How I Am Going to Organize Myself For Grad School

How I Am Going To.jpgHello Beauties! Today I am going to be writing about how I am planning on staying organized for my new graduate school program! This is just a potential plan, however, during my post-bacc program, I learned some of the things I was doing to stay organized weren’t working or I want to change to make better in the future. So here we go 🙂

  1. A digital journal/planner! I swear by a good planner! I attribute a HUGE part of my success in school to Planners. Planners allow me to keep everything in one place and stay organized. I rarely forget things because it’s in my planner and it takes the hard part of trying to remember everything out of it for me. I also feel like taking time to write in my planner is a form of mindfulness – I can’t multitask and plan correctly. It allows me to focus on that moment of planning. I recently converted to digital planning using Microsoft One and I am freaking in love. Planners help me see the big picture of everything I need to do. Here is a video showing you how I created it – watch here.
  2. Assignment sheets/checklist – I started creating these my junior year of college. Using all my syllabi I basically I make a chart/list of every assignment due for that semester. I normally have assignment name, class name, due date, and points as headers. For some reason, this really helps me towards the end of the semester when things are getting hectic. I try to work ahead as much as possible and the assignment sheet keeps me on track so I never miss an assignment.

  3. Apple/Google Calendars for iOS. I am obsessed with my apple/google calendars. I literally input everything on them. For me, I like to be able to physically see my calendar/schedule on my phone. It’s convenient for me because I ALWAYS have my phone. I have a calendar for almost every aspect of my life. I am going to be using the following color system.
    • School/Study/Work on Assignments – Pink-ish Red.
    • Blog/Youtube things – Purple
    • Exercise/Walk Nehemiah – Orange
    • Home/Parent/Family things – Blue
    • Birthdays – Red
    • Social/Church/Lunch/Brunch/Hang Outs – Green
  4. An Organized School Bag. I alternate between using an actual backpack and a tote bag (depending on how I am dressed typically). This year, I am really going to focus on carrying less “just in case” things. Since I am planning on taking my notes digitally – will try to only carry my iPad and books.
  5. As I just mentioned above I will be writing all of my notes digitally using my Apple iPad Pro. Depending on how the class is set up I will most likely handwrite my notes and then go back and transcribe them as a study method. However, for some classes I know that will not be feasible and I will have to type my notes using my Bluetooth keyboard. The main reason I want to go digital is that I want to carry around less junk and streamline every part of this grad school process.

I hope this helps you get organized for school! What are some of the methods you are planning to use to stay organized in the fall? Share below in the comments!

XOXO, Tanesha Renae

Advertisements

Application Season Tips & Tricks

06..jpgHello Beautiful People!

As many of you all know, I recently got accepted into the graduate program of my freaking dreams – a Clinical Psychology M.S. to Ph.D. program. I applied to 12 programs (not all clinical) and will say I had a pretty successful season in my opinion. I will be sharing a more in-depth look at my graduate school application organizational system over on my youtube channel (click here to watch now). I think one of the main things that kept me sane in this process was (1.) I had a lot of help BUT (2.) I had a good system in place of how to go through this process. Hopefully, it is not geared too much towards psych programs and can help people across all disciplines!

  • The first tip is to narrow down the schools you want to apply to in the summer. I won’t say I followed this tip exactly, but going into the fall semester I had a rough idea of which schools I wanted to apply for. However, I did spend about two additional weeks going through the schools with my advisors, re-evaluating my list, adding and dropping certain schools – which is okay! I think by the first or second week of September, you should have a definitive list.
  • Create a chart/spreadsheet/word document of information. This sort of goes along with the first tip. You should do this as you are narrowing down your list of schools. I will go into more detail about this in that youtube video (click here to view the video). Things you could include in your spreadsheet include:
    1. Potential advisor(s)/Main research interest
    2. Type of Program/Specialization
    3. Program website
    4. Costs
    5. Location
    6. The acceptance rate of applicants
    7. Average GRE scores
    8. Average GPA
    9. The name Professor you want to work with
    10. # of students funded
    11. #of years it takes to graduate on average
    12. The due date for application
    13. GRE test(s) required
    14. GRE code (for sending scores)
    15. Number of recommendation letters required
    16. Number of transcripts required
    17. Address to send hard copy materials
    18. Application fee
  • The next tip I have for you is to create yourself a timeline. Now depending on how your current life situation is looking (like if you have a job or in school still), your timeline will look different. The timeline is not going to HARD deadlines, but for me, the deadline kept me on track with what I needed to do and by when. My main goal was to finish all of my applications before Thanksgiving. I also adjusted for things that could go wrong for example, I allocated extra time for my GRE scores and transcripts to arrive. Below is a screenshot of my “timeline.” – Did I meet all of these deadlines – absolutely not, but it helped keep me on track.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.37.06 PM.png

  • This is something I wish I spent more time on, but you should absolutely budget funds/estimate how much application season is going to cost you as soon as possible. I am not sure if anyone told you but applying to graduate school is SUPER expensive and there are not a lot of scholarships out there to help you apply (however, I have heard if you ask for a fee waiver you are more likely to get one – I’m not sure how true this is but that what I heard through the grapevine). After finding the schools I wanted to apply for, I made an estimation of costs excel sheet. This included application fees, transcript fees, GRE test, and sending the GRE scores. This estimation helped me budget my stipend appropriately in the fall to make sure I had enough money to pay for everything.
  • My next tip is for you to start applying as soon as possible. I believe this is the tip that saved me the most time on the tail end. As soon as the applications opened in the fall, I made accounts and filled in as much information as possible, such as name, race, and all other easy parts of the applications. Once this was done, the only parts of the applications I still had to complete was uploading my personal statements/statements of purpose, uploading my CV, sending GRE scores and transcripts and paying for the application. This made the process much more streamlined.
  • Decide on an organizational system! So the biggest part of applying (outside of actually applying) is staying organized so that you don’t drive yourself crazy. Some people I know kept everything in a folder on their computer, or used multiple sheets within an excel document, while others put everything in the cloud. I personally used Microsoft One Note to create a “notebook” to keep all my checklists, to-do lists, drafts of statements/emails/etc and everything else regarding applications all in one place. This worked out the best for me. Whatever works best for you – is the method you should use!

I hope this helps you get started on this exciting process! And if you need more help or advice – don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I don’t bite 🙂

XOXO, Tanesha

Things I Learned In My Post-Bacc Experience

101.jpgHello Wonderful People! Happy Wednesday! By the time this blog post goes up, my post-bacc experience will be completely over. The actual program ended in April, but I have been working part-time as a research assistant with my advisor – so it doesn’t really feel like it’s ended! Let me start this blog post by stating that the Hot Metal Bridge Program at the University of Pittsburgh is AMAZING. I can personally speak for the psychology section of the program and this program has really been life changing. It allowed me to get a “taste” to be immersed into a graduate school program – I was considered a first year graduate student.  This program taught me alot about psychology and graduate school, but most importantly this program taught me alot about myself. I will forever be grateful.

  1. The first thing I learned was the importance of time management.  Within a graduate school program, at least for psychology, the amount of time that is structured is very slim outside of your classes. You have to decide when and how you will do your research, assistantship obligations, etc. For me, this was a hard adjustment at first. I have always been a scheduler/calendar person – but it took me until the second or third week to fully understand that I basically am going to have to make my own schedule. Once I got into a system with doing that, it was much easier. But I had to get used to no one breathing down my neck  not having to check in with my advisor every second of the day or having someone telling me what I need to be doing or where I need to be.
  2. I also learned that I need a social circle/community (not saying that my social circle was bad at Pitt). As I am about to transition into a clinical psychology Ph.D. program, I recognized that I am going to have to be more intentional about building my friend group and community once I move to STL. There are times in Pittsburgh, where I felt very isolated and alone (not the fault of my cohort). It’s something about being the only Black girl in the entire 1st-year cohort that really messed with my head, so I am going to have to be more intentional about creating these spaces for myself. This way I don’t have to call/facetime my parents 50 times a day when I need to vent.
  3. Additionally, I learned that graduate school is going to be tough. Applying to graduate school was super rough, but my being persistent and steadfast is what really carried me through. This is a journey or a marathon BUT not a sprint. I am going to have to remind myself to pace myself. I won’t be able to get to the finish line without taking proper care of myself in all ways. During this first year, I am going to try to schedule in self-care more, so even when things are getting hectic I will be able to handle it.
  4. It is okay to outgrow and grow into people and places. Moving 7 hours from home and my social support system has really taught me that some of the people I considered close where only close because we lived near each other. And while it hurts, sometimes i just think that we outgrow people and places. Instead of framing it as a loss, I am trying to frame it as there are spaces opening up in my life for new, exciting people and places.
  5. I’ve learned really what it means when people say, “its okay not to be okay.” I really don’t have to have it all together all the time. Even though I really want to have it all together. I don’t want to come off as I am living this perfect life – because I am not. There have been tough times and I have spent months not being okay – but also not feeling up to admitting to people mentoring me that I wasn’t okay. Thus making me suffer in silence. I am trying to be as transparent as possible with my social media, but it still feels like a highlight reel. I am working on it though and allowing people to be there for me.

Have you learned anything about yourself in the last six months?? Share below!

XOXO, Tanesha

My Grad School Story – The Truth.

homemade recipe # 5

In an effort to be transparent and truthful about my journey to graduate school. I felt a blog post was in order, I tried twice to condense everything into an Instagram caption, but there was too much left out. I know, popular culture right now says to “move in private, live in private,” but that’s not me. I wanted to share my story in efforts to help someone else who is going through or about to go through the same process.

So, this story actually started in May 2017. I shared this tweet. I wanted to start speaking into existence this goal that had been on my heart for years now. Peep the date (and follow me on twitter!).

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 12.12.30 PM

Shortly thereafter, like 2 months later I was accepted into my Post-Baccalaureate program in Pittsburgh. Which has literally been the greatest opportunity ever. I have learned so much and gained so much knowledge about graduate school that I would’ve never gotten otherwise. One of the main purposes of this program is to “bridge” students into a graduate school program preferably a Ph.D. program.

I applied to 12 Schools, 10 of which were Ph.D. Programs. I was feeling pretty good about every application. I recognized that my new application was MUCHHHH stronger than the one I submitted during my senior year at Hampton. Next, I had to play the waiting game, waiting for interviews. For most clinical psychology Ph.D. programs, you have to interview to even be considered for one of their spots. In this field, there is a very limited number of spots available each year. No interview = no admission chances. The waiting game here was pretty alright. I figured I would at least get one interview invitation. The interview invitations started rolling in. 1 here, 1 there… then by the end, I had 8 offers to interview. 1 for a master’s program and 7 for Ph.D. programs. I was feeling pretty good at this point, I had definitely exceeded my expectations.

After all the interviews began the REAL waiting game and this is the part I felt like no one really prepared me for. Everyone was telling me and encouraging me that I would hear back in about a week or so after the interview. But I wasn’t, it was just silence – on all fronts. So naturally, I started getting stressed out about it, because I should at least get one offer, right? Wrong. I start getting rejected instead. Being rejected from schools really hit my self-esteem as a person and as a researcher. I also was being waitlisted and for several schools, I was 1st alternate. I was basically everyone’s second choice and it made me feel really really crappy. I was borderline depressed, to be honest.

The month of March was so hard because nothing was coming through for me Ph.D. wise. It was a very very very sad time for me (ask my parents). It was like I was grieving the loss of potentially going into these Ph.D. programs. I cried a lot, almost every day. It felt like a crushing blow, like being hit in the face with a brick. I pushed people way fearing that they would not understand, and even when I did open up to them – they didn’t understand. “Oh Tanesha, just do the master’s program. That’s okay too.” I felt like everyone was pitying me. I was overcome with shame like I had let everyone down who was rooting for me – my mentors, advisors, parents, friends, everyone.  Which wasn’t true, I am sure that they would’ve been supportive of whatever I chose to do. But it hurt. It hurt like hell. I felt like a disappointment, to be honest, I didn’t have the problem of having all these offers like I believed, and my peers believed I would have.

After the 5th rejection, I figured the Ph.D. life was not going to be for me. There was no way, I had just been rejected basically everywhere and was still waitlisted at two programs. I decided to throw in the towel. I had 3 master’s program admissions in my back pocket that I was holding. I started making arrangements to go into a social work and public health joint program. Let me note here, that even though social work was my back up plan – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that social work is super amazing because I do. I kick it into high gear with trying to get everything together to learn as much as I can about social work and public health. Essentially, going into both programs blindly because my focus has always been on psychology programs. I just wanna add here, shout out to all the Hamptonians that I reached out to about MSW programs and that helped me decide that this was going to be my next move. Also shout out to Dr. Duncan, who helped calm me down on several occasions.

By this time is the first week of April, I was fortunate enough to meet a woman who put me in contact with all these public health professions and set up meetings with them. And I was able to finally really see myself in these programs. I had a game plan, it might not be the straight shot for my goals that I thought it was going to be; however, it was nonetheless a round-about way to getting to do everything that I wanted to do. I was ready to transition my goals to this new journey!

I was ready, I was preparing to submit my deposit for the MSW program and submit my application for the public health program. For some reason, I got distracted and had to take care of something that was away from the data lab. I was gone for like ten minutes before I realized that I left my phone.  So, I run back to my office to grab my phone and there was an email from one of the advisors at the two schools I was still waitlisted at. I just figured it’s just another rejection email, so I decided to wait to open it.  Rejection hurts, and I wasn’t about to cry in the data lab. So, finally, I decided to go ahead and open it. And Y’all guess what –

I WAS OFFERED ADMISSION INTO A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY Ph.D. PROGRAM!

Have you ever seen the Pursuit of Happyness? I literally felt like this scene below. I sat at my desk and cried with such happiness and joy. I finally felt like someone was taking a chance on me and my academic abilities. There are no words to describe that feeling. Just an overwhelming amount of happiness and relief. I literally just cried, I couldn’t do anything else for a few minutes just sit there in awe.

 

After basically a month of crying, and rejection a program that I was waitlisted at offered me a spot of admission. I wrote all this out to say, if you are on this journey to graduate school – it is not going to be easy, but don’t give up! It’s super messy, emotional, expensive and it will challenge you in many, many different ways. This was my second cycle applying and honestly, I would not have done anything differently, as a matter of fact; I was considering applying again after I finished those masters programs. I posted this quote on Instagram, but I think it applies here as well: “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but NEVER the goal.” I think that even if you have to take a roundabout way to accomplish your goals – you should still do it. You deserve to still do it. You are smart enough to still do it. Be persistent. You (and your goals) are worth it.

Blessings & XOXO

-Tanesha Renae

Drowning & How to Stay Afloat

Hello Beauties, I’ve missed you all so much and I know this blog post is coming to you late and I’m sorry about that. I am entering (well almost done with) my sixth week of my graduate school fellowship!

Connection

About two weeks ago on Tuesday, I became extremely overwhelmed about the upcoming application season, my research project for the fellowship, and all my “adult” responsibilities. I’m not sure why but application season this time has become an extreme source of fear and anxiety. I really want to get into a specific PhD program – like more than anything. And as the time to apply gets closer and closer – I was just feeling so scared. I literally feel like I was drowning in my own created stress.

But I realized that it’s because I am trying to handle too much all at once. I am not superwoman and I don’t know why I try to be either. Its truly baffling. But I came out of that week of stress and figurative drowning knowing a lot more about myself and who I want to be. I realized that as I get older and more advanced in my career that the stress is just going to increase. Also, the way that I am handling the stress now will influence how I handle the future, more intense stress that is bound to show up.

What I need to do is stopping letting these stressors and fears get the best of me. First of all, I refuse to let these stressors and fears cripple or stop me from achieving my goals. Sure, they might cause me to pause for a hot second, but it wont hinder me from getting everything I need to get done, done.

So here are some new ways I am conquering my stress levels especially within the world of academia and I hope that they will help you conquer yours as well.

  1. Get the stress out of your head. This is actually something my mentor suggested here at school. She said, “instead of having all that stress in your head, write it all down. Every little thing that is stressing you out on to the paper. Once its all out of your mind, take a few moments and reflect on the items. Are these things you can change? If they are, change them. If they are tasks, finish them quickly so you won’t have to worry about them any longer.”
  2. Prioritize. One of the main things that helps get my stress when I have a lot to do in check is if I put tasks that need to be done into categories. I normally do three categories: urgent, can wait, postpone. Urgent means the task needs to be done first or within 24 hours. The Can wait category is for things within that week that need to be done, and postpone is for things that can be put off until the following week.
  3. Take breaks. I was told once that for every 55 minutes of work you do, you should take a 10 minute break. I really try to follow this unless I am on a roll in a project. During my breaks, I often go outside to walk my dog or sometimes I’ll watch an episode of my favorite show or just sit there with my eyes closed (just be careful not to fall asleep!). Also with taking breaks, whenever I feel like my stress is bubbling up out of control – I literally stop everything I’m doing and take a few moments just to breathe and relax. This stress is not the end of the world.
  4. Consider the stressors from your past. Thus far, you’ve conquered every stressor and problem thrown your way. You’ve survived every bad day, every bad situation that you thought you would never get out of, every negative interaction – you have conquered them all. I try to always remember that I have overcome a lot of stress and obstacles in the past so this one before me is not going to ruin my record!
  5. Talk it out. Take caution with this tip, but I’ve heard that talking about your stress to someone often helps. However, for me, sometimes when I tell people about my stress I feel like they diminish my problems and that stresses me out more. Find people in your life that you can go to about these stressors and that can help. For example, my grad and faculty mentors at school have been great sounding boards for my stress, but my friends not so much…

I strongly believe that stress is a necessary part of life but that it doesn’t always have to be a negative experience. Sometimes, at least for myself, stress propels me forward into success that I didn’t even imagine before.

You are a strong, stress handling boss and I believe in you! Share below some of your stress handling tips!

Until Next Time,

Tanesha

Tanesha’s Guide To Back To School (Tips & Tricks)

plan the perfect

I don’t know about you, but I am super excited for this new school year! Not only am I in an amazing grad program, I am able to get back to my first true love: learning (in school)! For some, I know a new school year causes a lot of anxiety because you want to be organized and want to start the new year off on the right foot! I would like to say that I am generally a SUPER organized person, at least when it comes to school work. I am going to share some of my best tips and tricks!

  1. Time Management is the MAJOR KEY to success! I attribute all my success in undergrad at Hampton University to having great time management! I wrote about time management before on the blog (click here). But I wanted to recap and add some other things I’ve learned since this post.
    1. Set A Schedule (and stick with it!). There is literally no point in putting together the perfect schedule if you don’t follow it or if you don’t put everything in it. I personally like to use my iPhone calendar because it syncs across all platforms. I have multiple calendars going at once. For example some of my calendars include: Tanesha’s Calendar (for events), Pittsburgh things (for school), Family Calendar, Ladies&Co Calendar, Renae’s Calendar Schedule, and even one for birthdays!
    2. USE A PLANNER. It really doesn’t matter if your planner is digital or an old-fashioned handwritten one. It helps to have a planner so you don’t forget assignments. No matter how amazing you say your memory is, be sure to write down assignments and things you need to do. Not only will this keep your organized but it will help to physically see all the things you need to do. I used to put my assignments in my phone calendar but it began to get to cluttered, which is why I switched to this system. However what I will do is schedule time to study/do homework on the calendar which would be based on my assignments/things to do in my planner. Get it?
    3. Self-care and Rest are apart of your schedule! You cannot run on empty you must set aside time to just relax and get yourself together. If you are running at 100% all the time, your body will literally give out on you. Trust me, mine has done it before. Your body giving out might be you getting sick a lot more, headaches or fatigue. Everyone is different – some people need just one day a week, while others need a little time everyday. Listen and care for your body! Just be sure to have a good balance of being productive and taking care of yourself. Also, during this self-care time – be sure to set aside time to work on the things you’re interested in. Work on knitting, video games, blogging, vlogging, etc.
  2. Take Effective Notes! For me, I like to take physical notes in class and then as a study method I go back and TYPE my notes on Microsoft Word or Microsoft OneNote. When I type my notes, I use the textbooks to supplement my notes and fill in any gaps or things that I wasn’t understanding. When I am writing my handwritten notes in the margin I often write questions and if I don’t ask the teacher, I will use my textbook/google to find the answer and put it in my TYPED notes. But I suggest you use a note system that works for you! For me, Microsoft OneNote has literally become my lifeline! I absolutely love that I can use it across multiple platforms: my MacBook, my iPad, and my iPhone. Especially if I want to study on the go or on the bus, I don’t have to whip out the huge laptop. Just a little tip tho, make sure you are paying attention in class and taking really great notes! This will make studying a breeze!
  3. Make an assignment check sheet. What I do when I first get all my syllabi, I like to write down all my assignments in Microsoft Excel (or Microsoft Word) and sort them by due date order. So I normally make a table with Assignment Name, Course, Points (or the percentage it’s worth), and Due dates. I then print out the list and put it in my planner and remember to makeGo thru your syllabi and write down all your assignments in excel, then sort by date! Mark off as you go so you can see your accomplishments!

I think that is it! If you have any questions or even have some tips of your own – Share below in the comments! I would love to see your tips too!

XOXO,

– Tanesha Renae

Live Better, Feel Better

Dealing With A Loss-3.jpg

Back at the beginning of the year, I had decided that my only New Years’ resolution was to be a better person all the way around – mentally, physically, emotionally.

For years, I’ve experienced low self-esteem as well as many years of verbal assaults. “Fat girls shouldn’t wear this.” “You’re too big to wear that.” But, I decided that I didn’t want that to be who I was. I didn’t want to allow other people’s thoughts and opinion to play such a huge factor in my life. I wanted to gain back control of how I view myself and now allow other’s opinions to taint how I view myself.

So on April 16, I decided to start back hitting the gym. I am a plus sized girl, so hitting the gym came with a lot of anxiety. I was afraid of what people would think about me being a bigger girl working out, not really knowing exactly what I was doing, or people thinking that I’m just doing this to get skinny. None of that is the case, I am literally just trying to gain control of how I feel about myself.

So, I started working out. It’s not about the weight-loss or getting skinny, it is more so about me gaining control and loving who I am. I was afraid, but now I feel more empowered. Which has made me want to live my best life. So getting healthy has made me start living my life a little bit better. I don’t worry as much about what I am wearing, or how I look.

Once you start living your life to your fullest potential, unapologetically – you will ultimately feel so much better. Your insides will begin to be reflected in your outward interactions and life.

In what was are you going to start living better – share below in the comments! I want to start improving other aspects of my life as well (such as my living in love (with actions), or spiritually, mentally, etc.)

Love Always,

– Tanesha J.

SoapBox: Don’t Take It Personally.

Dealing With A Loss-2

People sometimes suck. Being the kind-hearted person I am, I am always expecting people to treat me the way I treat them. But that’s not always the case. People will hurt you, slander your name and not even think twice about it. Which is so strange to me because in school growing up we were always taught – “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

But maybe that’s how they pull it off – the people who treat you poorly, never expect to be treated badly or are ever actually treated badly. When people don’t treat you with the same decency, respect or kindness that you have shown them, you could get super angry, irritated and upset. OR you could not take it personally. The way people treat others has everything to do with them, and hardly anything to do with the people receiving the actions. For example, if my friend Sally treats me terribly, that says more about Sally than it does about me – especially if I know that I’ve continually treated her kindly or with respect.

At least that’s how I look at it. So continue to treat people kindly and with love – it’s honestly the only way to live with a clear conscious and also it just feels better. 🙂

Love you all bunches,

– Tanesha J.

 

 

I’m Dealing With Loss…

TW: SuicideDealing With A Loss

 

So recently, about two weeks ago on Wednesday (On May 17), my dearest and most beloved friend took his own life. Literally to know this young man was to love him. He sort of had this magnetic pull about him, where as soon as you met him – you just wanted to be around him more and more. That’s exactly how I felt in high school when I first met him – and even to a week or so before he died and I saw him at the gas station. The feeling never goes away. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never felt the pull of him.

The days following when I found out, I literally stayed up until four am crying and almost hysterical. Why is my friend gone? Why couldn’t he stay here on earth with me? Why couldn’t I save my friend? Why wasn’t my love enough to reach him? Questions that have no answers – the only person who could possibly answer them is now gone.

My Heart was and is very broken over this. I was so fond of this young man, and as were so many other people. At 24 years old, he was/is so loved. Every day, multiple times a day – I find myself wandering back to his Facebook page and reading through every single post that has been made. “RIP my battle buddy” “I cannot believe my friend is gone.” “You were such a great friend, and definitely gone too soon“ “You were so loved…” etc.

After my “hysteria” of losing my friend, I’ve since calmed down and attended both his funeral and wake. But deep down, I’m still hoping that this is some bad dream that I am about to wake up from. As I looked at what used to be the body that housed the most beautiful soul, I felt sort of at peace. The young man in the casket was not my friend, it was just a body… A body that used to hold the spirit and soul of the most amazing person. Everything that made my friend who he was, was gone and what was left was this body. The body didn’t hold the love I felt from this young man, or the happiness he gave other people – it was just a body.

The sun lived in his smile – so I’m often wondering where do I go now without his sun anymore. Grief is a crazy thing. It’s made me lash out at people I care about, become closed off and emotionless and even feeling like my life is meaningless without him. But I know that’s not true, and more importantly, my friend would have been so hurt by that fact. My heart is slowly but surely healing and I know that God has a plan for my life. And within that plan, that this experience was necessary.

If you know someone who is experiencing deep hurt – make sure you are absolutely there for that person. Even if you feel like your efforts are going unnoticed or unhelpful – trust me your efforts are valued. Especially if that person is grieving a loss of a loved one. It means so much to me that so many people have reached out (called and texted), prayed for me, and just had me in their thoughts over the loss of my beloved friend.

If you know someone or if you are suicidal – please reach out to someone. Suicide is not the answer. If you are or someone you know is struggling with depression – Reach out to me, someone you trust or love or call the suicide hotline they are so very helpful and are there 24/7. The number is 1-800-273-8255. They handle both suicide and depression. If you don’t want to talk on the phone try the crisis text line – just text this number 741741.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 NIV. 

Love Always,

– Tanesha J.

(This post is sort of all over the place – but that’s exactly how I feel, all over the place. I slowly but surely I’m getting back into the swing of things.)

if you are interested in hearing more about my friend, I posted a video on my youtube channel. Click here.

 

3 Tips On Spring Cleaning Your Life!!

3 Tips On Spring Cleaning Your Life!!

sessions

Spring time is a time to start new! Flowers are blooming, new little animals are being born, pollen is everywhere in the air and it just such a happy time. Many people (including my mother) love this time of year because it means spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is not just for the physical things but you can also use it as a time to clean up some of the non-physical things in your life. Here are three quick tips on spring cleaning your life!

#1 – Evaluate friendships. Now, this doesn’t mean get rid of every single person in your circle – but rather evaluate the people you’re calling friends. Consider the following questions: Does this person have my best interest at heart? Do I have their best interests at heart? Does this person tell me the truth or comfort me with lies? Do we encourage each other to do the right thing? Do I trust this person without hesitation?

#2 – Declutter your social media/spaces. I personally love to change my phone background as a way of “freshening” up my phone. Lately, I have been into bright and airy photos for my phone background. I also would suggest clearing out old apps that you no longer use, or just cleaning up how apps appear on your phone/iPad/whatever device you use. I would also suggest clearing out some of your old things on social media, such as that old photo album you created on Facebook when you were 16, old tweets about a fling, or even IG pictures that are more than three years old. Take time to also purge your Facebook friends list – I hardly ever do this, but this year I am really going to evaluate the people that are coming up on my timeline and decide if I really still want/need them around.

#3 – Physically clean up! For me, this not only means to clean up your surroundings such as getting rid of old clothes and junk but also for me to clean up my act. Maybe you’re perfect, but I know that I am not and there are areas of my life that I want to clean up. Such as I want to stop allowing so many things to trigger my emotions as well as I want to love people the way that God loves me. So in order to do that I have to intentionally focus and work on changing these aspects of my life.

What are some ways you are going to spring clean your life this year? Share below in the comments because I would love to hear other ideas!

Love always, XO

–  Tanesha