#WhenILeft Isolation Followed

I know who I am

Oftentimes isolation is discussed in the context of a domestic violent relationship.  Isolation is one of the ways that an abuser maintains control, keeping their victim away from family and friends.  Isolation also makes the victim feel as if no one cares.  It may be subtle in the beginning; the abuser may say that they don’t want to come to a family gathering or night out with friends.  Then escalate to not allowing the victim attend such outings or using guilt trips so that the victim will decline.  Subsequently, the victim begins to turn down the invitations, until in some cases the invitations stop.

I experienced all of that and more within my relationship.  But even after it ended, the isolation seemed to have followed.  I was a single mother, in a different State, away from family and friends, 5 children, maintaining a home and work. Just as easily as he had packed up and moved to Las Vegas, NV with me, he had packed up and returned back to CA to live with his mother.  Packing up and just leaving to go back to CA was not an option for me.  Where would I go?  When I left CA, I walked away from everything in an attempt to leave him and the relationship so there was nothing to return to.

I was putting the pieces back together in my life.  I reached out to friends and family but speaking on the phone was not the same as the gatherings I had once organized.  I was happy that after 7 years the relationship was finally over but I found myself feeling alone. Since I was the sole provider, I spent most of my days working and my nights with my children.  I had a hard time developing friendships with people because I just didn’t have the time and a babysitter was not in the budget.  The invitations I received to hang out with my co-workers were once again being turned down.  I knew that my circumstances could make me vulnerable. I didn’t want to return to the relationship I had fought so hard to leave and I didn’t want to end up in another one just like it.

He made sure not to send child support so that I would not have extra money for ME.  So not only was I still dealing with feeling isolated, I was still dealing with financial abuse. I did my best to re-engage myself in some of the hobbies that I had given up. I began writing. I also made an effort to interact more with my peers.  I didn’t get to go hang out after work but I made sure that I at least enjoyed their company on my lunch breaks. This was very important in order for me to break away from the isolation that had followed me.

If you are struggling with feelings of being alone, reach out to someone, rekindle old friendships.  It may take a lot of effort on your part but it will be worth it.  A support system is very important to leaving an abusive relationship.  Over the past few weeks, men and women have taken to the internet to share with people “Why they stayed” in their abusive situation.  It’s not easy to stand in your truth while the world hides theirs and judges yours.  Stand anyway.  There are so many dynamics involved in each and every situation but if leaving was as easy as some try to make it so many more would leave.  It may not be easy but it is possible.

If you are in the Oakland, CA area, join myself and a wonderful panel for My Scars Chat. My Scars Chat is a live panel discussion on the impact of domestic violence on families, children and the community; a conversation between men and women about verbal, financial, sexual, spiritual and physical abuse.  Join us as we explore effective prevention methods, the road to healing and using one’s scars to bring awareness.

SCARS are those lessons that we learn in life that seem unbearable and come at a greater cost.  But the scars let us know that we survived it and healing is possible.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

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My Scars Chat – Oakland

My Scars Chat Oakland

Wow!! In just two weeks, I will be in Oakland, CA for another My Scars Chat. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. The feedback from My Scars Chat – Sacramento was amazing. I want to give a special thank you to Michael Minnick of WEAVE Inc., a local domestic violence organization in Sacramento, that not only volunteered his time to speak on the panel but also provided brochures.  Every My Scars Chat has been different thus far. Resources vary from City to City and State to State. However, I am thankful that I have been able to get so much support from various community resources in each City.  Someone reached out to me and asked if I could live stream the upcoming Chat and it looks like we are going to be able to make that happen.  So stay tuned for details about how you can view My Scars Chat – Oakland from where you are.

We have some amazing sponsors that are supporting our efforts of getting the word out. Make sure you take out some time to visit Divas With A Purpose a great community of women, empowering, inspiring and motivating one another. There is definitely a little bit of Diva in us all. Also, make sure to visit Butterfly L.U.V. for all of your lipstick and lipgloss needs. Lets kiss domestic violence away!

If you are looking for ways to get involved during October, domestic violence awareness month, here is a list:

Contact you local domestic violence shelter and consider volunteering

Wear purple. Purple is the color for domestic violence awareness.

If you are a survivor, break the silence and share your story.

Support a cause that is bringing awareness.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

What Happens In Vegas Shouldn’t Stay In Vegas

7 years ago, I arrived in Las Vegas, NV with a suitcase, my 3 oldest children and one on the way. I was broken, feeling hopeless and at the point of giving up. I was trying to move away from all of my emotional baggage but I soon discovered it had joined me on my journey. In those 7 years, I dealt with homelessness, being terminated from not one job but two, lights being turned off, losing my car and the list goes on. However, in the midst of all the pain, heartache, shame and loss, I found and established a relationship with God.

I didn’t realize when I boarded on that bus that I was embarking on not just a physical journey but a spiritual journey. I was away from everything and everyone that was familiar; it was just my children and I. I could no longer point the finger and make someone else responsible for the pain that I was experiencing. I can remember one day just crying out to God. I said “Lord show me my heart, show me those things that are causing me to continue to self-inflict pain”. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. God began to show me the condition of my heart. Not only did He show me the condition of my heart but He began to teach and show me His truths and through the teaching my heart began to heal.

I felt like a new creature. The weights were being lifted, my peace was being restored and I finally had joy within my heart. But I had no idea that God was preparing me for something greater than me. My story of transformation became Sunday Mourning which some of you may be familiar with but it didn’t stop there. I began signing each copy of Sunday Mourning with “I show my scars so that others know they can heal”. Each time I signed those words it was like an affirmation that God was going to do more with my pain than I ever could by holding on to it. Those words soon became a shirt and have connected me with so many men and women across the Country that are willing to allow God to use their scars to encourage and minister to someone else.

Today I can say, I’m leaving Las Vegas lighter than ever and no emotional baggage will be following me on this next leg. I’ve learned so much about myself, allowed God to heal the wounds that were threatening my life and purpose and now I’m freer than ever to “Show My Scars”. I am excited about what God has in store for me. You never know where God is going to have me “Showing My Scars”.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.christiantees.storenvy.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

No Boiz Allowed: Crown Me Queen

Crown Me QueenMarch is recognized as Women’s History month.  What better way to celebrate than by being surrounded by Women from all different backgrounds, skills, passion and inspiration.

In celebration of No Boiz Allowed’s 3 Year Anniversary, the online blogazine has partnered with Black Girls Inspired to present The Crown Me Queen Luncheon; a one day of  powerful networking designed to gather all women, young and seasoned, who are career driven and life lovers to celebrate all facets of being a woman. The goal of the luncheon is to empower the mind, strengthen the skill and polish every womans imperfections.

At Crown Me Queen, we will share best practices, stories of success and experiences both personal and professional with a wider awareness of political, social and economic causes in order to help each woman reach her full potential in life. Our panel of speakers includes a variety of successful women from all genres of business and life.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS TOPICS:

The Self-Esteem Queen: How To Remain True To Yourself And Allow Your Individuatlity To Shine In A World That’s Telling You How You Should Be

The Business Queen: 5 Business Strategies Every Woman Must Master

The Selfless Queen: The Importance Of Women Building One Another Up, Supporting Each Other And Celebrating One Another

If you are in the Las Vegas, NV area and want to be inspired, uplifted and pushed beyond the limits that you have set for yourself, then join us.  The Crown Me Queen Luncheon will be held inside of Railhead located at the Boulder Station Hotel/Casino. Doors will open at 11:45am but will begin on time at 12NOON and end at 3PM. Dress the part by being comfortable in what makes you exactly who you are. Come prepared to Celebrate the 3 Year Success of No Boiz Allowed and have fun with the hosts of the day, Black Girls Inspired.

Tickets are $25 per guest and includes a buffet style lunch, gift bags for the first 50 guest, networking opportunitues and also the chance to win prizes. Purchase your ticket today to ensure you are one of the 50 to receive a gift a bag and I hope to see you there.

“I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.christiantees.storenvy.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

Happy Birthday Capricorns

20140123-085749.jpg

I love celebrating my birthday at the beginning of the year, it gives me all year to grow into my new age. Well this year is no different other than the age. Yes, I am finally 35. What? 35? Where did the time go but I am feeling every single year though I may not look it (wink, wink). However, I am at peace with where I am at in my life and excited about where I am going. So excited that I have decided to celebrate my birthday for as long as I can. My children suggested Chuck-e-Cheese, lol. I almost gave in but instead we had a major feast of garlic crab and crawfish. Then I celebrated with my girls.

35 years of life have taught me so much but I still feel like there is so much to learn.  I must create the life that I desire.  You never get too old for dancing.  And never be ashamed of your past but instead learn the lessons, apply the lessons and teach the lessons.

I am happy to share my birth month with some pretty awesome people, Michelle Obama, Mary J. Blige and quite a few others.  If you are a Capricorn leave a comment and happy belated birthday from me to you.

“I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.christiantees.storenvy.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

Don’t Quit (Pt. 2)

A week ago I wrote the first Don’t Quit post. Those very words had been playing over and over in my head. Usually when that happens, I have to do something with what I’m hearing or seeing or it will persist. So as I often do, I wrote about it. I wanted to hopefully inspire someone even though at the time I was feeling rather uninspired.

The month of January had taken me on an emotional roller coaster. I applied to countless jobs only to get one call back and an interview. A few days after that interview a dear friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. I began to doubt and second guess everything I was doing and even whether or not I should remain in Las Vegas, NV. I’ve gone through a lot in the 5 and a half years that I’ve been here.

After hiding under my covers for almost a week grieving, I was notified that I did not get the position. Which was probably best given my emotional state. The entire month of February, I assisted my dear friend’s 25 year-old daughter with going through the necessary process of gaining legal guardianship of her younger siblings. I also began planning my departure from Las Vegas.  Yes, I was prepared to throw in the towel and head back to California to be around my family.

The Queen Maker BoutiqueThe last week of February is when things began changing. I wrote the don’t quit post and immediately something shifted. I was contacted by two different individuals that were interested in purchasing “My Scars” tees in bulk. One being Domonique “Pastor D” Scott from TLC’s The Sisterhood and the other a friend in North Carolina. The simple words “Don’t Quit” took on a greater meaning in my life. I now had a reason to fight for everything that I’ve worked hard for in this past year.

And if that wasn’t enough, I received an email last week from the one job that I had interviewed with that had decided to go with another candidate. I was asked if I was still looking for a position. Of course my response was yes. We scheduled a time for me to go in to meet with them again. Well I am now the Creative Attaché for a National Business Development Company, delayed but not denied.

God knew that with everything that had transpired in January that I would not be able to take on a job at that time. But He also saw all my other needs and provided for each one of them, financially, physically and spiritually. You may not see a way out of your present situation. You may feel like every door and opportunity has been blocked but don’t quit. God is faithful and His timing is always perfect.

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you also know that my background is in Psychology. I did not go to school for Journalism, PR or anything relative to that field. I have just been using the gift(s) that God gave me. Last year, I was given a position with a local newspaper as a Staff Writer. Now, as a Creative Attaché, I will be utilizing those same gifts that I have worked hard to develop for the past few years to fulfill the job. And RN Brand Tees will be sold in 3 different States and will make their debut in the UK in two weeks!!! Your gifts will make room if you Don’t Quit!!!  Many of us quit just before the  point of a breakthrough but hold on and hold fast.

“I show my scars so that others know they can heal.”

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

Don’t Quit

purposed

purposed (Photo credit: frances bell)

If you have been visiting my site and reading my post for a while, I am sure you are probably wondering what happened to all of the messages of inspiration and hope.  I have added quite a few new features which will remain, but the fact of the matter is, even the one who inspires needs to be inspired.  The other day, it was as if I could here the words “Don’t Quit” just as audible in my ears as if someone was speaking to me.

Have you ever felt like you were giving something your all and it wasn’t giving you anything in return?  These past few months have been some of the hardest.  However, each night before I go to sleep, I pray and thank God for keeping a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food to eat.  I wake up some mornings wanting to quit and something whispers and says, “Don’t Quit”.  And I am just crazy enough to keep listening.

You see, quitting is easy.  The obstacles, the disappointments and failed plans are always there waiting to get the best of you.  But determination tells you to push through all that, fight for that one yes and by all means “Don’t Quit”.  Those obstacles are there to teach you and the failed plans are for your protection.

If I had gotten everything that I wanted or if everything had gone my way, I wouldn’t be living out the purpose for my life.  Purpose is the reason I can’t quit.  It keeps me up at night and wakes me up in the morning.  It is the reason why I live and breath.  I am fulfilled merely by living out my life’s purpose.

So here is what I want you to do.  I want you to start March off with a clean slate.  February is behind you and you can’t go back.  It’s a new month, which should bring new goals, new plans and new opportunities that will help push you one step closer.  I am determined to see this vision through and fulfill my purpose and you should be too.  Don’t quit!

“I show my scars so that others know they can heal.”

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

2012 In Review: Whatever You Do, Don’t Stop Writing

English: An aerial view of Mount Everest.

English: An aerial view of Mount Everest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2012 has been a good year.  I challenged myself in my writing in more ways then one.  New features were added and as a result my audience grew.  I thank each one of you for reading, commenting and sharing my written thoughts.  In 2013, I can only hope to bring you so much more.  So get ready for more author interviews, celebrity features minus the drama, the newest Wellness Wednesdays addition and RN Series will continue to provide blogging and branding tips.   Take a peek at some of the popular post for 2012 and if you haven’t already read them, I suggest you get caught up.  What are some of your writing plans and goals for the New Year? Leave a comment and  I’ll see you in the New Year!!!

“Whatever you do, don’t stop writing.” ~ Rhachelle Nicol’

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Author Interview: The Blood Done Signed My Name

The Blood Done Signed My Name

The Blood Done Signed My Name

The Blood Done Signed My Name: M. Ann RICKS

  • What genre would you say your books fall into? My novels are Christian Fiction.
  • Who or what inspires your writing? I am inspired by God as a result of my Savior Jesus Christ! The Holy Spirit gives me the premise for my stories and downloads the sentiment and the words so that I may do what we as followers of Jesus were anointed to do: Share the gospel of Jesus Christ. By doing this through the words He gives me, He will heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to those who are in bondage, give sight to the blind, free those who are oppressed and proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord.
  • How did your upbringing impact your beliefs and relationship with God? My upbringing was, church, school and home-life. Most of my activities, aside for participating in school activities, (plays and performances) were church related. I am very fortunate that I have the best parents a girl could have! My parents kept me in church and that is where I thrived and as a result, I am forever grateful to them! My relationship with God however became stronger in my adult life.
  • Was there ever a period in your life that you went against or strayed away from what you had been taught? I think we have all backslidden, (myself included) and that’s why I love my Savior so much! He is always willing to welcome you back into the family with open arms! Reminding us to “go and sin no more!” His word tells us that we shouldn’t sin but…“And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1 His word also tells us, “ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9
  • If so, what led you back to Christ? His LOVE, The truth of His Word! ….Not what man said but what He said! He allowed me to confront why I had not immersed myself in Him and what I need to do to be free… I mean really free! Glory to God!
  • Who is your favorite character in The Blood Done Signed My Name? I haven’t a favorite character but if I simply love the way God used me to write Ms. Sadie! She has the quiet strength and firm but patient love that I find necessary in today’s world to help those who have lost their way.
  • Describe the process you go through for developing your characters. Crazily enough, I haven’t a special process. All three of my novel’s premises were given to me during my quiet time with God. Rhachelle, I want to be used by Him and because I make that my priority, I become open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As I am writing, He will give me names as I use the gift of writing to share their story. He allows me to simply write. He instructs me throughout the process, downloading what He knows someone will need to read to experience His love and as a result they are blessed! I am truly being used as a vessel for His handiwork!
  • What message do you hope to convey to your readers through you’re THE BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME? The message that I would love for all to receive from THE BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME is that regardless of who you are, what your family lineage looks like, whatever you’ve done, whatever has been done to you, the blood of Jesus can make you a new creature because of its power. God loves us so much and because He loves us, He sacrificed His only son Jesus. Jesus became the sacrifice for us and all that we have done and are going to do. We have been absolved and even justified. We can walk in freedom and liberty because of what Jesus did. A new life is available for those who believe!
  • As a full-time writer was there ever a time that your faith was tested? How did you refocus and keep moving forward? There were struggles along the way…. Yes indeed! There were delays, rewrites, rejections and faith fights! At times I was my worst enemy! There were many days I was so discouraged, I wanted to simply give up. I’m so thankful Rhachelle, that God is faithful even we forget what He’s promised. “God is not a man, that He should lie, ….Has He said, and will He not do? … has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19
  • Do you have any upcoming projects? It is my hope to assist other Christian writers with my literary workshop for aspiring Christian writers called, “Conversations…. Writing to Reconcile”. I had the wonderful opportunity to share it regionally but would love to be afforded a venue that could allow me to do so nationally. As believers in Christ it is our mandate to reconcile others to God. Using our literary gifts is certainly one way we can accomplish that awesome task. Additionally, for all who are interested, I distribute electronically, (on-line), a monthly newsletter, M. Ann’s Literary Communiqué and prayerfully it will continue to increase in circulation. Lastly, I’ve begun my 4th novel, The SHIFT!
  • Any final words for the readers? I so appreciate the readers taking the time to read this interview! I feel incredibly BLESSED!
    M. Ann Ricks

    M. Ann Ricks

    Thanks to you all! I invite the readers to visit my website and www.mannricks.net to simply read more about me! If interested they may find my novels on all online literary establishments. (i.e.: www.amazon.com / www.bn.com). For speaking engagement, Literary Dialogues and book club gatherings, please feel free to contact me directly using: Godsauthor@mannricks.net. I have an Author’s Page on Facebook: M. Ricks Literary Creations.

Rhachelle, thanks so much for this wonderful interview! Continued blessings to you! Let God continue to be GLORIFIED!

3 Things You Must Have in 2013

Vision_Board_Sept_2010_inprogress

Vision_Board_Sept_2010_inprogress (Photo credit: WiseWellWoman)

If I was to lose all of my material possessions today, there would be 3 things that I would try my best to hold on to.  2011 and 2012 have taught me the importance of having a vision, plan or goal, and a journal to write it all down.

Vision:  A vision forces you to be in tune with who you are and what you were created to be.  A vision puts the focus on the outcome and not the current circumstances.  It allows you to push through the most difficult times, knowing that it won’t be like this always.  A vision keeps you up late at night and gives life to your purpose.

Plan or Goal:  Your plan or goal(s) become the very blueprint to navigating through your vision.   While the vision keeps you focused on the end result, your plans and goals tell you that there is still some work to be done.  You begin to see what you can do and what you may need assistance with completing.  Your weaknesses and strengths may be revealed but instead of being discouraged you may just add a new goal to the list.

Journal:  “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to ] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by.” Habakkuk 2:2  Yes, you need something to write all down in.  When you begin to write things down, rewrite them and further explain them it makes it easier for people to understand and even assist with bringing the vision to past.  You have to understand, know and believe in whatever it is that you are working towards.  In 2011, I wrote that I wanted to create my own t-shirt line.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it and how soon it would all take place but the more I wrote about it, the more things were revealed.  I’ve been spending the last few weeks reflecting on journal entries.  Some of the things taking place in my life right now, were a mere journal entry a year ago.

I promise you, if you can hold onto these three things you will begin to see things happen.  On Dec. 8th, Mission Possible, a vision board event that I wrote in my journal a year ago will finally take place.  Daja Robinson of No Boiz Allowed and I are excited and grateful for all those who have helped to make this possible.  FireHouse Subs for providing lunch for our guest.  Zari Banks for her countless donations to Mother 2 Mother down throughout the year, Kanina Johnson for gifting a copy of her book, Walk In Your Power and many more.  If you are in the Las Vegas area, join us.  You do not want to miss this event!