Inspired Music: Mandisa’s Overcomer

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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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Cover art, Mandisa single, "Overcomer"
Cover art, Mandisa single, “Overcomer”
… got so much on your mind, nothing’s really going right, looking for a ray hope. Whatever it is you may be going through, I know he’s not going to let it get the best of you. You’re an overcomer. Stay in the fight til’ the final round…”

As I look in the rear view mirror our daughter Naima’s little head bobs back and forth as Christian artist Mandisa‘s voice reassures us God is in control, not our circumstances. Her innocent joy is contagious, I smile, but not long after my tears begin to flow. Raising my arms, in this moment, it’s as if the weight of these last few years – the disappointments and heartaches – are gradually lifting.

“Overcomer” is the kind of song which illuminates those dark places we all confront. Little by little, I am beginning to understand God’s love for us is rooted in pragmatic everyday lessons – the set backs, some monumental others seemingly small and innocuous – each designed to shape us into overcomers.

We often learn through discomfort, vulnerability, and dare I say those periods of loneliness and stark quiet when it’s just us and God. These last few months have taught me that, perhaps more than any other season in my life. Sometimes we must rest in solitude.

None of this happens quickly, you and I take daily steps towards healing as the video illustrates quite beautifully. We watch each person’s path and gradual healing, including the celebrated Robin of the Today Show’s bout with cancer and former congresswoman Gifford’s return after being nearly killed by a lone shooter.

The longer I live, the more I understand overcoming is both process and journey, a continuum.  Those of us who are “prisoners of hope,” as the book of Zachari says, are stubbornly courageous; we are ever rising above the obstacles in the natural world and connecting to spirit. Every day, our tiny steps, often the ones no one witnesses, lead us along a path which refutes despair or practicality and instead offers the uncertainty of a less stable, but far more fulfilling blind faith. I’ll embrace that road any day, friends.

Be Your Own Boyfriend, Wisdom from singer Nina Simone and More (Inspirational Links)

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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: Keston De Coteau

I lose whole chunks of time reading, whether on the bus ride home, or in those rare hours of solitude at a cafe. These days, my mind and eyes move quickly, zig zagging from articles and blog posts to podcasts (NPR, SoundCloud, Marc Steiner show, etc.).

Yes, sometimes this leads to information overload, but it also pushes me to continue growing, exploring and understanding novel ways of seeing the world. The inspirational links below connect to an overarching theme, love: love of self, culture and community. Enjoy!

Colorful and vibrant paintings by Kenyan-American artist Jamilla Okubo on Specter, an elegant art and literature online magazine.

Treat yourself royally, every day. Be your own boyfriend and soar according to relationship expert, author and all around inspiring personality Kaneisha Grayson. While you’re at it, explore the site for Walker’s Legacy, an awesome business collective for women of color.

Are you in a rut? I find myself digging out a lot lately. Find out how to fall back in love with your life on Tiny Buddha.

Nina Simone, 1966. Photograph: DAVID REDFERN/DAVID REDFERN/REDFERNS
Nina Simone, 1966. Photograph: DAVID REDFERN/DAVID REDFERN/REDFERNS

Nina Simone taught us so much; one of those lessons is to reach back and pull the generation behind you up. Check out this clip on the awesome blog, In Her Shoes.

One woman in Chicago made a home for her family and fought foreclosure. What odds? She blazed through obstacles! Read her encouraging story on Yes! Magazine and then get the book by author Laura Gottesdiener, A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home.

Live In Color! – Emelda

Obstacles, Opportunities in Disguise

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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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It’s 9 a.m. and you are racing to work again, pantyhose running, the mind reels with mounting responsibilities, you feel confined, trapped. Breathe, step back and think about this: our obstacles and problems, from the mundane to complex, are opportunities in disguise.

Last week when I interviewed Pebbles Armwood, fellow blogger and mental fitness advocate she said something which resonated: “perception is reality.” Wow. Talk about an aha moment, and apt reminder about the power of attitude.

Carolyn Malachi, one of my favorite artists insists on her song, “Free Your Mind”: “Wherever you are, your mind put you there.” This is no easy lesson; it means you and I must begin the work of turning our issues backwards, and accept responsibility.

Are you frequently late? How could this be altered by practicing mindfulness, leaving ahead of time so that agitation and stress do not overtake you? Do you long to attend school, but feel there is little time to do so? Take one class, and begin looking for periods during the day when study time would work.

Turn your problems into solutions, your obstacles into opportunities. Here are two ways to begin:

1. Change your perceptions – You are not a hapless victim. Look at yourself differently; use affirmations, prayer and mediation.

2. Shift the Focus – My husband always reminds me to shift the focus. Instead of saying “this is impossible” and concentrating on the “problem”, actively look for a solution, shift your focus.

Think of a problem or obstacle. How can you turn it into an opportunity?