a Travelista (with a Fear of Flying)

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Yes, it’s true. Secret’s out. This frequent flier of the clear blue (but oftentimes turbulent) skies has a deep-seated, text your loved ones goodbye, pray ten times before takeoff and seven more times in the air fear: flying. From DC to Brazil to California to Rome, each and every flight in my lifetime has caused me a guaranteed and certain anxiety. Early morning, late night, well planned out, or last minute – it doesn’t even matter. If I’m going up, so is my heart rate.

Even as I write this now, I’m nervously shifting in my 22A window seat (cue Eryka Badu) pondering my life and hoping that I’ve made Him proud. Cause what else do you ponder at this insane altitude watching the lights flicker on the earth below somewhere between Texas and Baltimore? I tried to go to sleep, as I almost always attempt to do before takeoff, but like so many times before – I’ve failed. So now I’m up, my Beats by Dre pumping NeoSoul into my eardrums, doing their best to drown out the turbulence and my own overactive imagination. They are failing as well.

The question, though, is why do I put myself through this anguish? I mean right now the ride is relatively smooth and I feel like I am in no immediate danger. But there have been flights where I have cried real tears and where the poor soul next to me has grabbed my hand to reassure me that we would live. (Yes, he really did – I must have looked as terrified as I was.) So why, again, do I do this to myself of my own free will every chance I get? It’s simple:

Because what I really want is on the other side of fear.

And isn’t that so often the case? Think about it. What would you do in this very moment if you weren’t afraid to do it? Where would you go? Who would you talk to? What would you say? Who would you become?

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And I’m not referring to the healthy fear, the one that protects us and guides us to make wise decisions. That fear of being run over that keeps a lone child from crossing a busy street. That fear is helpful. That fear can save lives. But what about that other fear. That negative fear that causes us to not go for that promotion or opportunity, to not approach that person we’ve been eyeing from afar, to not say I’m sorry, or that I love you first. That kind of fear is stifling, debilitating. That’s the kind of fear that would’ve kept me from seeing the castles in Portugal, from swimming with the sting rays in the Cayman Islands. I may have never gotten the chance to freeze my tail off in Paris or scare myself silly in London’s museum of wax.  Yes I had to nervously board a plane to attain all of these experiences, but I felt the fear and then did it anyway.

What fear are you feeling at this very moment? (Mine is that the captain just announced our descent.) But what about you? Is there something you’d like to do/say/be but an unhealthy fear is getting in the way? Why not re-evaluate and then make it happen. As I wrote in a previous post, arrange and rearrange. People often say that life is too short to be unhappy. I say life is too long. Some people go 30, 40, 50+ years carrying shoulda’ woulda’ coulda’s that  tear them up inside. That’s too long. Too long to be sad. Too long to be unhappy. Too long to be afraid. My aim is to live a determined life; to set  fearless goals, and then work fiercely to attain them: spiritual, physical, and otherwise. And as I prepare to utter my next “oh Lord, please let this plane land safely cause I don’t wanna die” prayer, I sincerely urge you to do the same. (Not the prayer part, just the goals part… though prayer never hurts. But that’s for another blog post :))

xoxo,
La

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Brussels, Prayers & an Invitation

screenshot_2016-03-22-15-01-58-1.pngIf you are like me, which multitudes around the earth are, you woke up this morning to devastating reports of another terrorist attack, this time in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Lives forever altered as bombs exploded in the airport and metro system and the injury list and death toll grew. Grows.

While in bed praying my morning prayer being sure to include all suffering from these horrendous acts, I also prayed that my friends and their guests in Belgium are still able to commemorate one of thee most sacred nights of the year (this year it falls on tomorrow, March 23rd after sundown), along with more than eight million others across the globe: the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal.

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Because what that celebration underscores is a time when no one will have to be in fear of terrorist attacks such as that experienced this morning in Brussels, or here in the United States on 9/11 and many times after, or in places across the world that unfortunately will never have news cameras and public outrage and flashing lights to shine on the atrocities committed there every single day.

What this special event occurring worldwide in almost every language on the evening of March 23rd focuses on is the only solution to the problems mankind faces, despite race, age, nationality, affiliation, or financial status. Everyone can benefit, and everyone is invited. It is free of charge, and there is no collection taken. Even though I will be on travel this week, I will attend in Texas. Nothing will stand in the way of my attendance as I want to reflect on the great sacrifices made on our behalf, and the promises soon to be fulfilled that we so desperately need. Regardless of your personal beliefs, I think it’s safe to say most everyone is desirous of change. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Why not do something different tomorrow and attend as well?

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To find the location nearest you, please visit www.jw.org. You will be warmly welcomed.

My heart and prayers are with those suffering in Brussels and worldwide. And I look forward to the time when the words of Revelation 21:4 will be fulfilled.

“And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

– Revelations 21: 4

xoxo,
La.

Ps. Here are a few other articles that provide answers to questions on the minds of millions on this very sad day.

workout (clothes) all day

photogrid_1457019479400.jpgI promise you I awoke with the best of intentions. And yes, I know it’s Monday. What’s the cardinal rule? Never miss a Monday. Never. So even though I went to bed with a slight headache already fully aware I’d want to sleep past the third alarm, I knew come morning I would throw on my workout clothes and be prepared to sweat at some point during the day. I mean look at the photos… I’ve been doing pretty well. Kind of. But here it is almost 9:30 pm and I am still in these blasted workout clothes… sans sweat.

Fail.

Now why am I confessing my workout (or lack thereof) sins on the worldwide net? Accountability. A girl has goals, and missing today does not get me any closer to that for which I am striving. And, ok… if I’m going to be totally honest, my eating wasn’t on point either. I mean some of it was. I just cooked and polished off this grilled skinless chicken breast and roasted brussel sprouts and it was delicious! But the leftover mini-cupcakes and cookies from Sunday’s cook-off, also delicious, were on the menu as well and for that I pat this belly in shame.

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Oh the struggle for the thicky with goals. But I digress…

In a few days, I travel for a friends wedding and cannot guarantee I will be on my A-game. A long-time girlfriend I haven’t seen in years is hosting me for the week and she already informed me plans have been set and the wine has been bought. So rather than beat myself up on what’s looking to be an amazing trip, I have devised a game plan for once I return. Total beast mode. Nutrition. Training. Sweat. Because while I love being a full-figured cutie, health over beauty so I will tame these curves and lift those weights. It’s all set and I am looking forward to it. Truthfully.

But til then, I hang my head in sugar-coated shame and apologize to the www for missing this Monday. I’ll do better tomorrow. Promise.

xoxo,
La

I am a Divergent

138da8e51e5f8e3f61eee8d44038a6d1-1.jpgEver been on a traditionally successful path making traditionally successful money in a traditionally successful career and thought to yourself, “If I do {insert traditionally successful task} one more time, I’m literally going to  {insert traditionally non-successful reaction}??”

You haven’t? Ok, no problem. Feel free to exit stage left and read another post. You’re excused. But if you somewhat kinda maybe sorta understand where I’m coming from, pull up a chair and let’s chat.

Have you seen the movie Divergent? (Yes, I know it’s a book series but I’ve only seen the movie – sorry. It was great.) Well in Divergent, as a person entered into adulthood, they had to choose a particular faction and commit to it for life. And if you felt like you fit into more than one, you had to either conceal it or be discovered as a Divergent: a defect, a misfit, a problem.

Hello, my name is La Jones and I am a Divergent.

And while I fully appreciate the need for stability, medical benefits, a 401k, and a steady every-other-week paycheck you could set the clock by, sometimes (and these days a lot of times) all I want to do is swap it out for a writing gig near the beach, or a spot as a makeup artist on a dope set, or a fitness and beauty consultant for all my curvy ladies. All things I do now, but only as a side hustle – never the main show. It’s like I’m a computer-chained IT professional by day, but by night my creative side can flourish and play. And while it used to be satisfied as a background singer, these days it’s getting tired of doing ooh’s and aah’s.

too busy text messageMaybe it’s because the older one gets, the easier it becomes to see that time is precious. Some people are so busy being busy, but not accomplishing anything at all. And spending 8 hours a day doing something you’re less than passionate about can take a toll on the wandering psyche. After all, not all who wander are lost. Maybe just searching for something better. So I plan and I pray and I plan some more, trying to reconcile the love I have of my cute, little apartment and an income that allows me to travel with my desire to make space for the more important things and have more control of how I spend my time.

At the end of it all, I just want to be able to look back and say I made the sacrifices necessary to live a life well-purposed and designed. That is the ultimate goal. To be happy with me and the way I am living, that it reflects my goals and the things that matter most. And until I’m where I want to be, I’ll arrange and rearrange until the pieces finally fit. “Where am I moving?” you ask. “On to better things.”

xoxo,
La

Plan for the Unplanned

So today I had to travel to one of my offices and on the way back, crossed a bridge that goes directly past the National Harbor. Now I had more work to do for my j-o-b, a kitchen with dishes probably ready to wash themselves, and to top it off – I was sleepy. Very sleepy. So common sense would tell me to go home, finish work, clean your kitchen, get some sleep. What do I do? B-line to my far right lane and take the ramp towards the water.

Plan for the unplanned.

img_20160315_205602.jpgAs I sat there in one of the over-sized beach chairs that lined the green turf littered with little girls doing cartwheels and little boys chasing them, I smiled at the sun facing the movie screen, Ferris wheel, and marina. It’s a Tuesday afternoon. It’s 65 degrees. And I’m supposed to be elsewhere. But it’s simply too beautiful. I could see the traffic backing up over the bridge and reasoned I could be there, or I could be here. I’ll take here for 200…

But I couldn’t be the only one playing hooky on life. A few phone calls later, I had a party. One of my best friends, who happened to have his dog with him (he’s really like our dog cause I helped pick him out and attended new parent doggie orientation! Well that’s not what it was actually called, but anyway…), and my sister along with my beautiful niece and nephew were all in to enjoy the unplanned. What began as a random trip home from the office ended up being an awesome evening with fam.

img_20160316_001711.jpgThe point of it all? Plan for the unplanned. Do something different. Take a detour and see a new sight. Caribbean vacations are never a bad idea, but it doesn’t always have to be that extravagant. Go to the museum. Visit the park. Take a random road trip. All at the last minute. In this fast-pace world in which we work and live, it’s far too easy to fall into a rut. But sometimes all that’s needed is a little fresh air and a change of scenery. So do yourself a favor. Take an afternoon and get lost. You may be surprised by what you actually find.

xoxo,
La

the thing about Mondays…

7037_10205865089003234_2706571772665090707_nMondays get a bad wrap. It’s not their fault they have the lovely privilege of being the first to greet us after an often busy weekend of either partying or resting or somewhere in between. Somebody has to do it, though, and Monday pulled the short straw.

So here we are at another Monday. And here it is, almost 7:30pm and I have still neglected to check off most of the things in my cute, spiral-bound, gold and white striped Day Designer. (I figured if it was cute, I’d be more inclined to use it). But ok. Truth be told, I haven’t even laid eyes on it today. But I know I packed it for my travel last week, and wrote some tasks to knock off by today and yea… so… today I do not pass go and collect $200. Today, I am the weakest link. Absolutely no life lines.

I didn’t even work out today. Which breaks another goal of mine – never miss a Monday. Maybe it’s because I was tired from traveling. Or perhaps after hosting my ladies night last night, I didn’t get enough sleep. Or maybe there’s just that thing about Mondays. Whatever the case, I have seven days to get my life together because next Monday will not catch me slipping.

How do you function on Mondays? Are you eager to start the new week, or sleepily lamenting another weekend past? Let me know! If your outlooks is positive, may it rub off on me…

xoxo,
La.

Gathering of Women

 

It is in the gathering of women,
whether to weep or laugh in abandoned honesty,
dripping dreams and fears,

 but never the wine…
that sisterhood of commonality that yes you are different
(but not really THAT different)
and that it’s ok to be strong and frail,
happy and sad,
hopeful and scared all at the same time…
to be assured that we are not in competition with each other,
only past versions of ourselves,

and that we hope we all make it (and actually mean it)…
 It is in these gatherings of women who travel and preach and labor and pray
that you are thankful
and grateful
and loved beyond comprehension,
reminded that it won’t always be easy but most certainly always worth it
so you press ever onward,
ever encouraged,
ready for battle come what may…
For it is here,
in this gathering of feeling and knowing,
that you finally understand:
you are not alone.

xoxo,
La

 

 

Beach Bum

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So I’m under my cabana at St. Pete Beach, Florida soaking up the last few rays of sunshine  before I have to leave for the airport. I’ve been wanting to make time to set up this blog for the past two weeks – and I choose the last 10 minutes before I have to leave to actually create it. Figures.

I’ll write more about my trip and why I’ve (re)started a blog and how awesome it feels to finally have a new place to write (and publish) the randomness going on in my head at all times. But for now… let me just leave a peace of the beach here, while I bundle my things and make haste for that airport. If I miss my flight, I’ll have a lot more to write about than planned…

xoxo,
la.