Glossophobia

The fear of public speaking. According to The National Institute of Mental Health about 75% are affected by this social phobia including myself.

I honestly don’t know how the fear started because I did presentations all the time. Maybe the fear came from not knowing everyone’s thoughts or the thought of being embarrassed in front of everyone.

Fast forward, I became an author and started saying ‘yes’ to sharing my stories. I said yes to an opportunity to speak at my alma mater. I even said yes to participate in a pitch competition that I had to prepare the night before. Let me also mention I was SCARED!! So how am I fighting against this fear?

Pray. It doesn’t matter how much I try to prepare myself studying everyone’s tips and strategies if I don’t pray and ask for boldness I doubt I would be able to even  stand in front of an audience. I ask God to get myself out of my thoughts, to stop caring about what others think, and that He’ll get the glory. I also ask for Him to give me the words to say because I don’t want to be random.
Write it down. I write in my journal all the time so it’s a no brainer when I write down what I’m going to say to a crowd. I’m not writing to remember line to line but it makes me feel comfortable and stay focused so I won’t ramble.
Take notes. I like to observe how people present in front of an audience.It’s very helpful listening to other speakers and watching how they keep the audience engaged.
Practice. You ever meditated over what you were going to say in your mind but when it was time to speak it didn’t come out that way? lol! This happens to me sometimes so I try not to overly practice but I do go over what I’ll say out loud.
Be you. God gave us unique traits that makes us stand out from others so what’s a better way to use it than in public speaking? I’ve noticed my bubbly personality captures an audience attention while another person that tells jokes all the time captures an audience attention. However God made you to be, when you speak let it shine in confidence.
I pray one day my heart can stop beating hard out of my chest, that my hands will stop getting sweaty, and I won’t wait until sometimes the last minute to give my cares to God. As He continues to give me strength I will continue to share my story.
 Remember there’s value in your story and someone is out there waiting to hear it.
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The Boyfriend Book

Do you have that one friend that will remind you of the reasons why you shouldn’t pursue a particular relationship? A scripture or a quote to encourage you? I’m blessed to say I now have those but when I was younger I had The Boyfriend Book.

I didn’t know that’s what it was until I noticed a pattern with the way I wrote in the notebook. Basically it was this notebook where I wrote the name of the guy I dated (or wanted to date…mostly wanted to date lol) , facts about him ( including zodiac sign SMH), things that attracted me to him, and things that I didn’t like or reasons why the relationship wouldn’t work.

I don’t know why I started that book back then. I probably needed a separate journal to organize my thoughts. Either way that book was a lifesaver because writing down the reasons why the relationship didn’t work encouraged me to move on. Writing and meditating on a list was like having that friend to constantly remind me of how I deserved better.

Now I don’t have that book or need it because I’m married lol but I can still apply the same concept in other areas of my life. Along with my list of “why I shouldn’t pursue…” I like to read over scriptures to help me make better decisions. For example, if I wrote on my list how someone was a distraction I would read over a scripture like Matthew 24:13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

I hope writing your list will encourage you just as much as it has helped me. Stay blessed!
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Daughter of the King

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 I’m doodling and get a ‘random’ shirt idea for my business called, ‘Daughter of the King.’  I immediately look it up because I like to create first (smh lol) and I see several shirts with the same phrase. What in the world?? It doesn’t make sense. How does the idea come so clearly but everyone already created it? I was upset and thought I was just making up things in my head.

A few seconds later the voice of God said, “Ash, you do know there is nothing new under the sun, right? It’s all how you present it.” This reminded me of Ecclesiastes 1:9 ‘What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.’ Wow ! That was definitely what I needed to hear.  In my original idea I had so much going on with the font ,words, and color it just wasn’t flowing. So after humbling myself I asked him how he wanted the shirt since it was clearly his idea, lol. That’s when it worked. Out of obedience and humbling myself I was able to receive clear direction for my shirt design.

Now what does it mean to be a daughter of the King? II Corinthians 6:18 says, “And I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” If he’s the King of kings and he calls me his daughter…that means I’m royalty? Not only royalty but to know our Father in heaven is strong, dependable, and loves us more than anyone could. To know I’m a daughter of the King does something to my self esteem. It gives me confidence to walk with my head held high, very encouraging. Just as it speaks life to me that’s what I wanted for others ,especially children.

 

Lesson 1: Event Planning

Last week I had my first vendor event and even though it wasn’t how I imagined it to be, it was pretty successful. One of the lessons I was taught was how to have more than one event on the same day.

The first event I booked was for a baby shower. A few weeks later I bought a vendor table for a kids expo that same day and time (well it lasted longer than the first event). It didn’t make sense to do both but I prayed first before I made an investment for the vendor table. I felt at peace about both events so that’s how I was able to move forward with that decision.

I knew I couldn’t attend both, not the entire time at least, so the plan was to set up and have my husband sell at the expo that would allow me to attend the baby shower event for a few then return to the expo. Without my husband there I wouldn’t have been able to even consider having that as an option so having a team is important!

The morning of the events I was running a few minutes late but once we arrived at the expo we saw this line wrapped around the building and traffic of cars still pulling into the parking lots. I didn’t have copies of my book ( that’s another story, smh) and based on how long it took for me to get into the parking lot at the expo I knew I wouldn’t make it to the next event. Plans change all the time but I think planning strategically would’ve helped the situation.

Before you plan for several events in one day like I attempted to, I encourage you to seek God’s will by praying first, have a support team because it’s hard to do it by yourself, and plan strategically just in case plan-a to plan-g doesn’t work.

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The benefits of stretching

Dance class and cheering had this one thing in common I did not enjoy, called stretching. I hated stretching! While it was easy for some girls, it wasn’t for me. I knew stretching had its benefits but I thought it was better to skip and move on to practice or performing. I would stretch my legs as far as I could with all my strength, then my instructor would come and push against my back to go further. This was done on a weekly basis I couldn’t avoid it. Stretch,practice,perform, repeat. Stretch,practice, perform,repeat.

 

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The last quarter of this year for me gave me that same feeling. I felt an uncomfortable ‘pull’ especially at work and though it didn’t bring me to tears it made me ask the Lord ,”Why?” After asking why I remembered how important stretching was for my body. Stretching improves my performance, helps my body move effectively, and decrease my risk of getting hurt.  I believe the benefits of stretching in the natural applies in our relationship with the Lord. He stretch us out of our comfort zone so our faith can strengthen in him and to become more flexible…adapting to his ways. Similar to my cheer/dance days, I’m always hoping the Lord would skip the stretching part of the process however, it’s necessary in order to fully develop. Don’t worry if you need help stretching he’s always there to help: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

Finding My Voice

I was about two months into my job when I heard God say “You’re going to find your voice.” Find my voice? I didn’t have a clue on what that meant but I had a STRONG idea it would involve me being uncomfortable. Finding your voice is finding a way to connect by expressing your ideas or discovering courage as you walk in your greatness. I thought I heard God wrong because with the role I had at my job , I didn’t see where I could use my voice. As things started to shift, opportunities came for me to speak up . Still to this day , I’m adjusting to vocalizing my opinions at work and am now faced with a new challenge.. Periscope.

Never would I ever THINK of being on Periscope in all the days of my life until I had the idea for a children’s book series called, Ella’s Greatest Adventures. A good friend mentioned the benefits of creating live content a few times but I kept shrugging it off. Eventually, I couldn’t shrug it off because I was surrounded with the idea at business workshops, books, and podcasts. I finally got the nerve to make a video and it was HARD! I looked at it as if I’m giving a presentation in an empty room and as people join it becomes overwhelming. I’m still working on getting better because its not about me.

Finding my voice was never about me, it’s all about God. Of all the things he could’ve gave me as a talent, expressing himself verbally and through writing, are some of the ways he sees best through  me. Everything we say or think he values and I think during this season he wanted to let me know that as well.

 

The heart of a volunteer

I can now say I really enjoy volunteering . Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t always have a heart for it but my thinking  changed and I now have an appreciation to give . At first the thought of volunteering was more of a task than a genuine service. In college , as most of you may know, you have to get service hours as a part of graduation requirements. Well , I did but it was mostly buying canned goods for shelter homes because I wanted the weekend to myself.. lol smh. After graduating I started volunteering with dental clinics to get hours and because I love the dental environment.

My first volunteer position was to carry a spit bucket from station to station , eww is right. The suctioning dental assistants do in people’s mouths has to go somewhere and where there’s volunteer clinics  you’ll find pre dentals emptying those nasty bottles . Another time I helped sterilize the dental instruments. One Saturday , as I was giving dental bags to people, a patient started crying saying, ” Thank you so much , this all means so much to me!”  That’s when my thinking changed. All this time I didn’t think I was doing much.

I wasn’t the hygienist that cleaned teeth , not the dentist that alleviated pain , and not the techs that’s creating the dentures . I’m simply me and the patient says ‘thank you’ .  This inspired me 100 percent and it seems after my thinking shifted the volunteer positions changed as well. I know its like a first come first serve with the positions at the clinic but I was able to assist the dentist and chart teeth ( which is a big deal for me because I’m not certified ..hee hee).

I had similar moments volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and a local christian radio station where God was /continues to show me how to serve. Ephesians 6:7 states ,’Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people’. It has become one of my favorite encouraging scriptures to recite especially in the workplace .

No matter how big or small your service may seem or to be in a place where you feel useless know that God recognizes not only the quality of your work but your heart as well! 🙂

My 1st lyft experience

I’m not sure what numbed my nerves and gave me confidence to become a lyft driver especially being an introvert! I just remembered being anxious from not working and YouTube videos of Uber/Lyft sounding cool and I was up for the challenge. So I applied,  submitted my information , and a few days later I met with a mentor so they could give me a heads up on things and evaluate my car.

A couple of days flew by ..maybe a week or two and I finally got the notification of being approved to drive, yayyy! Full of excitement and readiness to chauffeur the world , I switched my lyft app to ‘online’ to let people know I was available. I then decided to look at YouTube videos of the do’s and dont’s with lyft . Within 20-30 mins. of being ‘available’ I received a pickup request!  All of my excitement went away and reality reminded me of the fact ” you do know you just made yourself available to pick up strangers in your car, right?” I immediately switched my availability off …for like a month lol .

I know , why go through the emotions ? Well , I liked challenging myself to converse with people and it was a different kind of experience . So one Saturday I finally decided to move forward with the process. I picked up two ladies that were on their way to a college football game. On the way there they mostly talked amongst themselves which was great for me because I didn’t know what to talk about and I wasn’t a big sports fan. The last few minutes we spoke about marriage and the ‘stress tooth ‘ ball I have in my car that reminds me to stay focused on dentistry. Very random but smooth first lyft ride! I recommend for all my brave introverts :-)!

 

Dear younger Ash, (Pt. I)

First, I have to thank my WP friend, beautybeyondbones , for inspiring me to write a letter to my younger self. Make sure to check out her page!!

Dear younger Ash,

Where do I begin? You, my friend, will come a longggg way! Let me say your confidence will improve. I know for the moment you think you can’t do anything without  your friends. Matter of fact , your first year in college you’ll be so nervous to eat by yourself in the cafeteria that some days/nights , you’ll rely on your snacks in your dorm to get you through the next day. You won’t walk with  your head down and you’ll recognize your unique style ,no longer following the majority. The year you transfer schools, you’ll not only be changing location but it will be a complete transformation for you.

Your relationship with God will continue to get better. He’s not someone from your history textbook, he’s real and will reveal himself to you on a deeper level. Now, the college you transfer to will not be easy. You’ll cry from the threats they will give  when you can’t afford tuition. You’ll cry from the roommates because they are the worse..except for one. You’ll still have a hard time expressing yourself , walking past crowds of people to get to the library ,  trying to fit in, and sadly it now reflects your grades. However, through all of this God will be at your rescue I promise.

Lol, I know you’re like “great! now do I ever get into a true relationship with a guy?” Well , yes you do..eventually. I wish I could somehow let you know how beautiful you are.  Let you know you can stop flipping through the magazines to read horoscopes that will never happen. I wish I could stop you from the people you think you’re attracted to and the weird online chats. You’ll be heartbroken ..plenty of times ..but you will heal. Going through this builds character, you won’t be naïve , and you’ll finally meet someone who gets you. This guy loves your flaws and all, you can truly be yourself  and he loves you .

Well, I guess that’s all I will share for now I just wanted you to get excited about your future. I’ll share more when the time is right. 

Untill next time,

Older Ash **