All By Myself

Traveling alone has become a source of pleasure in my life. I look forward to escaping the day to day. I research and plan a true tourist experience. I like being a solo tourist and making my way around a city without a squad. Whether I’m ubering, walking, or metroing my way through Washington D.C. taking in the wonders of Seattle, melting at the beauty of the homes in Charleston, or taking a break from the crowd in Montreal there’s something really refreshing and fulfilling about going on a solo mission. Planning MY itinerary and whipping out my iPhone (I mean, how did people live without them?) to find my way to the next adventure is good for me. It’s taught me more about how resourceful and strong I am.  It’s a good time for reflection and creative projects. It’s also helped me realize that I can connect with just about anyone. I’m great at chatting up strangers and I actually enjoy meeting new people in each city. I don’t have to include anyone in my plans. I go where I want to, when I want to, and how I want to. I don’t have to have the dreaded. “What do you want to eat?” conversation and I don’t have to get pissed at someone for waking up late and ruining the whole day. No one has any expectations of me.  I’m a woman who didn’t ride a plane until she was 21 and just left the US for the first time last month. The fact that I can get to the airport and board the correct vessel, is quite a feat.

Mimosa at Poogan's

During my time in Charleston as sweet southern people asked me repeatedly, “Are you here alone?” “Did you travel by yourself?” “Do you do this often?” “Are you eating dinner here all by yourself?” to which I replied, “Yes!” only to hear their responses of, “Wow, that’s something. You’re brave.” “Good for you.” “I want to do that when I grow up.” “That sounds like a great idea.” I began to think more about the taboo nature of this to most people. Most people would never travel alone. It would never cross their mind NOT to call up their besties for a voyage to a new place. Most people would never saddle up to a bar and eat a delicious meal with no one to talk to but the bartender until the others sitting on nearby stools open up after a couple of cocktails.

I don’t know WHY I can do this. I do know that my mother has similar albeit local tendencies.

And now for the raw & real part, I also came to the realization that for me, this “going solo” mentality is really all about preparation for the rest of my life. I’m often putting myself in positions to be alone because I think that’s going to be my state of being until the day I am no longer walking this earth. In my mind, I will be alone. Not lonely, but alone, and really by alone, I mean, single. When one turns 33 in the South and is the most single person on the planet and doesn’t have children, one is inclined to think about this in a deep reflective manner. I’m NEVER in a relationship (well, I haven’t been since college) and the thought of kids give me a heart attack.  I want to get used to just being “me” without anyone else to help me or accompany me on life’s adventures. I want to get so good at being just “me” that I numb the pain of the absence of a romantic partner. I want it to become normal so that I don’t put in the emotional work wondering, “Where is he?” or waste my prayers on some person that may not even exist. So, I detach and I run off to places all by myself. Sometimes, this can be as simple as a movie, museum, fitness class, or a concert, but other times it’s a new city in a different state. It’s the purchase of 1 ticket and the reservation for a table of 1.

I want to be a person who is full of hope and faith in God’s plan for me. He may have called me to be single or He may have called me to be married with three children. His answer might be “Not Yet” and not “No”. This is always my loudest prayer. I work to hold on to my belief that all He’s doing is for my good. But sometimes, y ’all, I just want to accept what is oddly the easiest and hardest answer–I wasn’t meant to be a married woman and I wasn’t chosen to be a mother. By just grappling with that notion, I find it easy to throw myself into individual pursuits. If this is the way it’s going to be then I must embrace it and I must celebrate it. I must own the position of falling in love with myself because I’m not sure that anyone else will ever want the job.

Me at the Beach

Yes, I understand how negative and messed up this might sound but this solo act business has become a coping mechanism to deal with my sometimes tear inducing fear of never again experiencing romantic love. Instead of doing something about my single state ( I don’t know what to do.) I just run from it. That kid thing I’m still REALLY unsure about at this time but having a person, my person, would be welcomed.

So, yeah, traveling alone is fun, but it’s much deeper than that for me.

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What?! An Extra 24? Hey Februrary.

Feb 1

 

This post is the definition of late. We are 9 days into Black History Month and this post should have been delivered 4 days ago. I just realized that there could be layers to this statement but there’s enough commentary (too much) circulating about blackness after a certain superstar decided to stray from her nonthreatening lyrical roots and get more in touch with her actual roots. As I commented to a friend this morning, “don’t let anyone interrupt your slaying time.” Therefore, I SLAY! Today’s post is about the slayage that has already and will continue to take place in the month of February.

It’s a leap year, y’all! We get that extra 24 hours. I’ve scheduled a nap. How about you?

Oh, and I don’t do Valentine’s Day. I’m not even going to act like I have some higher intellectual view towards the holiday. I’m not in love and I haven’t had an actual Valentine’s Day since I was in college therefore, I’m jealous and it makes me sad. So there! Get out of my face with all of your pink and red shit. Yes, I know, I’m going to spend the day engaged in loving myself and the Lord. Yeah, I got it. 

February Happenings

  1. Launch of The Leadership Studio/ Communication Studio Session
  2. S.A.I.L Success Session
  3. Steve’s Birthday!
  4. JLN Masquerade
  5. NEL Opening Mixer
  6. JLN Board Meeting
  7. Super Bowl
  8. First PREVAIL Planning Team Meeting
  9. NEL Facilitator Training
  10. JLN In Home Meeting
  11. JLN 8th Signing at MCJCH
  12. InTune Alpha Chi Omega @ UGA
  13. Brene Brown & Valentine’s Day
  14. Nashville Emerging Leaders
  15. MOTOWN @ TPAC
  16. Relationships Session on Commons
  17. Dare 2 Be @ Crosspoint
  18. Mavenly + Co visit
  19. Tamara’s Goodbye Brunch
  20. IMPACT @ American University
  21. First draft due of book chapter

Feb 2

February Hopes

  1. Submit NELA Application on 2/15
  2. Continue BossyPants and Leadership Instablog research
  3. 3 posts to PeculiarPearl
  4. Complete S.A.I.L Session 2- Authenticity
  5. Send out Doodle for next if:gathering in March
  6. Complete NLC Homework
  7. Finalize plans for EVOLVE
  8. Begin planning for EVOLVE
  9. Start planning for TEDxVanderbiltUniversity 2016!
  10. Beyoncé Tickets!!! Prayers, please!
  11. Set up meetings with at least 2 past JLN Presidents
  12. Set up a dentist appointment
  13. Finalize 33rd Birthday Trip
  14. Pray for an open heart and mind when it comes to this season of my life. Pray that the Lord will give me the strength to embrace it and not let it lead me to lose my faith or hope in His promises. To constantly seek to be intentionally full of light, love, and laughter.
  15. Sweat at least 30 minutes each day (my fitness motivation is not in a good place)
  16. Leave at least 1 blank night a week
  17. Be in bed by midnight
  18. Buy less stuff (2 sweaters from LOFT, new Spanx, mani and pedi for Masquerade)

Now, it’s time to work. 20 days and counting, my friends.

I see it, I want it
I stunt, yeah, little hornet
I dream it, I work hard
I grind ’til I own it… (Beyoncé, Formation)

I’ve updated my January Happenings & Hopes post in case you’d like to see my success rate.

What about you? What’s happening for you during the month of love?

Krystal “I strongly dislike those chalky candy hearts” Clark

 

 

 

“I Am Launching A Rocket.”

“I am such a small person. I don’t have many talents. I’m weak. Nothing I do has any real significance.” says many a Christian about the possibility of being used by God. Schaeffer’s response to that man or woman is that, “with God, there are no little people.”- Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People 

On Wednesday, I attended the Faith and Work Summit hosted by the Nashville Institute for Faith & Work. I didn’t really know what to expect from this event but left with pages of notes and a head full of renewed thoughts surrounding the concept and realization of “work”.

faith and work 1

Great event! Looking forward to more learning from this organization. 

Work according to one of our speakers doesn’t have to be in an office. Work comes from many places including if you’re a stay at home mom, a student, or a volunteer in your community.

I have a pretty clutch roster of work but I can have a very negative attitude about going to work and sometimes about completing aspects of the work that I do. I have a tendency to look forward to Friday and live for the weekend. I really love a day off and a snow day is often a dream come true. Getting out of bed in the morning can be rough and watching the minutes slowly tick by can be painful as I sloth my way towards 5 pm. I wish for meetings to end and I sigh heavily as I dive into a less than desirable project. I hustle to close my door to secure quiet moments from the students and my co-workers. I develop a bad attitude and use pretty profane language in reference to my job and sometimes my co-workers. Yeesh, I must sound like a dragon lady. Please know that  for the most part, I love my co-workers, the students, and the work that I do. Really, I do. 

leaving work

You know I’m not the only one. 

Unfortunately, this is not a unique story as it seems that most people have a certain loathsome disposition towards the work week. T.G.I.F and FriYay! are all over my newsfeed. Prayers for the Lord to just get people to the weekend are a regular sight and when you ask people how they’re doing at work, they might often respond with, “just two days till Friday” or “just hanging in there until the weekend” and when it’s finally Friday you get that shiny day of the week as a one word response with a big grin. It’s like we’ve crossed a finish line and now get to celebrate our PR, at least until Monday rolls back around and let’s not get started on people’s pure and unbridled hatred of that day of the week.

The Faith and Work Summit wants us, as Christians, to think differently about work. Scott Sauls from Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN decided to slay the stage and drop the mic with all the good words he rained out upon the audience. I’m not Presbyterian and Rev. Sauls was pretty amazing. I’m always looking for a good Word. 

First, we, as Christians, are designed for work. “God is a worker.” Whenever we encounter Him in the Bible, He is working by creating or redeeming. When we first meet Him, He is working and when He is done, He rests on the Sabbath. That’s our model for life. We, being made in His image, are created to work. We are a product of His work.

Rev. Sauls  spoke about work from a place of Dignity, Mission, and Witness.

faith and work 2

I’m a believe in taking old school handwritten notes. I come armed with a notebook and pen. This is only 1 page of many. 

Dignity 

I love the quote at the top of the page because we are reminded that there are no little, people, places, or jobs. All of our work is significant and can be used by God. We live in a world of “just”. I remember eating at Logan’s Roadhouse (don’t judge me) with a friend for lunch and our server said, “Oh, I’m just a trainee.” –I looked at her, and said “don’t say that, what you’re doing is important.” I have a visceral reaction to anyone saying they are “just” this or “just” that. What you are doing matters. You have to believe that. I love that he referenced us participating in a “socially constructed hierarchy of vocation”. Lawyers, Doctors, Bankers, CEOs, College Presidents at the top and Plumbers, Sanitation Workers, Housekeepers, and Exterminators at the bottom with the rest of us shoved into the middle. But can you imagine a world in which we did not have Sanitation Workers? A world full of Lawyers and no Sanitation Workers? I mean, tell me who should be on top of the hierarchy in that world? Sanitation Workers are Royalty!  Remember, Matthew 20:16, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” At some point, this will all be flipped on its head. All vocations matter and contribute to the bigger picture.

He told a story that ended with the lesson, “whatever lane you’re in, you’re launching a rocket.” I thought about that on Thursday and Friday morning. No matter how insignificant I might feel my job is in this world, I have to internalize that, I’m launching a rocket. Whatever I am doing is contributing to God’s masterpiece. Finding the dignity in my work and showing others the same is a critical element of integrating my faith with my vocation.

I grew up with a grandmother, aunt, and mother who all worked as cleaning women and nannies. My grandmother was the definition of The Help. My mom cleaned hotel rooms, and my aunt and mother did in-home healthcare. When I was younger, I didn’t look highly upon this caste of work and I vowed to never have to do anything like that in my life. As I’ve gotten older, I understand now how honorable that work is and that I’m blessed to have had women in my life who worked ridiculously hard to “launch a rocket.” There is dignity in their work and the contributions they made to the lives of others by engaging in this work. I am sure that as they were cleaning up after others, helping to make life easier for the ill and elderly, and raising other people’s children that they served as proof to others that God is real. 

Mission

“God has invited you to partner with him in something meaningful.” –What if this is the way we thought about work? A partnership between you and God to do something meaningful in this world. How could you not be excited to go to work? There is a thrill in ingesting this as your truth.

Work has a mission element to it and can be a calling. In whatever area you work, you are helping to forward the mission of God. I’m an educator and he stated that this is reflective of the wisdom and mind of God.

Witness

Last, he spoke about Witness and that “awareness in God’s work should compel us and liberate us to go for it.” We have read of and heard of His great works. We know the beautiful results of His work. We’ve witnessed it. Because we know this, why wouldn’t we want to work? His grace and His mercy will carry us through and His arms are always open to us. “There is no year end review with God.” He’s not going to fire you. So, do the work, develop a desire to do the work, and feel free to do the work with the full knowledge that He’s in your corner.

I sometimes get nervous about launching new programs at work or I’m unsure how to handle a predicament that a student has dropped on my round table. My students are often a great deal more “book smart” than I am and sometimes that can be a little overwhelming but I know the goodness of His work and letting these feelings hold me back is not necessary and it isn’t what He wants from me in this world. He wants me to do work and keep His example in mind.

Dignity

Mission

Witness

The goal is to not shape my identity around success and another speaker urged us to “ignore the pull of the concern for the end result.” Be in the midst of the process of your work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Picking up this book this weekend. Also looking more into Katherine Alsdorf and her work in this area. 

My Lightbulb

The way that I view work, the way that I approach my work, the way that I do my work should be wrapped around my faith. Now, this can often be a bit hard for me to think about because I work at a private institution and we’ve had some grumbling with faith-based organizations and their connection to the University. We work to be a diverse and inclusive institution on all spectrum of identity. What I was reminded of is that, my job is not to baptize people in the middle of the student center, my job is to just love people. Love them, be there for them, listen to them, support them, laugh with them, allow them to cry, be thoughtful, pass along any knowledge that I possess, be a friendly face, a warm heart, create environments and opportunities for them to thrive, and sometimes I’ve found that college students just want a hug. A very appropriate hug. My job is not to “get them saved”. My job is to be a shining example of God’s love. That’s it.

I have students who are openly believers and I have students who I’ve never once had a conversation about faith. And that’s fine, because my only job is for them to feel like there’s something good about me being in their midst. That goodness is that my work is backed by Him.

My Truth

To be honest, I’m a pretty moody person and on top of that, I’m a task oriented human being. When I get into a project–I don’t like to be disturbed. I like when people make appointments and it’s really hard for me to get back on track after being interrupted. I have outbursts of chatter and giggles and the next moment, I’m done with everyone and just want to be left alone. I have a quick temper. I only have a certain level of tolerance for feelings and on most days, I just want to tell people that they need to get up and shake it off. I have to work really hard to have good empathetic and developmental conversations. We didn’t do that in my family. We just kept moving and all the “stuff” dealt with itself or just never was dealt with at all. I’m a roller coaster, my friends. I’m perfectly imperfect. 

My Prayer

What I hope and what I will now begin to pray is that I create a new outlook on work. Because I know that I’m blessed to have the work that I have in my life. That I see my work and the work of others from a place of Dignity, Wisdom, and Mission. That I believe that I am launching a rocket and that I’m in a partnership with God to do so. God is a worker and that part of me being His means that I’m a worker too. I am made for it. My job is not to get people saved, it is simply to love them. My success is not the numbers on my Success Plan but instead in how I’m forwarding the mission of Christ. My vocation matters and He can use me and my work for a greater purpose. When I wake up in the morning, I am going to do His good work and I have to remind myself of this every time I find myself in the valley wishing for Friday. God’s work isn’t just in the church and isn’t just for pastors and missionaries. All good work is God’s work. 

There was then a really strong panel that I’ll talk about in another post. What a full and blessed night!

Check out the Nashville Institute for Faith & Work at nifw.org @NashFaithWork (Instagram & Twitter), /NashFaithWork on Facebook, or send over an email to info@nifw.org.

I now have to pick up Timothy Keller’s, Every Good Endeavor, to dig deeper into this topic.

What about you? What’s your perspective on work and the integration of your faith with your vocation?

Krystal “Do Work” Clark

 

 

 

 

S.A.I.L Away With Me

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

SAIL Pic 2

My personal mission statement is to inspire and equip others to thrive. I have a great passion for doing so with women, especially young professional women. For a long time, I’ve had a dream of creating a women’s leadership development program and was able to be the driving force in creating and implementing PREVAIL Women’s Leadership Conference at Vanderbilt University for undergraduate and graduate students who identify as women. After the success of PREVAIL, my heart was even more motivated to create something special for women in Nashville. A place where women can connect, learn, be vulnerable, dream, create, love, and communicate what they hope for, need, pray for, and just want in this world for their personal and professional lives.

One of my Strengths is Input which means that I collect lots of resources and love sharing them with other people. I cringe when people haven’t been exposed to tools that could help lead them in a different and/or better direction. Besides just posting these items on social media, I want to be able to actually engage women as they dive into various frameworks, theories, and schools of thought. I’m a connector of people and a connector of people to resources.

This is  the origin story  of S.A.I.L:

Success

Authenticity

Innovation

Love

“All of us are learning how to SAIL our ship. We often don’t think about learning how to SAIL until we’re in a storm. Think about how much better we’d be at thriving during the storm if we spent more time learning how to SAIL before the storm. “

Deciding a name for this program took me a little time as I wanted something meaningful and different. A scroll through Pinterest produced the famous quote from Little Women and I scribbled  SAIL in my notebook. I then decided that SAIL needed to mean something and used it to plot out the curriculum course. S.A.I.L is a vessel to get to your desired destination and people go sailing to do the same. I took a break from the idea and visited The Beveled Edge for a shopping break. The first greeting card I saw in the pile was the one below:

Sail card

This is when I knew I’d found just what I was looking for in the name S.A.I.L. God is something else, ain’t he?

S.A.I.L includes:

  • 4 1.5/2 hour workshops
  • Opportunity to take StrengthsQuest
  • List of Relevant Resources
  • Relationship Building
  • Action Planning
  • Snacks/Wine/Champagne
  • Real Talk  about four key topics that continuously rear their head in the lives of women.
  • Oh, and it’s FREE!

Our first session is on Wednesday, February 3rd at Atmalogy in Nashville, TN.

19 women have already said YES! My goal was 15.

Can’t wait to keep you updated on this dream. This is just Leg 1 of the voyage. My hope is that S.A.I.L is able to leave its mark on the hearts, minds, and souls of the women in Nashville, TN and then one day, a city near you :).

If you’re in Nashville and interested in being a part of any or all S.A.I.L sessions, please send me an email at krystalnclark@gmail.com.

Invite Pic

 

 

 

Full.

Watch this video.

I live with the same gremlin as Oprah, “Who do you think you are?”

FULL is my 2016 Word. Read this Yellow + Co. post for more info. Resolutions are not my thing. Well composed goals that include a plan of action and accountability systems are a whole lot better. One word that keeps me pointed in the right direction creates a simple guidepost for my life. I don’t have to check a list to make sure I’m getting it all “right”. I just have to check the gauge on my heart and mind to see if I’m heading towards full.

“Now, I work at being full. I want to be so full that I’m overflowing. Overflowing with enough to share with everybody else…I’m going to own the fullness without ego and without arrogance, but an amazing sense of gratitude that I live at a time where I have the great pleasure and freedom to fill myself up.” –Oprah

FULL

Happy 2016, y’all. Here’s to a life of being full. Full of becoming more of who I already am, full of saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ intentionally, full of belly laughing, full of love for myself and others, full of God and reminders of His grace, full of music, full of delicious food, full of movement, full of creativity, full of knowing that being single does not determine my worth, full of living my life in my lane, full of magic, full of friends, full of reflection, full of choosing joy, full of family, full of events, full of seeing failure as information, full of enjoying the small moments, full of fighting the good fight, full of getting stronger, full of less stuff and more experiences, full of honoring my needs, full of hope, full of savoring the season of my life, full of being a little bit better today than I was yesterday, and full of doing the best I can with what I have. This little tea cup is just waiting to overflow.

I think we have enough people who are living their lives empty of their truth. They are curating themselves into someone they aren’t. Being full of oneself isn’t a negative thing and I’d choose it any day over being empty of the me God made me to be.

Now, when I hear that little gremlin say, “Who do you think you are?” I will simply say, “I’m me.”

What’s your word of 2016? What’s that one focus that you’ll keep in mind as you move throughout the year. That internal check-in that will let you know if you’re experiencing your personally defined vision of success.

Krystal “Someone Get That Woman an Extra Cup” Clark

#FULL

Happenings & Hopes: January Edition

Happy New Year!

I spent NYE with new friends eating a delicious dinner at MOTO in The Gulch and drinking a great deal of Champs while having belly laugh inducing conversations and watching Nashville’s award winning fireworks from a supposedly ‘closed’ rooftop lounge. I’ll call it a win.

NYE

The next night I spent jotting in my ban.do Hopes + Dreams notebook about all that I want to happen in 2016. The list is long as I’m not known for brevity or lack of ambition.

Hopes and Dreams

The second item I wrote is that I will commit to writing at least 1 blog post per week. A daily blog is NOT my jam. Batch writing and scheduling posts is not my desired creation process. However, I can prioritize time during each week to crank out 1 meaningful post. I’ve drafted a list of topics for this month and the first week of February. I’ve chosen Thursday as my post day of the week. My hope is that this will lift the rock up off my shoulders that comes with people knowing I have a blog and then realizing that my posts have become few and far between. So, I’ll see you here on Thursday every week.  A new monthly series is Happenings & Hopes where I will detail what’s actually on my plate during the month and what I hope will happen during the month. Those are often two VERY different things.

So, welcome to January:

Happenings –Stuff that’s on the calendar– IT ALL HAPPENENED!!!

  • Junior League of Nashville ’16-’17 Board Retreat! 150 till I’m President Elect which means I’m a year closer to taking on the President role in 2017. Yikes!
  • Barre3 Challenge begins on January 4th! 4 studio classes, 1 online workout, and one yummy recipe-27 days of Barre3 immersion– completed 1 week…:(
  • Co-Facilitation of JLN Goal Setting Training Session
  • University of West Georgia Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Retreat- My first time being hired to create original curriculum and serve as Co-Lead Facilitator!
  • Beginning a Bible Study with lovely friends! We’re using Kelly Minter’s “What is Love?” I’m looking forward to this dive into the Word.
  • AJLI Winter Leadership Retreat in Austin, TX! Can’t wait to meet my President Elect-Elect Sisters!
  • My brothers’ birthday and he’s starting the MBA program at my alma mater, William & Mary!
  • Nashville Emerging Leaders Breakfast
  • College Panhellenic/Interfraternity Council Academy where I’ve been invited to facilitate an original session on Motivation and give an IFC Academy Talk!
  • I’m incredibly excited to begin my involvement with another fantastic training organization in Nashville that will allow me to further explore my budding interest in local politics. More details to come!
  • Oh, and I have a full-time job! We’re launching an new spring program and have some moves to make with campus partners. We’re also reapplying for our TEDxVanderbiltUniversity license and reimagining some of our existing programs.

I have NOTHING to do this month.

Hopes — Stuff that’s in my head and heart but if I’m not careful won’t make it’s way onto the Priority List

  • Purchase new personal business cards
  • Published blog post on a site I love dearly–Checking in on this piece
  • Holiday Thank You Cards
  • Eat out once per day and not three –> grocery shop–I lost count of the days and by the amount of receipts in my wallet from Panera, I’m not sure this worked out perfectly. I will say that I cooked more than usual this month which is a bit nuts considering that I was out of town 12 days.
  • Plan 2 friend moments
  • Engage in Sunday outfit planning for the week–whatever was hanging around once I finished packing was up for grabs
  • Finish at least 1 incomplete or untouched book already on my bookshelf–Nope!
  • Write a plan to tackle a piece of debt
  • Finish Season 1 and start Season 2 of Homeland
  • Begin planning 33rd Birthday trip for April
  • Finish developing the first and second session of S.A.I.L
  • Leave at least 1 blank night a week
  • Be in bed by midnight
  • Buy less stuff (Kate Spade bag w/gift card, mani/pedi/wax, Tom Ford Lipstick, Le Pens, Champagne, Hat, Wallet, Planner)
  • Marie Kondo my closet –Purses=Check!, Shoes= Check! Hats=Check!
  • To reach out to people when I think about them and not just shrug off the urge.-Ick! Yes, there were times when I did so and other times during which I put it on the backburner and never moved it back to the front of my mind.
  • To really use all that I learned during our mid-year reviews to be a better Director of my office and supervisor of my team.–uh, sure. Gosh, I have a staff member that’s decided to take advantage of another great opportunity and I think we had a great conversation about this change.
  • Pray for an open heart and mind when it comes to this season of my life. Pray that the Lord will give me the strength to embrace it and not let it lead me to lose my faith or hope in His promises. To constantly seek to be intentionally full of light, love, and laughter.– I really did the best I could with what I have. I didn’t dwell too much on my singleness this month, probably because I was running like a madwoman on the hamster wheel of life, and this also why I continue to run. I did have someone tell me that they just can’t ever see me being angry –gosh, I’ve got them fooled!
Some additional January Wins:
  • Announced as a Fellow for New Leaders’ Council
  • Solidified an opportunity to contribute a piece to an upcoming book for college students
  • Successfully designed and co-facilitated my first for hire retreat curriculum for the University of West Georgia
  • Met an incredible group of PE and PEE at AJLI Winter Leadership Conference in Austin, TX
  • Nominated for a Nashville Emerging Leader Award
  • A beautiful surprise shoutout for being a Panhellenic woman and  the first African American President of the Junior League of Nashville at CPC Academy
  • Nailed down 2 additional speaking/facilitation gigs for 2016

Can’t wait to let y’all know how all this went down or didn’t go down in February.

This may seem like A  LOT to some folks, but y’all, I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that He puts on my plate. Everything that I’m doing means something to me and is helping me be more of who I already am in this world–because that’s all I want–to be as ME as I can possibly be in this world without any apprehension.

These posts also serve as an accountability tool. You’ve unknowingly signed up to be my accountability partners. Thanks y’all, you’re so good to me. Breaking things up into monthly patterns will help me work towards the bigger picture without being too overwhelmed.

Now, I’m going to carve out time to put my Hopes on my calendar along with my Happenings.

What about you? What are your Happenings & Hopes for this month?

Can’t wait to see y’all each Thursday!

Krystal “Fighters Gotta Fight” Clark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best and Hardest Gift from God

This picture is the aftermath of 1.5 hours on stage at Delta Zeta’s Norma Minch Andrisek Leadership Conference. I spoke on “Building Resilience” with over 400 sorority women who served as onlookers, learners, participants, and co-educators as we talked about the hard process of “bouncing back” and what it means to “stretch” and not “break”. As Brene Brown and Oprah spewed their wisdom on vulnerability being the cornerstone of confidence the necessity of “daring greatly” and the freedom that comes with brushing your critics off your shoulder. Whew!

aftermath

I literally float on a cloud when I’m giving a talk and then I have to work my way back to earth. Eventually I crash which is the view you see above and YES, I’m watching a 30 For 30 because these documentaries are my “Lifetime Movie”. The U: Part 1 & 2 give me life. As someone who is intrigued by topics like vulnerability, resiliency, and self-authorship–I find the tales of athletes to be riveting. Our athletes are our superheroes and to see all that they go through whether inflicted by self or others is always inspiring.

As I was deflating in this lovely hotel room while wrapped up in comfy hotel bedding thinking about this opportunity that God has given me to do what I feel I’ve been called to do, I got one of those pangs–you know, one of those single woman pangs. That feeling that’s been happening more and more lately that yes, I have a charmed life BUT I’m still missing elements that I thought by 32 would be present. At least, I thought I’d have a partner –perhaps not children, but a partner for certain, someone to share what’s happening in my life. Someone who would be excited for me, proud of me, and would be waiting for me when I got off the plane or would be there with me, in the moment, smiling at me from the audience.

Those pangs HURT. My appendix swelling was pretty painful and single woman pangs are a close second. Both are debilitating.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I stashed my Wholeheartedly Devotional in my travel bag before I departed for O-H-I-O. Because God is who He is the next devotional in the serious is called “receive”.

“Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.” Matthew 19:11-12

The words jumped off the page and into my heart and soul. Natalie Matrejean, the author of Wholeheartedly expressed what she learned about being single from this scripture and I desperately needed to hear and understand this Word.

1. Singleness is a gift (let’s hope there’s a gift receipt). Some people are gifted with singleness. If you are one of those people He will help you.

2. Singleness is hard (YEP!). Even some who are called will not be able to accept it.

3. Singleness is better for the kingdom. Jesus is saying to receive and accept singleness  for His Kingdom’s sake if you have been called to it.

In that moment, in the hotel room and in many other moments throughout my life, I have to remember and accept these three things.

My singleness is a GIFT. For some reason He is calling me to it for a season or perhaps for the rest of my life. I often realize that the freedom that comes with being single is a huge gift from God. I have loads of FREEDOM to live and serve. I am blessed to know and understand that I have a God who helps me navigate my solo mission.

It is HARD. A lot of the time it’s hard because of what’s going on around me. It seems that everyone is married and having tons of babies. The world has found its other half and I’m that sock that lost its match in the dryer. It’s also hard because there are times when I just want someone to hug me. I want a partner in life because most things are better when you have a buddy. You know, a built in human support system. I’ve been in love and it feels great. I need some serotonin and oxytocin, you know? It’s hard to play against a team when you’re all alone.

It is BETTER? I don’t know. On a daily basis, my answer is a big resounding, NO!  Sometimes I feel it is  when I see people I love going through incredibly dramatic relationship matters. Divorce, infidelity, unhappy marriages, and difficult conversations. I don’t want those headaches. However, if its BETTER for God then I guess it is BETTER. If he sees fit to use me in a special way to serve Him then perhaps for me, at this time, or until I leave this earth, it is BETTER for me to be single.

In order to gain some peace during this current season of my life, I have to “receive” this message. I have to believe that it is a Gift, it is Hard, and it is Better. If this is my calling, and I receive it, then I shall be blessed by it.

It was also a wake up call to me that because I am ABLE to do more for His kingdom because I’m not occupied by a spouse or any dependents, that I need to do so and if I’m honest with you, I’m not doing enough for God at this moment in my life.

In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Cor. 7:34-35

Delving into this teacher helped the pangs subside and I was able to open myself back up to the happiness that was happening all around me. As I know but as I have to keep reminding myself at every turn, that God is in control. His plan, His timing, my obedience.

My life is too blessed and I’m doing what I said I wanted to do in life. I’m human and I have those valley moments and like I told the sorority women in the audience, we’ve all got to work our way back up from those black holes in our life. My resiliency is a factor of my faith and when I’m feeling those single woman pangs, God is the best at giving me the Word I need to get back to good. My joy comes from the Lord and if this is what He sees fit for me at this point in my life then I can’t let my singleness ruin all of the blessings he’s bestowed upon me. Because what I now understand is that it is too a blessing. Exhale.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal