Creative Break

createDo you ever feel like you need a creative break from your day to day routine? I did but it was not by choice at first. So as you may know I was a chemist for a company and they were on their way of closing. I started applying to different lab companies but it seemed like I wasn’t getting a breakthrough so I began thinking differently out of frustration.

Psalm 62:5 “Yes my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”

I was so focused on my next job and realized I needed rest. I didn’t have an issue with relaxing, walking in the park with my notebook, but I needed to rest. I needed to trust God and go with the flow.  So I began thinking of creative positions with skills I needed/wanted for my business. The first thing I thought of was dance.

One of my stories for Ella’s Greatest Adventures is related to dancing and I took dance classes growing up so I  prayed for an opportunity to be hands-on in the dance community. That’s how I became a dance teacher for preschool.

It was so much fun teaching children how to dance and I learned a lot for myself. One of the things I learned was plans are made to be changed. I was given a curriculum to follow for when I taught class; however, 3-4 year olds wanted something different so that gave me the opportunity to create my own routines and make it fun. Being around the dance class definitely sparked my imagination.

After teaching dance class for a month I became a sales associate for a jewelry store. Working in retail taught me about management. From handling money to inventory of items, managing that part of the business was very important. Another reason I applied to the jewelry store was to interact with people. From working in the lab you’re only talking to your coworkers and as a sales associate, customers are constantly coming in so I  wanted to push myself in that area to initiate conversation more . I also learned about different types of jewelry and material that’s used to make necklaces and bracelets.

After that month ended in the jewelry store I went back into the lab but having a creative break was exactly what I needed.

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His Will, His Timing

Have you ever applied to a bunch of jobs and did not get a response? Then all of a sudden you hear back from them all at once? That’s exactly what happened to me!

I was applying everywhere and feeling discouraged because I wasn’t hearing from anyone. I was praying and thought God wasn’t listening. For me when it feels like a parent is giving “silent treatment” I try evaluating where I was in error and fix it if possible. So that’s what I did and yet I found nothing. Sometimes even after you ask for forgiveness in an area (or several…) He has a specific path for us so we can’t skip the process.

Eventually I stopped fighting and went with the flow. I spent more time with Him, did some writing, and accepted His will, His timing. I didn’t forget about applying for jobs I just didn’t make it my first priority waking up. That’s when I noticed a change.

I literally received seven job interviews back to back and quickly became overwhelmed! First, I was overwhelmed with joy. Second, I was overwhelmed because I found favor with every position and I hated making decisions. So, guess what I did?

PRAYED! LOL! I needed help making a wise decision and thought God would be the perfect person to go to. However, it felt like he was being silent again! So I continued praying, kept a positive attitude, and wrote out each job description on paper. I listed everything in detail from each job so it would be easier to compare. After writing out skills I’d obtained from each position it was easier for me to notice pros/cons and make a final decision.

What’s so awesome about God’s love for us is that he cares about EVERYTHING we do and doesn’t want us to be anxious according to Philippians 4:6. There are also things he wants us to experience so we’ll be better equipped for in the future. In this situation I wanted Him to make the decision for me so I wouldn’t have to. Instead He gave me wisdom to make the decision myself. Trust His will, His timing and know He’ll guide you throughout the process.

Lesson 2: The Customer is Sometimes Right

“The customer is always right.” I never heard of this until I heard a complaint working at Subway. The person bought a salad and called minutes later not to complain about the taste but the presentation. Their food wasn’t cut small enough and they needed an explanation. As I listened to them complain over the phone, as if I made it I asked one of my coworkers what to say because honestly I wanted to hang up. I said what I was told and the person continued not being satisfied. Even though I had similar experiences since then, I think that Subway moment relates to my first time as a vendor.

The morning of the kids expo I decided to bake sugar cookies. Ideally, fruit would’ve been best to represent the fruit of the spirit in Ella’s Greatest Adventures but that was not in the funds. I wanted cookies to be in the shape of Ella so I used a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter ((lol)) and they came out horrible! Side note: This was my first time doing this so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!  It kind of worked out because when the Mickey Mouse head wasn’t keeping its shape, I shaped it to look more like Ella. A lot of work for an amateur baker and professional creator!

IMG_5208So once my husband and I arrived and set my table up children started coming… especially for the cookies. One mother stopped in front of the table and said, ” Hmm, cookies and dentistry? dentistry and cookies?” I knew what that meant and for a second, ok maybe a minute, I got into my feelings. “She don’t know how I struggled to get here without having books.” “I know this book relates to oral health but it’s so much more!” Yada, yada, yada. Instead I gave a smile and said, “Yes mam, that’s right.” She ate a cookie and walked away.

giphy3 Just like the Subway person, it was about the presentation. Out of that moment I started getting ideas but I first had to get out of my feelings. Second, I was soo glad I listened. That mom from the expo represented a group of moms I’ll probably meet later down the road and I want to be able to respond in a loving way.

E.G.A Book Launch Behind the Scenes

It’s officially been a month since my first virtual book launch for Ella’s Greatest Adventures: Peace at the Dental Office! EGA Peace at the Dental Office1
I remembered feeling kind of overwhelmed, nervous, yet excited to finally share my book but before I talk about my feelings, what’s a book launch?

A book launch is an event where the book is presented to the public for the first time , either traditionally at a venue or digitally.

I chose to launch on Facebook live mostly because of timing and less preparation that was needed to set up. So that morning I met my friends outside of my apartment’s clubhouse and immediately after speaking we ended up moving around  furniture to quickly set up.giphy

Minutes before going live as we were eating icees and praying for a successful launch , I began to read over my notes. Clicked ‘live’ and no one was online. I waited..refreshed page..waited..refreshed page and couldn’t see anyone still lol. giphy1

At first I was using Ella’s Greatest Adventures Facebook page to go live (a page that did not have much traffic to begin with smh) and that’s when my friends suggested I used my regular account, so yayy for friends! It worked!
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Everyone started popping in and I was nervous! You would think because I was sitting behind a screen I would be comfortable but I still visualized being in a physical room with people coming in and out during my presentation. Eventually I was comfortable because I realized the ones that were watching were people that I knew.

This was a big step for me because it’s easier for me to express myself on paper without using my actual voice. Also the fact that I do not like ‘live videos’, ughh!

In spite of my feelings, Ella’s story was told, family & friends rocked, and I faced my fears of doing my first book launch!

** check out Ella’s Site by clicking HERE

Use What You Have

When I first got the idea for Ella’s Greatest Adventures, I asked myself so many questions. “Where can I find an illustrator?” “How can I afford this?” “How can I write a book and work on my other goals?” Everyday created a new question and I felt like I had to answer those nagging questions before I could start anything. On top of the questions I felt like I had to answer, I wasn’t overly excited about becoming an author because I knew it involved public speaking. I didn’t mind the writing part, I did that everyday in my journal but speaking to crowds gave me anxiety.

It reminds me of one of my favorite people in the bible that goes by the name of Moses. Moses had an assignment from God to go back to Egypt to lead his people out slavery. Like me, Moses was not excited about his assignment (Check out Exodus Ch 3 &4). Moses gave God so many excuses as to why he wasn’t qualified and yet received confirmation after confirmation he would not be alone. Moses was also reminded to use what he had in his hand, a staff.

Back to my story, I didn’t think I was qualified to write a children’s book because I thought I had to be well prepared. Like Moses and his staff, I used what I had available which was my pen and paper. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed and distracted by a long list of things to do when God just wants you to start with what’s in front of you.

If you ever felt how I felt, doing something out of your comfort zone, I encourage you to just start with the tools you have available and God will be with you every step of the way.

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Draw Near To God

 

I am excited for what’s happening in the month of June. My first children’s book will be published!! What started as an idea being in a comic-con convention to an actual illustrated book was an adventure and I cannot imagine doing it by myself.

Well, maybe that’s a lie. When I got my first idea for writing a book I thought I could do it myself. I knew the book would be dental related and drawing couldn’t be that hard…so I thought. I figured out quickly I needed an illustrator.

First, my husband went on forums  to find an illustrator for me. A lot of people responded but did not meet the criteria. People responded to my post that did not believe in my book idea so they would back out. There were people that responded with sketches that appeared as if they were rushing, missing important details. It was frustrating trying to find an illustrator.

When I exhausted my obvious options I decided to pray and ask God for my illustrator. I had an idea for how I wanted my characters to look but I needed someone to capture that on paper. I prayed for the illustrator’s personality to sync with mine since I was working with them. I was led to looking for an illustrator in a Facebook group and within a day or two later three people responded.

I asked God to narrow down my list of illustrators and give me the best one for my first book, the rest was history…

There were sooo many lessons I learned from working with an illustrator. Staying humble, being open for critique, patience, etc, etc. The biggest lesson was I couldn’t complete my book without God or my illustrator. As it starts off in Peter 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you..” I had to spend time in his presence and then spend time learning the way he wanted the book . Yes, I would’ve drawn the characters myself but at the same time I felt nudges from my heavenly father saying ‘I want yours done a certain way.’ Working with the illustrator taught me a lot and to trust God knows what’s best.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

 

In 600 Words or less

For those that may not know I have been working towards completing my first children’s book. I’m happy to confess I’m close to being finished … YAYYYY!!!!!!youth-active-jump-happy-40815.jpegThe journey had a few challenging moments however, when I needed encouragement one of the sources I plugged into was my husband, Marcus. He never leaves home without a notebook and pen, from working behind the scenes of newspapers and featured in comics, to publishing his first book From The Mind of Marcus E.T.: Freaky and Fantastical 500 Words or LessI wanted to share my inspiration with you all. Enjoy!

Q: At what age did you start writing?

A: I’ve been writing stories since I was 8. I won my first writing contest and spelling bee when I was 9 years old.

Q: Wow, what was the writing contest about?

A: It was a narrative poem about me creating a robot to replace the friends I was angry with, which was inspired by a real-life situation at the time.

Q: *Laughing* Interesting! What were some other stories you created during that time?

A: I wrote my first two books by hand and made the covers out of construction paper. One titled Animania, about a world where everyone in my 3rd grade class being their favorite animal and living in one community together. The other was called Catimorphs, about me and my closer friends being Power Ranger-type heroes who could also change into large cats and use special armor to fight aliens (based on Power Rangers and Animorphs).

Q: I can definitely see how Power Rangers and Animorphs played a role in those stories. Were there any other shows that inspired you growing up?

A: One of the most influential series for me when I was younger was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Q: True! I liked playing their game on Nintendo. So any-hoo I see the pattern of how you gravitate towards sci-fi/ action stories, why is that?

A: I’ve always enjoyed action/adventure stories,sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. I appreciate thought-provoking stories, especially with good twist endings, and stories with a powerful message.

Q: Speaking of stories with good twist endings, you’ve recently published your first book less than a month ago, congrats! Where did the idea come from?

A: My book, Freaky and Fantastical 500 Words or Less, was a 6-month project where I recreated my dreams and nightmares, reinvented some of my favorite tales, and explored the all-important “what-if” question.

Q: Who would you say is your ideal reader for this book?

A: I thought of family, friends and associates who always said they could never find time to read for fun. So I created a flash fiction anthology with time restraints in mind, also challenging myself to limit my word count for each story to a multiple of 100.

Q: You know I’m definitely a fan already! As I work in the lab I mostly listen to podcasts and scroll through my phone so reading this book would entertain my time for sure especially since this book can be read via phone/ computer. I know you’re constantly writing and will be sharing more throughout the remaining of the year. How can people connect with you?

A: My website is Penandswordink.weebly.com . Twitter is @MarcusET3 and you could also check out my author page on Amazon Marcus E.T

Q: Sweet! Any last words of inspiration  you’d like to share?

A: The best thing about being a creator and fiction writer is that you don’t need to be an expert in anything. You only need to know what stories you enjoy reading and writing, and the only limiter is you.

 

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Have you ever walked on the sidewalk and noticed a flower growing through the cracks? I thought it was impossible but plant roots will grow anywhere there’s water and that includes being ‘oddly’ positioned between slabs of concrete.

When I accepted my position as a chemist I thought it was very odd. If anyone knew my background with chemistry they would know I struggled…ALOT! I took organic about 500 times and once I graduated I told myself ‘never again will I do chemistry’….untill 5 years later lol. I was shocked to get a callback but once I walked into the environment I felt like I was out of place. It only took a couple of weeks and I was ready to explore something else. I ended up addressing my concerns to God (even now) and he shared a few of his reasons to why I was placed there. I couldn’t understand why he would pick a place like that for me to grow. I already had plans for how I was going to grow… like a Hibiscus flower grown in the tropic environment, I was going to grow in my ideal career environment. Instead, this hard,dry- looking place was where I was supposed to grow.

So how do you bloom where you’re planted? Honestly, I fought this for a while lol but since the time I started I grown to appreciate all of the experiences I’ve had. I try to focus on the bigger picture to why he have me there including praying for others. Making the most of my time by helping others , learning new things , and pushing out of my comfort zone has been major keys to my growth, I believe.

Understand you may be positioned in a place that seem unlikely for you to grow but know that God has an awesome plan for you. So Bloom where you’re planted!

 

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.

 

Write now not later

When I was a young girl I would write in my diary almost everyday. I wrote poems, short stories, but my favorite was journaling. I had friends and my mom to share things with but it was something about opening up to a blank sheet of paper. As an introvert I was considered the ‘listener’ so writing was my turn to vent. Overtime I wrote less and less because some of my experiences I didn’t want to remember the details of them if I ever were to reflect .

Time eventually revealed my love for dentistry. I was fascinated with it all and as I was planning to take the test for dental school my boyfriend (now husband) inspired me with the idea to share my story with others. I didn’t like the idea at first because blogging to me was like giving others access to your thoughts and I was scared. The name , IntrovertedFillings, came to me so clear I knew it was meant to be.

Last year, I went to a comic-con with my husband to be a supporter and we attended a children’s book workshop. I don’t remember a word they said but I left feeling inspired to do something. I played with the thought of writing a children’s book related to dentistry for a few days then asked myself,” why not?” The lord answered that question into a book series called, Ella’s Greatest Adventures.

Never would I have guessed that writing consistently as a young girl would lead into something bigger. So if you’re feeling prompted to do something , know that ‘write’ now is your best time!