Usually around this time of year, I like to spend time reflecting and thinking about what I experienced throughout the year, the good and the ugly. I have to say, what a year 2022 has been, a year full of memorable moments. It has felt like a marathon, whirlwind, and rollercoaster all at the same time. I’ve taken the hard hits and even a few knock out punches but I’m glad to have gotten back up. I stayed in the ring and let me tell you this, I don’t look like what I’ve been through, that's forsure.
I like to recap each year with one word. A word that can summarize the full essence. Some years are harder than others to sum up. As I sit and really think about what 2022 has been there is one common thread I notice, which is God's Grace! Through everything that this year came with I am still standing. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad and all heartbreak. I had amazing moments of achievement, laughter, and love that will be in my heart forever. Even the pain has led to great victory when I think about it. Without the pain I would have never actually sat with myself in discomfort and complete rawness to say “God I need you”. At that moment, I didn’t know how I was going to make it out. It felt as if I was brought to nothing. In my greatest weakness, God provided the ultimate strength and I was quickly made aware that it wasn’t going to be my own ability to get me out of this one. I needed to lean on God more than ever before.
This brings me to my word for 2022, GRACE!
It’s been nothing but Gods Grace carrying me through this year. From news interviews to publishing a book. From watching my dad transition to heartbreak. God didn't just show up in the midst of the trail, God has walked with me step by step. In this journey, I’ve been learning a new lifestyle. One that is full of alignment, trust, and of course grace. A lifestyle that requires me to be vulnerable and transparent with myself, others, and God. You see, God already knows- God just wants to be tapped in. God is looking at us and thinking “you’re really going to try that on your own, again?” I’m not only tapping God in, but I’m allowing God to run the plays. Truly partnering with God can change your life and I'm a living example of it.
As God runs the plays, I’m learning to give myself permission to sort through pain and discomfort. For so long I was afraid to be by myself. Alone with my own thoughts, emotions, and truths. The busyness of life allowed me to bury things deeply away. For many reasons life never allowed me to process. Circumstances around me always kept me pushing forward with my head down. There was no real time to deal with issues, I just had to survive. I remember always saying, “I just have to get through this part or this stage” but the truth is, the stages never really end. It’s always something. There's always another season that follows the next last one.
It came a moment in time, where I was granted the freedom to be here. Finally, in a safe place. My life has changed since writing and publishing Complete. I’ve gained great insight on how much God truly loves us. How much we have within ourselves to manifest greatness outward into the world. Now, being in this place where I get to consciously choose to process - it is life changing. I’m learning how to sit with stuff. I’m learning how to ask the hard questions and how to wait for the answers. I don’t want to act as if things didn’t happen or ignore my feelings. Even if it causes discomfort, vulnerability is becoming my personal favorite trait. I’m embracing my emotions, dealing with them as they come and no longer seeing tears as weaknesses, but crystal drops of healing.
For so long, I had to mask my true feelings, I had to pretend, and act as if they didn’t matter or even exist. Although my environment and upbringing forced me to be this extremely strong person all the time, I don’t have to anymore. I get to let go of the hard exterior and lead with love. It has taken a lot of me to get to this point. I would be the first to tell you that I don’t have it all figured out. But one thing's for sure, I’m learning to love me through Gods love for me.
It first starts with us as an individual. Before we can actually love anyone else, truly love, we must first love ourselves. How can we love ourselves without knowing the source of love?
So, in this season I’ve been dedicating myself to learning Gods love for me. Unlearning certain thoughts and behaviors that shaped the way I viewed myself and others. As I learn Gods love I’m able to give that same love in return. That part is special for me.
So, CHEERS to my pursuit of love that led me to grace which has been
immersing me with eternal love! Realigned and free!!!!
I thought it would be good for me to take a look down memory lane and truly appreciate all that 2022 brought. On a personal note this has been probably one of the toughest years in a very long time. Although it was tough, I’ve experienced tremendous support and love. We accomplished amazing things this year. Lets check them out!!!
The Year of 2022 featuring Mas LaRae - More Light
Writing, publishing, and sharing Complete has been nothing short of supernatural. This photo was taken at my book release this past Spring. I had no idea that I needed this book more than anyone else. The continuous level of awareness, healing, and vulnerability I've experienced thus far has literally transformed my life. Making a conscious choice to say "the generational trauma and devastation ends with me". This symbolizes not only my journey but everyone that came before me. It embodies the untold stories of my ancestors and family. I am their wildest dreams. It has been a tremendous blessing to share my pathway of true self discovery. A pathway that feels new everyday. A pathway unpaved. A pathway that holds the power to transform a generation. A pathway that has been scary at times, but the light has never went out. Ultimately it has been the light that has been leading me through the entire time. Complete projects hope, freedom, and faith. When I really think about it, Complete has little to do with me and everything to do with God! Through God, life is complete and through God, my life is complete. So, thank you to everyone that has been a part of this journey with me. To the ones that have poured out love when I couldn't give you love back. To the ones that endured with me. To ones that have been seasonal blessings. I am eternally thankful for you!
Traveling is one of my essentials in life. This year I had the privilege to explore, connect, and rest in creation. This photo was taken in a cave between the borderline of Georgia and Tennessee on the first day of Spring. It was refreshing to breathe in natures love language. This was one of the coolest places I visited this year. Of course the beach, lakes, and parks captured my heart as well. Anyone that knows me, knows I share a special relationship with the ocean. My timeline was flooded with priceless moments of water and nature. I also spent intimate moments in our Metroparks this Summer and Fall. As I practiced with my life coach nature therapy for the first time. Let me tell you, I have never connected with nature in that magnitude before.
It might sound cliche, but I totally became one with Earth. LOL I know, wild! There was a sense of deepness that overwhelmed me as I sat in the rain. The cares of the world were irrelevant. It was just me and creation. In those moments whether it was sitting in the rain or the sun, I was awakened to this..... I am creation! I was not made to be disconnected from it but to be one with it. These are some of my favorites moments I captured from this year. Water, sun, and the endless change with seasons! Which leads me to what I am going to share next.
"Joy To The World, Joy To You & Me"
I haven't shared much about my dad, mostly because I just haven't been able to find the right words. So much of 2022 was about him. Taking care of him up until he was ready to go. I remember him saying, "I'm ready to go home, I'm ready to go home." At that moment I knew he was ready to go. Taking care of him the past few years was extremely tough. He was the strongest man I knew and I learned so much from him. He loved nature. He loved being outdoors fishing, hunting, and just having fun. When my dad transitioned this past June, all I wanted to do was to go fishing with one of his old fishing rods, on his favorite lake well listening to his favorite song. So, my sister and I drove to his home town in Michigan and went to the old family lake house. At that moment it was clear to me that my dad wanted to go fishing just as much as I did. He was right there with me. Although he didn't bring me any luck catching a fish, his spirit was celebrating and singing right there with us. It has been such a bitter sweet experience. Although I glad he's not suffering anymore, I miss him so much. When I close my eyes, I can picture his grin and hear his laugh. Here's my dads favorite song,"Joy to the World, all the boys and girls now. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me!"- We love you dad!
Mic'd Up, Open Mic Night for Authors
My Partner in Purpose, Nicole Miller and I started doing open mic nights with an authors twist this year. We had such a great time creating spaces for creators, poets, authors, and artists to come out and share. This gave me a space to share as well. During a difficult season, I found peace, comfort, and joy in sharing my creative writing in public. Something that is very new to me. I usually keep my poetry to myself, but I needed to express. It was really freeing for me and I'm thankful that I did. I believe it served a huge part in my healing process over the Summer. This photo was captured at our first Mic'd Up event. We were also able to share our story together which continues to exhibit Gods grace. Stay tuned for the next one coming in January!!!!
FutureLAND, Full Circle Moment!
Most of you know that I've been behind the scenes working to create FutureLAND, alongside many others, this past year! Our goal has been to make Cleveland a more diverse tech and innovation ecosystem. One of my main roles was to lead the education component for the multi-day
conference. When I sat down to put together my dream list of speakers Rich Paul was one at the top of my list and this is why. When I graduated with my undergrad in 2016, Rich Paul was our commencement speaker. LeBron James, and others sat front row. I was so inspired by Rich’s words and how they were so
relatable to many young people growing up in the inner city with Big Dreams! I knew one day I would meet him and we would sing “Can You Stand The Rain” which was included in his speech. His words not only impacted my life but the lives of my family members and friends that were there in the audience. Full circle moment for me was at FutureLAND this year where I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with him.
On The Front Cover of a Magazine
I was featured on the Spring/Summer collection of Career & Lifestyle Magazine this year. My dear friend Alex Boone, called me and asked me for an article about my journey to becoming an author. She then went on to tell me she wanted to feature me in her magazine. Of course, I was ecstatic. I've looked up to Alex since I first met her when I was getting my undergrad at CSU. She is an esteemed leader in our city and across the country. A few weeks later she text me "check your email". When I opened up the email and saw my face on the front cover of the magazine I was speechless. At that very moment all I could do was give thanks to God for giving me the grace in the midst of the storm!
I probably have over a dozen other experiences this year that deserve a round of applause. The ones I shared really capture the multitude of blessings, hopes, and dreams that I continue to own! Even when I've been at my lowest I know that God got me. This year has shown me that no matter what God has a purpose for my life. There's no person, thing, or place that can take that purpose away from me. I am blessed not because what I have or what I have been able to accomplish. I am blessed because of God within me. 2022 has taught me alot about myself. It has proven that against all odds and under pressure, when I am weak God is strong. I no longer have to be the strongest in the room. I get to embrace who I am becoming even if I don't fully know her yet!
So, salud to all that this year has been.
For the goodness of God in the ugliness of the storm,
your Grace has carried me through.