Before we stuff our faces with food and fellowship with family and friends. I wanted to express my thanks and gratitude for the things in my life.
My relationship with Jesus Christ. I have never been steered wrong with God’s love and guidance.
The love and support from my family. They put up with my madness and life and still love me unconditionally. They have been in my corner and continue to be there.
My Luna!! She is such a beautiful change in my life. She is more than a dog but the final piece of our family. I am so proud to be her auntie.
My health. From the top of my head to the soles of my feet, I am always blessed when I can function at my best each day.
My true friends. The people who I may not see n the daily but are one call away and when we get together, we can pick up where we left off. Also, they love me where I am and that is REAL.
My mentors. I can count on these real influencers who pour spiritual, academic, and mental knowledge and guidance into me. I value the people who have lived longer and experienced life and are willing to share their knowledge with me.
My talents (e.g. singing and blogging). Always thankful that I can make an impact for Jesus by sharing my gifts and talents with others. See also I Thank My God for Blissfully Bianca Fam.
2019. Through ups and downs of 2019, God has sustained me and kept me going. I am always growing and moving forward.
I am less than 48 hours away from my birthday. GAH!! I am feeling all kinds of excitement, sadness, anxiousness, nostalgia, and pride.
I wanted to share blissful, wise lessons I learned and continue to learn about myself. To paraphrase a great quote, it’s just fine being a masterpiece and a work of progress. And that is what I am. I am on this journey. I’m not perfect this side of heaven but I will be one day.
So let’s get started…
Serving is bigger than my personal comfort zone.
It is one of those lessons where self is not in serving. If I truly am serving for Christ, that means I have to be second. I have had to learn serving depends on your heart. I try to pray and check my heart because ultimately God called me to a particular assignment. Sometimes I do not want to serve because I don’t feel like it or it’s not the way I would do things, . But ultimately I know God would not put something in my path if He did not think I couldn’t do it. God has definitely been using my mom for “serving assignments.” It feels like my mom has an assignment cause she was talking to someone and they need help. My mom does tell the person, “I will ask my daughter.” But we all know this mommy’s girl will do it. But I truly believe God is teaching me what serving truly is and He continues to show me.
Unconventional moments are God’s preparation for something greater.
Still don’t have three letters behind my name YET. But 28 did still show me that I have knowledge to share and benefit others. I still have a Juris Doctor and my interest is in Immigration Law. I have experience to educate and help as a person with an advanced degree. With any individual I encounter with an immigration question, I try to educate them and myself by researching (but not practicing law…nothing illegal just answering questions). I am still keeping my skills up. I know I will be a licensed attorney but I also know that now is preparation for what is to come. No season is wasted even Year 28.
You have to work towards contentment if you are discontent.
Though my heart was broken that God closed a door after Bar Try #2, I really prayed and sought out why I am so discontent that where I want to be is not where God wants me to be. And God revealed that I am just going through the motions and not truly blooming where He wanted me to. So I started blogging more, started running (going on 2 months now), made a list of goals to enjoy myself this summer, and just started putting myself out there. You can’t complain and expect change. You have to go outside of yourself and really act.Like do something. If you’re bored, do something. If you’re not happy, make a change. It is a daily decision to act in contentment. Some days I did/still do not want to try because I thought “What’s the point!?!” But it was the Enemy and myself lying for me to go back to complaining and sulking in defeat. But like I said, it is a daily decision to try, to act no matter how small it is.
Sometimes you have to be still.
With conflict, with disappointment, with trouble, with difficulty, even with happiness. I have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and be still. My mom always tells me in any strife God will either change the situation or remove the situation. I have had to realize that sometimes it is not time to speak but let the situation play out. God’s got it.
Do not be ashamed of your journey.
Yup…learning that a lot. Yes, life is very different than what I expected. I wanted to be a licensed attorney living my best life in Florida. But God changed that plan and said not yet. But also He says, “I am not done with you yet. I have something for you. Wait on me.” I have had to pick my head up and say I am still worthy and I will get there. But sometimes people’s questions on my life makes me want to crawl in a hole because I belong there. It’s like I am joke and a failure to world because I am not there yet. Thankful for my family and true friends who combat my comments at how I am a failure with words of truth and encouragement. It is a struggle but I am growing and owning my story. God will and is using this narrative for someone or something down the line.
So, thanks 28 for the lessons. I will keep at it at 29 and beyond.
Did you know that June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month? Neither did I until now. This year marks the 14th celebration of National Caribbean American Heritage Month.
This idea came originated from Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies. This campaign caught the attention of Congress. In June 2005, the House of Representatives adopted H.Con. Res. 71 sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee recognizing the Caribbean people and their contribution to the United States. The resolution passed in the Senate and the Proclamation was issued by President George W. Bush on June 6, 2006.
My Caribbean Roots
I am the proud daughter of Haitian immigrants. Haiti Cherie!
The Rough Truth
To be honest, I was not about that Caribbean life growing up. I wanted to be as American as possible. I knew my parents spoke a different language. We had different food. We had different traditions. I wanted to eat McDonalds and American like food. I just wanted to be like my white friends who had the “right american” traditions. I stopped speaking Haitian Creole for a very long time. I had this mentality to be as “normal” as possible.
In my senior year in high school, for our Christmas concert, my choral director wanted us to sing this choral piece called “A Haitian Noel.” Really!?! Singing Haitian Creole!?! I tried to keep quiet about my cultural background quiet but when some students were mispronouncing words I just had to correct them.
“Wait, Bianca you know this language!?!”
“Uhhh..yes. My parents are Haitian.”
The truth is out!
Then my choir director asked me to ask my parents to help us and teach the class this song. My parents were shocked and elated when asked; they made a cassette tape of the lyrics for them (I know I’m old). I was even teaching the class too. What I thought made me odd made me special. We practiced so hard till it was perfected…for a high school chamber choir.
My dad’s work schedule made him miss my choral performances but he took the night off for this concert. I was SO nervous because we would be performing this in front of my parents. But we did it! My parents said they loved it and it meant the world to them to hear their culture represented. My dad actually has the song on his iPhone and still listens it today. I had the chance to thank my choir director for the opportunity to showcase my culture and light the spark.
The Trip of A Lifetime
Only God could have orchestrated my mission trip to Haiti.
In January 12, 2010, our family, along with the world, was in shock over the earthquake that destroyed and killed thousands. We were calling family wondering if everyone was ok. For the most part, everyone was ok but there was damage. My mom already left in March 2010 for a medical missions trip. But there was still a hurt for a country I had never been to.
I finished my sophomore year of college. I was planning on summer school and being home for summer for a little. My campus pastor told me about a last minute short-term mission trip to Haiti. It was paid for by SendMeNow Missions through the Georgia Baptist Convention. All I had to do was get my vaccinations and say yes. My parents had told me for most of my life it’s too dangerous for me to go and when I am older I can go. So I made a deal with God that if He wants me to go, I need to have my parents’ blessing and support. And they gave me their blessing and support.
I went with a great group of people to do vacation bible school and sports camps for the kids. Still friends with them to this day.
It was eye-opening seeing everything. My parents’ stories of Haiti hit me like a ton of bricks. The marketplace, school children walking miles to school, tap taps (their version of transit), dust, smoke, poverty, destruction from the earthquake, no sewer system, women carrying crops on their heads, churches with walls and tarp, and more.
It was then where I understood where my parents were coming from. They grew up with little but survived it. They came to the states with dreams and for their children to have access to everything from an education to clean water.
I had a renewed sense of pride to be a representation of a Haitian American.
I’m proud of my Haiti. No matter what the media or society believes, Haiti is a resilient group of people. We were the first black republic and first independent Caribbean country. Yup…Haiti Cherie!
I love my rice and beans, fried plantains, pate (Haitian patties), Diri ak djon don (black mushroom rice), soup joumou (squash soup eaten New Year’s Day), Legim (like a stir-fry of vegetables), Pikliz (like a spicy coleslaw), and many more.
I love my flavorful spices. I am allergic to bland food. I have been too blessed and spoiled.
And God still dwells in the Haitian people. Christian Haitians have such a light and love for the Word. If you think you will “save” them, you will be blessed by them. And no, not all Haitian people practice voodoo…just sayin.
Caribbean Contribution to America
Just to name a few Caribbean people and their value to the American experience…
Jean Baptiste du Sable (Haiti), the “Founder of Chicago”
Sidney Poitier (Bahama descent), first African-American actor recipient of an Oscar for Best Actor
James Weldon Johnson (Bahama descent), Author of the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing)
Oscar de La Renta (Dominican Republic), fashion designer
Malcolm X (mother from Grenada)
Harry Belafonte (Jamaica/Martinique), civil rights activist and singer
Colin Powell (Jamaica), first black U.S. Secretary of State
John Russwurm (Jamaica), first black editor of a U.S. newspaper and one of the first three blacks to graduate from a U.S. college
Alexander Hamilton (St. Kitts & Nevis), first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
Dr. William Thornton (Virgin Islands), physician and architect who designed the U.S. Capitol
And the list goes on…
The Pride Is Real
No matter what Caribbean country a person is from, WE MATTER! We are part of the construction and greatness of America.
We are beautiful, smart, resourceful, and diverse. I love meeting and relating with my other Caribbean brothers and sisters. We have similar stories, struggles, stereotypes, concerns, and passions.
In the great words of God, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14).
A father is a hard position. A man who takes care of his responsibilities and provides for his family without complaining. A man who guides the family financially, physically, and spiritually. It is a beautiful thing and something we should not take for granted. For the black community, it seems rare as told by popular demand. But they exist. Real fathers and father-like figures are real and matter to a child.
Though my dad is quiet, he is goofy and funny.
Though he does not talk a lot, I listen to his wisdom when he speaks his mind.
Though he is not extravagant, his gifts and words of love are gold.
Though he does not show anger, he is patient and nonjudgmental.
Though he is an immigrant, he sacrificed for my goals and dreams to help immigrants.
Though he does not have a Ph.D, he is always teaching me about life.
Though he is not god, he points me to God.
Though I have a Heavenly Father, I am thankful that I have Earthly Father too.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers and Father-Figures. You are loved, appreciated, wanted, and valued. I love you daddy.
It’s important to keep trying and trying again. Keep casting your net to the sea of opportunity. There are times where your casting brings success. Then, there are times where your casting turns up empty.
Though it hurts, you have to keep trying. Keep persevering. You keep fighting. Don’t get me wrong. It’s hard. Really hard. Failing, failing, and failing till you make it.
This is my life. It’s hard. Sending job application after job application. Rejection after rejection. Storm after storm. It’s enough to make me cry and sleep the day away.
I am reminded of Peter, the fisherman (Luke 5:1-11). Casting his net and coming up empty but finally Jesus came and said try one more time. And it brought a HARVEST, AN OVERLOAD.
Still hoping for that. For that overload. But now, I am surviving as a little mustard seed (Matthew 13:30-32). But that is what God requires: that small amount of faith to believe in His favor.
Even when it seems difficult, I keep trying. Keep applying. I keep trying to better myself. I know something is on the horizon. The harvest is coming. The overflow is coming.
A member of my church came up to me and said thank you for greeting me the first time I came to this church.
It took me back. I consider myself naturally friendly. I love people. I draw from their energy.
What meant the most to me is how he said he does not get noticed by people and is often overlooked. I could hear in his voice that I was rare and being overlooked was the norm. But God led me to him and it made a difference. It caused him to keep attending my church which became our church when he became a member.
How often do people get overlooked because of the way they look or who they are. Too many times. I know I have experienced that and I have been guilty of that behavior. But you and I have to realize that God sees everyone.
I try my best to see people how God sees them. This is His Creation and it is up to all of us to value His people.
Through a simple hello and welcome to a stranger, God’s special creation was seen. And he remembered that small gesture. It touched my heart that something so little meant so much.
Keep this scripture in mind: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”-1 Samuel 16:7
It will be 11 years since I graduated high school. Yes, I am old but I still slay.
High school Bianca was a different girl. Just trying to fit in and get along with people. She would never be a blogger. She was kinda wise but was a good friend. She LOVED chorus!!! She was just trying to be better. She did struggle with confidence. She bottled up a lot of her hurts, insecurities, and skeletons. Her relationship with Christ was going to church and serving but still ached for something more. Yes, I did not go to the parties and social events without parental approval and supervision. I did not even get my license till after high school.She just wanted to be successful and seen as successful to all.
High school Bianca was down on herself too many times to count.
If I could talk to my high school senior self, here is what I would say.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
You don’t need to be like everyone else to be successful. The popular high school kids won’t be popular forever.
You are on your own journey.
Talk about what hurts deep inside instead of letting it eat you up inside.
God will wreck your 10-year plan of success and put you on a completely different path. Be patient with yourself.
Please God and yourself before trying to please the world.
Be your blissful self. There is no need to fit someone’s mold.
These are ongoing lessons that I am reminding myself. I may not think like my high school senior self but I remember her. I see her. I would just hug that high school senior girl and say, “You are going to be ok.”
So what would you tell your high school senior self?
To be honest, life has been mundane from the bar results. I don’t want this redirection to keep me bored. I pretty much run errands, do school/work pick up and drop off for my brother, clean, sleep, play with the dog, go to church, an occasional social event, and repeat.
I don’t want to just that going into the summer. I want to have fun. SEIZE THE DAY.So I decided to make a Blissful Summer Fun List.
I did this two years ago and accomplished most of it. So I will give it a whirl.
Go to a Food Truck Event
Get a Full Mani/Pedi Day
Art Day (i.e. pottery, painting)
Watch A Summer Movie
Go to the High Museum
Have a fun-filled 29th birthday
Have lunch with someone I have not seen in a while