Tag Archives: passion

The Burning Question… Who Are You?

On this Fresh Start Monday, I have just this one question…Who Are You? Now before you begin to answer this question let me set the scene for you: You’ve just entered a room full of very interesting people. Everyone is smiling, laughing and talking animatedly about a variety of subjects. You stand there observing as you’re trying to decide which group you’d like to join. Of course there are butterflies in your stomach and you’re fighting the urge to run and take flight in the opposite direction. But you hold your ground.

You tell yourself, “I can do this. I can make conversation with anyone.” Right before you take that next step you spot the way to the ladies’ room and quickly make your way in that direction. Once inside you stare at the person looking back at you. You think back over the last 20 – 30 years of your life and wonder where did all the time go? In your mind’s eye you see your children from the moment they were placed in your arms until the day you saw them off to college, the military or just across town to their own place. Fleetingly you think about the son or daughter you witness get married and begin a whole new life with another person. On that day you were filled with joy and dread.

Joy, because you’re so happy to see your child all grown up and beginning his/her own family. Dread because now you wonder, “What shall I do with all this time I now have on my hands”? If you’re blessed to still have someone to share your life with you still have that same question, “What are we going to do, now that the house is empty except for the two of us”?

Does this scene sound familiar to anyone? I’m sure it does, I know long before that time arrived I made a decision that has served me well. I decided that though I had a responsibility to my children and of course to my husband. I also knew I had a responsibility to myself as well. This meant I couldn’t totally wrap myself in the lives of my children or spouse for when the day came and they weren’t around what oh what would I do with myself.

Finding interests or hobbies outside of your immediate family takes work and it’s a process of trial and error. You don’t know what truly fuels your imagination or fill you with wonder and amazement until you try it. So you have to have an adventurous spirit. For me I discovered that I love to read, I like running, I love puzzles and I like acting. Not a whole lot but enough that I tried out and participated in a few plays in the drama ministry at my church.

In the back of my mind I also knew that still wasn’t enough. I needed just a bit more. It was then that I looked outside of myself and found my greatest fulfillment! Helping others gives me the greatest joy and when people ask who am I I can readily answer in any number of ways depending on the circumstances.

The point I’m making on this Fresh Start Monday is that each of us should know who we are. Not who others think we are, or base our answer on what we think we should be but exactly who we are. The best way to answer that is to ensure you don’t become stale and bored with yourself. If you’re bored with yourself, I promise others will be as well.


For me being a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, sister-n-law, aunt and friend are just a small part of what makes me who I am. I’m a complex individual with likes and dislikes as anyone else may have. But I’m unique to me. I can be happy with just my own company or I can be relaxed and comfortable in a room full of diverse people. I have opinions about the world around me and I have causes that are dear to me. I’m a writer, published author, speaker, workshop/seminar facilitator, evangelist and life coach. Together it all makes a whole me.

So what about you? What makes you tick, what fuels your passion? Do you have a cause that’s dear to you? Have you taken your life lessons and developed them into a new chapter filled with opportunity and promise? Have you ventured outside of your comfort zone and made new friends and developed new relationships based on mutual respect, trust and understanding? If not are you ready to? Do you need a little coaching and encouragement to make that transition? If so you just may be the perfect candidate to join a group of like-minded individuals participating in ‘From Adversity to Passion, A Guide to Your Divine Destiny and Joy’. If that’s the case visit the Fresh Start for Women event page and sign up. You won’t be disappointed.

Come on join the movement so that the next time the question is posed you can answer without hesitation. ‘I am ….’

Happy Fresh Start Monday everyone!


Why Me?

That’s a question all of us at one time or another has uttered. Ironically It’s rarely if ever done so when good things happen. So why is that? Have we somehow convinced ourselves that we should be insulated from tragedy, discord, unhappiness, strife or change?

Before I matured I counted myself in this group as well. There were times I wondered why did I have to endure the pain of rape, shame, betrayal, divorce, loss of my parents and other loved ones. Now that I’m a mature individual (not age but understanding) I get it.

All of it has combined to play a significant role in the person I have become, I’m more patient, empathetic, giving, trusting, forgiving and nurturing. In addition I’ve become outspoken on issues I hold dear to me. This not only includes domestic violence but also cancer (breast cancer), child abuse and healthy living just to name a few.

As I think of these I can recall an incident in my history in which I was personally affected by them and these experiences molded me to be the person I am today. As much as there’s a part of me that wishes I had not had to go through them the other part of me is grateful for it has given me a reason to be vigilant and think about others instead of thinking the world revolves around me.

If you dig deep enough you too can find meaning, lessons and uncover a passion as a direct result of your experiences. As long as you’re a part of this big world called the human race instead of lamenting, “Why me?”, let today be the day your say, “Why Not me?”

Making a Difference Many One Steps at a Time

Oftentimes people feel as if there’s nothing they can do to make a difference in an issue they may feel passionate about. Today I want to remind you that is not the case. Think of it as filling a 50 gallon drum with water using a tablespoon. One person can definitely fill that drum, it may take them a good while but can can be done. On the other hand if you had a thousand people with tablespoons that drum can be filled a lot quicker and in the process those thousand people have an opportunity to get to know each other, laugh while filling that drum and encourage each other to finish.

Now replace the drum with an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of women affected by domestic violence and replace the tablespoon with $1.00. No matter how you look at it filling that organization $1.00 at a time is going to take a very long time but a collective group of people pooling their $1.00 can fill a need that organization has in order for the organization to meet the needs of the people they serve.

This was never more evident than this past Saturday when Fresh Start for Women celebrated 10 years of serving the community as an all-volunteer organization. Having so many past participants to come back to say thank you or to serve in a volunteer capacity was a welcome sight. In addition having members of the community come out to enjoy good food listen to great music featuring Ms. Marsha DuPree and the Sweet Soul Jazz Masters capped off an evening that had many items available to bid on.

It’s rare that a small nonprofit is recognized for its work so on this occasion Fresh Start for Women received a congratulatory letter from Governor Deal as well as a letter from DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May. In addition DeKalb County declared September 27, 2014 as Fresh Start for Women Day.All of this just goes to show the small strives made by the organization when counted together becomes a big impact. Fresh Start for Women has never had a large budget but it has not prevent it from making a difference in the lives of 365 women and 68 teen girls.

Money raised on Saturday will help with the “You Are a Precious Jewel” program for teen girls 13 – 17 developed to serve as a catalyst to keep girls from falling prey to teen violence, abuse and sexual assault by encouraging them to be the very best they can be and not be defined by any circumstance.

Want to learn more about the organization visit: www.freshstartforwomen.org. We are fast approaching the end of 2014 a time when many begin to look for organizations worthy of being supported. This year won’t you consider a small nonprofit? They do make a difference and so can you one step at a time. After all Fresh Start for Women has proven that for the past 10 years.


What is Your Divine Destiny and Joy

After much prayer and sounding off to friends, family and women in general I have finally embarked on a new venture. It is simply a continuation of what I’m passionate about but on a more personal and intimate level. On October 15th I will launch a new online course:  From Adversity to Passion: A Journey to Your Divine Destiny and Joy. You’ll learn more in the next few weeks but I thought I’d give you a small introduction.  Women who sign up for the course will have to answer some hard hitting questions. They include:

What are you hoping to achieve by completing this course (your goals)?

After completing this course what top 3 things do you want to put on your Loving Me Now and Beyond list?

This course will require a lot of writing and revisiting some unpleasant situations, however the end result, a life free from the past is worth be uncomfortable for a while After all true transformation can be painful.

  • Before the transformation can begin you have to be honest with yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lied to others in the past and now believe the lie yourself, it’s time to be really truly free from your painful past. Honesty is paramount so let’s answer three questions regarding those things from the past.
  1. When you travel through your memories of the past do you feel as if you’re right there in the moment?
  2. Does your heart race and you have the feeling you’re about to hyperventilate?
  3. Are you unable to have a conversation about the past without emotional tidal waves hitting you full force?
  4. If you’ve answered yes to two or more then you’re the perfect candidate to receive the gift of release from God. So, here are the next three questions:
  1. Do you want release?

2. Are you ready for release?

3. Are you willing to do the work?

This course is by no means an easy course; so to assist you in the process I have some questions you’ll need to answer in order to determine whether you’ve reached where you need to be in order to take full advantage of this course. (questions are part of the Overview)

This is going to sting a bit as you travel down an old path. Keep in mind however that the destination is much more important than this journey you’re about to travel. Why? It’s because the journey is what has led you here. So be appreciative of the journey, scars and all. However, look with anticipation for the destination. It will bring you to a place you only dreamed of; and it will lay the ground work for something worth more than money, rubies or gold. So hang in there.

The first thing I want to be clear about, this is not an opportunity for man bashing, blaming or self-doubt. It is first and foremost a real opportunity to look the past head-on and then glean from it the lessons to be learned and release the rest. To help facilitate this is the reason for the questionnaires you have been asked to complete. Don’t worry the questions are for you. There’s no grade involved but you must be as honest as you possibly can.

Have I piqued your interest? Want to learn more. Visit www.transformingjunkintojewels.com and register so you’ll be in the loop and just to thank you for registering you’ll receive my free E-book – Exit Action Plan: 10 Steps for Leaving an Abusive Relationship.


You Are Your #1 Fan!

Are you a sports fan? Many are, I know I am and I have favorite players in every sport I enjoy watching and following. There may be attributes I like about them when they’re playing and an added bonus is when they have wonderful attributes that go outside their sport into their every day life.

But my favorite player isn’t in a sport, I don’t get to watch them on TV. They don’t have a million dollar salary and make cool commercials. My favorite player is ME, and my playing field is life. And why shouldn’t it be? After all I see ME every morning when I get up, I’m with ME when I brush my teeth, take a shower, get dressed for work and head out the door. I’m with ME as I ride the train and when I get to my office there ME is.

We all should be our own #1 fan. There’s no need to depend on someone else to recognize the great qualities you have or the work ethic you present each day. You don’t need to wait for someone else to tell you you’re beautiful, smart, funny and dependable. You should be able to tell yourself that and repeat it often.

You can laugh at your own jokes, and berate yourself for a mistake yet turn around and be proud of yourself for recognizing your mistake, rectifying the problem and move on. You don’t need anyone else to point out your short-comings after all only you can determine the best way to proceed to make it a positive instead and besides they should be concentrating on their own issues.

In life we will meet all kinds of people, I hope you’re meeting a variety as it will add spice to your life. But none of them can hold a candle to you at being you. Only you can look in your eyes and see the depth of the story you’ve lived. Only you can look at your smile and count the laugh lines and love every one of them. Only you can peer into your heart and see the love you’ve shared and still have to share. Only you can commune with the spirit within you and watch it blossom. Only you can look at your hands and marvel at the work it has performed. Only you have walked in your shoes and traveled along winding roads many taking you to a welcome surprise and at other times sending you on a detour in order to avoid a catastrophe. And only you can continue to walk in your shoes.

Only you can see the real you, so why not be your #1 fan? Why not cheer when you hit a home run. Why not jump for joy when you’ve made a touchdown? Why not get delirious with excitement when you make a winning basket?  Why not pump your fist in triumph when you make that hole in one? Why not shake with giddy anticipation when you’ve swam that last few meters to touch the wall first?

Have I given you enough reasons to be be your #1 fan? I hope so. I got to run now I have to meet my favorite player for some well deserved R and R! Did I tell you who it was, of course I did, ME!




Turning Adversity Into Passion

All of us at one time or another have met with adversity. How we responded determined whether we are defined by it or whether we used it to suddenly create a passion which fuels us and encourages others. Webster’s dictionary defines adversity as a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.  It can be tool used to strengthen us and show us just how much stronger we are in our faith, ability, perseverance and commitment.

There are all types of adversity; the loss of a job, a serious illness or the loss of a loved one due to a senseless accident or other unexpected situation. The loss of a job could be the catalyst to spur an individual on to discover the entrepreneur within.  A serious illness could turn you into an advocate for change or research. The loss of a loved one could spur you on to fight for better laws, or new ways for prevention so that another doesn’t have to suffer as you have. It all depends on how you deal with adversity.

For me my major adversity came in 3 parts, first at the age of 13 being gang-raped and never telling a soul not even my parents until I was 42 years old. Phase 2 arrived when I was kidnapped in my twenties and taken to a secluded location and assaulted. Phase 3 arrived due to my own choices for life partners resulting in domestic violence, low self-worth and self-esteem issues rating in the range of less than dirt. For a very long time adversity had an iron grip on my life preventing me from being my true unique and loving self. There was of course a mustard seed of faith in me that there was so much more to my life than the dreary existence I was currently laden with. This mustard seed of faith began to really grow in 1984 when God decided I’d been in the wilderness long enough and sent someone with the ability, compassion, fortitude, conviction, determination, understanding and most importantly unconditional love to break down my walls. The blessing for me is that this person is not only my greatest champion, best friend and strongest ally he’s my husband! The one God chose for me!

Twenty years after that initial encounter my vision, mission and passion was born in the form of the nonprofit organization Fresh Start for Women. In September we will celebrate 10 years of serving the community, empowering and renewing the lives of women affected by domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault. We also help teen girls to discover their own roadmaps for success including learning to set boundaries, goals, and knowing the warning signs that can prevent them from suffering needlessly in an abusive relationship.

This is my story of overcoming adversity. What will your story be? How can you turn that adversity into a positive instead a negative with its stigma of shame and regret? I know it’s in you…it’s in all of us. You just have to be willing to embrace it! The only thing standing in your way is you. So move over, don’t let life live you instead live life to the fullest, abundantly and with joy.

I’d love to hear your stories of triumph. After all your story can be the inspiration and encouragement someone else may need to take a leap of faith. So today’s Fresh Start Monday assignment is to start the process of turning your adversity into a passion or as the old saying goes, taking lemons and making lemonade and I love myself some fresh squeezed lemonade!

Get to stepping, I’m rooting for you.

Your blogging friend,

Joyous Janice