During my travel to and from Costa Rica in January/February of 2018, I had the opportunity to visit with my friend Lavonne who lives in Orlando. The first night I stayed with her, I saw fellow Chippewa, Greg Angel reporting on the local news there about the official monument that would be built in the space where 49 of my LGBTQ+ siblings were tragically shot down in June of 2016 and I knew I couldn't leave Orlando without visiting the Pulse memorial. So, at the end of the week, when I returned from Costa Rica, Lavonne took me there. At that point, it was still a raw, impromptu memorial of candles, flowers, stuffed animals and other mementos left by loved ones.
The moment we pulled into the parking lot across the street and got out of the car, it was as if entering a magnetic field of emotion. It truly felt like the energy of all those beautiful people and everyone who love mourn them was heavy in the air. I wept as I walked from one side of the memorial to the other, reading handwritten notes left honoring their memories. In just the 30-40 minutes that we spent there, we encountered several others who were there to do the same thing. At one point, a stranger who was also there visiting handed me an extra napkin for my tears as she passed by me. It was both beautiful and heartbreaking. There were so many notes written all over the place, that people had begun writing their notes on the rocks in the bed of rocks near the road. The first six photos of this post are from that visit and you will see the rock on which I wrote my message.
About five months later, Ethan and I visited Orlando again on our way to our vacation and again we stayed a night with Lavonne. At that point, a more formal memorial had been finished and I wanted to revisit the site. This visit, though still emotional, felt different. In some strange way, it felt like there had been at least a little bit of healing. There were photos that showed some of the ways in which the community had come together stronger as a result of this tragic event and I was left with a feeling of hope. There were indications of the worldwide reach and outpouring of love for these angels, a level of awareness that demands we do better as humans.
May we all connect with the Divinity within each of us and lift up the Light of each of these angels that it may change the world for the better, forever, for everyone.
Memorial Day weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to deliver the message at Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church in Waterford, MI. I am grateful to have been invited to be their guest preacher and excited about continuing to share my spiritual journey with others. I hope you enjoy it, too. <3
On more than one occasion, God has done some pretty incredible - and sometimes even comical things - to get my attention. If you’ve read my book Divinely Queer, you know the story of my encounter with a man named “Fred Phelps” and the way that God used him to get my attention and ensure I received a clear message from the Divine that day. It was a message that was detrimental to my success in my new career and I never forgot it.
Most recently, right at the start of the longest government shutdown in US history, God worked some his magic to get my attention and help me and my husband to prepare ourselves for what was about come. I will share more of this story with you tomorrow. In the meantime, drop me a comment about how you know when the Divine is communicating directly with you.
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Be Kind to One Another
I’ll never understand how it is as humans that we tend to have big fat opinions about shit we know nothing about. How does that even happen? Why do we find the need to control other people’s decisions that have zero impact on us? Why do we somehow feel qualified to pass judgment on others about things with which we have zero experience, relationship, or context?
Today, I found myself involved in a pretty controversial Facebook thread - it shouldn’t have been - but by its very subject matter, it was. I typically intentionally stay out of these kinds of discourse on social media because in my experience, they tend to be futile. It seems when hidden behind the security of a computer screen, people will say whatever they hell they want with zero regard for what an insensitive asshole they are being. I wholeheartedly believe that if people had to verbally say to someone’s face some of the nasty things they say to other people on social media, they would not write the things they write. BUT - that’s probably another post for another day.
In this particular situation, someone had shared a heartbreaking, traumatizing situation in which they learned that there was a good possibility that the child they were carrying may have a rare condition which would prevent it from fully developing and surviving beyond birth - if it made it to delivery. She learned of this possibility just days before she got into her third trimester and the medical staff asked if she wanted to terminate the pregnancy.
Understandably, the mother wanted to wait for the test results to make a decision like that. However, by the time the test results would come back, she would be days into her third trimester and no longer legally eligible to terminate the pregnancy. She literally had 45 minutes to make this life-altering decision. The mother chose to continue her pregnancy and wait for the results.
The results of the tests came back positive. The baby had a genetic chromosome disorder which resulted in several physical deformities that prevented the baby from surviving outside of the womb. Not only that, but the baby would suffer immensely if she did live past the birth. Due to the regulations around abortion, this mother was forced to carry her child full term to 40 weeks and watch her daughter suffocate in her arms within 30 minutes of her birth.
The mother shared the torture she experienced every day after she found out the results of the test, knowing her child would die, having to share that with her other children and the rest of her family, having to smile and say thank you when people would congratulate her on her pregnancy because explaining the situation over and over was more than she could bear. The point of her story was that medical decisions should be between the patient and the doctor. Period.
At least one woman on this thread had the audacity to comment that the woman SHOULD HAVE FELT BLESSED to have been able to hold her daughter even for a few minutes.
So, let me stop here and set something straight before some of y’all run off down the rabbit hole debating about abortion and/or how you feel about this particular scenario. THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT ABORTION, SO PLEASE DO NOT REPLY WITH YOUR STANCE ON ABORTION. You know why? Unless you’re talking about YOUR abortion, I don’t care what you think about abortion. Period. As far as I’m concerned, if it’s not your body, it’s not your business.
Far too many people have way too big opinions about entirely too many things they have never experienced, likely will never experience, have no personal knowledge or context about, and will never be directly impacted by. Abortion is a perfect example. If you don’t agree with abortion, it’s real simple. DON’T GET ONE. No one is going to force one on you.
In fact, I’d really like for anti-choice people to really think about how they would feel if someone DID force them to have an abortion. What if the country passed legislation that required all babies who were determined to be not-viable prior to their delivery to be terminated? How would they feel if THEY were the woman in the very same story I relayed and they were forced to terminate the pregnancy? I’d be willing to bet they would argue that that decision should be THEIRS to make. And guess what - they would be RIGHT. Although it is not a choice I believe I would make personally in that particular situation, I would wholeheartedly support their right to carry THEIR baby to full term and do whatever they felt they needed to do for their baby, their body, and their family. THEIR BODY, THEIR BUSINESS.
However, abortion is not the only issue in which people really need to just mind their own business and bodies. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two other good examples. If same-sex relationships or relationships with people who do not fit nicely into your ideas about the gender binary make you uncomfortable, guess what! Great news: you don’t have to have those relationships! Yet, there are people out there who make it their mission to stop LGBTQ+ people from being who they are - AND do it in the name of God.
I do not understand this. A) Someone saying, “YOUR LGBTQ+ identity is unacceptable because of MY religious beliefs” is like someone saying, “YOU can’t eat meat because I’M vegan.” It makes no sense. NOTE: One can easily replace “LGBTQ+ identity” with “abortion” here, same outcome. B) What’s your God got to do with me? Contrary to popular belief in this country, not everyone shares your religious beliefs. In fact, many don’t believe in God at all. *gasp* And guess what? Both YOUR religion and their LACK of one, is okay! So long as neither of us is telling the other that YOU have to live by MY rules. THAT is where we run into all kinds of bullshit.
There is not one way to live life. There is not one way to love and be loved. The beauty of humans is that we are each unique, divine creatures who are all connected to one another. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could learn to really listen to each other? To actually listen with the intention of understanding rather than responding? With curiosity rather than contempt? Imagine the problems we could solve if we ALL could only learn to truly listen to each other and let each other live our lives.
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Just before I went to bed Sunday night, I began to notice a dry, rawness in my throat and very light cough. Knowing that Ethan always rises a few hours before I do, AND that he works magic every time I’m not feeling well, I sent him a text before I went to bed that said something like, “I’m very worried about how my throat is going to feel in the morning. 😳 I think I need your TLC ASAP to start treating something that’s trying to take residence in my body.”
I woke up yesterday morning to a big cup of hot tea, some manuka honey cough drops, and my sweet Lilly cat who came to bring me some healing snuggles. After enjoying my tea in bed with my Lilly - and taking an hour to read in order to make up for the 30-minutes I missed the day before - I got up and tried to carry on with the business of my day. I showered and then made us a bite to eat for lunch, but did not get back into real clothes until I had to leave for the yoga studio where I work. Throughout the day, I knew things still didn’t feel quite right. In addition to feeling the need to clear my throat a lot, I was a little ornery - I had been since the night before.
Although I felt more inclined to want to crawl back into bed, I took myself to the studio where - although she is not normally in on Mondays - I encountered my friend and naturopath, Jill Diaz. In addition to Jill unexpectedly being at the studio, I had arrived earlier that usual. Had I come in at the same time I typically do every Monday, I would have missed her. The “coincidence” of this is not lost on me as, a little over a year ago, I when was experiencing this same kind of bug - and it was the sickest I’ve been in several years - Jill’s assessment and treatment got me through it in all of five days. Others who had had the same virus to two to three weeks to get back to normal.
Thankfully, Jill, who is a naturopath, had time to do some muscle-testing and determined I had the start of a viral infection. She was able to test me for supplements that would help to make me feel better before it got worse and affirmed that it was Divine that I had encountered her when I did as she said, “You’re about to be VERY sick, if you don’t head this off now.” I knew she was right based on how I was feeling. Over the past few years I’ve become much more connected with my body and better at listening to it. Still, I had not thought to call about getting in to see Jill, so I’m grateful that my angels had my back.
While I finished up my shift and then did some grocery shopping before heading home, Ethan ran to our local food store and picked up the supplements Jill had recommended. When I came home, I immediately loaded up on them and I slept really well. As odd as this will sound to some, I had a sense of being “held” and protected throughout the night. I experienced no coughing despite a little bit of a raw throat that has kept me up in the past. I felt like I was in a deep sleep, almost like a cocoon all night, and slept soundly until Ethan woke me this morning with a special concoction he’d also made for me last night. It was some kind of lemon/garlic brothy drink that I knew was healing to my body.
After drinking that drink, I went back to sleep for a couple hours before rising to take round two of my supplements. I was blessed to be able to lay back down in bed and truly rest all day today, allowing my body to do its thing and heal. Ethan brought my sweet Lilly up and she loved on me most of the morning as I was in and out of sleep. Then he brought me another delicious soup concoction. By the late afternoon I was feeling so much better than the night before - and exponentially better than I know I would have if I had not seen Jill and taken her recommended supplements.
I’m not feeling 100% yet, but as I mentioned in my brief post yesterday, I’ve come to understand that we are all surrounded by angels. I have not always known this. There were times when I’d been told this, but I did not believe it. However, various circumstances in my life have given me no other option than to connect with my angels, to see their work, and on rare, beautiful occasions, FEEL their physical presence - that will be its own blog post. 😉 I’ve come to understand that they are always around me and always working things out for my highest good - just as they did yesterday. I hope that by sharing my stories with you, that you, too, can begin to connect with these helpers. They’re always there, you might as well put them to work!
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So, I have a slew of stories to tell you about my angels. However, tonight, it’s going to be another short and sweet blog post as my body is currently fighting to remain in possession against a nasty bug that’s trying to move in. I think this is why I was so tired last night.
All I want to say tonight is that I’m so grateful for an amazing and caring husband who ALWAYS cares for me when I get knocked down. I don’t get sick often, but when I do, I do it good. Additionally, I had angels looking out for me today, making sure I got to work in time to have encountered my friend and naturopath - who is typically not there on Mondays - who gave me a slew of natural medicines to nip this in the bud! Not to mention, Ethan, who is absolutely the best nurse anyone could ever dream of, has a special assignment at work tomorrow which requires him to go in later in the day than usual. If I had to get sick, tonight/tomorrow is really the best day for it to happen as far as having such amazing love and support in Ethan.
I’m convinced that regardless of what’s happening in my life, I am blessed and highly favored. God shows up in so many amazing ways, over and over again, and for me this is one of them. Praying for protection and healing for me and anyone else who is dealing with this crud!
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Time to Find A Way
It’s only day three of this Birthday Blog Challenge and already I feel like I should apologize for this post. It’s 10:55pm and I’m tired and I don’t know what to write about. Not that I don’t have some great stories to tell, but honestly, I’d rather be in bed right now - AND I haven’t even done my 30 minutes of reading I promised to myself every day of my birthday month. 😩
This is what I get for not prioritizing my life better. If there’s anything I should have learned by now it’s that anything you want to make sure happens, should really be planned at the very start of your day. This is precisely why you see the people who are super committed and successful at showing up to the gym, before the rest of us are even awake. Whether they love being at the gym or not, it’s important enough to them to get up and get there before they do anything else.
Additionally, if something comes up that puts them behind, because it’s the very first thing on their agenda, they still manage to work it in at some point, because it’s not scheduled at the end of their day - like I’ve been doing with my Birthday Blog Challenge. When something is left until the end of the day, inevitably things come up throughout the day that push that plan back and before you know it, we’re putting off until tomorrow what we could have done today.
So, this one is gonna be short and sweet. Lesson learned and tomorrow, reading and writing are going to be the very first thing I do with my day. How do you start your day?
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Over the past several years I’ve had countless encounters with the Universe that cause me more and more frequently to find myself wishing that I had sat down and recorded the incident in the moment. If there’s anything I continue to learn in this life, it’s that no matter how incredible, fascinating, or perplexing an event is, and how certain you are you’ll never forget the thing…the odds are good we will - especially as crazy cool things continue to happen in our lives that are even cooler than the previous thing we were sure we’d never forget. And then, sometimes, it’s only in retrospect that you even discover the cool thing in the first place. This is one of those stories.
So, in December of 2017, when I was about half way through writing my book, Divinely Queer, I was creating a vision board for 2018 and so I wanted to mock up a cover of the book to have as a visual to make it more realistic and help me to truly envision finishing and publishing in the new year. I had learned about a tool call Canva that allows you to design all kind of images and branding for social media - including book covers. So, I headed there to check it out.
After designing a cover I thought I liked, but still unfamiliar with all of the Canva features, I could not figure out how to print a copy of it that was a full page print. So, I saved the image in Canva, but went back to what I knew and created a second mockup of the booking cover using Pages on my iMac. Interestingly, I used a different image than I had in Canva, and that became the image I used on my vision board.
Fast forward about six months and it was time to work with a cover designer to actually create the real cover of Divinely Queer. By this time, I’d thought a lot about the cover of the book and how I wanted it to look. I’d looked at covers of books that I really loved and by authors that I really connected with and aspired to be like in some way. I knew that I wanted to use my book as a platform for public speaking and so having an image of myself on the cover of the book seemed like a good idea based on what other successful speakers were doing with their books.
After much contemplation and back and forth between a full body shot and a headshot, I’d chosen a headshot because of the direct eye contact that could be made with the reader. I felt that my eyes in the photo really created an authentic connection. So, I sent the headshot along with a mockup of what I envisioned it looking like to the cover design guy. I also sent another full body image with the intention of him completely cropping me out of the image and using the rainbow colors on the wall behind me for the back cover of the book.
After a week or so, the cover designer sent back two cover mockups. One was exactly what I had asked him for, with the headshot on the front. However, due to the closeness of the shot and the size of the book, it ended up looking two busy with the subtitle running into my hair and my name appearing over my chest. The other, he took the liberty of designing using the full body shot photo I’d sent him and I fell in LOVE with it as soon as I saw it. That is ultimately what became the cover of the book. So, here comes the magical part.
Several months later and well after the book was published, I went back into my Canva account. I’d learned a lot more about it and had been using it to create Instagram images to promote the book before and after it launched. As I scrolled back looking at old projects, I came across the very first image I’d ever created - the mockup of the book cover to use for my vision board - the one I couldn’t figure out how to print into a full page.
There, staring back at me, was essentially, the cover of Divinely Queer - with some minor differences. I gasped with surprise when I realized that the gorgeous cover that I’d fallen in love with, and was so grateful to the cover designer for creating, was actually conceptualized by ME several months before the book was even finished - and I’d completely forgotten about it. I had not shared this mockup with the cover designer or anyone else. Yet, the Universe delivered to me a dream that was even better than the one I’d cooked up on my own. This was further validation for me that I am indeed aligned with my life’s purpose and the reason I came into this life experience.
I continue to learn that when we take inspired action, and do the things our heart is called to do, the things that bring joy to ourselves and to others, that the Universe always, always, ALWAYS lines things up just as they need to be.
Never stop following your dreams. Watch for the signs along the way that help you know which way to go. And no matter what, trust that even if you make a "wrong" turn, the Universe is always conspiring to get you where you’re going. We just have to be open to the guidance and wiling to follow the signs.
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Birthday Blog Challenge!
Happy February! It’s officially my birthday month and the past few years I have tried to use this month to create a new healthy habit for myself. Last year, I committed to building my yoga practice by doing 28 classes in 28 days. I think this was the first time I completely met my goal. As a reward to myself, I bought myself my own legit yoga mat and while I’m certainly not practicing everyday, I have gotten better about practicing at least once every day that I work at the yoga studio, which is typically four times a week.
Two years ago I committed to a daily gratitude practice based on Rhonda Byrne’s book The Magic. This was an awesome experience because I truly began to see the impact of my practice when I began to quickly manifest the things I desired into my life. I really should have been blogging more then because there were several good stories I could have shared.
This year, I’ve committed to at least 30 minutes of reading for pleasure everyday. I recently began reading A Course in Miracles and so today, I read several pages in that book. If you’ve read A Course in Miracles, I’d love to know your thoughts on it. So far I have found it a bit dense, so it’s taking a bit longer than usual to read. However, I have also found it profound and compelling to the point that I’m underlining passages and earmarking pages. So, I think it’s going to be worth the effort.
As I was trying to decide what my birthday month gift to myself would be, my husband suggested I blog everyday for the month. I informed him that, for me, that would not be a gift, but rather a birthday challenge! One that I will accept.
SO…here is my first Birthday Blog Challenge post! As I shift from writing sporadically to posting everyday, I anticipate that some posts this month may be more compelling than others! In any case, I hope you’ll enjoy the ride, leave me a comment to let me know you were here and if you read something that inspires you, I would love for you to share it on your social media platform.
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Thank you, Ferndale!!
The DIVINELY QUEER Ferndale Launch was one for the books! We had a great crowd join us at Affirmations for a few readings from the book followed by a very engaged Q&A session. It was exciting because I was joined by old friends who I had not seen in a while, family members who came out to show their support, and even made some new friends who had discovered my book and were excited about the opportunity to connect. We held an after party across the street at Rosie O'Grady's where 10% of the proceeds for the night benefited Affirmations. My friend, Christina brought her GlitzBooth open air photo booth and we were able to capture these gems! It was such an amazing night and I'm so grateful to my friend and director of public relations, Megan Shacklett, who organized the event and made sure that everything went off without a hitch! She and our Dream Team are amazing and are going to help me make 2019 a year of ACTION! Keep an eye our for a DIVINELY QUEER even near you! If you know of a local bookstore in your area that you think would welcome an event, please drop us a message at the email below!
Jennifer Miracle-Best is an author and speaker whose Calling is to help victims of spiritual violence find healing.