life and living, Uncategorized

“Why I’ve Decided to Follow My Dreams”

Do you have dreams? Do you want to follow them? While the demands of life, or even the decisions we make, may alter the pursuit of our dreams, either partially, or entirely, it is important to remember that each person was born with a unique set of gifts, talents, abilities and desires for his or her life— I call these desires dreams. And I believe that at some point in a person’s life, he, or she, should seek to live out those dreams (as long as they are positive and not detrimental to one’s own well-being, or the well-being of others).

It was after my brief stint in the corporate world that I decided that I really needed to follow my dreams. I hated everything about the corporate sector (except my paycheck), and I knew that I needed a change of pace. This decision was also driven by the fact that after I had invested the time, money and effort toward earning a college education, developing my professional skills, abilities and portfolio, building my social and professional networks, and following all the other steps and directions needed to realize the American Dream, I soon realized that I was not fulfilled trying to pursue someone (or something) else’s dream and that I needed to realize my own dreams— the dreams which were birthed inside me.

Also, be mindful that the pursuit of your dreams does not have to involve your job, or vocation. It could be a hobby, or just something you always wanted to do, or traveling to some place you’ve always wanted to go. I always tell people that the best way to follow your dreams is to not live life recklessly and to have a plan— because your dream needs a plan. And your life needs a plan.

So, here are five reasons why I’ve decided to follow my dreams.

Reason #1: I’m good at the things I dream about doing.

More often than not, it’s the things which we are good at which encourage us to dream about doing them as much as possible. And in my own life, I’ve found that the things I’m good at also tend to be the things I would do all day and every day if I could. Moreover, as I work at these things, I get better and better.

READ MORE: Do What You’re Good At, Not What You Love (Huffington Post)

Reason #2: It’s a great pleasure.

Someone once told me to keep the corporate job I hated because somehow, it would make me “better”. And “…by the way…” the person told me, “…most people don’t like their jobs anyway, so it’s life”. But my life doesn’t have to be that way, so I’ve decide to do and be all that I need to do and be in order to realize my dreams— that was a mouthful!

I also want to share that hating your job can add to stress and general discontentment to your life. And studies have proven that stress and discontentment can have a negative effect on your health. It’s understandable that sometimes we have to do what we have to do and take jobs we may not care for, but (and especially) if you don’t have to work in a position you hate, then take my advice and don’t do it!

READ MORE: How Stress Affects Your Health (Health.com)

Reason #3: It helps me to focus.

Doing what’s necessary to realize my dreams helps me to plan my life in such a way that I apply the appropriate amount of time, ability, energy and resources needed to make my dreams a reality. It helps me to not waste these, and other valuable resources, on unnecessary pursuits.

READ MORE: 9 Awesome Ways to Inspire Others (Entrepreneur Magazine)

Reason #4: It inspires others.

Greatness is radiant. It reflects off the person who committed himself to achieving that goal, idea, or feat, which distinguished him from others. Greatness is excellence. I want the realization of my dreams to influence someone else to pursue his, or her, own dreams. Moreover, I want to realize my greatest potential in every area of my life so that when others look on me, or think of me, they’ll be inspired to pursue and realize their greatest potential, too. (Please note that greatness, excellence and perfection are three different things.)

READ MORE: 19 Reason to Ignore Everybody and Follow Your Dreams (GloboTreks)

Reason #5: It’s time.

I’ve worked enough boring and dead-end jobs, which had little (immediate) financial value to me. But, I do acknowledge that I did gain some social and hands-on skills and experiences which have proven beneficial to my life.)

Moreover, each day I have the privilege to live, I get older. So I have to resist the urge to waste time, and invest my time, talent, energies and resources into the things can benefit me, and which are important toe— like being self-employed, studying dance and martial arts, traveling the world, and supporting local charities and community causes.

If I allow procrastination, uncertainty, fear, lack or worry to delay the progress of the fruition of my dreams, then I would be wasting the time, talent, energy and all other resources I already have in my possession which I could use to realize my dreams.

What are your dreams?

READ MORE: 11 Reasons Why It’s Important to Follow Your Dreams (Lifehack)

Books & Reading, Poetry and Prose, Some Other Stuff, Uncategorized

The TDarris Blog is Under Construction // Buy My Book— it’s Only 99 Cents :-)

A better site, with better content, and features is coming soon! In the meantime, buy my book :)— here’s the link https://www.amazon.com/Ingenue-Stuff-Wrote-Heart-Book-ebook/dp/B01JVS6XZW

Fitness, Goals, Health and Wellness, Lifestyle & Culture, Self-Management, Uncategorized

I’m a Vegetarian— for a week ;)

So, among other things, I decided to be a vegetarian this week, and to see how I feel about continuing this interesting lifestyle next weekend. I want to see how a few simple changes in my life can make big and positive changes. I expect to post the results on next Sunday. Even if I don’t decided to continue to be a vegetarian, I have decided that I will consume a mostly plant-based diet. But, my goal is to eventually become a vegetarian— the reasons for which I expect to discuss at a later time.

This decison was inspired by other people’s good and bad health experiences as a direct result of their diets and lifestyles, and my personal battle with sickness which had lasted several years. (I expect to share more about my story at a later time.) I have watched people change their diets to live some very wholesome and healthy lives, and I want to continually the same “healthy and active lifestyle” I enjoyed not long ago.

I will be combining my vegetarian diet with daily cardio, and some strength training, body weight and kettlebell workouts throughout each week. (I can post my actual routines later this week, or next week.) And, if you’re wondering what exactly I’ll be eating, just know that I have lots of dark, leafy vegetables, apples, lemons, carrots, snap peas, and chocolate almond milk to accompany my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have lots of other fresh fruits and vegetables, and a Women’s vitamin supplement and Super B Complex from Garden of Life. So, I’m covered in the nutrition department.

I’m not “sick” anymore, and I’m no longer bewildered and at a standstill in my life concerning what I’ve been through. So, it’s time to get moving, and to take control of my health— and my life— again.

Hopefully, my story will help and encourage someone else to bounce back after infirmity, challenges and difficulty.

Before I was sick, one of my “hobby-goals” was to be a certified fitness trainer so that I could help others to realize their firness goals in my freetime. That goal still hums in my heart, and someday, I expect to accomplish it. I also expect to return to the dance studio to continue to study, perform and teach dance, participate in marathons, and to continue to live the healthy, active lifetsyle I’ve enjoyed most of my life— and, I will.

I’ll eventually start posting my stats and progress photos. I’m using my Fitbit equipment to track my performance and progress. I have a FitBit Aria scale, and a Zip and Charge HR tracker to help me along the way.

Here’s to good health, moving around and healthy living!

So, tell me your story. What are your health and/or fitness goals, and what are you doing to make them a reality in your life? Post your responses in the comments section, or under my post for this at Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Bible, Book Reviews, Books & Reading, Christianity, Opinion & Commentary, Reviews, Society and Culture, Uncategorized

Book Review: “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit” by A.W. Tozer

61ltk5gsbel-_ux250_I received A.W. Tozer’s “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit” from Moody Publishers.

This book holds another poignant message which challenges the Christian to attend another meditative self-review of his, or her, innermost values, and desires, so that he, or she, may realize the degree of importance to which he, or she, holds the personal relationship to, and with, God. In the first chapter, entitled, “Who is the Holy Spirit?”, Tozer begins by first distinguishing the difference between the natural world and the spirit world.

Then, in chapter two (“The Promise of the Father”), Tozer provides a brief, but constructive, introduction to the Holy Spirit as he describes His origin, role, and purpose, as a member of the Holy Trinity (or, Godhead) and as God in the Christian’s life. Tozer is clear in his description of the Holy Spirit even as he establishes the fact that the Christian must depend totally upon the Holy Spirit in order to effectively live for Jesus Christ.

Next, in the third chapter, entitled, “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit”, Tozer explains how the Christian can be filled with the Holy Spirit— but after he asks seven vital questions:

  1. Is the Spirit-filled life for you (pg. 40)?
  2. Can you believe this part (i.e., to be Spirit-filled) is part of God’s plan (pg. 41)?
  3. Can you believe the Spirit is loveable (pg. 42)?
  4. Can you believe this is scriptural (pg. 43)?
  5. Do you want to be filled (pg. 44)?
  6. Do you want Him to be Lord of your life (pg. 46)?
  7. Are you sure you need Him (pg. 48)?

It is after the position of these questions, and some insightful commentary, that Tozer explains how to receive the Holy Spirit by referencing the Holy Bible:

  1. Present you Body to Him (Romans 12:1 – 2).
  2. Ask to be filled (Luke 11:9 – 13 and Psalms 2:8).
  3. Obey the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32).
  4. Have faith in God (Galatians 3:2).

Finally, Tozer explains how to cultivate the Spirit’s companionship as he cites the scripture, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3).” Perhaps Tozer’s statement (on page 56) not only summarizes Chapter 4 (i.e., “How to Cultivate the Spirit’s Companionship”), but it also harmonizes the message of this entire book:

“I don’t want to say this, but I think that some of you may not be ready for the message because you are more influenced by the world than you are by the New Testament. I am perfectly certain that I could rake up fifteen boxcar loads of fundamentalist Christians this hour in the city of Chicago who are more influenced in their whole outlook by Hollywood than they are by the Lord Jesus Christ. I am positive that much that passes for the [G]ospel in our day is very little more than a very mild case of orthodox religion grafted onto a heart that is sold out to the world in its pleasures and tastes and ambitions (1952).”

In this final chapter, Tozer also presents six important things which Christians must do in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit after he poses one important question (on page 54)— “Are you ready for this?”

After this question, Tozer enumerates some of the blessings and benefits of allowing the Holy Spirit to take on His rightful role in the Christian’s life. Then, Tozer lists the six important things which the Christian must either remember, or do, if he, or she, is ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit:

  1. The Holy Spirit is a living Person [therefore, the Christian must relate to the Holy Spirit as the Person He is] (pg. 57).
  2. Be engrossed with Jesus Christ (pg. 58).
  3. Walk in righteousness (pg. 59).
  4. Make your thoughts a clean sanctuary (pg. 60).
  5. Seek to know him in the Word (pg. 61).
  6. Cultivate the art of recognizing the presence of the Spirit (pg. 63).

So, to summarize this book, Tozer is explaining that while a Christian can have sincerely accepted and received the free gift of salvation offered to all by the Self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ, it is also possible for that same Christian to not be filled by the Holy Spirit, and as a result, miss out on a very intimate, life-changing and wholesome experience with the One whom Jesus promised would be our “Comforter” , and the One who would teach us all that we would need to know after Jesus ascended to the Father in Heaven (John 16:7).

This is another one of Tozer’s works which I have added to my personal library, and I highly recommend that Christians who wish to know how they can live out their purpose read this book. Tozer’s message can help the seeking Christian to understand that the Christian already has a purpose (Isaiah 43:7)—- the Christian just needs to know God’s plan for his, or her, life so that living out that purpose can be done (Jeremiah 29:11 – 13). But, this is done by cultivating an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Tozer’s fearless assessment and rebuke of the modern Church’s seemingly mass abstention from the influence and leadership of the Holy Spirit, and its widely evident conformity to many of the world’s ways and attitudes, further encourages me to take greater critical self-assessment in order to truly understand my personal need for more of the Holy Spirit’s influence and leadership in my life, and I hope this book encourages other Christians to do the same.

Books & Reading, Lifestyle & Culture, Poetry and Prose, Publishing, Uncategorized

How to Make a Chapbook

Here’s a great way to make a handmade poetry chapbook using the YourStory thermal book binder (and laminating) machine. This was the first time I had used a thermal machine of this sort to make books. Prior to this I’ve only used a glue gun, or just made books using the “saddle stich” (or, staple bound) method.

Moreover, I made this video using the WeVideo mobile app. I’m trying to gain skills making good quality videos using mobile apps, and of course, my Nikon video camera and video software.

Books & Reading, Essays and Articles, Uncategorized

2016 Summer Reading List

School’s out, it’s summer time, and it’s time to do some reading! In addition to my “required” readings for some publishing companies, I plan to read books by some highly respected authors, movers and shakers. For each book I read, I will write and publish a review. The following is a list of the authors and their works:

Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Strength to Love (1963)
  • Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958)
  • The Trumpet of Conscience (1968)
  • Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)
  • Why We Can’t Wait (1963)

Why MLK, Jr.? Because anyone who can use Jesus’ teaching to lead a movement which impacted a nation and the world probably has some ideas and information which I need for myself in order to make me a better person in every way. To learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s writings, see his bibliography on the King Center’s website at http://www.thekingcenter.org/books-bibliography#BookMLK

A.W. Tozer

  • God’s Pursuit of Man
  • How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit (currently reading)
  • Tozer for the Christian Leader
  • The Pursuit of God
  • Paths to Power
  • Prayer

In April 2016, I read A.W. Tozer’s book entitled, “Prayer”. This was the first book I’ve read by Tozer. You can read my summary of this book, and the impression it made on me by reading my book review here on the TDarris Blog, or by visiting Amazon.com.

Tozer’s ability to teach subjects with enough detail and concision to help the reader to get an informative introduction to a subject is one of the reasons why I’ve added A.W. Tozer to my 2016 Summer Reading List. Another major reason is because he teaches essential biblical concepts which seem to be missing from much of what is considered to be “Christian” teaching and preaching in today’s society. Morevoer, he teaches with the intent to inform, correct and influence people for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Robert Johnston

“Jesus Called – He Wants His Church Back: What Christians and the American Church are Missing”

I am reading this book for a publisher, and will post this book to my blog and on retailer websites. In the review, I will share my impressions of this book, in addition to an overall summary.

If I have the time (this summer) I want to read books by…

Robert Greene

During my days as an intern, a former co-worker introduced me to “Power” by Robert Greene. She explained to me that I should read it because the book highlighted and detailed some of the major characteristics, strategies and related works of some major historical figures and how their characteristics and strategies could be used in daily situations in career, education and other personal and professional pursuits. So, I did some research on Robert Greene and his popular book, and I discoverred that he had give books in which he explored similar topics. I’ve purchased “Power”, and after I finish that book, I plan to read his other four book. So, here Robert Greene’s books:

  • Power
  • Mastery
  • The Art of Seduction
  • The 33 Strategies of War
  • The 50th Law

This summer, I’ll be reading these books while I’m studying for my teacher certification exam, managing two organizations, researching, reading, writing, editing, narrating and publishing poetry and prose, exercising a whole lot (!), and studying dance amongst other things. So, I’m giving myself 12 weeks to completly read all of these books, and to write and publish a review for each one.

Other books I want to read this fall:

  • The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • The World As I See It by Albert Einstein
  • Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
  • Gandhi: An Autobiography – The Story of My Experiements with Truth
  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois
  • Narrative of the Life and Works of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom
  • The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

What’s on your summer reading list? I’d love to know! Please share in the comments section, or let me know on Instagram or Twitter @TDarris.

Challenges, Communication & Relationships, Education and Career, Leading & Serving, Uncategorized

My 28 Teachers

Over the course of one semester, 28 children gave me nuggets of wisdom which I will never forget, and will use to make me a better [future] wife, [future] mother, daughter, sister, aunt, woman, person, etc.

In short, while I taught this group of energetic and, often, rambunctious of first graders, I also spent this time as a curious student learning a little about what it means to be a teacher, student, mother, mentor, leader and advocate. These beautiful children taught me endless lessons on mercy and grace, justice, fairness, accountability, acceptance and rejection, forgiveness, compassion and love.

I am proud to have taught them! And I am proud that they [unknowingly] taught me each day. And, perhaps, the fact that they don’t seem to realize that they were, indeed, teaching me is something which also amazes me!

I am drafting an essay about these experiences so that I may detail the things I’ve learned during this semester. I also want to share some of my personal and professional views on how public schools could be managed in order to more effectively educate their students’ needs— especially schools which serve students from underprivileged socioeconomic backgrounds.

For now, I just want to say that children are excellent teachers in their own way. And, when we interact, observe and hear them, we can learn how to be better people for ourselves and for others.