks later, my brother tells me that he is praying about moving to Greenville, South Carolina (located right in between Atlanta and Charlotte, NC) to serve under Pastor John Gray who is taking over Redemption Church, soon to be named Relentless Church. I was shocked because we just signed an 18-month lease for a townhouse in Rice Military, I was just feeling like I had some sense of "permanency".No one in our family had ever been to Greenville, SC so I decided I wanted to go check it out in January. My friend Stephanie told me to fly into Atlanta and she would drive me to Greenville and we would look around. Stephanie has been a pillar for me during this season of singleness. She is one of the first people I talked to after my break-up last year and has prayed me through some of the toughest times in my life. At the end of the trip, we sat in a little coffee shop, wrote out our life roadmap using the passion planner layout and then talked about our dreams and goals. I shared with her that I felt like I needed to move to Greenville but I wasn't sure why and I knew everyone would think it was all for my brother but I felt deep inside there was a purpose for me too, I just don't know what it is yet. While tears poured down my face, Stephanie spoke life over me and I felt hope begin to arise in my heart.I went home with a full heart and LOTS of questions but I began planning a cross-country move while beginning the semester for graduate school as an intern and taking one online course. Full-time work and full-time school. If you haven't seen or heard from me much, now you know why.IMG_2385Here are some FAQ, I'll answer below:Where are you working?I've worked for Legacy Collective for about two years, as the Communications and Programming Director. I work remotely but fly/drive to any work meetings or events I need to attend.What is Legacy Collective?Legacy Collective is a donor-advised fund, where people give anywhere from $10-$250+ per month and we give quarterly grants to organizations providing sustainable solutions to systemic issues. Basically, young people like me can give $20 a month a be a huge part of the $60,000+ grants we give away. We ONLY give to organizations nominated by our community members. Together we help further the work of existing organizations doing great work.  Members donate ($10-$99); partners donate + nominate organizations for funding ($100-$249), investors donate+ Nominate+ Vote on who receives funding ($250+).If you want to learn more about the organization I work for visit our Website.And if you want to join our community by donating monthly, join online.(Shameless plug for my job)When are you finished with Grad School?I have 5 weeks left of my internship, I finish May 4th! I then have a Maymester course and one Summer Course that finishes in August. After this semester, I have two classes standing between me and a graduate degree!What do you plan to do with your Social Work Degree?Study and take the licensing exam, then continue working for Legacy Collective. I absolutely LOVE my job.Are you still going to be roommates with your brother and his family?No, I am not. I will be living in a loft right outside of downtown! I haven't been there physically but I know I am going to love it. I selected my apartment end of February and ironically enough a week and a half ago, my brother found a place 5 minutes from me, so we will still be close by!What will you do in Greenville?I will work for Legacy Collective, study for my LMSW exam, and most likely start a Be The Bridge group there! You all know I am passionate about racial reconciliation and I completely adore our BTB ambassador team, that works tirelessly to make our BTB so great!I will make new friends, get involved at Relentless Chruch, continue being an Auntie, and join local advocacy groups. And I will write to my heart's content.What about your mom?She is going, too! She will live with me to start off as she learns the city and gets her bearings. She has never been to Greenville so the day she arrives will be her first time in the city! I am excited for her to come because she will be my trainer and get my butt back in shape, ha.Will you and your brother keep your YOUTUBE show?YES! We plan to continue. Moving has taken over our lives the past few months but we will re-group once I get settled.Are you excited?I am thrilled. I have been longing for adventure and a change of pace. This move places me closer to my Atlanta sisters and I am so grateful for that. I am also really ready for something different and I am excited to explore the states around me! I am gearing up for some summer travel and after being on a bit of a travel hiatus due to interning, I am itching to get on a plane, ASAP.When do you move?In 5 weeks. I won't be able to see everyone before I go but if you are in Houston, I'd love to hug your neck!__________I am coming into my Sunday and I have long awaited this day. The clouds that seemed to hang over my head are dissipating. Worry is only but a whisper and fear is not gripping my heart. I am walking forward with open hands and a heart that is an open space. I've spent a lot of time in prayer about this upcoming season and I feel deeply grateful for what is to come.I believe Barbra Brown Taylor's article eloquently describes Holy Saturday. I will leave a quote below.

That is what Holy Saturday has taught me about being Christian. Between the great dramas of life, there is almost always a time of empty waiting — with nothing to do and no church service to help — a time when it is necessary to come up with your own words and see how they sound with no other sounds to cover them up. If you are willing to rest in this Sabbath, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face and none of your self-protective labors can do you one bit of good, then you may come as close to the Christ as you will ever get — there in that quiet cave where you wait to see how the Maker of All Life will choose to come to you in the dark.

May Grace and Peace be with you all.xoxoFaitthB

Faitth, where are you going to next?

So this year is coming to a close. I planned to document this epic year of travel in real time and discuss my travels and the places I went but that did not happen. So I plan to blog about it in past tense but hey, better late (like a year late) than never, right? I went places I only dreamed of going and I even went to Paris without a boo! Y'all I really wanted to go to Paris and I waited a few years because *maybe* I could save my first trip to Paris for me and someone special. But I decided to go for my 27th birthday because it was time for me to go on my dream trip and I don't have time to wait for a man to experience life and travel. I will gladly return to any country I've already visited ;)Okay, I digress.So lately, most people ask me the following questions: Where do you live? Where do you work? Are you still in school? etc. Because I travel so much I understand why people are asking me all of these questions, you never know what part of the world you'll find me in. So I am going to answer a few questions I get asked frequently.Where do I live? Houston, TX. I moved back to Houston from Austin in June of 2016 but I traveled so much the last 6 months of the year that I didn't feel like I "lived" in Houston until the beginning of 2017.Where do I work? I am the Communication and Programming Director for Legacy Collective. Best job ever. If you want to give monthly and help us impact local and global communities, join us! *Shameless plug but you won't regret joining us*Am I still in school? YES, I am two semesters away from finishing my Master's degree in Social Work.Hows Auntie Life? It's the best. I am so glad my brother and sister-in-law had a child. All my baby fever is gone. I will love, spoil, and kiss his little cheeks and give him back to his parents. Glory, Hallelujah.Do I plan to travel in 2018? YES. I do plan to travel in 2018. In fact, I am already planning my trips! I do not plan to travel nearly as much as I did in 2017 but I do hope I get to travel out of the country at least 3 times. The rest will be domestic travel!How do I find travel deals? I follow travel pages like secret flying, escape Houston, and Houston flight deals. I try to outline the places I want to go before the year begins and then look for those flight deals throughout the year. Also, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. The more I travel, the more disciplined I'm learning to become with saving and planning for the unexpected. Traveling is wonderful and can be expensive so you really want to make sure you have a financial plan when you choose to travel. Here's the thing. Don't let finances hinder you from traveling. There are some really good deals out there. If you can afford to buy several pairs of $200 shoes you can afford to travel. Like I said before, SAVE. Start exploring the US, go on a cruise, and work your way out of the country. I'll be posting deals as I find them on my travel FB page, FaitthB: Travel, Write, Repeat.Say yes to adventure this year, its worth the investment.
   

The lonely days...

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I've never felt more lonely than my first night in Portland, December 1, 2016.A year ago, I went to Portland for vacation. My friend was supposed to join me but due to a family emergency, she could no longer come on the trip. I was not mentally prepared to be in Portland alone. After exploring the city for a few hours, I sat in my hotel room, crying, determined to find a flight home, ASAP. I was so lonely, I hated it. I had a rental car and my hotel was about 20 minutes outside of the city with not much to do nearby. I sent an SOS to my people..."I gotta come home ASAP" but they convinced me to stay. Why did I feel so alone in this city?img_2359Those emotions stuck with me, in fact, sometimes, I'm reminded of the chill winds and overcast skies of Portland in the moments I feel lonely. I feel every ounce of uncertainty and unfamiliarity that I felt in that hotel room.Here's the thing...I've learned to enjoy being alone but its outside of my personality type. As I've gotten older I've acquired some introverted tendencies but I've always been an extrovert.img_1363I was lonely in Portland but I pushed past the fear and anxiety that wanted to cripple my soul, got on the meetup app, and found out a small group was gathering for a bible study at Starbucks. I figured this could go well or really bad but I wanted to meet new people so I went anyways. I was greeted by a joyful woman named Kiesha. She introduced me to everyone and they were all so welcoming.Later that night, I went to a restaurant that a few friends recommended. I needed one seat and the bar seemed like the only place I would snag a seat...I watched as couple after couple overlooked me waiting and took a seat before me. Over time, I locked eyes with a gentleman waiting for a seat as well, we both saw a couple getting up and knew it was our chance to sit down. We began chatting and he told me he immigrated to the States from the middle east and loved Portland because people were so kind and welcoming to him. He asked if I was traveling alone, I told him yes. He proceeded to encourage me to travel more and seek out new adventures.img_1398It's in the moments of loneliness that I feel the ache of singleness the most. I ended a relationship earlier this year and it was the right thing to do but very difficult. I knew the end of that relationship meant the feelings of loneliness would come sweeping back in. Growing up in church, they told us to kiss dating goodbye and "wait" because your husband will appear just when you "least expect it".  A perspective I kissed dating goodbye author Joshua Harris is re-evaluating. The reality is, there is no formula for meeting the person you decide to spend forever with. Every story is unique. While marriage isn't the ultimate goal of fulfillment for my life, I am keenly aware of my desire to love and be loved by a significant other. We are all wired for connection (thanks, Brene Brown for studying this). I know I am not the only one who feels this way, I've talked to girlfriends who are now dreaming about the future for themselves with no one else in mind. This isn't what most of us had planned but its where we're at. Welcoming peace and stillness to our hearts is where we learn to walk in the "dark" without fear. Its where we bow out of the rat race and learn to fly.It's been a whole year since Portland and I am well-acquainted with the feelings of loneliness;  familiar with the change in seasons with friendships; and well aware of my own sadness when I wish I had a boo. BUT this year, I deepened my friendship with adventure, 7 countries, and 10 US cities later I am more confident, empowered, and determined.IMG_8317

I'm no longer anxious on lonely days.

I am aware.

From that awareness, I choose to wake up and ignore the self-imposed deadlines I'm "behind" on. Because who's keeping track of the time anyway?

  

Mom, your heart beats in mine.

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Dear Mom-As I get older I realize how much I've taken your love for granted.Late nights.Endless phone calls.Heartache.Heartbreak.Joy.Sadness.Depression.Shame.You've seen every beautiful part of my soul. And you've walked with me through every valley.The good book says, where can I go and you're not there.  I know this scripture was referring to God but somehow it feels as if it was referencing you. I carry your heart. I am the living representation of you. I am your legacy. Fully Faitth with two t's but full of characteristics, genetic similarities, and boldness like you. I am your daughter.I've spent years being embarrassed of your loud laugh and quirky personality.Little did I know that in the years to come,  I would desire to be like you.You are uniquely, you. Unbothered and Unmoved by the opinions of others. A force to be recorded with. A beautiful and courageous black woman. The essence of class and grace. The wind beneath my wings and the one who brings my soul joy. You are air and life itself. Without your breath to fill my lungs, I struggle to speak.You see me.Unfortunately, I haven't always seen you. Your sacrifice. Your love. The tears shed privately when I hurt your feelings. The pain you too feel, when I am heartbroken because now your heart is broken too.Your heart is in mine and mine in yours.You are a treasure to behold and a woman I hope to be like one day.You invested your life into mine and the fruit from my life is a fulfillment the tapestry you knit on my heart.I've been convincing you to take spontaneous adventures with me since I was 11. As we go on yet another adventure to celebrate 27 years of my feet touching this earth, I am humbled you let me bring you to Paris with me. The city of love with my mother, the one who taught me all about sacrificial and generous love.xoxoFaitthB

All this Weight.

I wasn't always thick or chubby (as I usually say...when referring to my weight). In fact, I remember thinking I would never be thick, my metabolism wouldn't betray me. And I could continue my life during college eating what I wanted when I wanted it. I mean, I tried to work out on and off during college but I wasn't fostering a healthy lifestyle but it didn't matter much since I wasn't gaining weight. Then junior year, everything changed.I was leading a trip for some students to Thailand and I was so stressed. It was then that I discovered I was leaning on food to cope with the stress. I ate when I was happy or when I was sad. I began the longstanding pattern of rewarding myself with food. "Faitth you killed that test, eat!" "Faitth you made it through that stressful week of work, EAT!" "Faitth life has sucked and things are stressful, EAT! "Faitth have some wine tonight...wind down".Every day was a cause for celebration. Food was no longer eaten for my health it was my pleasure. All the food, all the things, all the time.When I moved to Austin for almost 2 years, I was constantly stressed. Food was my go-to cure for all the drama I was facing at work, the stress of being a case manager, and every little moment of happiness I felt. I consoled myself with food and by the time I moved home I re-gained the weight I had worked hard to lose after college, plus some more.40+ lbs gained post-college and I am stumbling my way back to health. The key word is stumbling.This is a journey I struggle with. I am not a super athlete anymore. My metabolism has slowed way down. Losing weight is not nearly as easy at is once was for me at 21-23 years old.I find myself trying to "balance" loving myself and my body- in its current state and chastising myself for not trying harder to lose weight. The balance between health and not moving into an obsession with my weight. I'm also learning to truly love my body. This is an ongoing process.One thing's for sure, I am moving away from rewarding myself with food and instead, I am working out more, making healthier food choices, and reminding myself of my value and worth no matter what the scale says. But let's be real, that's hard. So while I'm seeing all of these weight loss posts and get "your summer body" products, I'm reminded that I'm not alone in this journey. Most people have "all this weight" and are trying their best to accept, love, and workout their bodies. There's a story behind all this weight and I plan to keep overcoming every obstacle because when I look at myself in the mirror, I don't want to think about the season of depression that I "medicated" with food. Instead, I want to see a fighter, willing to get back up and keep trying ❤️

Houston to San Francisco Tickets STARTING at $136

Are you trying to get to Cali in May? Well, there are some great deals I found on priceline.com and Momondo.com.  Just input the dates below to retrieve the prices I found. Keep in mind that prices change frequently.May 2-9, $136 on Frontier Airlinesscreen-shot-2017-03-21-at-12-28-04-am.png May 2-6. $167 Frontier Airlines screen-shot-2017-03-21-at-12-29-30-am.pngMay 9-13, $151 Frontier Airlinesscreen-shot-2017-03-21-at-12-34-04-am.pngMay 9-16, $159 on Frontier AirlinesScreen Shot 2017-03-21 at 12.16.29 AMMay 23-30, the price jumps up to $192screen-shot-2017-03-21-at-12-36-23-am.png If this was helpful, follow my blog to keep up with my updates on great travel deals. Feel free to Like, comment, or repost!

Travel on a Budget

[gallery ids="1252,1027" type="rectangular"]I love traveling. I find so much thrill and enjoyment from jumping on a plane and finding myself in a different city or country. Several of you have asked how I get these said deals and I am writing this blog to tell you about the tricks I have learned. Mind you, there is so much I am still learning.

  1. Follow Travel Blogs and Travel Bloggers
    • Blogs like Secret Flying, Escape Houston, Travel Pirates, etc. have great deals listed daily. When you see a deal input the dates listed for that price range in a search engine, then decide of you will bite the bullet and pay for the ticket. Most deals do NOT last longer than 24 hours. If you miss it, then that is it! Also remember that millions of people are trying to travel too and oftentimes these deals go quickly.
    • If you really want to get a flight deal you need to be checking these websites constantly and be prepared to buy an airline ticket without having everything lined up. If the deal is killer, you can figure out a hotel and rental car later.
  2. Use websites like Airfordable
    • Airfordable allows customers to take a picture of the reservation they want and put a down payment on the airline ticket which will hold the price. Then the customer makes a series of payments before the departure of the flight. So if you do not have the money on hand consider Airfordable to help you experience the trip of your dreams.
  3. Find a side hustle
    • If you want to travel more, you need a side hustle to help you make extra money. If you do not have supplemental income that can be used for leisure, then it may not be time for you to travel, yet.
    • SAVE, SAVE, SAVE

There are so many travel websites and blogs you can follow. Remember to decide on the place you want to visit and then begin looking for deals and sales for that destination. If you have anymore questions, comment or reach out to me on my facebook page and I will be happy to help!xoxoFaitthB  

Baby Kadyn 

My heart is filled with love.Tuesday, I met my new little love; my nephew Kadyn.Somehow his little life lit up mine. All my priorities fell by the wayside. The world stopped. I barely watched the news and I didn't care about the political climate (this is rare) because a new little man graced this earth. Jesus breathed life into his soul and with every breath he takes, I'm reminded that God still performs miracles.My brother is a father now. A role I knew he always wanted. A role I knew he would excel in. His loving and tender heart now has someone else to love and motivate him for greatness. He has a new role and responsibility to care for his son. Watching him care for his wife is something to behold. Falon is a champ for carrying a 9 lb baby to full term. They are great parents already. I am forever grateful to have a front row seat into his life. I'm grateful for family because you get built-in best friends.  The people I love and cherish, they are people who make my heart soar.So cheers to new life entering this earth.Hope restored.And new beginnings.XoxoFaitth B

Everyone is Hurting

Everyone is Hurting

I know most people feel like they limped into 2017. Some bruised. Some wounded. Some angry. Some grieving. Some questioning. Some filled with joy. I feel like some people are trying to sort through the heightened emotions of 2016 the way we sort through our dirty laundry. Which clothes do I wash first?

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Self-Care 

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A lot of people have asked me about how I am handling my full schedule. If you don't know this already, I have a fiercely loving and supportive tribe. This means that I get questions all the time about how I am doing or am if I'm getting burned out. I decided to write a blog about self-care and how I've managed to keep myself healthy during this season of life. There's been a lot of trial and error but I've learned what works for me and it's been life changing. 1. I am only committed to two things. My internship (for grad school) Monday through Thursday 8-5pm. Plus, traveling for work on the weekends. That's it. I've made the hard decision to say no to a lot of things. I've chosen to occupy my time with these two things plus working out. That's it.2. My body. I have had a love hate relationship with my appearance for a while now. I'll get on a health kick lose 10 to 15 pounds, life happens and I stress eat (I'm an emotional eater). There goes my weight loss. Now I am back to square one. This is been a cycle in my life since I graduated from college in 2012. After hearing my friend Angela Davis talk about the connection between the body and the spirit, I decided I needed to make a change. Angela always says if it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you. My problem was that I was avoiding all the challenges because life is hard enough right? I was challenged in a lot of other areas of my life and the last place I wanted to be challenged was physically- in the gym. And I did not want to challenge my eating habits. A little over a month ago my friend Julie invited me to try out this kickboxing gym called  9Round. I almost died in that first work out, hand to the heavens, I almost died. I thought I might pass out. I felt so chubby, unhealthy, weak and embarrassed. But something awakened in my soul after that workout, I wanted to go back. I wanted to challenge myself, in spite of the deep embarrassment I felt. So I went back. I killed my second workout and the owner of the gym looked at me and said, "you seem drastically different from how you were yesterday, I'm surprised you came back." She said, "what's the difference between now and then?" I said "I made up my mind." And then I joined the gym.I made up my mind. I decided to take back my body. I decided that the soul work that I have been doing in therapy is just as important as me taking care of my body. It's just important as the feeding my spirit and connecting to God. My body is my temple.So now I go to the gym and I work out 3 to 4 days a week. And I feel stronger, happier, healthier, and fulfilled. 3. I take care of my emotional health. I have a therapist. I do monthly check ins with my therapist. Please people if you need a therapist get one. It's the best decision I have ever made. Best investment.I also have a wonderful truth telling mother, she prays for me constantly, cheers me on, and speaks the truth to me all.the.time. She is far more than an accountability partner, she is my sounding board and one of my best friends. Have a great brother and sister-in-law, a supportive dad, plus a whole host of amazing friends. In the words of Drake, "I got a really big team, and they need some really big rings." I couldn't do when I get to do without my tribe. They love me, feed me, and support me. 4. My spirit. I choose to read life giving books, uplifting messages by different pastors I enjoy, and read scripture. I have made more time for reading/audiobooks. I have also spent my time watching informative documentaries when time allows. I can't forget music, I love listening to good music while reading a book. Traveling is like God's gift to me. It's my therapy of sorts. I love the airport, still. People ask me if I'm tired of traveling yet and the answer is no. I'm not tired of it at all. Traveling is my "me" time. I spend all week with people. Traveling alone gives me time to think and refuel- Time to "be still".  Time to pray and reflect. Plus I have a new favorite travel outfit that is beyond comfortable. Thanks to lululemon for these pants sent from heaven, this comfy Star Wars t-shirt from Wal-Mart, and my new pull over sweater, plus my teva's. My time is very occupied in this season with what I've chosen to commit to. I am focused on those things only. I'm behind in dinners, lunches, and coffee dates I was planning to have. I have missed numerous social functions. And I've said no to mostly everything. But that's okay, because I'm caring for myself. Mind, Body, and Spirit. I cannot care for myself well and be present everywhere. Some seasons you pick things up and some you let things go. I'm learning to be content with letting things go and picking up the things that matter right now. Take care of yourselves, friends. Especially during this election season 😉XoxoFaitthB

Dear "Supermodel" Me

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**So I was searching my drafts, I have over 20 blogs sitting around that I've never published. I'm not sure why I didn't publish this one two years ago. Maybe I felt it was too vulnerable, I'm not sure. But I love the raw honesty so I figured this was a great blog to share with you all, today.**Dear "Supermodel" Me,First off let me tell you how hard I am working to measure up to you. Its pretty tough. You have set a huge standard that I am hoping I will measure up to. Your slim body, flawless skin, gorgeous face, are truly something to behold. With a body like yours, you receive plenty of attention and praise from men. You are so desirable, who doesn't love you? Your fashion is impeccable. You are everything I am not.There is just one problem.I can't be you.Somedays, I desperately want to be you. I want to get the attention you do. I want to be desired like you are. As much as I want those things, I want my sanity more. No matter how much I run, eat right, or dress well, I won't be you. I will look in the mirror and have a choice to make- love my self or belittle myself. It seems almost sad that I compare myself to my imaginary supermodel self. Since I have grown up as a "good church girl", one would wonder why I desire to be you, when God loves me as I am. This is where reality meets a mask and honestly, this talk is long overdue. I compare myself to you and all your "supermodel" friends that guys seem to swoon over often. I take one good look at myself and wonder if these passions, heart, and vision are enough? They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and sometimes I doubt if my beauty is beheld at all.Here's the thing. I am tired. I am tired of chasing after you and hiding in your shadow. My pursuit of your perfection leaves me settling time and time again. Let's face it, this is too risky. I trade my emotional stability to play a game I will never win. This is tiring. I would be remiss if I thought it was just girls playing this game because along the way I have seen a few guys join in too. Wondering if they are tall enough, wise enough, handsome enough, make enough money, or are worthy to be desired. It's a problem many of us struggle with-men and women.  This is a problem that will change when I decide to change it and talk about it. Sure I may slip up and compare myself to you again but deep down inside I will hang on to the truth.I am enough.Supermodel Me, this is so hard to write for the world to see but it's time I called you out. I have some big dreams and living in your shadow won't get me to my desired destination. When someone says I am beautiful, I want to believe them 365 days of the year. Instead of dismissing the words spoken over me. We are all enough. Just the way we are. XoxoFaitth B

Hey. Let's go to Austin.

If you know anything about me, you know that I love an adventure. I'm all about packing up and getting on a plane ASAP. Last year, I really wanted to get away so I called my friend Julie and told her we needed to find a place to visit that day. And at 9am we decided to go to ft. Lauderdale. The flight left at 4pm. I immediately packed all my stuff and drove from Austin to Houston. We barely made the flight but we got to Ft.Lauderdale. We spent 24 hours there and it was a trip to remember. Fast forward to today, I was telling Julie about some stuff I needed to take care of in Austin but I could only do it in person. Typically I'm the spontaneous one out of the two of us but this time Julie said "let's go get your stuff done today". So that's exactly what we did. We arrived in Austin at 5:45 and left by 8:45pm to head back to Houston. Everything got accomplished and we had a lot of fun in the process. Julie is one of the few people I can travel with and have an absolute blast. I also got to see my friends Zeeke and Tasha. Life gets busy but Julie and I always make time for an adventure. Life is short. We will only be young once. I plan to soak up my youth and travel the world. BTW, everyone needs a friend like Julie. She is loyal, fun, organized, and she helps me keep my life in order. Julie, I'm glad you started working out 3 years ago so we could be friends 😂 (one day I'll tell the full story). Cherish your tribe friends and love them well. Xoxo FaitthB

Day 3-Adventure

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Day 3. So I am supposed to be writing every day for 31 days and I've already missed day two. I'm off to a great start...yesterday I found myself wandering through the GIGANTIC Denver airport. I had no idea, it would be that huge. When my ticket said my flight was departing from gate B86, I thought that was a joke. There's no way there are 86 gates?!? Of course, after walking forever to gate 86 and realizing that there were 95 gates in that terminal, I was ready for happy hour and it was only 9am. So I settled for some water because I was out of breath by the time I made it to my gate. This is my life this fall and I love it. I love airports so the fact that I get to travel for work each weekend is a treat. Every weekend presents a fun new adventure.  If you are feeling stuck in life, remember to create your own adventure! When I didn't have a lot of money to travel, I would jump in my car and drive 2-4 hours away to visit friends. I made every day pleasures fun because I was convinced that I wanted to live a life of whimsy and wonder. When I see my married friends, I no longer feel like I'm missing out because I'm still single. Instead, I've embraced the adventure and I'm enjoying this fun season of my life. I won't get these years back and I'm convinced I'm living some of my best days right now. Let me tell you, every season is not fun but push through it. The past two years were some of the hardest years for me but I blossomed so much because of the hardship I faced. If you need help, ask for it. If you need a therapist, get one. If you need solid community, find it. There's no reason for you to endure a hard season alone. You need people, get your tribe to rally around you. Speak up, tell them you need them, no one can read your mind. Stay faithful friends, live honorably when no one is watching. Choose to enjoy life for yourself! When's the last time you went on an adventure? And what's holding you back from going? Let's beat 9-5 together and make the most of our everyday! XoxoFaitthB

Just breathe 

So here it goes. Day 1. I'm attempting to write every day for 31 days. I love writing and find myself scribbling little notes on my phone. Creating "dictionaries" for friends in my life who always say funny things and create their own words. I love a good story. So my hope is that every day I can share little stories with you all. Today's story: I struggled to get up and out of bed today. I did not want to make the hour drive through Houston traffic down to the HPD headquarters. I will spend the next few months making this drive and interning at HPD. While I'm thrilled for the opportunity to learn from great Social Workers on staff, I'm missing my summer schedule. Even though I was pretty busy traveling this summer, I enjoyed the ease and adventure. Now I'm back to a routine and I'm struggling to get used to it again. My summer grad school courses were tough and I was thrilled to be done with my semester last week. After talking with an advisor she said she would register me for classes this fall. Today, classes start and when I didn't get a notification of my classes beginning, I decided to check my account, only to learn that I had not been registered. Also, I discovered all important emails were being sent to the "Clutter Folder". Here I am, sitting at my internship FOR SCHOOL and I'm not even registered for the class and online seminar. A moment of panic set in. Was this a joke?  Nope. I was not being punked. I was not registered and I almost screwed up my degree plan due to miscommunication with my registrar who did not register me as she said she would. But crisis averted, I registered online and my internship will not be in vain. I say all this because this little mishap really ruined my vibe today. Or at least it did momentarily but I told myself "hey, it's still a good day". There was nothing to be mad about, only something to be thankful for. God was looking out for me the whole time. So happy Thursday friends. Make the most of what may have been a "bad" day. We can always find something to be thankful for. XoxoFaitthB 

Finding Joy In Each Day

It's really easy to get caught in the mundane humdrum of each day. This year I have been determined to enjoy life and not be consumed with the wandering thoughts about "what am I doing with my life?" "Am I missing it?". Life may not look like I expected it to and I'm so glad it doesn't. Taking leaps of faith and trusting Jesus with each step has been my delight. It's also been hard too. This past month has been filled with a lot of tears and a lot of surrender. The more I realize that life happens and God is still good; I'm encouraged because I'm confident that in every valley and every storm, he is with me. Find joy in your day friends. There's always something to be thankful for. Today I played uno outside with my coworkers for lunch in 80 degree weather, it was pretty blissful. Show kindness to someone and remain selfless; treat others the way you want to be treated. If you are in ATX enjoy this  wonderul weather we have been gifted with; before the blistering heat greets us to welcome in summer. XoxoFaitth B   

Beating 9-5

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Some days I feel like I am racing against the clock. What can I accomplish before my day is over and I have to go to bed and get ready for work all over again. Will I hang out with friends this week, stay to myself, or will I break out of my routine and do something different.I used to think I was stuck. I was trapped in the adulting grind of life. Then I realized that I wasn't stuck and working caused me to be stable financially so I could travel when I wanted to. There are bills to pay, things to get done, and accomplishing your dreams takes work. No one said life would be easy but life can (should) be enjoyed and filled with spontaneity. I love surprises and making decisions last minute to break out of my normal routine. I know this is not for everyone but lets face it, everyone wants a break from the normal. If we aren't careful, we can find ourselves caught in complacency.There is no formula to beating 9-5 but remember that your happiness is not contingent upon your job, your relationship status, or recognition from others. Welcome adventure into your life. Go to a lake house or cabin for a weekend, visit your friends you haven't seen in a while, have a weekend of silence to yourself, hop on a plane a visit somewhere fun for the weekend. The options are endless and you get to choose your next adventure.You determine your own happiness. You determine to show up and enjoy life. You decide to beat 9-5 and don't apologize for embracing change and adventure because I promise you, everyone else wishes they were beating 9-5 too.Happy Adventuring,xoxoFaitth B

Dear 2015

Dear 2015We had a rough start. And the climate of the country experienced a lot of turmoil and death. The climate of race relations is the worst its been in years. Wars, terrorist attacks, refugees fleeing their home land. This year has not been full of roses, in spite of that; I feel a glimpse of hope beginning to rise. I am inspired, because although this year was a hard one for me personally; I grew so much in my walk with the Lord. I learned that there is beauty on the other side of big "faith leaps". God DOES have a reason for leading me (you) in a certain direction. He IS my provision. He DOES NOT remember my (your) sins or wrong doings. He DOES love me (you). I am ending this year confident about who God says I am and the beauty in trusting him. Recap of the past 14 months: I left a phenomenal company to work for in Houston, MD Anderson. I was surrounded by people willing to propel me into my career. Within two weeks, I moved to Austin and lived with strangers. I took a job I only wanted to work for a year, as a case manager. I moved in to my own apartment with a stranger. Had some breakups. My dad almost died from a viral infection to his heart. My friend and sister Jamilyn passed away in a car accident and my world shifted. Decided to focus on bettering myself and went to counseling, stopped dating for a season. I started leading a racial reconciliation group and my passion for unity and reconciliation, only increased. Then I went on a cruise with my best friend who called me out on my crap and I left refreshed and encouraged. I started dating an amazing man.My brother got married. I traveled a lot in 2015. I brought in my 25 birthday in the Amsterdam airport. The holidays with my brothers new family was awesome. I have my last day of work today. I start my new job next Monday. I founded my on non-profit this year and my heart could burst with excitement from seeing that dream become a reality. Whew. That's the short version of my year but I must say, I'm ending the year in a high note.I say all that to say- life is full of ups and downs and 2015 felt like it had more lows than highs; I didn't blog as much. For 2016 I have a new resolve to write more and share in more details the lessons learned and the story of God's faithfulness. This year has been life changing and I'm forever grateful that God has richly displayed his loving-kindness towards me and my family+friends. I love you dear readers and friends. May 2016 exceed your expectations!    #WeSayYesPeriod #JamilynHull