How Gratitude Is Helping Me Grow

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Natasha Vasiljeva

Most of us think of gratitude in November, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, afterwards we tuck it away like a worn sweater whose use has long since passed.

I am coming to learn gratitude is a daily practice, as it helps us see the world anew, perhaps connecting with beauty in hard places, or appreciating the miraculous wonders within the mundaneness of life.

The other day, suddenly, I felt weary, the sadness of some challenges facing my family took root, and a kind of emotional paralysis emerged. Only Nai and I were home, as she watched a little morning cartoons, while I read about healing.

I decided to call a church for prayer. The Pastor’s warm voice immediately placed me at ease; he asked what led me to reach out. I simply cried. In between sobs, I heard him ask me something no one ever had on a prayer line: What are you thankful for?

I quickly rambled off my family, and he firmly nudged me to “keep going.” “We’re celebrating  God’s faithfulness right now.” As I continued declaring the blessings (a home, doing what I love, a fulfilling marriage, etc.) my despair slowly eviscerated.

Again, later that week, God revealed the importance of gratitude through a new blogging friend, Afrotastic Lady on Instagram. She posted her gratitude list for the month of January, and I thought why not join in and share mine with you all. 

These six blessings are guideposts on this renewed commitment to thankfulness in all areas of my life. 

1. God’s Grace  – We are all undeserving of His grace and yet it is freely given – whether we are loosing our patience with the kiddos or hubby (yeah that’s me on lots of days, y’all), crying out of sheer exhaustion, or panicking over something trivial, God’s grace remains. Our besties, parents, husbands, kids, no one can do this for you and I – only God. 

2. The light of Nai’s Smile – Her smile illuminates the darkest of moments; all the world disintegrates when my eyes meet hers. Our daughter is a gift from God, and I thank Him for her each day.

3. Enduring Love – My husband, family, and friends teach me love endures, transcends time and space, past and present. It’s boundless, if we are faithful and committed to cultivating it within our own hearts. 

4. Friendship – Casual friendships do not exist for me. We are either in this until the wheels fall off, or mannerly acquaintances. 

God blessed me with amazing friends, women who are my sisters. Our conversations and laugher are a continuum of joy; we support each others dreams and comfort one another through sorrow and disillusionment. Chel, Shan, Qiana, Amelia, Shelly and Dionne, I am grateful to call you sisters.

5. Solitude –  I barely pee alone most days (toddler Mom life), so getting a few minutes to myself is rare. Those two hours Nai naps most days renew me in ways I never imagined. There is beauty in stillness.

6. Organic Fruit Smoothies – Okay, this sounds silly, right? But seriously, y’all, I get my whole entire life on organic smoothies I make every morning. Forget coffee and tea, this is the way I jumpstart the day! 


Love to hear what you are thankful for this month in the comments. Come on, don’t be shy! 
  

Inspiration For Your Ears: Mama Power,  Building Your Brand & Self Acceptance

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo via Pixaby

I spend lots of time listening to inspirational content. Do you know what I love even more? Sharing it with you, lovelies! 

Here’s my weekly round up:  

Travis Greene’s uplifting song, “Intentional”  about how God brings forth beauty, working all things out for our good, will have you pressing repeat. My baby girl Nai and I rock out to it everyday! 

As Mamas, taking care of ourselves often comes last, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This awesome podcast from MOMentity breaks it all down.

My bestie Shan, creator of The Free Gurl Club, has an awesome  YouTube show. This week she unpacked self acceptance and love. It’s all about celebrating you, and realizing you are enough! 

Abiola is the truth! The writer / speaker / go-to-lady for empowering yourself has an awesome talk on getting clear about your brand and what you have to offer.

Gratitude For 2015

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Photo Credit: Mike Petrucci

How was your 2015? Was it the year of magnificent manifestation as so many leaders prophesized? With little effort, did all of your dreams come true? If so, please invite me to your house for an one-on-one mentoring program because my 2015 was not what I expected at all. Never in my life have I fought such a battle against my own mind.

While I wanted to be painting my new hometown red, I felt more like I was sentenced to a self-inflicted house arrest. The year started with me totaling my brand new dream car and in turn loosing my exciting brand new job. What I was left with was a crappy lawyer, a little government assistance, an emotionally taxing relationship and an opportunity to get clear about God’s purpose for me and my life.

2015, I officially label you “The Year Of Clarity.” Much of this year I spent talking to my “faithful five.” And each of my closest friends were struggling at my side. From the labor of planning and executing a national music tour, to being a black man trying to find employment in a white man’s arena; from managing a 3-year-old who has trouble staying asleep, to breaking up with a lover and long term career; we have gone to the war room y’all and prayed each other through the thick of the thick.

So what are we left we besides our ever growing strength? CLARITY! I am so excited to launch into 2016 with a brand new vision for my life that will serve you and God instead of serving my own ego. My friends are entering this new year with assurance that they are on the right path, a focus on entrepreneurship, holistic healing plans and registrations in programs to start fulfilling new careers.

So, how was your 2015? Was it “The Year of Clarity” for you?

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My name is Shannon Elizabeth Murphy Braxton. If I had to choose a title, I would say I am a PICKY MUSE. A poet, a singer, a storyteller and a person who gets VERY pissed off at ignorance and injustice. I hate the word career. “She is at the peak of her career.””How is this job going to help your career?” “Shannon, you need to choose a career.”

TO HELL WITH CAREERS!

I am a freedom fighter, a person who lightens the mood, and someone who refuses to stay silent about things that matter. I spent a year interviewing children about the struggles they face and being the assistant producer of Childhood Matters Radio Show.

I spent several more years as the personal trainer to some of the most fabulous people in the world. And most importantly, I’ve spent my life trying to make sense out of nonsense and heal myself and the people around me with the transformative energy of love.

If you ask me, to live a life in COLOR should be the one and only career. I am excited to share some of my inspiration, and a little bit of my humor with others who are on this journey of creating a fabulous, colorful life.

I am thrilled to welcome Shan back to the blog to contribute whenever her schedule permits! She wrote and collaborated with me for a little over a year. It’s awesome to work with your bestie / sis.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy her honest and heartfelt writing as much as I do.