Unearthing me

Unearthing me
Unearthing me via breaking the vessel of fear – Copyright (c) Jodian Brown, Ph.D.
What should have been one of the happiest days of my life was sadly not.
It was common for me to struggle with recognition and praise, especially when it involves academics. But on this special graduation day, it was more than that; I was already onto the next goals. I was so focused on the next, I missed out on the present.
My next goals would end up bringing me to a full on head collision with myself – my identity, my dreams, my health and my relationship with GOD.
For as much as I thought of myself as an independent thinker and woman who marched to her own beat, I was very much beholden to people pleasing. A great example of this has been my choice in career. Don’t get me wrong love the value my work brings and the mission of my various employers.
But, what do you do when your life is complex and you know a different destiny awaits you? What do you do when you know you need to change in order to save your soul? How do you break fear’s deathlock around your dreams?
Let me say I don’t know the answer….
All I know is I love to tell stories whether about the human condition, geeky science stuff and everything between. I remember as a little kid wanting to be so good that there was an one instance where I used another person’s poem without giving credit. I would soon painfully find out that I am not called to be a poetic lyricist but instead to be me – a storyteller. A person that invokes emotions, feelings and thoughts.
Join me on my writing journey as I continue to discover all that it means to be me as well as evolve into a human being and storyteller that I am proud of.
But, I have a single problem: writing. The moment pen needs to grease paper or fingers to push keystrokes, legitimate complications and/or excuses ensue. So today I am putting myself on blast and asking that you become a part of my community of support. How can you support me? 1. Engage in my discussions whether you agree or disagree. 2. When I have fallen off the writing wagon, bombard me with reminders and timelines for the next blog post. 3. Feel free to send me private critiques or thoughts about my writing.
Blessings until next time… 🙂


Harmony-square | Image created by Jodian A. Brown

It’s one of the few things that I consistently pursue, yet equally evades my grasp.

In my younger years, I was often described as organized and pulled together by those around. You see, I have always strived to do everything well. So well to the point that a number of family and friends frequently called me an overachiever.

Yet, my current posture is one of struggle. In order to be a great guardian to a precious little human life, I find it requires not being the best friend, daughter, employee, etc.

My concept of balance is not one where I believe you are devoting equal time to all areas of life. Instead, I believe in a system of priorities and being intentional about them. Furthermore, I believe maximum balance is achieved when you are able to be fully present and engaged with the various roles and tasks that takes up each day of your life. For you it may be the ability to be fully present as a parent during mornings and evenings with your child(ren), an ardent employee during the work day, and a great partner when the  kid(s) and/or pet(s) are a sleep.

It’s my sincerest belief that achieving this level of balance requires discipline and a talent for compartmentalization.

Being a disciplined individual is one of my strengths while compartmentalization is an area that often requires improvement. In the past I have been able to maximize my strength to achieve some of the balance I desired.

Yet, I  am now finding it incredibly difficult to achieve this balance I so desire. One factor is that the past few years have brought life experiences that were painful and that inevitably and permanently changed the dynamics of my life.

At my present juncture, balance does not exist. I am currently short on time, sleep and the human-power to continue juggling an abundance of balls in the air.

How do you achieve the balance you desire? What are some of your golden nuggets for success?

Until next time, sincerest gratitude… 🙂


Simple Service

On my 27th birthday I remember wanting to do more than just celebrating. For this special day, in  addition to the usual dinner with friends I planned an activity which involved volunteering at a local community shelter as well as donating clothing items. My hope was that this act would ignite an annual event of service on my birthday and unfortunately this was not the case because of unexpected life events.

I am fully aware that there are many more days in the year but I saw this particular day as one with significance and that would continually provide reinvigoration. Nonetheless, I am faced with an idea that didn’t quite have the jump start I desired and and once more I find myself back at the beginning trying to figure out ways in which I can serve.

It is at this juncture I remembered a conversation with my prior pastor where I was concerned about my purpose in life as I didn’t have any of those notable talents such as singing, playing an instrument or orating. And he said some people’s ministry are the lives they lead. At the time it was so simple and did not do much to quell my concerns but with time I gradually grasped the profundity of those words.

Over time I grew in my purposeful intentions of being courteous, kind and authentic to those with whom I interact. Some days it is a simple hello and smile.:-) Other days it is a compliment on a person’s hair or clothing. And when I am extremely generous and feeling the funny in my bones a little humor to brighten the moment.;-)

There are so many current news of horror that can make one feel helpless but maybe we can place a little more effort in the little things. Here is a short list of things I challenge you to consider:

  • Give away one or two canned food items from your pantry to a homeless shelter or hurricane relief efforts
  • Donate that shirt, dress, or shoes you know you don’t like or don’t wear to relief efforts
  • Encourage yourself or someone you know to take care of his/her/their mental and/or emotional well-being
  • Forgive more readily
  • Get irritated more slowly
  • Be quick to think the best of others
  • Smile more often
  • Find more laughter
  • Dance if you’ve never tried
  • Paint or draw like you are Picasso

We all can positively contribute to the lives of others.  The purest and simplest service can have meaningful impact. Remember you never know how the simplest and most random act of kindness can alter the ripples in a person’s life.

Until next time, sincerest gratitude…:-)


Friday is Fry Night

So after a long day and week, like many people I yearn for some good comfort food. Superman is weak when exposed to kryptonite and I am a sucker for fries. The kind of fries that is tasty without being overpowering and crispy yet not burned. It had been a rough one that by mid-week I was already fantasizing about the perfect meal to chow down and specifically where I would purchase it.

Friday came and the anticipation was high. After leaving work, getting milk and picking up the little human in my life, it was time to make the voyage. On our quest reality quickly resurfaced and reminded me that this meal was just not in the budget.

As we passed that magical destination on our way home, their was sheer disappointment. We were hungry and really looking forward to eating fries. But, the problem-solver in me quickly unearth childhood images of my mom making home-made fried chicken and fries because eating out was too expensive. So I decided this would be my mission as I already had uncooked wings and potatoes awaiting us at home.

So obviously I needed the little human to also buy into this new adventure and the only way I knew how was to create lots of excitement about the new task. Friday night dinner became a team effort and I had an opportunity to educate the little human on the magical origins of fries and the whole process of cooking wings.


Unfortunately, the fries remained yet another failed attempt. The baking and broiling recipe that I found online just did not give us the crispy yet not burned touch that we were so looking forward to. After one bite, the little human refused to even touch another one of the home-made fries. 😦

Now, frying chicken has never been a skill I have perfected and in being somewhat health-conscious I try to minimize the amount of oil I use when cooking. All that to say, I broiled my chicken! Before you cast judgement, I will assure you that to date, it is the closest I have gotten to that tender, juicy, crispy feeling of deep-fried wings. To be quite frank, the only thing that was missing was ketchup. 🙂

It would have been nice to have the “after” receipts to show since I included the before photo. However, when there is a little human in the mix, the end goal of eating is and will always be more important than any photo. Besides, during our cooking session we were simultaneously having a dance party so by the time the food was finished we were ravenous wolves waiting to devour. 😉

One food for thought I took home from this whole experience is that having something (whether an activity or a meal) to look forward to at the end of the day and/or week can be very beneficial in helping me to put to rest the stresses of that day/week. This has been a concept that numerous of dear individuals in my life have encouraged me to do for several years. I always felt that it was difficult to engage in because I am on a budget and have the responsibility of caring for a little human. But, the beauty of last Friday was that I stayed true to me and my circumstances and even though the little human was under the weather we just danced all the wonkiness out of bodies into the atmosphere.

So for this weekend, the desired goal is to have movie night accompanied by some home-made smoothie. May I invite you to plan your own de-stresser for your next day off?

Until next time, sincerest gratitude… 🙂



Minding My Mindset

In some cultures there is a tendency to desire a lot when you grew up with little. As a teen all my belongings were able to fit into a duffle bag and unlike my peers I didn’t even have access to a landline phone to participate in nightly 3-way conversations with classmates. So you can imagine I had grandiose dreams of minimum 3-level extravagant home and at least 1 luxury brand car. Consequently, my primary goal for attending college was to land a six-figure job that would allow for all those amenities while making the parents proud.

However, there has always been an internal voice within that has desired more than external rewards. I remember a critical moment in high school when I was ready to make the leap to a less glamorous but more fulfilling career choice and when I mentioned that choice to my mother it was met with silence. I knew right then that was not the vision she had for me and that I needed to stick with plan A, which would provide access to the 6-figure job. I knew my mom meant well seeing that she wanted me to capitalize on newfound access to educational opportunities that could prevent me from the all too familiar financial struggles she had to endure.

Consequently, I quieted that internal voice and headed to college to gain access to that 6-figure job. However, it proved to be illusive. There was always some form of mishap that prevented me from crossing the rungs of the ladder to material success. For example, I initially began college pursuing my second choice major that I had filled out on my application. After my first year it was time to apply to transfer into the program that I initially desired to pursue. A subsequent conversation with an admission counselor revealed that I was not initially accepted to the program because I had selected both a first-choice and second-choice majors, which admission sees as me not being committed to my first choice major. As a first-generation university attendee that was one of the difficult lessons I had to learn – only select one major regardless of confidence level. The admission counselor proceeded to inform me that very rarely were students able to transfer from other programs into the one I am interested; to be precise usually only 1 per year. Yikes! There were a number of other attempts to get into the program I was interested, such as applying to other institutions but there was always some unlikely mishap (not relating to academic merit). You can imagine that after so many experiences I resided that maybe divine order or fate if you like required me to stay put. And that I did.

I decided to go graduate school for one of the “hard sciences”. By far this has been one of the most difficult yet growth-inducing experiences that I have had. There were many times that I wanted to quit but through endurance and a lot of self-work, I made it to the other side with more than just a degree. It is here I began to recognize and accept that I need to value myself and pursue actions that are in direct support of my own dream.

In valuing myself, I recognize that my internal wellbeing and achievements are far more important that any physical possession I can attain. To this end, I have been gradually participating in activities that feed and nurture the inner depths of myself. One such example is mindful living. I am more intentional about the person I am becoming as well as the choices for everyday living.

I have to admit that in coming from humble beginnings it has innately set precedence for being eco-friendly and fiscally conscious. For example, I grew up not wasting electricity – if you are not in room the lights must be off or you unplug appliances such as microwaves when not in use. However, graduate school provided the first opportunity to be “financially independent of my parents” and one trend I observed early on was that I began pouring money into purchases of new clothes. Even though more than 95% of these items were priced cheaply, I realized that I began curating an excessive surplus. A blessing in disguise occurred when I had to move to a smaller house and a bit of downsizing was warranted. Yes there were some furniture that had to find new homes but it was also time for some of my clothes to find new owners. This began a revolution that resulted in a personal contract that for every shoe or clothing bought I had to give away something, provided I was not replacing an item that was no longer wearable. I am now at a point where I have reduced my clothing and shoes by about 50-60% and purchases are based on need.

A very welcomed feeling I experienced after downsizing my space and wardrobe was that I did not miss the extra stuff! For example, I recently moved for work to a new rental home. Rather than trying to fill all the empty spaces, I am fixed on working to donate and/eliminate “stuff” that are no longer needed or of use so that the space is lighter, which feeds my soul.

You see not only does these choices feed my soul but one of my mindful choices is a path of financial freedom. My mindset is the less stress, debt and material possessions I have, the more fulfilled and rewarding this life will be. With this in mind, I no longer care to commit to social norms and status quos that don’t support my vision. One lesson learned from my acquisition of enormous student loan debt trying to access the six-figure dream is that it is better to stay true to my internal voice. Staying true to one’s own internal desires will certainly provide the fuel and ingenuity to achieve them.

And so rather than my mind on money I have my mind on mindset… or at least that is the goal!

You made it to the end of my very first blog post! I can be verbose so I am very appreciative of your perseverance!

I invite you to join me on this journey as I grow in my faith walk, mindful living, financial freedom all while managing the demands of educational debt more than twice my salary as well as heading a single-parent household.

Until next time, sincerest gratitude…:-)