Alma Woodsey Thomas: My Inspiration

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Today I want to take a moment to honor Alma Woodsey Thomas. She was an African American Abstract/Impressionist Artist. She is the biggest influence on my art. She is an inspiration.To find a black woman, who painted abstract art, gives me confidence in myself and my artwork. I put a link to the article in the comment section. Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891-1978).
“Alma Woodsey Thomas developed her signature style — large, abstract paintings filled with dense, irregular patterns of bright colors — in her 70s,” writes the National Museum of Women in the Arts. “Thomas became an important role model for women, African-Americans, and older artists. She was the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and she exhibited her paintings at the White House three times. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/weekinreview/11cotter.html

 

 

~Nikki ❤

 

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Both Sides of The Game

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There are two sides to every story and sometimes three. Here we have a person struggling to be themselves out of worry if they will be liked or accepted. They wonder if they will lose friends, family, and associates. It’s a risk. It was and is a necessary risk for me. I’d rather be free and happy, but note, it was a process. And still is.

Then we have this other side of the coin or game. The ones that say they love being themselves, have always been comfortable in being themselves, yet they have issues with others being themselves. And I am talking about us being our authentic selves! Not some knock off version or shaped by misery selves. If this is you what’s your problem? Do you want to be yourself? Do you enjoy being yourself? Then why are you so concerned when others that are happy being themselves doesn’t match your way of being yourself? I think it’s ego. I think there is a part of you that is not truly comfortable being you. I think there is a part of them that makes you uncomfortable. Yes? All of these things or one of these things. Maybe even none of these things. It’s up to you to ponder.

As long as others being themselves are not causing harm, hatred, and division then we really need to think about why it bothers us so much and communicate that to ourselves. There are some ways people in my life have of being themselves I question and I know it’s filtered through their experiences and obvious misery. I don’t have to get use to it or like it. It depends on our relationship how to handle it. I can remove myself, put distance in between us, or limit interactions. However, if you think wearing purple hair is okay and I don’t, then I figure that is YOU being YOU. If you are driven and I am laid back, I have no need to make you laid back because I am and you should have no need to make me driven so that it makes you more comfortable with “my” journey.

~Nikki

Disability and Reality Head on Collisions

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If you have been following my blog, then you know I am real, honest, and sometimes raw about what I think and how I feel. I am not here for the shock value, I am here because I love people that are honest about their thoughts, feelings, etc. Honest, not rude or mean or nasty. Just the plain old truth. So let’s dive in.

I hate being disabled, but I am grateful that I won my case. I hated my last job, but I was grateful that I had one and it could provide some income. I wasn’t making much and that job was killing me on every level. Yesterday early in the evening I thought I was having some sort of breakdown. I was going down slowly and then boom! I was falling down a dark hole that seem to never end. I reached out for help to a friend that wasn’t available. I reached out to a professional associate, she answered and provided a rope to pull me back to ground. I realized AGAIN yesterday, just how being disabled can restrict, constrict, and confine you financially. It can halt your endeavors. It makes me angry. It makes me sad. It makes me fell worthless. It makes me irrational. It brings up things from the past and shoves them in your face. Sometimes, down your throat. I felt like I could not breathe yesterday. It was anxiety mounting up to a panic attack. And depression was hovering around like a drone.

Before this episode, I had an encounter with a relative. Then I discovered just how limited I was  because of my disability with an endeavor I was trying to start up with a friend. And there came these waves of tears in my eyes that I fought back. By the time I talked to my professional associate, I told her 1st of all, I am crying. Secondly, I am ashamed that I am crying. Crying in my childhood was often made fun of or pointed out by my mother. “She’s so sensitive. She will cry if you look at her.” I thought something was wrong with crying. I also didn’t think it was funny. So crying to me can sometimes bring up a need to apologize for crying. In essence, apologize for being sensitive and weak (according to society, some friends, and in relationships). I do know a good cry is cleansing.

Rules and regulations for disability are necessary. They keep most people from getting over on the system. However, for those of us that wish to do things to help ourselves, it’s often a challenge to figure out exactly what we can do. It’s also a shock sometimes to find out you can’t do certain things and therefore you can’t reap the benefits or joys of those things.

This morning my ground is shaky. But, I am still here. I am still fighting and coping with my thoughts and emotions. This is REAL life. This is a MOMENT that I have to work through. I am fragile in this state and I know I have to protect my mind.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy does come in the morning,” -Bible

I am really ready for morning.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Hope for Tomorrow

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Today I had to speak at church. Some would call it preaching, but I call it teaching. I talked about Hope for Tomorrow. Romans 12:12, Romans 8:24-25. What is hope? Hope is a joyful or confident expectation for the future or the promises of God, or both however you chose to look at it or need it. Hope is a joyful or confident expectation for the unknown and the unseen. Who hopes for what he or she can see? We hope for what we cannot see and we wait for it patiently. In other words, you don’t hope for what you already have or what is already worked out. You hope for that which you do not have yet to manifest or be worked out.

Hope is a virtue, a good quality for the Christian life experience and in my own opinion, hope is a virtue we all should obtain. Hope makes waiting or walking in faith easier. When you have hope, you have joy or you have confidence that things are working out for your good. You don’t know how, you can’t see how, but you have this expectation that it will.

Without hope, we become bitter, sad, depressed, anxious, fretful, and perhaps angry. Without hope, you become desperate and take desperate actions. Many times these actions lead to making things worse than what they were. Without hope, a joyful expectation or confidence in the future or promises of God, people contemplate suicide or commit it. Without hope that you’ll be okay if the person leaves you, you do foolish things to get them to stay or even worse.

We need hope. Hope helps us to hold on while we patiently wait for the outcome. Hope, a joyful expectation, puts a pep in our step as we walk out our faith. Hope, a confident expectation in the promises of God to you, helps you to hold on until you see the life you desire to live unfold. Yes, we need hope for tomorrow. We need hope, for tomorrow in this world. The audacity, or the boldness of hope. Hope gives us boldness in the times of trouble. The nerve, the boldness to believe in our darkest hours that light will surely shine again happens when we turn on our hope. In the world we live in, particularly and personally me for, in the these troubling political times, I have HOPE that things will make a complete 180 and put us back on track to be greater human beings which will make a greater America and a greater world to live in for all people.

~Nikki

Getting Away From It All

 

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Happy Saturday! What are you doing with your weekend? If you don’t have to work and even you do, what will you do with the days you consider your weekend? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some very trying weeks. It has been very physical and very tiring. However, enlightening. I have been longing to escape it all. I just want to get away! Preferably,  near the beach. But I will take anything that changes my scenery for now.

I am thinking and planning a few vacations. I think we are going back to Orange Beach, which I loved so much being there on the beach. The biggest vacation, and most expensive, is taking my daughter to Paris. It is a dream of hers and she is graduating from high school. The planning has been in the making for years. It is budgeted out as well. I want to do it now because I don’t know how long I will be able to travel far on long flights. Long flights and trips really do me in because of Rheumatoid and Fibromyalgia. But this will be a great and willing sacrifice of the body. However, I always have hope that things will get better physically and financially.

So, with that said, I don’t know if there is room in the budget for much more this year as far as vacations or get-a-ways. If so, they will be something near by. I am trying to pay off debt, get my credit score in good standing, which I paid off several big debts last year, and look for a home. I also have dreams that need funding.

~Nikki

 

Friday Jr and The WKND Weekend

 

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Well, I had such a busy weekend I am just now getting a chance to sit down and blog about it. It was Thursday, also known to many as Friday Jr. (smile), that I got up the nerve to show up at a Memphis Bloggers Exchange Happy Hour. It was sponsored by the Nashville Bloggers Exchange. The place we met up at is new to Memphis. It’s NOT a club, but a place where you come to hang out, have great drinks, great conversations, good food, relax and unwind with friends or you can fly solo. Service was top notch from our entrance to our exit.

First, let me tell you when I walked I was nervous. Why? Well, if you have followed my blog for a while you know I have been through a rough few years. I was worried about meeting new people. Something that use to not bother me as much before Rheumatoid Arthritis came out of remission and brought fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and diabetes with it. Long story short, it changed the game as far as friendships, my social life, and the how I deal with people all together. Well, after walking into therapy with anxiety on level 8, giving myself all the reasons I should not go, I left with anxiety on 2 and all of the reasons I should go. I am so glad I did! I made so many great connections and diversified connections at that. These are just a few of the bloggers, writers, vloggers and photographers that were at the event. These wonderful group of ladies and more are right here in my city and now we are connected via social media.

We were invited to not only meet up, but to take photos, blog about our experience at this new hot spot in our city. We were able to try their entire menu! And everything was delicious! The cocktails were worth the money and I say that because if you are going to pay $10-$15 or more for a cocktail, you want your money’s worth. Tiger’s Blood Cocktail is what you see pictured above. I liked it so much I had two!

We were able to explore the venue and take pictures. You can reserve the booths we are in and they have several packages to chose from. They are also now serving brunch on Sundays! I love a good brunch! The patio was my favorite. It was very chilly that night, but the fire kept us warm as many of took advantage of photo ops. We were snapping it up and especially with a photographer on hand we got some great shots of our selves!

This was definitely a busy evening. I left there and drove across town to meet another group of ladies and we had karaoke, food, and wine. You know that had to be filled with laughter and great meet and greet. It was all positive vibes.

As the weekend rolled around, Friday I was invited to a movie. Saturday I purchased a small bookshelf from Facebook Market. I drove downtown to get it. I stopped by the Mississippi River to finish up my coffee from Starbucks and then off to ACE Hardware for paint. This was going to be an easy, less than 30 minute project.

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I painted the faux cherry wood bookshelf a dark espresso color that matches my new furniture in my room. It was the perfect size.

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And for the finale, Saturday night was epic and crazy fun. I went to a tribute for Bob Marley performed by some amazing reggae, funk, soul bands from my city, Memphis. It was a friend’s birthday week and I invited her to get out and enjoy herself. We met up with two others and it was so much fun. Too much fun lol! We ended up at iHop and I haven’t been there in about 15 years. I made it home safely and Sunday I slept in. I was home all day recovering from a very long week as I was at the hospital every morning with my dad and then coming home to do my own personal business and parent. Add the weekend to that and you have a run down chic! I was feeling the pre-pain before the big earthquake that landed Monday evening. Serious pain and mental drain. I have a heel spur I think from walking the long walk daily last week to and from my dad’s hospital room and serious back and hip pain radiating to the thigh. I know for sure my back and shoulder is a fibromyalgia flare. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade that wild and crazy weekend for anything and it brings me great joy to be there in the mornings for my dad to help or keep him company until he can home.

~Nikki

The Danger With Pretending Everything Is Okay

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The problem with pretending everything is okay when it’s “not” okay is you begin to accept behavior that is not okay. Once you begin to accept behavior that is not okay, you begin to NORMALIZE this bad behavior and mistreatment. You know what is worse? Anything that points to you having to confront or deal with REALITY sends you into retreat or lies to protect that which you don’t want to disturb. You make excuses. You don’t want to deal with the elephant that once was simply in the room, but is now on top of your head or chest. You are cracking up on the inside. You are miserable as hell. You will have a nervous breakdown, a heart attack,  before you deal with the elephants. Yes. With an “s” because an elephant not dealt with becomes a heard.

~Nikki