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Confession is Good for the Soul They Say…

Confession is Good for the Soul They Say…

2015 brought major changes for me as I worked to discover my voice as a designer and create my brand. I put out the first two collections of my designing career, Eclipse & Safari, which was a very scary experience. It wasn’t frightening in the sense that I was worried about them being commercially successful or not; though profitability is always a part of it. I was more so concerned about staying true to my vision for each line and not bowing to the pressure of trendiness; I concerned about designing and crafting a product that was unique and unlike anything else; I was concerned about making high quality pieces that when I stepped back would give me contentment and personal fulfillment, as each and every piece I make has a little bit of my heart and soul in it.
I found that my fears were valid but misplaced. I think every designer, every entrepreneur, that has a passion for their art, faces these same pressures. There’s the frustration of submitting your work, your unique vision to the masses and getting some really positive feedback but that feedback doesn’t equate to sales. Then there’s the times when there’s no feedback at all, neither positive nor negative and you’re left staring at Instagram waiting for the likes to come in, wondering what you’ve done wrong. You begin to question whether or not you’re putting out a good product and if you should chuck it all in the waste bin and focus on your day job. You’re bleary-eyed, depressed and despondent only wanting to be liked on social media and seriously thinking about acquiescing to social media influences, jump on the trend train and make the same mass produced pieces as the big box stores. (No shade implied or intended)
This was me for part of 2015. I had some commercial success. I had my designs featured in a local small boutique in Houston, I had a few discussions with some stylist out of New York but I didn’t see the type of success I really wanted. I got depressed for a few months, I stopped designing, I stopped even wearing my own work. I was in a place of pity and self-loathing. But lucky for me that I have an AWESOME support system of family and incredibly close friends who are prayer warriors and realist who brought me out of my funk with real talk and encouraging words.


I realized I hadn’t failed as a designer, I hadn’t failed as a business owner, I hadn’t failed at anything simply because I made the effort and put myself out there. I had put my heart and soul into my work and put it out for the world to judge; I remembered 2 Timothy 1:7, “God did not give us spirit of timidity but one of power, of love and of self-discipline”. Once I remembered who I was and to whom I belonged, new opportunities came my way. My pieces can now be found not only on my website, T. Nicole Designs but also on BeLuxLife!

So while 2015 was a year of trial and error, learning and faltering, it was a year that I’m grateful for. I learned quite a bit about solidifying my vision and finding my voice as a designer. I learned to be patient with myself, as the kind of success I’m looking for doesn’t come overnight. It is earned through prayer, faithfulness, diligence and fortitude.

It’s perfectly ok to go against the grain because being different is what sets me apart. So I’ll continue to push forward, creating jewelry and accessories that are inspired and unique. Because while everyone else is singing the harmony I’ll be the one belting out a melody all my own. Here’s to a brand new year filled with unforgettable experiences and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2016 in Inspiration, Work Life

 

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Bowed But Not Broken… Tried But Not Defeated

Hey there my Lovelies! As another work week draws to a close I breathe a sigh of relief and of disappointment. This week has held pain and upset that has shaken me and nearly broken my will. Yet here I am, fingers flying across my ergonomic keyboard still here.

So I went to one of my routine 3 month follow-ups with my Rheumatologist on this past Tuesday and since she saw me last I had been hospitalized due to my chronic asthma and a subsequent lung infection. True the infection took more than a month to get over and I felt like something I had pulled off the bottom of my shoe but I was still standing. Upon hearing this, she promptly and unceremoniously said that she couldn’t treat me anymore; that her medicine/treatment had nearly killed me twice (I think she was being a bit overly dramatic but then again… it isn’t like she was lying I was REALLY sick) and that I would have to wait until medicine could catch up with as complex of a case as I am.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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I’m Too Through…

Happy Friday My Lovelies!!

It has been a really rough week for me, my days have all blurred together, I’m physically exhausted and mentally running on empty right now. Between the breakthrough pain from RA, Spondyloarthritis, and my herniated L4-L5-SI discs and the opioid withdrawal from the morphine I take for pain management I’m too through y’all!!  It is hard enough dealing with things as they come but the anticipation of knowing what is coming is even harder.  Knowing that breakthrough pain and opioid withdrawal is coming within a matter of hours and knowing what kind of extreme torment will follow is enough to make you sick all by itself. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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An Unburdened Spirit

Happy Sunday my Lovelies!

You will have to forgive me for not postings more this week but I have been very unwell. I didn’t want to say anything but a friend counseled me via email and told me that I needed to blog about my struggle. That by blogging I will be released from the bondage of pain and that I very well may help someone going through the same thing or something similar.
The funny thing is she was coming to me for a bit of advise and ended up advising me instead, so Gerri I thank you for all that you have been for me.
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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Inspiration

 

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A Setup for Disappointment

     I see churches, none in particular or that I will name specifically in an effort protect the guilty, that serve up this superficial, “it is all ok” Christianity.  They impress that once you become a Christian, give you life to God, all will be perfect. Nothing bad will ever happen to you again, God will give you the big house, the fancy car and the ideal mate.  Everyone will adore you, you will walk about in gardens of flowers and fruit trees, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden and lounge about all day without a care; and life will be smooth sailing until we all get to Heaven.  I don’t know what kind of dog and pony show these people are running but they are fooling people and this is how believers become despondent, disillusioned and disgusted with the church and with God.  The latter entity is not to blame; it is man who has perpetrated this fraud!  God never promised you that once you gave your life to Him that nothing bad would ever happen to you ever again, that life would be a completely positive experience from here until eternity!  Paul followed the teachings of Christ but was persecuted and wrote of the thorn in his side.  He asked God to remove it and He said “No”.  The thorn is the one thing that sticks with you that doesn’t let your forget that God is God. 

     The unpleasant, irritating and obnoxious things that happen to us are not all caused by nor the fault of the enemy; it is not always the devil out to get you.  Some of the bad things that happen in our lives are pre-destined by God Himself… no, don’t look at me like that!  God has what is in your best interest at heart and no, He doesn’t want to see you suffer.  However, He does allow certain things to happen in order to prepare you, to build your trust in Him and so that you know, recognize and accept that it is only He that keeps you.  Other negative things that happen to us are of our own design, construction and implementation; we are the perpetrators of our fates.  Our entire repertoire of bad decision-making comes from the free will that God granted us upon our creation.  God made us a spirit confined to a fleshy prison.  There is always a war raging within us, the Holy Spirit doing battle against our worldly desires.  There is an old Native American parable that states that within each man are two dogs fighting for dominance, one good and one evil.  When asked which one wins, the person answered, “The one I feed the most”. 

     This is where we get to superficial Christianity.  The Word says, that as we mature as Christians we cannot be only milk-fed like children but must become meat eaters.  Thus, you must take the easy to digest with the more difficult to digest. The easily digested part of Christianity is that God loves us, He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten son, Jesus, to be a sin offering for us.  The only thing that He asks in return is that we obey/keep His Commandments.  The harder to digest part of the Faith is submitting to God’s will for our lives, killing our flesh daily, accepting that even if we believe we are doing everything right, we sill always fall short of the glory of God.  So when you only give the masses superficial “Christian” teachings, you are stunting their growth.  If you feed a child only formula and never move them to solid foods, you are inhibiting their natural progression into adulthood; they will begin to waste away.  The same holds true for us as intelligent human beings, we crave knowledge and understanding. It is only when you take the easy with the difficult that you are cultivated, groomed and moved to be all that God call you to be… Personally I prefer steak over hotdogs any day.

Blessings and Happiness

T. Nicole

 

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Hinder Me Not

     Praise should not be hindered by the bad and saddening things in our lives.  We are to and should praise God always.  We would not know how gracious, loving and merciful our Father is if we only had good times, joy, happiness and peace.  It is when we emerge from the storm, when the land has dried, the flowers have sprung and the sun shines that we learn to appreciate and love God for who He is.  How can you appreciate the blessings of God if you don’t know what it is to go through?  When you look back at the storms that you have been through, the dry and acrid plains of life where nothing flourishes, you will see that even in that desert place, God kept you.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Stay In Your Lane

 

      When does the status quo become a bore to you?  When does the same routine day in and day out become monotonous and you finally say that enough is enough? It has been said that the only constant thing in life is change.  I couldn’t tell you who said it, why they said it or when, but it definitely rings true. Life is a series of hills and valleys, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness.  Have you ever watched the Olympics Track and Field competition?  I don’t mean the 100 m or 400 m, hurdles or high jump; there is an event called the Steeplechase. It is a 3000 meter race where each lap has four barriers and one water jump at the back-end of it.  Each runner has to complete 7 laps, meaning they have to clear 28 barriers and seven water jumps.  The barriers do not fall over if the runner hits them and they are able to get over the barrier by any means; stepping on top of them, jumping over them, however they cannot negotiate them by going around them.

      The athletes have to focus on what is ahead and be aware of the other runners in relation to where they are.  Life is just like the steeplechase; we are all running the race together and face some of the same obstacles and barriers in life, but each of us approach them differently.  In knowing where you are in relation to others, you may be inspired by the way that someone else prevailed and choose to try your own variation of their method as an alternative to yours.  However, you cannot pay too much attention to the other runners.  You cast sideways glances at them and know that each of us runs our race at a pace.  We focus too much on the circumstances and situations in our lives, when we should be more concerned with how to surmount them and move forward in life.  How can you effectively run this race if you are so busy worrying about the person in the lane next to you or 3 lanes over?  How will you see the turn ahead if you are telling the ref how to do their job?

     Stay in your lane, run the race that God has placed you in.  The race is different for all of us; we have different barriers to navigate and various difficulties to overcome.  At each turn a hurdle presents itself and if we stop at the issue, the problem, the situation, we will be left behind in life.  We will be unable to get to the end goal, the finish line, where God waits with our laurels, our crowns and the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant”.  The same blockade may present itself more than once, but look at it as maybe you didn’t handle it right the first time.  Instead of trying to go around it, face it head on.  You may have to climb instead of jump; Step on and over, using it as a platform to catapult yourself forward, rather than vaulting over it.  I stay in my lane and use God’s Word to face my fears and to bring me through.  Maybe someone will cast a sideways glance during their race and see that my plan for overcoming, prayer and devotion to God, may help them. 

Athletes compete in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Heats at the National Stadium
Stu Forster / Getty Images

 Blessings and Happiness

T. Nicole

 

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A Father Unlike Any Other

Happy Sunday my Lovelies and even better Happy Father’s Day!

It is a blessing to see another Sunday and I woke up with my dad on my mind. He is back home in Louisiana visiting his dad and I am separated from him this Father’s Day. For some this would be quite disappointing not to have their father present on this day but not so for me. I talk to my dad at least once a week and text him regularly. My dad has been with me since I was 6 years old and stepped into the shoes left vacant by my biological father. At an early age I learned that biology doesn’t make a parent. So this morning before I rose to begin my day, I wrote this to my dad:

God has been so gracious to me, He blessed me when brought you into our lives. There was a void in my life and in my heart because the father who biologically is linked to me was absent due to his own iniquities. So God sent you to us and my cup overflowed as you stepped in and filled that empty space in me and then some. Biology doesn’t make a parent, love, care, devotion and acceptance do. I have a father, a biological parent, and I have my dad, the man that raised me, that loves me even through my mess and whom I adore and thank God for daily. It matters not to me what anyone says, you are mine and i am yours; our bond as father and daughter has and will endure until our Heavenly Father calls is both home and we will be friends in Heaven for all eternity. I am so incredibly honored that you call me daughter and thank God everyday for you. Happy Father’s Day!

A father can be many things and many people. I have a biological father who did the best he could given his personal demons, I have a father, my daddy, who raised and loved me as his own and to this day you cannot tell him that I am not his, he will fight you over it if need be. I have two spiritual fathers in Pastor Keven D. Johnson and Dr. Ralph Douglas West, who have nurtured and feed my soul and helped me grow in my spiritual growth. I have a Heavenly Father who when all the others are unavailable or absent, is always there to love, protect and guide me.

Be thankful today and every day for the fathers in your life and if your father no longer walks with you, remember all that he was to you and smile.

Blessings and Happiness

T. Nicole

 

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Let It Rain

     Life brings all kinds of circumstances, experiences, people and can be the source of joy, love, contentment, strife, grief and anger. I was not in a good place on yesterday, life happened and although I put on a strong face most days, it gets to be a bit too much some days and my heart is heavy.  So on the way to the office I was singing to myself and began to cry out of pure frustration, solitude and grief for what my life used to be.  Houston saw rain on yesterday, which meant traffic snarls, irate drivers, slick roads and humidity that even Vidal Sassoon hairspray couldn’t withstand.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Know your Judas

Hello and happy Monday my Lovelies!

Many times we all hear people talk about how much they can’t stand their haters, how they wish that they (haters) would go away, stop hating and get something of their own.  I dislike haters as much as the next person but I have come to know that haters serve a purpose.  What purpose do they serve you ask? It depends on your particular situation. 

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