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Tuesday, May 31

God Bless The Child

by Hero With A Thousand Faces

“Momma may have, poppa may have, but God bless the child that's got his own...”- lyrics from God Bless the Child by Billy Holiday

Billy Holiday’s sentiment shared in her rendition of God Bless the Child is an anthem for independence. The origins of these lyrics allegedly stem from an argument a then struggling Billy Holiday had with her parents after they declined to loan her money. Holiday laments that it doesn’t matter how well off your mom or dad might be; real financial security comes when a person has his or her own assets.

Solid advice. However, these lyrics take on a slightly different meaning for me. I interpreted them in a way that leans more towards spiritual maturity and independence. As I reflect on my own spiritual journey, I recognize how the theme of these lyrics is interwoven throughout it.

I was raised in the South and followed the traditional Southern Baptist Christian narrative. And like many denominations and religious bodies, many Baptists claim sole legitimacy on truths about God and living. Even as a child, I felt a bit uneasy with religious figures who stood on blind faith and operated under the notion that their religion or God was above all others. I felt, and still feel, compelled to seek knowledge and truth using a balance of openness, humility, and critical thinking. My mind and heart reason that geography, where people live, has a bigger impact on their chosen religious practices than any other factor. With this line of thinking, I could make the argument that had I been born in Orissa, India, I may have grown to become a pious Hindu. If I were born in Guadalajara, Mexico, I may have grown up practicing Catholicism.

True spiritual growth occurs in our life’s journey when we come to undeniable personal understandings of our beliefs and principles. This personal understanding is attuned with our true selves and resonates in our soul. This level of understanding is usually acquired when our souls go through the hero journey. A hero journey is the age old story of one facing challenging times and situations that thrust the hero into the pits of his or her soul. The reward is true possession of that soul. It is a journey open to all and different for all.

As Billie Holiday reminds us, “God bless the child that’s got his own...” So how do you go about cultivating your own spiritual understanding?

Listen. When something resonates with your soul, there is often an “amen” affirmation that takes place within. I believe this is the higher self harmonizing with the seemingly contradictory elements and variables of the worldly self. Listen for it, acknowledge and build from it.

Sunday, May 29

Eat Well, Be Beautiful

There is no universal definition of beauty. No rules on how long your hair should be, how tall you should stand, how much weight you should carry nor how much melanin you should possess.

In fact, my personal definition of beauty only requires two things, both of which are related to eating well. Confidence and good health.

What we eat can play a big role in determining our weight, the clarity of our skin, the shininess of our hair and the strength of our nails. All of which are common factors that can affect our confidence; so, it’s no stretch to say the effects of what we eat can build up or deflate the way we feel about ourselves; and there’s no doubt that what we eat is directly related to how we feel. Beauty is about taking care of ourselves, not necessarily about keeping ourselves up. The latter deals primarily with attention to the exterior. Developing healthy habits like eating small, regular, wholesome meals help cultivate beauty from the inside out. Eating healthy, in concert with exercise, can elevate our confidence, energy, strength of mind and body and help us maintain a healthy attitude.

Real beauty requires confidence and good health and starts with eating well.

Here are a few suggestions:

* Increase Metabolism: hot peppers, whole grains, broccoli, green tea, salmon, tuna
* Healthy Skin: salmon, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, spinach, turkey
* Shiny Hair: carrots, cantaloupe, wild salmon, tuna, walnuts, beets, berries, flaxseed
* Strong Nails: garlic, apples, onion, gelatin

Wednesday, May 11

Be Fearless

Be fearless. This simple two-word sentence sums up my personal mission statement. I've made a commitment to myself to be fearless in love, life, work and play.

Because of these two words, I've embarked upon some equally challenging and rewarding experiences. I moved to Chicago immediately after college, a place where I knew nothing and no one, to start my career. I bought a house when I was 24. I started Goddess Zuri when I was 26, having no previous knowledge about designing, constructing garments, importing materials, or running an online store. In 2008, I traveled to Indonesia alone after reading and being inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's novel, Eat Pray Love. I started blogging two years ago despite my time-management concerns. And most recently, I tried out for the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading team.

I don't have any formal dance training or experience, but I love dancing and movement. So, I went for it. In a little under a month, I challenged myself to learn four routines and their accompanying formations. I continually worked to improve my flexibility, posture and technique throughout the process to advance to the next round of competition. I made it all the way to the final audition where I left everything on the floor. Though I didn't make the squad, I am proud of myself for being fearless, pushing back my limitations, and building character.

Monday, May 9

Who Does She Think She Is?

Woe of Eve by Maye Torres

I returned home at about 5pm after spending Mother's Day with my mom in SC. I relaxed for a second, got some food, and then turned on the tv--a rarity for me. As I flipped through the channels, I stopped on PBS. I'll admit that I wasn't expecting to stay on the station long, but the program pulled me in.

I was watching a documentary called, "Who Does She Think She Is?" by Academy Award winning filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll. It was a interesting look into the choice women make between mothering or working; their children's well-being or their own.

The documentary featured five extraordinary women artists who refused to choose and somehow balanced mothering and pursuing their passion; partnering and acting with independence.

The film follows Angela Williams through her struggle of finding balance with her family and her art in theater; Camille Musser who has been married for 30 years and painting for 20; Janice Wunderlich who is a Mormon mother of five and full-time artist; Maye Torres, a divorced mother of three boys, who lives and works almost completely off the land to makes ends meet as a working artist; and Mayumi Oda, an artist focused on goddess imagery and a cultivator who hosts "Goddess Retreats" on her ranch in Hawaii.

Everyone expects us to choose between ourselves and our family, but do we have to?

For more information on "Who Does She Think She Is?," visit

Tuesday, May 3

B.U.T.FUL Tank: On Sale for $5!!

The weather is warming up and so is Goddess Zuri's B.U.T.FUL tank sale! This tank was originally priced at $22 then permanently marked down to $12.

Goddess Zuri wants to unload the remaining inventory, so we're further discounting this tank to $5 thru Sunday, May 8th. That's a 77% savings!

Don't wait, and order your tank today!

B.U.T.FUL--The statement is simple: Beautiful. If you believe it, declare it with this tank. It's slim-fitting and made with 100% cotton. Color- brown.