Category Archives: Faith

Chances Make Champions,Right?

My current place of employment is going through a transition and we are switching to a new management company. Throughout the initial process the new company has been somewhat secretive of their plans. They recently offered me a position and it has been a great debate about whether or not I should accept the job.  For those of you who don’t know, I work at a high school. The new management company is basically starting an entire new program that is K-12 opposed to 9-12. I haven’t the slightest clue what the curriculum or model of the school is going to be, that has yet to be disclosed. On top of that I believe everyone else at the current school was offered a slight raise with the new company and I was not, but that’s beside the point.

This might sound crazy, but I legitimately want to turn down the offer. It’s not about money or their secrecy. It’s about taking a chance on myself. My entire life, I say that as if I’m 65 years old and ready for retirement but you get my point…I’ve worked job after job, always exhausting my energy and never applying pressure to myself to make my dreams flourish. Is it risky business turning down a job in this economy, most certainly but is it even more risky to dedicate yourself to a job instead of living up to your potential,absolutely.  I have until May 5, 2017 to accept the offer and I’m honestly at a loss here. To sign or not to sign, that is the question. I don’t know if I should gamble on myself and not take the job and see where life leads me or continue being content with life working a mediocre job that pays the bills.

In my heart of hearts, I want to be that bold person that leaves the offer on the table to bet on myself, but do I have enough guts to actually do that? Not accepting the job means moving back to Michigan to live with my parents. I’m not too keen on living back with mommy and daddy. Declining would also mean working a job that I probably dislike, but I would have more time to dedicate myself to other things. Then there’s the fact that what if I don’t take the job and still don’t dedicate myself to my goals. Like WTF!? I know I’m being indecisive and I have to make a decision and live with that decision,but damn! How do you make a decision when you don’t know what decision is best in the long run? I wish I could have a glimpse into the next six months of my life, that would make my decision much easier.  Do you rely on stability, or do you take a chance? It’s not like I’m 19 years old and don’t have any bills. I’m 26 going on 27 with a car note, student loans and a costly AT&T bill that will be with me whether I have a job or not. At this moment, being an adult is overrated.

In the end, it is a matter of walking in faith or walking in fear.

 

Tuesday Thoughts

 

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For those of you who follow my blog, you probably already know that I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. The home of the Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Red Wings. The city that drinks Vernors for whatever ales you. The city within a city.  Detroiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttt! Growing up my parents kept me pretty sheltered. They knew who my friends were, who their parents were and I wasn’t allowed to be anywhere without their permission. As a child, I didn’t understand why my parents kept me so guarded, my  understanding of the streets were opaque. It wasn’t until middle school that I began to understand just how rough the streets were and how vicious people could be. Even then, I was still living in darkness about the city around me.

In high school, I had more freedom. My comings and goings were still monitored, but I had a lot of idol time after school, before my parents got home. I became friends and even dated some unsavory characters. I did a lot of things that I shouldn’t have, things that others deemed as normal. I was exposed to different experiences, environments and people,I learned a lot about the streets. My vision become more transparent. A whole new world opened up, not a pretty one either. I started to lose friends because of their involvement in the streets, or simply because they were in the right place at the wrong time. I guess I became numb to death and loss became a normalcy. It wasn’t until recently that I began to take heed to all of the negativity and evil occurrences that continue to transpire in the city. For most of my life I’ve dealt with negative commentary about being from Detroit. Most folks think that we’re all killers and drug dealers;the scum of the earth. In reality, there are truly some amazing people in Detroit and from Detroit. The city is truly discredited for it’s efforts, mainly because of crime rates and mainstream media.

I’ve officially been out of Detroit for three years, I’m actively on the outside looking in. Bad things happen every where, but for a place that you call home to birth so much ugly, both sadness and sickens me. I fear for the lives of my family and my friends. Everyday I see at-least one my friends on social media post RIP to someone they love. I frequently hear about childhood friends being injured or killed at the hands of someone else. Again, horrible events happen everywhere, everyday, but it hurts even more when you are from the very place where events are occurring, when your family and friends are in the mist of it and when you fear for their lives.

I believe that Detroit is diamond in the rough, but like most places people uphold themselves to a different moral code. Neighborhoods have lost courage. Communities are broken, people are broken. People are living in fear. The value of inanimate objects is placed before the value of a human life. Individuals are consumed with greed and under the assumption that they own the streets. People take what they didn’t not earn. So many people have accepted the death and corruption around them that they see no reason to rise up against it.

I pray for change. I pray that people everywhere begin to see the value of other peoples lives. I pray that people begin to see the destruction that they are causing and the lives that they are ruining. I pray that if nothing else, people begin to see the error in their ways.

 

Self Check

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I apologize that it has been a while since my last blog. For quite some time, I temporarily gave up on blogging and recording YouTube videos. I felt it necessary to reestablish my focus and my purpose for blogging and speaking to my YouTube subscribers. Heck, even my purpose for writing books and everything else that I find myself taking part in. My goal has always been to share my experiences and perspective whenever I blog or record videos. Nonetheless, lately  I feel as though I’ve been playing an adult game of Hide and Seek with my personal and career goals. One moment I’m in full force, prepared to take on the world and accomplish the impossible; the next, I’m stalled out, tucked away in my apartment contemplating exactly what I want to do in life.

I’m finding “adulting” to be really difficult at the moment. I appreciate having a job, but I’m struggling to find purpose in my position. While what I do brings some kind of fulfillment it is not what I want to do for the rest of my life, even though I’m not sure what I want to do for the rest of  my life with my life. Just going through life, repeating the same things daily has created a void. I wake up almost everyday dreading the thought of even having to be up before 6 a.m.and before I know it I’ve hit snooze six times. I always manage to pull myself together and face each day head on with a smile, but I can’t continue to go through life like this.

I mean, if we’re being honest, I would like a billion dollars and the ability  to travel the world, blog about the people, experiences and food that I encounter on my travels. I guess that’s not the most realistic thing, or at-least a billion dollars magically being placed in my possession is a little far fetched.

As I approach the age of 26 I’ve been taking a great interest in setting new goals and making adjustments to goals that I’ve already established. I’ve been reading books about truly being who you are, without trying to meet the expectations that the world has placed on your shoulders. I’ve been working on stripping myself of all of the negative thoughts that both myself and others have cursed me with. That sounded strange, basically what I mean by that is breaking myself free my negative thoughts and words that have been spoken over my life. Removing all of the doubt from my mind that I can’t do certain things. Reminding myself that I am beautiful and that I am deserving of love, and support. I’ve had to not only take ownership of my flaws and face the woman in the mirror, but I’ve also have had to face the reality that I need to change some of these things about myself. Change the way I think, the way I behave, the way I react. I realize that I am sometimes very passive aggressive, I often times hold grudges and among other things, I allow fear to bully me out of things that I truly would like to do. I’ve learned to take ownership of my mistakes and to move beyond them. There is no point in holding onto what you don’t have the ability to change.

Overall, I want to live up to my own expectations, whatever those will come to be. I have to let down my guard and not be afraid to step into the woman I’m destined to be.

What is Life?

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At twenty-five years old most would think that I have a clear plan on what I want to do and how to go about doing it. Nope, not at all.

I know writing is a passion, but trying to figure out what to do with my writing abilities is a task in itself.

I love cooking, but I don’t think I want to be a chef. I already succumb to way too much pressure simply trying cooking for people that I know. I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to cooking and baking. I once baked the same cake four times trying to make it perfect.

I’ve thought about being an actress, but I probably couldn’t amuse a group of children reading Little Red Riding Hood, so I think that’s out as well.

Some days I consider selling all of my worldly possessions to travel,but I think considering how much student loan debt that I have, I better chill with that idea.

I considering being  an English teacher, but I don’t have the patience to learn the appropriate way to use commas and other forms of punctuation. I can’t teach others to misuse punctuation. What can I say,I write, I don’t edit!

Often times I have considered starting a publishing company, but I don’t think I would last in that arena.

I’ve pretty much had the same type of jobs since I graduated high school and I haven’t explored other options outside of volunteering and personal trial and errors. I haven’t found anything that I’m like,yeah I could do this for the rest of my life. I get confused and often redirect my attention to new goals and new plans. Perhaps I try to bite off more than I can chew, which has prevented me from tapping into my full potential. I have so many great ideas in my head,but sometimes I struggle acting on them. I often times don’t know where to end or where to begin. I know I can come off as a cluster f%#k, but I’m trying to figure things out. I’m trying to define my own meaning of life instead of being jaded into societies definition. I finally came to the realization that it’s okay to not know, it’s okay to be a work in progress. It’s okay to not be  okay.

Day by day, I try to be better than I was the day before and that’s all any of us can do. I had to learn to stop comparing myself to other people. I had to stop measuring my success next to other people. I had to strip myself of labels and define who I am. I had to understand that despite my age, I’m still growing, I’m still transforming.

What is life? Well that’s entirely up to you!

…be successfully you

 

 

The Publishing World

 

 

I would like to extend my apologies for taking a little under a month to write a new post. My head has been in the clouds lately. We’re almost half way through 2016 and I feel stagnant. I’m standing on my faith that God has a plan for me, but I nonetheless feel out of sorts. Between work and school, most days I just want to cuddle with my imaginary boyfriend, eat snacks and watch old episodes of Law and Order SVU.

Back to your regularly scheduled program…

As some of you may know, I recently published my third book,”Twenty Something.” I went the route of self publishing all three of my novels, but I recently realized that I just don’t have the gusto to promote myself and my work. That is pretty evident with my lack of blog exposure. I have attempted to utilize my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, but have been unsuccessful in my attempts. Maybe I’m too lazy, or maybe I simply lack marketing knowledge. In all honestly, probably both.  Nonetheless, I have decided to try an alternate route. There are several self-publishing companies that offer marketing services. For about $1,000 or more, these companies create press releases and several other author and book exposure propositions. I have been researching these companies and looking into authors who have published genres similar to mine in hopes of gaining a better understanding of the overall process. I also have looked into larger published companies such as Harper Collins, but most of these companies do not take unsolicited work. I finally realize that I can’t do this on my own. I’ve tried to write, edit, sell and promote my books on my own…it’s too much. I just want to focus on one task which is writing.

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen just how vicious the publishing world can be. I’ve sent out several query letters and so far I have been declined twice. It can be a bit discouraging, especially since publishing companies and/or agents don’t give you advice or an explanation as to why they chose not to accept your work. I know I have talent, but when you are denied back to back you begin to question yourself and your abilities. Regardless of the doors that have slammed in my face, I am still hopeful. My plan is to reach out to Simon and Schuster and see what their services entail. My one desire since I decided to write a book has been to be on the New York Times Bestseller list and alone that isn’t happening I’m very hopeful that one day I will be… Stay tuned for updates!

If you are interested in reading more about my books and/or making a purchase please visit my website www.amberjgraham.com 

Finding,Amber!

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I know, I stink at this whole blogging gig. (Sad face) I’m not consistent enough with writing a post once a week to save someone else’s life, better yet my own. I could say it’s because I’m so busy or because work has me so mentally exhausted. But, it’s honestly because I’m not organized and because I don’t plan out my time well enough to incorporate blogging into my week. I really enjoy blogging and I hope people enjoy reading my blog, so PLEASE, PLEASE cooperate with me as I pull my life together and get myself on track. One day, I don’t know when but one day, I’ll be consistent and consistently interesting!

After saying all that let’s do this!

When I moved to Ohio I started spending way too much on fast-food, like way too much. I probably buy pizza every Friday and don’t get me started on how many visits I’ve made to Chickfila. They have the best breakfast sandwiches. Places like Marcos Pizza and Chickfila are convenient and easy, therefore they have gotten all of my coins.  I looked in the mirror the other day then looked at a picture from 2014 before I left Detroit, major difference. I’ve gained more than a few pounds. I decided to challenge myself, for the entire month of February I will not be eating meat and I’ve cut back on fried foods,have incorporated more veggies and fruits into my diet and. I’ve also been drinking more than a gallon of water everyday or at-least trying to. This has forced me to try new foods and an added bonus is that I’ve been saving money by not eating out every other day.

 I also realized that sometimes I curse way too much and that I needed to be closer to God because my life just going well or “right” with me living without God’s direction. Overall I had and have to adjust certain things about myself and my life. I started to pray to be a better person. I started to pray for my state of mind to be shifted, to have the thoughts of my imagination cast down along with an abundance of other prayers. I also started a prayer book. I literally write to God as if I’m writing a letter to my bestfriend. God has been working with me and I’m slowly starting to see myself in a different light. I’ve been seeing change within myself from the inside, out.  I’m much happier than I was a month ago or even a week ago. Yes, I stumble and have bad days. Curse words still fly out of my mouth from time to time and I still have moments where my temper gets the best of me but I’m learning and growing. My thought pattern has elevated and I’m on an entirely different path.  Everyday is a blessing and I’m excited for my journey and what is yet to come.

In closing, I would like to say this,stand strong in who you’re. Be confident in the person that you’re and do not fold because people of this world don’t understand or agree with who you’re and what your journey is. If you believe in God than trust in Him. Walk in his path and allow him to navigate your path.

 

 

 

Stay blessed!

 

Not a Writer?

Last night I spoke with a close friend of mine. He and I usually speak once a week but I hadn’t spoken to him in over two weeks. It was a given that we had a lot of thoughts to exchange. After we got all of the how have you been’s…what have you been up to’s out of the way,we got to the real meat and potatoes of the conversation. I felt inclined to share certain parts of my life with him, I exposed emotional and mental parts of myself to him that he’s never seen.  I felt a sense of weakness because I had  never done so.. For the first time I became vulnerable to him. I fought back salty tears as I spoke of my deceased grandmother and aunt, two women who meant the world to me. Once I pulled my shit together, we landed on the topic of life goals and the things we want out of life. It was close to 4:00 o’clock in the morning as we both sleepily held our phones to our ears. I assume the late hour is what struck such deep conversation, well at-least on my end. I went on to say that if I wasn’t meant to be a writer, I don’t know what it is that I was meant to be.

Every since I was a child I’ve enjoyed two things, playing school  and writing. Seeing that I’m twenty-five years old, I no longer play school so I’ve been left with writing. I’m not the best writer and I still have a ways to go before I’m even considered good. Nonetheless, writing is all I think about, it’s all I’ve ever seriously seen myself doing. I watched a speech by Jim Carrie and in one minute he summed up life for me. Carrie said,”You can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance at what you love.” That hit me like a ton of bricks and it made so much sense to me. We spend so much, if not all of our lives doing what we don’t want to do because we’re scared of failure. Meanwhile, we get terminated from jobs that we hate or simply can’t hack it at others. Why not give what we love a chance?

I snapped back into the conversation and my friend reminded me that everything is in Gods time. Maybe I’m not a bestselling author today but that doesn’t mean I should stop striving to be one. Things most likely won’t happen when you want them to or how you want them to but God defiantly has a plan for you and your name can’t be removed from that plan by anyone on this earth. What is yours, is yours!

By the end of our conversation, I had a boost of confidence. However, the question still remained…if I’m not meant to be  a writer, then I don’t know what it is that I’m meant to be. I vowed to myself that I will give myself a chance at what I love. A chance to be happy doing what I love to do. If we never take chances, we’ll never know what could have been.

 

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