February’s theme has been about LOVE and today’s Author Interview talks all about it. Shivawn Mitchell is an Author, Business Owner and Life and Vision Coach. Her book Rewrite Your Story is available today!
Write the vision and make it plain…In business, I have learned the importance of having a vision. The results that I have seen since writing one over a year ago, have pushed me to develop one in all aspects of my life. It is important to understand not only where you are going but also how you intend to get there. Your vision plan should be detailed, including the methods you intend to utilize in order to accomplish each objective. One must also be able to communicate this verbally in a clear and concise manner. In business, we often refer to this as an elevator speech. An elevator speech sums up the vision for your business in 3-5 minutes; it provides the listener with enough information to paint a picture and desire more. You should also be able to do this in your personal life.
Over dinner with friends, I had mentioned to them my “five minute rule”. In five minutes or less, as a single woman/man, you should know if a person is worth another five minutes of your time. How you might ask? Well in five minutes, if a person has a personal vision, they should be able to comunicate that to you. Rattling off ten hobbies is not going to cut it, everyone should have a career objective or goal in mind. The things which a person is involved in should lead them to that particular goal. Whether the current job they hold is for the purpose of saving to return to school to obtain the job they desire, it should all add up. But you only get 5 minutes, so make sure you have the appropriate equation before I begin adding and subtracting.
As a single mother, I have found that writing the vision for my family can be difficult. I have five little ones and I am responsible for ensuring that they grow to be responsible and positive contributions to society. My children are getting older, I am finding it necessary to make sure that as a family we are all on the same page. The most important decision was allowing God to have full reign in my home. “Train up a child in the way he should go…”. Establishing a routine is also important, children do better when they know what is expected. I am also making sure to define roles. Someone once said, “you have to live the life you want your children to live. Each day I wake, I have to be sure that I am demonstrating peace, joy, love, hardwork and faithfulness. These are the ingredients that are preserving our family.
2012 will be the revealing and pursuing of many life goals and hearts desires. I’m focused, my family is in good health and vision has been written for this appointed time. We survived the worst, the best is on its way…We are more than conquerers.
Happy New Year!!!
We have all experienced setbacks. But it is something about hitting a place that all you can do is look up. From that place, one suddenly realizes that the setbacks were setting you up to be a testiment of God’s faithfulness and bring glory to His name. Brian Anderson-Payne (BAP) had come to that crossed-road and he talks about it in this interiew.
1. What inspired you to write Failure Ain’t Final?
I wrote Failure Ain’t Final because after facing my own failures, I couldn’t find anything to assur me that I wasn’t alone or the only one to ever feel like I felt. Basically, the project started as a journal of my own thoughts.
2. How long did the entire project take to complete?
Failure Ain’t Final took about 3-6 months, but that was because I wasn’t always consistent with my writing.
3. Did you ever consider giving up? What kept you motivated/inspired?
Yes, I was often tempted to give up, but giving up would have left no one to tell my story. Knowing that others needed what I had to say kept me motivated.
4. What “failures” have you faced in life and how did you overcome them?
As somewhat of an ‘official’ in organized religion, marital failures or spiritual breakdowns aren’t really tolerated too well. When a minister has a child out of wedlock, that’s typically the end of the line. One of two things happens. Enough people give up on you that you have no one to inspire or you believe the things they say and simply give up on yourself. As far as how the failures or at least the perception and feeling of the failures was overcome, I can’t honestly give a formula. For a long while, it was enough to just wake up in the morning and get out of bed. Sometimes, you’ve suffered so badly that you’re not able to quickly jump into ‘fix it’ mode. Sometimes you have to just catch your breath. THEN, when you’ve endured the darkest part, you’re able to start thinking about what needs to be done to right these wrongs. After a long time, I was able to start telling myself to accept responsibility for my actions, put my big boy pants on and deal with the mess that I had created. As time went on, I became stronger and more determined to put my life back together again.
5. How would you define success?
Success means different things to each of us. One size doesn’t fit all. For me, success is reaching the goals that the negative voices in my head say can’t be reached. Quite honestly, I’m successful right now! I do what I love doing and what I know I was created to do. However, I wish to do it on a much larger platform & I’d like to be paid quite a bit more money for it! It took me a long time to realize ‘I’m there”! I’m well aware that many of us are often ‘there’, but we simply don’t realize it because we don’t see the things that we’re told success is supposed to look like. We search for the big four. The car, the house, the job, the spouse. The only problem is that many have chased the car only to get it and find out that there was still a void. That’s because those things are just (for many) the FACE of success.
6. What words of encouragement would you give to a new writer/author?
Its kind of simple, really. If you’re a new writer, WRITE!
7. What words of encouragement would you give to someone on the verge of giving up?
Now, I’m kind of raw, so my answers won’t be as politically correct as others! Lol. I say, if you CAN give up, give up. Go find that thing that you love doing so much that you’re not able to give up! If writing’s your passion, you can throw your pen away, and burn your paper, but you’ll never quit. You’ll only end up wasting valuable time. I’m a public speaker. I get frustrated and quit every year – right before I start again! If you can quit, quit. Otherwise, wipe your tears & keep it moving.
8. Who is your favorite author?
Probably John Maxwell.
9. What was the most recent book you read?
PROSPER by Ethan Willis and Randy Garn.
10. What is one of you favorite quotes from your book?
“Failure is the place where God proves you didn’t earn His love anyway!”
11. Are you working on any current projects?
Yes. The Fialure Ain’t Final Movement is an event that touches troubled youth with practical demonstrations of the principles found in the book.
12. What can we expect next from T-Bapp Publishing?
There are two more books coming at’cha in 2012, as well as more touring to support the projects.
13. What keeps you grounded?
I don’t want to be cliché and say my faith in God keeps me grounded because I had faith in God when I experienced my catastrophes! I think it’s God allowing me to discover my true self and the fact the attaining of my goals ultimately lies in my hand and the need to make wise decisions that keeps me grounded.
14. What is one part of the writing process that you dreaded?
I dread the writing! Lol. I’m much more of a speaker than a writer.
15. What was one of the first thoughts you had when you first held a copy of your book in your hand? How did you feel?
Failure Ain’t Final is my second book. My first book was “The Music of The Message”. However, both times, I saw the UPS man coming and I forced them to watch me open to box to pull out the book! I can’t articulate the feeling that accompanies seeing your blood, sweat and tears on paper.
16. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer/author?
I never knew I wanted to be an author. My first book was written because I wanted to explain the biblical background to the songs on my CD. I didn’t want someone else to try to explain what I meant. I knew I was a song writer, but I discovered I was an author.
17. What is your favorite hobby?
I’m a learner. I think I could sit and watch people for hours.
To find out more about this Author, The Bapp Project and to get a copy of Failure Ain’t Final…visit, www.failureaintfinal.com
Are you a runner? No, not a runner referring to exercise but someone who in the face of difficulty retreats. When life is chasing you down to teach you a lesson do you run? “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” (Jonah 1:3, 4 KJV) How long will you run?
I spent the earlier part of my young adult years running. When things didn’t go the way I wanted, I retreated. I never took the time to understand the choices that I was making or why I made them. All I knew is that I didn’t want to deal with the consequences. Because of my need to always run, it seemed like life constantly bounced me to and fro. Well it’s funny how things change.
I have been planted right where God wants me for the next three years. Almost two years ago when tragedy struck my home, it was the first time that I was not in a position to pack up and run. All I could do was surrender. My surrender released me to walk into my purpose. I must say that I have been walking by faith and not by sight ever since.
Trust and believe that there is no situation or circumstance that God has not seen and that he can’t deliver you from. Stop running from and run to the only One who can ease the load and lift the burden. He is waiting on you. “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7 KJV)
“Healing through the written word happens when people learn about themselves and open themselves to the healing power within.”
Have you ever just poured your heart out, like literally wrote from that place of pain or vulnerability? Have you ever come across those words written and could remember when but couldn’t remember why? Did you feel as if the pain of yesterday had been left on the paper so you could breath today? Well, I seem to write from that place every time I pick up my pen and allow my heart to take over. Writing is my healing…words have the power to heal and I am Healing Through Writing.
This year, I was part of a writing challenge that WordPress conducted. I was challenged to write a post a week or choose to write a post per day. I chose the latter even though at times I shocked myself and wrote more. But I noticed that the challenge benefitted me in ways that I would have never imagined.
- I was able to share my Faith.
- My writing skills have improved.
- I was able to process some things that occured this year in a way that kept me grounded and focused.
- I was forced to look at the brighter side of things.
- I exceeded the number of page views and traffic that my blog had in the first year.
- Lastly, I have quite a few more regular readers.
So for 2012, I am starting my own challenge and would love for you to join in with me. It is the Healing Through Writing Challenge. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11 KJV) I have quite a few followers that have come to me about writing books and also starting blogs, well here is your chance to start sharing your story and creating your platform.
This endeavor also goes right along with a new project that I will be starting in 2012, Healing Through Writing, RN series. I hope you will join me.
The challenge will be to post a blog per week. Also, find at least 5 blogs to visit regularly and leave comments on. You can also check out my blogroll for some of the blogs that I visit often. I guarantee this is going to be a rewarding experience. You may not feel comfortable with sharing what you have written, but share the experience and the process.
Please leave the link to your blog in the comments and when you tweet your links use #HealingThroughWriting. Someone is waiting on your words to help encourage, inspire and heal them. I show my scars so others know they too can heal.
“Someone has to survive the storm in order to tell someone else how to weather the storm…” ~ Rhachelle Nicol’
Lord I’ve done it again. I’ve taken my focus off from you and I am looking at my circumstance from a front row seat. You told me to cast all my cares on you but sometimes I feel the need to pick them back up. I find myself saying, “If I just do this, fix that or change something else, everything will fall in place”. I question the place or the position you have set me in during this season. But I am recognizing that whatever place you set me in, your grace is sufficient.
The other night, I dreamed from the moment I close my eyes until I opened them. I almost did not want to wake up. My dream was real; I was doing exactly what God had placed on my heart to do. It is not very often that I dream like this or am even able to recall but something about this dream was different. I saw myself in the future. I saw myself the way God sees me, doing the work that he has called me to do. I wasn’t worried and there was no stress, everything was falling into place. I know this is God’s way of speaking to me. Sometimes there is so much going on in my day to day life that I can’t stop to see the many blessings that are before me.
I have added a few words here and there to this particular post for the past few weeks. The title came to me a while ago, but the words just didn’t seem to come out right. You see some of the things that I have been working on have been falling into place but I have been falling apart. I have become my worst critic, speaking my own defeat and not maintaining my focus. Where at one point being transparent was not an issue, I have found myself once again hiding behind accomplishments and titles. I read a blog post on this evening titled Break Me Down and it did just that.
I had moved from that place of transparency, that place of healing where I felt so free to pour out my heart and God always filled it with so much love and joy. When I picked back up my cares, I told God that I trusted my judgement more than his, which left no room for transparency. I am at My Place of Grace…I am thanking God for showing me my heart. It is through transparency the place from which I write and speak that penetrates the hearts of those that are hurting. It is that place that brings light to a dark situation. It is that place from which I can tell someone to keep pushing on because God is giving me the strength to do the same. It is that place from which testimonies and triumphs are born.
I am at My Place of Grace…
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Hebrews 5:8
Imagine being given a gift and leaving it unopened; not realizing its value. You pass by this gift so often that you begin not to even pay it any attention. Until you come to the point of regifting, you may have done this before, passing a gift off to a friend. You watch your friend open the gift that has been in your possession all this time and he/she is blown away. Its something they have never had but have always wanted, something far precious for words to even describe, but they recognize its value.
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one: to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” Matthew 25:14-15 We have all been entrusted with a gift or talent from God. While he is preparing his kingdom in heaven we are to be adding to the kingdom on earth awaiting his return. A talent represents our abilities, time, resources and opportunities to serve God while on earth. How are you making use of your time? Time is a seed, where you sow it determines what is produced. Are you like the servant, who out a fear, went and hid his talent? Are you fearful of what people may say? Indeed, it is not an easy task to discover the gift that is within. It is easy to allow it to lay dormant. Then when we see someone else operating within the gift or talent we have, we ask God, why not me? But to whom much is given, much is required. A gift unwrapped, is just a box that is decorated on the outside that has no idea of its contents on the inside. It can’t be used and really holds no value.
The story of the servants is told multiple times in the gospels. In Luke 19:13 it reads, “And he called his ten servants and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, occupy till I come.” Occupy means to take up space or fill a period of time. The scripture was instructing the servants to fill the time and to use what God had given them faithfully. We are to do the same. The word “Occupy” has been used quite often with the latest efforts of grassroots organizations to bring attention to our economic conditions. In my opinion, it should be called, “Wait on Wall Street”. If we are to occupy something, we are to fill the time, make use of it, create opportunities, discover new resources, be innovative. We have put our faith in so many other things and lost sight of the One who is in control of all things. Find a way to use what God has put inside of you, that is your reasonable service. The condition of our economy does not dictate or determine how God will allow you to utilize your gift or talent. So much within you has yet to be unwrapped.
“For unto every one that hath shall be given and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Matthew 25:29
- Don’t Bury Your Talent (ministerioinfantilusa.com)
Do you ever find yourself so preoccupied with your future that you lose sight of the present? Seems like life is going in circles but no lessons are being learned. We worry more, do less and expect different outcomes. If I told you that this very moment was the only real moment, what would you do differently? Would you pick up the phone and talk to a family member or friend you hadn’t spoken to? Would you take the kids on that adventure you had been putting off? Why do we allow so many things to get in the way of our now?
Imagine if we only planned for our now, we would stop missing out on our future. Any keys that are going to unlock the doors of my future have to exist in my now. I must become a better steward of what I possess in my now in order for it to usher in my future.
I’m going to hold my children closer, say my prayers a lot longer and stand in a position of surrender. Surrendering my will to remove worry and doubt, making peace with my now and believing and trusting that God has the best future for me, planned better than I could ever force.
So as some of you may know, I am always up for a challenge when it comes to my writing. I push myself to the limit at times but I can definitely see the results. It has kept me motivated, focused and disciplined. So I have decided to take on the WNFIN Challenge (Write Non Fiction in November). This challenge consist of non fiction authors completing an ebook, book proposal, booklet, etc. Many of you have asked about my next book. Well it is coming soon. Though I may finish the writing, it will not be published until Spring 2012. Which also gives those who have not yet read Sunday Mourning, a chance to catch up.
After writing and self-publishing, Sunday Mourning, I knew I had a lot more in me to write, I just didn’t expect it to come so soon. But I have recognized writing as being my process through which God allows me to reflect, heal, grow and reach others. I write about the issues that most people allow to eat at them behind closed doors, suicide, emotional abuse, rejection, fear, etc. Each word that I write, I feel a weight lifted and an area of weakness healed.
The writing of Slaying My Goliath has begun. I have actually completed a chapter and started on another. Though I started this challenge a day late, I think I can still meet the deadline. I have blogged openly about my journey over the past year. I’ve had some ups and some downs but I have learned the lesson in some and realized I must dig deeper into others. Slaying My Goliath deals with those areas in our lives that we struggle with that are bigger and in some cases stronger than us. They try to take us down in one blow. They come to distract us and keep us stagnant in growth. Their goal is to keep us from getting to the next level in our purpose.
I am reminded of the story of David and Goliath. We all know the story. Goliath was a Philistine man of great stature and strength. His size and strength wound up being no match for David. David could have been easily distracted by Goliath’s size but David knew how great of a God he served. I am conquering my Goliath because greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.
What are some of your Goliaths? It’s time to take them down.
Finding your passion in life is a goal that many gaze at but only few are able to embrace fully and enjoy the rewards of its success. Zari Banks and Rhachelle Nicol’ have found their passions – to support and uplift mothers by coming alongside them and helping to lighten the load in any way possible. Join author Zari Banks in supporting Rhachelle Nicol’s mother-advocate organization Mother 2 Mother this November.
This Fall, Zari Banks is donating a portion of all proceeds from the sales of her books to Mother 2 Mother CDC in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother to Mother CDC is an agency that seeks to build relationships of accountability and Trust with all roads leading to love. Mother 2 Mother supports women by providing preventative services, mentoring programs and other types of assistance to mothers in the greater Las Vegas area.
Zari said helping mothers has always been a dream for her. “I’m a single mother, and even though I have college degrees, achieving the ‘American Dream’ is sometimes out of reach because there’s not enough to go around – not enough time, resources and sometimes, money. I’ve always wanted to start an organization like this one, and since Rhachelle has already done it, I can support other mothers while she mentors me.”
By purchasing any of Zari’s four titles – First Class Foolishness Vol. 1, First Class Foolishness Vol. 2, O Lord, Hear My Cry: A Book of Psalms Devotional and O Lord, Teach Me Your Ways: A Book of Proverbs Devotional – you’re making a difference in the lives of hundreds of mothers and children. Zari’s books can be purchased on Amazon.com, BN.com and at http://zwriteswords.weebly.com.
For more information contact Zari Banks at 520.591.5989 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.zwriteswords.weebly.com to order books today.
For additional information about Mother 2 Mother CDC call 702.538.3366 or visit www.mother2mother.me.