Category Archives: Inspiration

Five Ways to Motivate Yourself

Sometimes finding the right motivation can be hard.  For instance, getting up in the morning is one of the hardest for me.  But what get me motivated is knowing that I have new opportunities to look out for everyday.  It’s either get up or don’t go to work (I can’t afford to loose money)  There has to be some great tools you use to motivate yourself.  Here are five ways you can stay motivated!

 

  1. Play Your favorite music on your phone or on the radio.  Music can be great therapy when you feel like you are down in the dumps or you just don’t feel like doing anything.  If you have planned your goals for the rest of the year, then maybe getting through your day would be some quick tunes in your ear.  What is your favorite song that you have on repeat? (I know you have about a few, because I surely do!)
  2. Write down the reason why you started in the first place!  If you have a dream or a goal that you are trying to achieve, then ask yourself what made you start? Was it because you are a single mother with kids and you want them to become better than you or you have a whole lot of people counting on you? Whatever it is, write it down, meditate on it for a few minutes and get to work!
  3. Your haters! Of course they should motivate you because they are the ones who talk down on you and they definitely don’t want to see you prosper in life.  So proving them wrong is great motivation! Don’t give up and give them the benefit of the doubt!
  4. Self-encouragement.  When no one else is rooting for you or encouraging you, then it’s your job to motivate your own self.  Not everyone will do that, so it’s very important that the only person you rely on is yourself.
  5. Last, but not least reward yourself! After all of the hard work that you have put into the day of achieving all of your goals and building networking relationships with other business-minded people, it’s time to relax, pump the brakes and treat yourself to something nice.  After all, you deserve it!

 

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International Author Promotes Sickle Cell Disease through her Children Books

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Jenica Leah is an award winning children’s author and publisher and referred to as one of the UK’s leading ambassadors for sickle cell.  Living with sickle cell anaemia herself, she has battled with the many complications that come with the disorder including having a stroke at 14 and a hip replacement at 25; but she has never let this stop her from being who she is. From being a full-time model to organising and managing catwalks with an international events specialist, Jenica Leah refuses to let her condition hold her back.  After undergoing total hip replacement surgery in 2014, which changed her whole outlook on life and her perception of her illness, Jenica Leah vowed to help others living with the sickle cell condition by being more open about her health and her journey, and by doing more to create awareness and get people talking about it. With her confidence and determination, she doesn’t see life as challenging; instead she sees the world as her oyster with endless possibilities.

 

TRGB Media: Tell us about yourself a little more

Jenica Leah: My name is Jenica Leah and I am a 29-year-old from the UK living with sickle cell SS. Referred to as one of the UK’s leading ambassadors for sickle cell, I share my journey via my blogs Me Myself & sickle cell on my blogsite and on YouTube.. I am also a publisher and the award-winning author of the first children’s book series about sickle cell entitled My Friend Jen which was released in 2016.

TRGB: When did you first learned that you were diagnosed with Sickle Cell?

Jenica Leah: I was diagnosed from birth. My parents both knew they had the trait and knew there was a chance I would have sickle cell. They got the positive results 6 weeks after I was tested at birth.

TRGB: How is your whole experience living with the disease? What symptoms do you suffer the most from?

Jenica Leah: My experience living with sickle cell now is manageable, however it has taken me years of complications and learning to understand my body to get to this point. I would say the symptoms I have suffered from the most aside from bad pain crisis is all the unknown complications that can come with sickle cell as I feel like I have had almost all of them. I always used to have pneumonia as baby and toddler and spent a lot of time in hospital; my first crisis I was around 9 months old. I had a stroke at 14, acute chest syndrome at 16 which very nearly took my life, gall stones throughout my teenage years which lead to me eventually having my gall bladder removed at 24. I was diagnosed with Avascular necrosis in both hips and I had a total hip replacement in my left hip when I was 25 as a result. I have also had multiple blood clots, and liver cholestasis. All complications caused as a result of my sickle cell and the way it has affected my body.

TRGB: Was becoming an author something, you always wanted to do? What was the journey like?

Jenica Leah: I have always loved writing as it is my outlet for certain things. I always find writing about good days allow me to remember how I was feeling and enjoy the moment longer, and writing about bad days or tough times allows me to get it out of my system so I can let it go and not harbor negative emotions. Becoming an author was not something I had planned to do at all but the moment I decided to turn what I had written into a book I was motivated to get it done; nothing and no one was going to stop me. The journey was fun although I encountered a lot of bumps in the road which I had to find a way over in terms of getting my book published.

TRGB: What was the inspiration behind your book “My Friend Jen?”

Jenica Leah: The inspiration behind my book was to be able to give something to children who are growing up living with sickle cell today that would provide them with peace of mind about their condition and also let them know that having sickle cell should not stop them from achieving their dreams — no matter what they are.  Growing up I despised the fact that I had sickle cell and always used to ignore it or try and hide it; mainly because I didn’t understand what it was so it was difficult to explain that to others. With the first My Friend Jen Book it’s a simple way to explain what sickle cell is and the basics of how someone living with it can stay well.

TRGB: I see on your IG page that you have a lot of supporters with your book and movement. How is the marketing going for your book?

Jenica Leah: When I initially published and released my book I honestly didn’t have a marketing plan. I just released it and went with the flow but the feedback and amount of support I had was unbelievable and that’s when I realized that I had created something so beautiful and so beneficial, especially for children who had sickle cell and children with parents who have sickle cell. By that point my book was more less marketing itself, I believe because it is the only one of its kind at the moment.

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TRGB: Since the book release, what type of events has the book participated in?

Jenica Leah: Since the books release It has been nominated for and won awards, been highlighted by news outlets, book stores and in particular has had a major impact in health conferences and pharmaceutical research. I also launched something called My Friend Jen Projects to be able to host my own events for the book which would help those in other communities around the world who may not be able to have access to the book otherwise. The book donation projects have been a huge success so far with regular sponsors and encouragement for it to continue.

TRGB: When does the sequel to the first book come out? Is it the same concept from the first book?

Jenica Leah: The sequel will be released within the next several weeks and is now available to pre-order at a reduced price. My Friend Jen was always intended to be a series of books that follows Jen on her journey growing up with sickle cell so the concept is somewhat the same and readers can learn more about sickle cell and the things Jen goes through.

TRGB: Are you currently working on any new projects?

Jenica Leah: The next major project we have will be the Jamaica book donation project which will take place between January and March 2019. So far, we have done book donation projects in Gambia and Nigeria so we are really looking forward to Jamaica being the 3rd book donation project.

TRGB: How has becoming an author made you a better person?

Jenica Leah: Becoming an author has made me appreciate writers a lot more as I know the depths one has to go through to be able to produce a book that makes a difference. More than anything though, I would say that becoming an author has made me humble and motivated to continue to advocate for sickle cell as I can see how my children’s book and even my blog, has helped people to become more confident in sharing their journeys with sickle cell also.

TRGB: How can readers connect with you?

Jenica Leah: Readers can connect with me via @myfriendjenbooks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They can also keep up to date with everything I have going on including new My Friend Jen releases and updates, projects and events by subscribing to the Me Myself & Sickle Cell blog site:  http://www.jenicaleah.wordpress.com

TRGB: As an advocate of SCD, what types of projects or events do you participate in to bring more awareness in the communities?

Jenica Leah: I try and get involved in as much events in the community as I can whether it’s fundraising events, motivational events or even fun days for children; there is always space to highlight sickle cell. I have also arranged blood donation days to encourage more blood donors and been involved in youth and school projects too.

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Author, Singer, Songwriter Talks about Upcoming New Book ‘Guide Me Home’

 

Ana Gibson is a Professional singer, songwriter and the 2018 Award- Winning Fiction Author.  She has published already two books and is about to release her third book “Guide Me Home,” that will be published in October.  

 

“As I learn myself more, I’m also being intentional about bringing others along with me to begin to understand what it means to recognize ourselves—flaws and all—and to grasp a hold of the version we desire to be.”

 

Tell us about your journey as an author

AG: I started writing fiction at the age of 14. I didn’t get serious about self-publishing until I turned twenty-five. That’s when I released both books, My Brother’s Secret 1 & 2. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me since I could remember. I believe one of the first books I’ve ever read was “The Skin I’m In,” by Sharon Flake. And from there, I was fascinated with story-telling. Over time, I challenged myself to learn how to write and write better—the formatting, plots, character arcs, scenery, deep point of views, etc, which gives me all the confidence today to put out Guide Me Home. This is my BEST work to date, and it’s completely different from any other story I’ve written. It’s an Inspirational Romance—borderline, Christian Fiction (Got too much cursing in it to be officially qualified as that LOL) Looking back on all of the stories I’ve done, reminds me of how much I’ve grown as a writer and the evolution shows, even from my previous two books that I have out.

My journey is still writing itself, but I can say that right now, where I am, I couldn’t be happier. I’m definitely not where I used to be and I’m certainly looking forward to where I’m going.

 

So, you have written other books in the past. What genre are they?

AG: The other two novels are considered Urban Dramas.

The title is really catchy. How did you come up with the title?

AG: Guide Me Home came about when I was watching Tyler Perry’s, “Temptation: Confession of a Marriage Counselor.” The end credits were scrolling by and for once, I was actually paying attention to them. One of the songs listed was called “Guide Me Home” and that’s when it hit me. I was like, ‘that’s the name of the book.’ It makes all the sense in the world.

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When writing this book, what were your inspirations behind it?

AG: The book started off with me just wanting to write something similar to what Tyler Perry did when he released Good Deeds. So, it was originally going to be talking about homelessness and helping those in need, but after three years of revisiting the manuscript and the need to feel connected to it, it shifted into something more than just homelessness. Its theme is on the topic of Childhood Emotional Trauma and its effects of it into adulthood. I think many of us, on some level, will and can find ourselves in the storyline. When I did my research on what Childhood Emotional Trauma was, it blew my mind away. The things I found, had me nodding in agreement because I could see myself or someone else. This helped me to also write my character’s, Devin and Faith, better because they suffered greatly behind this particular issue. It’s a subject that’s rarely discussed and if you were to ask someone if they knew what it was, 9 times out of 10, they would not know unless you went down the list of symptoms.

 

It’s a great mental health piece, especially advocating for emotional health in African-American men. So that’s where the biggest inspiration came from—just learning about what that looks like amongst many other things and being able to put it into story form.

 

As a published author, what challenges do you find? (If any)

AG: In the beginning, when I first considered publishing my stories, I didn’t understand how much work I needed to put behind it, like focusing on your target market, making necessary edits, saving money to be able to take care of the small stuff, marketing and promotion etc. So, the first two novels didn’t work out so well, but with Guide Me Home, I’m revisiting those lessons and applying them to this particular project which seems to be helping. A lot of preparation has gone into making this book a potential bestseller. With God, all things are possible. I’m claiming it.

 

Let’s talk about your Book Launch event for next month. How long did it take for you to plan the event?

AG: I started planning for the book launch sometime in December of 2017. Everything I do has to make sense and be done with quality and with order. So far, it has been a solid nine months of planning for the big day. I have quite a few things happening that I don’t think has really ever been done for a book launch party. I’m excited about it.

 

What makes this event stand out than any other book launch events?

AG: I think the biggest thing that stands out for this event is the fact that I’m including a one act play; where I have a few people acting out a scene from a chapter from the book to give people a visual of what they’re about to read. I have not heard or seen that done before. Also, most authors are not singers. I am. I have written a song for the book, (soundtrack single) which I will be performing on that day as well. It’s called ‘Thankful.’ It’ll be available when the pre-order drops.

 

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I find it amazing that you are having the event on your birthday! How amazing!

AG: Yes! My birthday is actually the 26th of October but it falls on a Friday, so I chose the 27th because you know most people are available on weekends. LOL But I’m including my birthday because this is a major thing for me. I’ll be turning 31. When I turned 30, I told myself that I have to make this decade count, and doing this book and launch is a part of that declaration. So yes, I get a two for one deal.

 

What do you want readers to take away when reading your book?

AG: This is kind of a loaded question. Hmm. I want people to take away that no matter the adversities, the situations or circumstances standing against you, that there is a power within that is ready and willing to help you overcome. I want people to know that in life, it’s important to have the right people around you, especially when facing difficult and dark times and to understand how important Faith, Grace, and Forgiveness is to one’s healing.

 

I was looking on your website and I see that you have a book launch team for your new book. Tell us more about that.

AG: My Launch team is pretty cool. It’s about fifteen of us total. I decided to create a launch team for this book because I understand that I cannot do all of this by myself. It can get pretty stressful. It takes a village to really make something successful. Ooo that rhymed. But anyway, I can post and shout to the mountains all day long about the book, however, people get tired of hearing it from just one person, right? So why not include others who equally believe in what I’m doing to help push the product to the masses? And that’s what the team is all about. They’re helping me to succeed because they believe in the story just as much as I do.

Do you have any goals for the book? Media appearances? Interviews? Book tours?

AG: Yes. I definitely have plans to market and promote to local news stations, do podcasts interviews, blog interviews and hopefully reach two national TV shows like The Real and Sister Circle. Book tour is definitely in the works all along the east coast. And if things go right, maybe a stage a play or movie deal.

 

Being an author can have its ups and downs. What do you believe is the best way to remain humble as an author when things can be challenging?

AG: Best way to stay humble is to always know you have more growing and learning to do. You’re never done evolving or expanding in your writing. Something or someone new always comes along and can easily take your spot. In the words of Kendrick Lamar “Sit down, be Humble.” Reality is, things can go either way.

 

Where do you see yourself five years from now? Ten years from now?

AG: Five years from now, I see myself growing and being able to build an empire from this book alone. Ten years, maybe be on the same caliber of Oprah or somebody.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

AG: I don’t have many, but I would say Eric Jerome Dickey and Devon Franklin. That could change later, though.

 

How can readers connect with you? How can they pre-order your new book?

AG: Readers can connect with me by visiting my website at www.officialanagibson.com. All of my social media buttons are available on there. Guide Me Home pre-orders will be available September 12, 2018 wherever books are sold. Official release date is October 22, 2018.

 

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REST, RENEW & RECHARGE YOURSELF!

Ah! when was the last time you took more than a few moments to rest from the daily pulls of life?  Seriously the demands of life here on earth in the current times we live in can place a strain on even the strongest people we know.  God never intended us to get so busy with the affairs of our lives that we never take the time to rest in the most sincere yet simplest forms of relaxation. When was the last time you took a long-winded walk around your neighborhood or local park just to do so? If your response is two weeks ago or longer – you may not be resting intentionally in order to renew yourself for your best interest and those family members and loved ones who are counting on you to live a long life. I happen to love running, cycling and live a very active lifestyle that also involves caring for my two daughters but even with my active lifestyle and as a vegetarian – I recently heard the Holy Spirit whisper Rest, Renew & Recharge! You see in the beginning when God completed creation in 6 days, he rested on the 7th day (Genesis 2:2). Even the Most High God knows we all need rest for he created rest. 

If I am being totally transparent, as a single mom – the word rest has always sounded a bit foreign to me because I used to believe I needed to complete a majority of my long list of action items before resting. Perhaps you too have an extremely busy lifestyle that involves working full-time, caring for your loved ones and quite possibly your parents.  Listen, Jesus knows all the past, present and future demands you will ever face but in order to Renew – you must first find Rest. Your mind, heart, blood pressure and body will all thank you in the long run! Do not wait until you are faced with a health scare before you take the necessary rest you need. Consider good rest will lead to the re-establishment of your health in Christ Jesus! While this may be easier said than done, if you lead a busy lifestyle – make sure you seek the Lord’s help in showing you how to rest. One simple way I have found rest is by purposely leave my cell phone downstairs during my much needed rest period. Yep – I simply place my device in silent mode and disconnect from the world to avoid unnecessary interruptions. Our bodies are not electronic devices powered by batteries intended to operate in non-stop mode, No! we are limited human beings created by an unlimited God so rest is found first in our Heavenly Father. 

So here’s to your goal of Recharging your body, mind and spirit. To Recharge simply means to regain energy or spirit! To fulfill all the things God has purposed us to do in the earth, we must regain energy expended during the course of our daily demands. What I know for sure is that my daughters are depending on the best version of me to take care of them. I simply cannot give them that best version unless I intentionally press pause on the pressures of this world, renew my mind in Christ Jesus by getting the much needed rest the Father intends for me to have.  Likewise you cannot be superwoman or superman to anyone while you are exhausted from the cares and demands of society.  Remember we are reminded in Matthew 11:28 “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Here are a few simple ways to add relaxation back into your daily routine:

Unplug your phone for an hour; Grab your journal, favorite cup of tea and sit outside for 30 minutes while you write a letter of gratitude for the many blessings you already have

Schedule a 1 hour massage which can help to relieve tense muscles.

 Research shows those who intentionally unplug by resting purposefully are more productive in fewer hours than those who do not. 

May we find comfort in Psalms 23:2 “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams” (NLT).  I am standing in agreement with you as you Rest, Renew and Recharge for God’s glory!  Remember, you were fearfully and wonderfully made for such a time as this!

~Amadi E. Leaks

 

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Follow Amadi on IG @amadileaks

Visit her website at http://www.amadileaks.com for more encouragement and inspiration!

 

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