is defined as "a center of activity, attraction, or attention and a point of concentration," according to Merriam Webster Dictionary. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/focus
When the topic of focus came to mind for today's post, I thought about how many distractions can happen throughout the day and how many things you can allow to take you away from being productive in your life, and it made me think about what the solution is to rid distractions, and it is focus. As a person who has accomplished quite a few things throughout my life, I realized the way I was able to complete anything was to see my end goal, and stay focused on the reason I needed to complete the process it took to achieve that goal. For example, years ago I made a decision to become a cosmetologist and I worked, went to school full time, and was married at 18, with no children. It was hard for me to receive much for financial aid, because I had a husband at the time, and by the summer of 1997 I was working 2 jobs and in school full time. Needless to say, I was experiencing burn out, so instead of complaining, I decided to join the Army Reserves to obtain money finish school and be in the career of my choice, but first I would be required to complete Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Anyone who is in the military or former military understands that this process is not as easy as it might sound. I had long days, early mornings, and drill sergeants yelling and giving orders or commands. Some days I got tired, but I was able to get through the rough days, because I had a goal and I wanted to protect and serve, but I also wanted to fund my education. When I put my mind to it and decided I am going to finish this process, I was able to not let it break me mentally, physically or emotionally, because I stayed focuesed on the goal. I was able to complete basic training and AIT, and then I came back home to drill each month. Of course, life through me curve balls, my marriage was shaky, I got pregnant and lost my baby at 8 weeks during my marriage and I was only 19 by then, it was discouraging and distracting from my goal. I started working again, because we needed the money and then I realized I did all of that stuff and did not complete my initial goal yet, so I had to re-focus and I went back to cosmetology school and completed my classes and finished school at the end of 1999. I was then given an opportunity to do hair on a military base in Germany and it worked out great for me to take that opportunity, because my personal relationship was not supporting my goals, but because I already was in the Reserves, it was so much easier for me to get on and off base with my ID, and I planned to stay for a few months and come back and get my license in the States. I had an opportunity to stay for a year, but I did not want to leave my marriage in the balance, so I tried to tend to that relationship and continue with my career goals in the States. In 2000, I was licensed in Washington DC, and in 2002 I was able to receive reciprocity in Maryland and later in Pennsylvania, as I moved for personal reasons. The point of my story is to stay focused on your goal and the process will seem so much easier. And it is so much better to be with someone that supports your goals, because if they do not, you will be distracted by them and could jeopardize you reaching your goals, but when you are supported, you could propel further than you could ever imagine. I could not have accomplished anything if I did not lean on God at some point in my life, and having a code of ethics, or a priority code is key to success. For me, it is God first, family second, and my career third, but sometimes family could be in the way of you fulfilling your destiny, so you have to decide whether they have your best interest at heart. Stay focused and have a great week.
Monique Lyn elle Gray
Peace is defined in a number of ways, so today I am going to take the time to share with you a few definitions and explain why Peace is so important. Today's topic was sparked by a sermon I just listened to on Sunday, and it reminded me of how important Peace is and how having Peace of Mind can help you through all kinds of circumstances in life.
According to Merriam-Webster Peace is defined as "1 : a state of tranquility or quiet: such as. a : freedom from civil disturbance Peace and order were finally restored in the town. b : a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom a breach of the peace." https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peace
According to Cambridge, Peace is defined as "the state of not being interrupted or annoyed by worry, problems, noise, or unwanted actions, along with, "freedom from war and violence, especially when people live and work together happily without disagreements." https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/peace
Peace is defined by Dictionary.com as,
"1 the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.
2 (often initial capital letter) an agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism:
3 a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations:
4 the normal freedom from civil commotion and violence of a community; public order and security:" https://www.dictionary.com/browse/peace
When a person is in a war, literally, they are not experiencing peace, but having peace of mind is something that a person can choose to have within. Years ago while I was stationed at Fort Hood, TX, things were going on all around me and I saw people deploying and coming back from various war zones and I wrote a song called "Peace" placing value on having peace, asking who really has it and can I have it. I was coming from a standpoint of a soldier at war and the way you feel during a time that is chaotic. I am sure people around the world understand so much more what it looks like to experience civil, social and personal unrest, so most of us would embrace peace of mind, even if our circumstances are not welcoming peace. Pastor Keith Battle spoke at my church on Sunday, February 7, 2021 and entitled his message "The Journey to Peace" and for those who know me and know I am big on the topic of journey's in one's life, thus, one of my books and documentary with the word. The Pastor gave some great advise about getting to peace, he said "you have to have trust, prayer, thanks, and abide in the Lord." Now some people might embrace my belief, but there are some things that we all desire universally and inner strength and peace come from having a desire to have those things and being deligent about having it in your life. I think you cannot truly have joy if you don't welcome peace in your life. I encourage everyone to seek inner peace and welcome that fruit of the Spirit in your life. I welcome peace and peace of mind in my life in the midst of chaos and distress. Have a great week and welcome peace.
Monique Lyn elle Gray
Peace the song - https://soundcloud.com/monique-lynelle/10-peace
When each of us were born, we had the largest organ of our bodies showing, it is our skin. No matter what color your skin is, you were born, and no matter how you were raised, you were raised with your skin. Today I want to encourage everyone to love the skin you are in because it is uniquely your skin. February is Black History Month and there are so many things that come to mind about the history of color relations in the United States. My hope is that we could look past judging someone for the color of their skin, and instead we should be able to embrace the differences that we experience, because of our skin color or ethnic group. I will not say to be color blind, because culture, ethnicity, and color is a very important part of someone's experience. Many times people do not take the time to understand someone elses background, because they do not think it should play a role in who they have become, or why they behave the way that they do concerning race or ethnic background interaction. I say, your personal history and experiences make up who you become in life and the way one acts or behaves concerning people that are different than them, especially concerning race, is a learned, taught, or observed behavior. We as humans need to understand that we are made up of more than just our skin, and how we behave is just as important as our outward appearance. I was able to go to Fort Sam Houston when I was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas and the hospital at Fort Sam Houston had military members that had just come back from war situations and they were wounded. I have never experienced something so impactful in my life. I saw service members with limbs missing, parts of their skin off of their face, and other body parts, in wheel chairs, with bandages everywhere, so much so that it was hard to tell which race or ethnic background they belonged to. I say all this to say, did it really matter to me which race they were? Of course not, because they were brave enough to put their self in harms way for other fellow Americans to continue to enjoy freedoms and rights as humans. I served my country in the Army also, but I did not have to lose my limbs, and I am thankful to those who were brave enough to put their lives on the line for others to be free. By being exposed to things like this, it helps me to realize how stupid racism can be, how much it does not make someone's soul brave. I saw people's hearts, not their skin color. I saw people's bravery, not their ethnic group and I showed compassion, and thanked them for their service, although I was still serving. Some of them will never be the same and in some ways I will never be the same either. My experiences make me who I am and the more I am exposed to others, the more I understand where they are coming from and how they have become who they are. I say loudly and proudly to LOVE THE SKIN YOU ARE IN! We are all different and we are supposed to be, just know that you are not a mistake and neither is your skin.
Monique Lyn elle Gray