FIG #Modeling #FigureModel #Art

For years I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work as a mannequin/figure model for Figurative Inspiration Group (FIG) in San Diego, California.

“FIG members take a unique approach to figure drawing. Fourteen award-winning artists gather each Tuesday at Bravo School of Art to draw and paint from a eclectic range of clothed models. Models are asked to take relaxed positions, as they would in everyday settings with attitudes to tell a story.”

It’s amazing what these talented artists can do in 2-20 minutes! I have mostly had solo modeling sessions, but recently, I have had a couple of shared ones, and last week’s session was shared with, *drum roll please*…my brother!! Yeeee! God loves me ya’ll! It was such a humbling treat that I can’t keep to myself.

The below is another great one. It nearly moves me to happy tears to know that she saw us. She captured both our look and essence so excellently! 

Drawing by Dot Renshaw

Special thanks to Judy Pike for arranging this sweet session and opening wonderful doors of opportunity. To God be all the glory!

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There is something about nighttime. #GoodMourning #Poetry #Grief #Sorrow

I’ve smiled every day since I remembered you were here
But then long after sunset
my eyes shed a tear

There is something about nighttime.

I’ve laughed many moments before the high tide of darkness arrived until, “Bam!”, the news…

was prescribed
I sighed
before I cried
and denied
then realized that…

There is something about nighttime.

I thought you were just dancing to the beat of a hip, fast song
But all this time, the lights were dim,
And I was totally wrong.

Man.

When I prayed for your fire
And I prayed for your faith,
I had no idea how much was at stake
Believe me when I say, I knew
not at all that…
ashes would await.

Gosh.

Lord, you said that joy cometh in the morning but for all of us, I am requesting an exception for tonight. Because…

There is something about nighttime.

©2013 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

CARPE DIEM. #Mothers #Daughters

What the heck?! I don’t know what just came over me.  I just went to say goodbye to mom before she departs for a short business trip and I felt my eyes well up.  I’m so sad.  I miss her already.  I have really gotten used to spending time with her.  This precious, invaluable time.  She’s only gone for a bit, but I guess I’m just thinking about the near future.  Geesh.

move-forwardI’ll never forget the vision that I had when living on the East Coast.  Without going into too much detail I will just say that in it, my mom needed me and the Lord gave me an option to stay or go.  As usual, I said yes to God’s proposal and easier said than done, I moved back.  Let me tell you, moving forward mentally is way harder than moving forward physically.  Especially when your physical move is literally back! Haha.  It’s like, really Lord?  I think so often we forget that we’re spiritual beings having natural experiences and that in actuality, none of the things that the world says are valuable mean much of anything to the Lord.  He delights in our obedience and lavishes in our love.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)

So many people want to do what makes sense when in reality a lot of our blessings in obedience require us to take leaps and do things that don’t make sense and possibly make us look a little crazy at times.  People want to be and do what they think is great.  Instead of loving their neighbors, they’re coveting after their neighbors.  People want to be or do what looks and sounds good.  Instead of respecting a person, they’re respecting a title.  But we need to forget about those worldly things that don’t matter start finally chasing, or re-chasing those eternal things of true substance.

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. – Colossians 3:1-2 (AMP)

be yourselfWe have to deepen our relationship with the Lord so that we can find our true identities through Him.  So that we’ll know who we are and in turn how to be.  So that when all in this world is stripped away, ha…not our identity.  I’m so sick of seeing a whole bunch of “turn up” copycats *rolls eyes*…have a seat already!

But yes, I was going to talk about my relationship with my mom…

Mother/Daughter relationships are so beautifully intricate.  So delicate like lace or something.  They go through ups and downs in milliseconds.  There’s battles between respect and assertion and assist and diversion.  So complex.  Figuratively speaking, I think the Lord definitely hand washes them cold and hangs them carefully to dry.

motherhood

Since my move back to the West Coast, I’ve really enjoyed the growth and transformation I’ve experienced in my relationship with my entire family, but my mother especially.  I believe every Mother/Daughter relationship suddenly hits this “Freaky Friday” growth point  where the daughter, now a mature, adult woman with her own life experiences, comes to this realization that her mom, who she for decades was thought of as this flawless, invincible superhero, is in actuality not *gasp*, in fact, she is just like her daughter who has become just like her mother, a mature, adult woman with her own life experiences.  This place of truth does something great (and rightfully so) and God does something greater as the relationship accepts and adapts to it accordingly.  We love and respect each other way more these days.  It’s so refreshing for me to see my superhero mom without her cape quoting Tamar Braxton saying things like, “You tried it!” and “Getcho life!” haha…oh goodness.  She’s truly my best friend.  I can’t wait to bless her with early retirement and a trip to Italy.

heartbeat

The other night I hugged her and rested on her chest for a good while; because I could.  When I did, I heard and felt her heartbeat, and it was like hearing an old, favorite song.  At that very moment a tear fell and I thanked God that my mom was alive and that I was too.  That we were here for this and the best is yet to come.  Now that, my friends is what I call Carpe diem.

The Beauty in Traffic School #Patience #Time

If anyone told you God doesn’t have a sense of humor, ha they probably neglected to tell you that neither do they because today, my God was hilarious.  He’s so gentle with me and knows just how to teach me a lesson and set me straight.  A kind answer really does turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).  I can’t get mad.

So lately I’ve been carpooling to work with my mother.  I love love love my mother, she’s my favorite, and truly the most loving woman I know – Proverbs 31 at it’s best!  She’s the only person on this earth that I truly believe might love me more…all of you others, I think I got you beat haha.  Even though she’s the best at a lot of things, my entire family knows that she’s got a record of being punctually challenged and it stresses the heck out of me more than anyone else in the family!  I’m laughing now. That’s my mother.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

I can’t stand being late, or rushed.  Correction: I don’t like being late, or rushed.  I’ve seen myself stand it.  If we’re hanging out, I would prefer to meet you there because then I know I won’t be late, and If I am, It was my own fault.  I’m in control.  If you tell me when we’re leaving, I can tell you, but you need not worry when I’ll get up or start getting ready.  I’ll be ready at the time you said I needed to be.  I’m not one of those that need a false deadline or grace period. If you are driving (which means I trust you or am giving myself an opportunity to trust you smh), I hope you’re own time lol.  None of this applies if we’re going to a place I’m not thrilled about going to.  I’ll be ready on time, but I’d love to be late.*sigh* That’s me.

So yea, when carpooling with my mom our daily pattern usually is, leave late, get anxiety that I attempt to hide, miraculously arrive on time by the grace of God, and shoot a vent text to my bff on how it all happened agaaain. Smh…true story.  Today on the other hand, I didn’t carpool because my mom had to take care of something.  I left on time (forgot my cell phone and lunch!) and bam, hit horrible traffic and I was late.  Hahahaha!  What the heck?!  I was like, really Lord?!  At that moment I realized that I can’t control time (or people because of my issue with time really) and thinking that I could was a big fat joke.

“I’ve held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. – Martin Luther

So in traffic school today (ha) I re-learned that God controls the hands of time…not you Nu!  Absolutely every being and every thing answers to Him and is because of Him.  It is only by His permission that anything is.  If He wants me to be late or on time, you better believe I will be and no one (my mom included) will interfere or affect that.  Now usually when the Lord corrects me and shows me something that I need to work on or change, I get hard on myself and honestly hurt at the thought of possibly disappointing Him.  I love Him…He is my life and my all.  He always has His ways of reminding me that He’s not disappointed though (so sweet) and that He’s just happy that I’ve allowed Him, my Potter to do work on His clay (me).  I’m willing.

“When perception and reality collide, we grow.” – Keylee Dawn Austin

He also reminded me that I’m created in his likeness.  And so, like my Father, I like things done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).  Sometimes I laugh to myself about myself, but I’m trying to take notice and stop because I realized that I’ve been laughing at things that He finds absolutely beautiful.  When I do that, I feel a tug of disagreement in my spirit that non-verbally communicates nothing is funny.  I’m laughing at His work.

Every day I am going to change.  Every day I am going to be better than yesterday.  I don’t think about myself that often (and some might say not enough), but I’m grateful for that quality because when I think about others and the affect my actions or non-action has on them, I’m motivated to change.  I want be the best friend, daughter, sister, cousin, wife, and mom that I can possibly be.  So If I could stop laughing at myself for them, and stop being anxious about things beyond my control, for them, and one day make my Father smile and my spirit well, let’s do it.

You made my whole being;
       you formed me in my mother’s body. 
I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.
       What you have done is wonderful.
       I know this very well.

Psalm 139: 13-14

I AM beautiful.  And if you didn’t know, so are you 🙂

Next Chapter #Home #NewBeginnings

As I lay here in bed at my grandparents house I feel this great sense of peace and gratefulness.  I recall the Lord’s promise to me that no matter where I go, “I’ll always have a place”.  It’s true.  No matter where life takes me or how the Lord elevates me, I can always come home to a familiar place, or familiar people that truly know me and love me for me; my family. (The theme song to “Cheers” just started playing in my head).  My best friend would probably be making fun of how “old” I am right about now lol. Any way…

I remember watching one of Oprah’s episodes of next chapter featuring the fine Mr. Curtis/50 Cent (ha).  He was saying that whenever he comes home and visits his grandma, he’s just Curtis and only to the rest of the world is he this big shot.  He still rubs her feet and paints her toenails and everything.  He doesn’t drink out of any fancy cups or sleep in any fancy bed with 5,000 thread count sheets.  Nope, cuz he’s home.

When I first moved back West and was in funky adjust mode (remember?), my mom hugged me and said “This will always be your home”.  I get it, I love it, and I’m finally grateful for it and a bit embarrassed that I wasn’t before.  Home is safe.  A time to rest, restore, and just be.

I don’t know what’s next or where’s next ha, but I feel it coming in my spirit and so I’m just embracing this time at all of my places with my lifers – individuals that I have allowed and hence chosen to remain in my life forever.

Not once has my coming in or going out not been blessed. The Lord is faithful. He’s always granted me the necessary quality time and/or conversations with people before launching me to the next destination.  I’ve never ever left thinking “aww man…” or feeling like “If only I had the chance to…”.  Nope, His timing is perfect.

 

I’m crying because I’ve felt this before.  I’ve experienced this before.  I know what’s happening.  This will soon be a much cherished moment, again.  Glory be to God for having a plan.  And thank you wisdom for teaching me how to stick to it despite my fleshly desires.

What do ya know, I’ve had my own place all along.  I have learned that it is not until the moment of realization of whatever that needs to realized, that it actually exists.  Everything up until that point is just in the atmosphere.  Not until you grasp the dangling truth (because it is there) is it true for you.  And, when it is, no one can steal it.  I’m so grateful for God’s timing and faithfulness.

So, all that being said, it feels sooo good to be home and it always will everytime I return.  I can honestly say I’m ready for my next chapter.  Le’go!

[Enter title here] #Transition

This morning I actually did cry out of frustration. Ay yi yi…enough with the ups and downs already! This is weird. I promise I’m not pregnant.

I’m realizing that some topics are sensitive for me and so, off limits with me or very limited in discussion and that’s depending on the person — geesh. I’m annoying myself! I’m introverted remember, so I’m pretty much telling you all of the stuff that isn’t bursting out! Besides that “Hell No!” from last week of course, ha. But yea…

I’ve been slowly unpacking boxes (not all of them), and my mom makes a chipper comment followed by a smile, “Uh oh, the boxes are shrinking down!” I was instantly annoyed. I know she’s happy, but I don’t wanna hear that. I am in no way thrilled that the boxes are shrinking down lol. In fact, I would love it if I didn’t have to open any of them so that when I get the green light to exit this casa I’m ready to go lol. On a lighter note, Ladybug has arrived and has made me smile. Maybe it’s ’cause it’s like a big mobile souvenir of a life I was proud and working great at prior to interruption. My dad drove it and said it drove great and could probably make it just fine driving across country. My eyes lit up. Don’t test me Paw!! haha. Anyway…

Besides the adjustment with that. I’ve been upset about a few things. I’m appalled that some things just have not changed. Things that are long overdue yo! Not in the city (the city has actually changed a lot – it’s what cities do), but some of the people, not so much. The ones that have, it’s so beautiful and makes me feel good about moving somewhere else (like they’ll be okay), but the ones that haven’t make me wanna vomit. I’m tired of the same ‘ol same ‘ol issues and behaviors. It’s like while I was gone and growing and changing, homie what the heck were you doing over here?! Moving and shaking so you wouldn’t have to think about what it is you know you needed to do?! Just going through the motions?? Are you gonna be the same way next year?! I’m hoping they were growing and changing in ways I hadn’t yet noticed. I’m hoping. It sure doesn’t seem like it though.

It makes me think of when Jesus said…

He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. – Matt. 10:40

Maybe that’s why the Lord moved me to the east coast…some of the people here on the west (not all of them) weren’t receiving me (or all of me) and so the Lord saw it fit to move me to a place where they would. Where I was both needed and received and in the process multi-tasked and did some miracles of a work in me as well; typical. I’m just thinking. Maybe some of those west coast peeps are ready now and I’m better prepared to reach them in a way I couldn’t before. I’m kind of an outsider now. I don’t really feel like I belong, and I’m seeing some things that I didn’t see before. Who knows, but I know my God is a God of second and fifth chances, He’ll sometimes do and allow anything to happen to win a soul…and one is worth much, and well, He loves me.

Hell No! #Respect #Boldness #Profanity

It’s nearly 4:45 p.m. (PST) and I’m waiting for my car to ship between the hours of 1-4 p.m. …ha! I know -__-

Any way…

I just popped in to tell you that I’m surprising myself lately.  I’m bolder, more assertive.  It’s like it was always in me but something about this move is making it finally rise to the surface.  I can dig it.  I can dig it, forever.  Let me give you an example…

The other day I asked to borrow my mom’s car…she let me and as I was heading out the door and saying “see ya later” to everyone, my dad jokingly asked, “Well, aren’t you gonna ask me if you can go somewhere?” I laughed and jokingly belted out a “Hell No!”.  Hahahaha…I’m laughing all over again as I re-tell the story.   It’s funny for a couple of reasons.  1) It was awkwardly uncalled for (I ended up telling a story afterwards in attempt to make it less awkward before heading out LOL..ay yi yi) and 2) Because if you know me, I’m not really one to curse and so when I do it’s usually hilarious or shocking…I’d have to categorize this as weird.

The thing is, I know, and someone else in the room could have very well recognized that that statement came from somewhere deep within.  I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful (and they know me well enough to know that), but…it kinda was.  I don’t care how old I get, when my dad or any elder asks me something, I do not plan on responding “Hell No!” lol.  Nonetheless, I am indeed grateful for that moment.  It feels good to be me.  It feels good to say no, and well, “Hell No!” It weaseled in and set a tone like no other.  I am really feelin’ this gift of holy boldness and I’m certain that I’m gonna need this me for the path that I’m on. Give me a couple of months, and I’ll have it all balanced and under control.

Continue to lift me up!  Until then, I might just yell “Hell No!” to a checker asking me if I’d like paper or plastic simply because I can and don’t want either one.  Oh wait, they only ask that in Virginia :(..waaah!

Just kidding 🙂 (about the crying part)