'Be Tina: A Tina Turner Tribute' in Harlem

On a lighter side than being unemployed, this lyric talks about the hummingbirds in your stomach that someone can give you (butterflies are too cliché). Have you ever watched a hummingbird? They are filled with energy, flapping their wings 60-200 times per second.

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Flaws and All

Have you taken inventory of yourself lately? I have and in this post I spill the wine on all the things I found wrong with myself and how I'll fix them. We often see the flaws in others so much more clearly than in ourselves. What could you use work on? What will you do to make steps to improve it?

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Periscope Bandwagon

Do y'all know those people who are reluctant to hop on board for new technology developments, especially new social media trends? You know exactly who I'm talking about, those people who are anti-Snapchat, anti-Instagram, and maybe even anti-Twitter. They ask questions similar to the following: "Why do you need to send a person a photo that self destructs? What is the benefit of scrolling through pictures all day long? What important things can you really say in 140 characters?"

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His Favor

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If you follow me on Instagram you know that a little while ago I was honored twice in one month. My response was, "Y'all want to honor little ol' me?"...I was truly humbled. I didn't get to share it here on DDA because I was going through some struggles. But anyway back to the point, my first honor was being featured on PopCulturez.com. It all started when I connected with the talented Anny Jules on Instagram. If you don't know who she is, you better do your research. Anny is a singer, actress, writer, and public relations guru.  Anny Jules

After connecting she told me that she would like to interview me for PopCulturez Q&A Fridays (Go check it out!). It was my first feature so I was ecstatic for this achievement! Anny and I hit it off so well, bonding over being New Yorkers, new bloggers, and the daily hustle of fearlessly making our dreams come true. It was a pleasure working with her and we have more collaborations planned for the future (one coming up August 15th Yay!!!). Sorors

A few weeks later, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., The Mu Omega Chapter asked me to give a presentation on self-esteem during their "Black Girls RHOck" event. I am a natural when it comes to public speaking and it is one thing I absolutely love. I dream of giving inspirational speeches in front of thousands of people one day. For some people my dream would be their nightmare because the fear of public speaking, glossophobia is one of the top fears in the world.

Speaking

The very thing that makes my eyes twinkle, my heart beat faster, and my smile shine its brightest, gives others anxiety beyond control. Don't get me wrong, I get nervous before all my presentations but those nerves feed into my energy and increase the quality of my performance. It's a huge turn on.

The room was filled with young ladies who were making the best out of their present and passionate about their futures. You could feel the good vibes flowing. Several black girls who rock from George Mason University's community were honored for their hard work and I was one of them. It caught me by surprise because I was under the impression that I was just there to do my presentation and enjoy the evening but when my name was called, I truly felt like I had won a Nobel Peace Prize. My certificate meant the world to me because even though I am so early in my journey for Don't Die Afraid, there are people who want to celebrate it. It is due to His favor (God if y'all are confused) and my heart is filled with gratitude. RoomCertificate

Do you love or hate public speaking? Have your talents been recognized in the past couple of months? Please share below in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Blog Content Report

A couple of hours ago on Instagram, I saw a photo from Mikelah of Style & Vibes about her "Blog Content Report" so I told her how great of an idea I think it is. After reading her post I was inspired to do something similar here for DDA. I won't recap last month because we already know I took a very much needed break from blogging. I celebrate my accomplishments and set goals for my blog internally but I rarely share them with you all so here it is for the month of August! Inside Notebook

 

 

 

August Goals

1. More interaction on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram 2. Add at least two more videos on the Don't Die Afraid YouTube channel, if you aren't subscribed yet, no problem, just click HERE. 3. Blog daily. 4. Create a watermark for my photos 5. Update the layout 6. Take inventory of my categories and tags

August Success, only 4 days in

1. Received the amazing opportunity to cover a major event in NYC as Press! More details shortly! 2. Added and formatted the "Related Content" section at the bottom which I fashionably renamed to "More Amazing Content You Want to Read" 3. Responded directly to every new follower on Twitter to personally thank them 4. Installed a new statistics widget, SlimStat and I am loving it! 5. Created a "Stay In Contact" page for feedback from my Fearless Family 6. Developed a cute style for my images and text

Looking at my past I can say I am on a roll for August and it feels goooooooooood! What are some of your goals and accomplishments so far for this month? Thanks again Mikelah for inspiring this post.

When I Was Young Career Path

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For the month of August, I have challenged myself to blog every day. I know that is a lofty goal for someone who just came back from a two month hiatus but I have faith in myself. While perusing through one of my favorite blogs, Write, Laugh, Dream I saw that Ashley (what a beautiful name), the creator was introducing her "Writers Write Journaling Plan." Score!! The timing couldn't be better. I will share with you my responses to her writing prompts on the days I don't have a topic pre-determined by my editorial calendar (sounds so fancy but it's literally a blank piece of paper I drew a calendar on and mapped out subjects because I am a planning queen). WLD

August 3rd Prompt: When I was young, I thought I would be a _____________. How much has that goal from your younger self changed if at all? Are you where you thought you would be? Has the change been for better or for worse?

When I was young, I thought I would be a _____________.

My thoughts about a career path during my formative years were heavily impacted by television. At age 10 my favorite shows included "Law & Order" (the original- before SVU was created), "ER", "Touched by an Angel", "Wheel of Fortune", "The Price is Right", and all the soap operas on ABC. I spent hours in my Nana's room helping her talk back to the screen.

The dynamic characters, hosts, and story lines made me think that I wanted to pursue an array of careers including: doctor, teacher, actress, lawyer, and television personality. At the core of all these paths was service. Whether it was serving by helping to safe someone's life or serving an entertainment need after a stressful day. I love helping in any capacity.

How much has that goal from your younger self changed if at all?

Although my goals have deviated from the aforementioned professions, service continues to be the main goal in life and it always will be. With Don't Die Afraid I aim to serve my Fearless Family in helping you all overcome fear that freezes you and holds you back from obtaining the riches God has yet to reveal to you. I'm currently working on my Masters in Public Health which will assist me in battling health disparities and barriers around sexual and mental health.

Are you where you thought you would be? Has the change been for better or for worse?

When I was younger I never imagined the life I'm currently living. However, I never limited my dreams, I always knew I would be in God's favor and that is exactly where I am. I can't say if the change has been for better or for worse because I don't know what life would be like if I went down one of those paths, but I can say that I am happy and that is a blessing.

Two Notebooks

Join the Writers Write Journaling Plan with me! I'm really excited to see my growth during August. Let me know in the comment box below, what you thought you would be when you were younger. How does that compare to your current stage in life?

Let it All Hang Out

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Today marks exactly two months since my last blog post. Ashamed? Yes I am.Disappointed in myself because I ghost on y'all but then I come back and say, "I'm so sorry, I'll never do it again." Then a couple of months later...What happens? I do it again. It's a vicious cycle I am hoping to cease.

But it's time to be honest with y'all and myself, so here are the reasons I went on a blogging break:

~ My focus wasn't aligned

The whole purpose of this blog is to be a step in my journey to not die afraid. It's been a dream of mine long before I shared it with the internet. I write to inspire both you and I. I started this blog to share my experiences and thoughts with you in hopes that we would connect by laughing, being enlightened, and maybe even crying together. I love writing, so I wanted this to be my outlet that I could look back at years from now and say, "Wow Ashley, you captured those raw moments in a manner that allows me to still relive them."

Over the past year: I have read more blogs, scoped out the brand deals bloggers were cashing in on, and saw all the comments and engagement. All those observations contributed to me not feeling important and thinking, "Nobody reads my blog anyway; so what if I don't write consistently? Who's checking for me boo? Nobody!" Yes I am very well aware that I shouldn't compare my beginning to some else's middle and all those cliche sayings...Blah, blah, blah. 

Can I be real with y'all though? (The title of this is "Let It All Hang Out" for a reason) Sometimes I can't slap sense into myself and get out of my funk, but that's okay because I needed that time to realign with my original mission for this blog. How could Mr. Resilient (my beau), Cassandra of Food Before Love (my mentor), and countless other supporters believe in me more than I believed in myself?

I found this quote from my Mental Mentor Tyece of Twenties Unscripted (meaning she's my mentor in my head, not in reality yet),

"So, right now, just build. My blogging trajectory has very much adhered to the mantra of “build it and they will come.” Believe in what you are saying and say it. If your goal up front is to gain crazy high readership, you’ll spin your wheels and sell your soul trying to get there. But, once your readership grows (because it can and it will), that is when you grow with it. As your brand expands, that is when you make changes. That is when you develop new ideas. That is when you shift. I never set out to have giveaways or an intern or events. But, my blog offspring started to outgrow its clothes and I had to change the contents of its closet."

Can I get an AMEN and a Hallelujah? The most ironic part is that this quote is from a post she wrote over a year ago. While getting lost in her literary web of gem-dropping posts, I found the Cozy Blanket of Fear post and it spoke to every fiber of self-doubt in my body.

Do Not Concern Yourself

~ I've been living in a bubble of fear since February.

My Nana was admitted to the hospital in February 2015 and after that she was moved into a rehabilitation center/nursing home and has been there ever since. Every day I thank God for allowing her to see another day but in the back of my mind I am afraid that it might be her last and I can't handle that. These dark thoughts prevent me from focusing for long periods of time and I frequently break down into tears when I think about her leaving me.

I capture all of our precious moments either on video or voice recording. I have mustered up all the strength she has instilled in me to find the faith to keep going. She always wanted me to do what I love and would constantly tell me how proud of me she is; so I know making this blog the best it can be is something she wants me to do.

~ I was in California for five weeks, working from 6am-11pm daily.

Yes California, my dream location!!...Working those many hours, not so much. No time for blogging because I barely had time for sleep. My job was very hands on; it required me to be alert and well rested.

To sum it all up, I am back my Fearless Family and I am stronger than ever. Thank you for your support! Have you ever had to take a break from a blog, school, work, a friendship, etc. in order to regroup? How did you come back from your break?

Billie Board & FCA Baseball Mission

Working Hands I love when people use their blessings to invest into the lives of others. I am generous even though I don't have a lot any (let's be honest, I'm a grad student, we know any type of student is broke) because I believe I am on this earth to serve, ignite passions, and inspire people to be fearless. I find joy in supporting causes that align with my mission.

The TeamMy friend/future photographer of my wedding Billie Board is on a trip combining his love for Jesus, Baseball, and Photography. He is in DR with 8 young ball players from inner-city ATL making connections with the locals, hearing the needs of residents, talking about baseball with the children, building a home for the Jose Family, and praying for peace in the community.

IntercedeI've participated in numerous volunteer trips and what I have learned from them is two things: 1. You need to go in with a closed mouth, open ears, and hands prepared to work. Understand that the people living in the situation know what is best for their community. So after listening to what their needs are, if you have a suggestion, propose it and if it is accepted great - if not, get to work!

2. Finding a way to continue that service and making a lasting impact is integral. If the site you are visiting is far: return the next year, remain in contact with the people you've met, ask how you can help remotely, or encourage friends/family to go serve. In addition, try to create something tangible or make connections with individuals that they will remember forever.

BuildingDuring this trip Billie Board (Tre) and the rest of the team built a house for the Jose Family. That is clearly tangible and will be a physical reminder of how much the group cared about this family they just met. In addition to the work being done, mentoring is a major component of this trip. I created Don't Die Afraid so it can be a community of inspiration.

Jose FamilyThe men on this trip are embodying the motto of DDA, "Don't deprive the universe of your amazing contributions because you died afraid," by impacting the neighborhood they are working with, each other, and those back home that they share their experiences with.

If you would like to donate to their cause, Billie Board has a GoFundMe that is only $300 away from the goal. Every dollar counts!

Not a Game

Have you ever been on a mission trip? If so, where did you go and what work did you do? Have you ever started a GoFundMe account, what are some advantages of raising money on that platform?