Exciting Release: My New Children’s Book Series!

23 May

The Cookie-Flower Rock Kids

Today, I’m pleased to announce the release of a brand new quirky, fun and enlightening children’s book series ‘The Cookie-Flower Rock Kids’ authored and illustrated by yours truly, Dionna L. Hayden!

This book series follows the lives of three young siblings as they experience different adventures, overcome challenges, mature and grow. I invite you to join them on their journey as they learn about the facts of life and the world around them from their unique perspective with excitement, warmth and good cheer! The Cookie-Flower Rock Kids’ series is designed to spark a love of life learning for young readers while building stronger families through the vehicle of quality mentorship.

Check out www.cfrkids.com and sign up to notified of the official site launch and other exciting updates such as book releases, events, activities and more. All your support for this series to grow and prosper is well appreciated and I thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart!

#BigNews
#EnjoyingTheJourney

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Slow Down.

27 Feb
Slow Down

Photo and Art by Dionna L. Hayden

In the hustle and bustle society we live in, it’s always tempting to be in a hurry with our daily tasks like getting to school, driving to work, making appointments or deadlines on time. In our continual efforts in constantly rushing, we lose more and more ground in making quality decisions which many times leads to easily making costly mistakes.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint! Everyday, it’s wise to remind ourselves to practice becoming more like the tortoise and less like the hare, being slow and steady in all of our efforts. In doing such, we reap the benefits of getting the best quality, workmanship and enjoyment in our everyday lives.

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Don’t Give Up!

21 Feb

Somebody 3 12

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.”
― Helen Keller

Ever notice how GPS knows where everything is and gives directions? Ever notice how when we don’t always follow the route, there’s a cool invention called course correction that will redirect us back on track?

Our journey called life has GPS and His name is God, He knows our destination and provides directions how to get there. Even when we make wrong turns, He doesn’t stop directing, he course corrects if we allow Him. Ain’t He GREAT?!! #DontGiveUP #KeepMovingForward #MyRandomThoughts

It Takes a Village

20 Jan

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“It takes a whole village to raise a child.” – African Proverb

Happy King Day everyone! I hope you’re enjoying your day with friends and families. Today commemorates an incredible individual whose convictions to see mankind whole drove him to step out to make a change for the better. I am grateful for his selfless courageousness. If were not for those like him, I’m sure today would be a much different reality for us all. Thank you Dr. King!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen many images of Dr. King portrayed on TV and publications alike, especially this time of year. Images that gives us a flattering glimpse of the minister and civil rights leader. However, recently there were very shocking images with King’s likeness embedded in twerk party flyers circulating all over the web. Twerk party flyers—REALLY?! Yes, really.

At first glance, I was pretty irritated at what I felt was extremely disrespectful, but then I wanted to understand why. Not long after, I was able to find the interview with Dr. King’s daughter Dr. Bernice King, where she too expressed her disappointment, not only to those who created the unflattering imagery of her beloved dad, but her disappointment in our society for the lack of instructing and training to prevent the knowledge gap ignorance has filled. Dr. Bernice expresses “I’m sad, really, that it’s come to the point where there’s a generation that has no appreciation and understanding for what my father stood for…It just suggests to me that we’ve got a lot of work to do to reach them to make the connections.” She goes on to say “We’re going to have to figure out how to go where they are…into their places where they hang out.”—Well said!!! As adults, it’s our job is to train the younger generations, but somewhere along the way, we fell asleep behind the wheel and now we have this great collision before us that we must clean up.

“How can we be angry with the young for their lack of knowledge if we haven’t taught them?”

Picture this…a child lacking guidance. When that child grows up, the only attribute that will change is the external; being a child trapped in an adult’s body with a childish nature and approach to life. How can we be angry with the young for their lack of knowledge if we haven’t taught them? We are responsible to reach out and teach them to replicate the knowledge and wisdom that was passed down to us. Whatever unique piece of the puzzle we hold as parents, guardians, ministers, teachers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, etc. must be given to complete the wholeness in the world God intended for us to thrive. This covers everything that pertains to life including natural and spiritual principles.

“Our youth are hungry so let’s feed them!”

For us to go on with our everyday lives ignoring the importance of youth develop is just as bad as a parent only preparing meals for themself while their children remain unfed. If our society lacks anything, it is not the fault of the youth, we must look to ourselves to see where we’ve missed the mark and quickly get aligned with the charge we were given. Our youth are hungry so let’s feed them! This is not a job for a select few, but all of us making a collective effort for an outcome to heal and restore order back into our world.

Your partner in this journey,
Didi Hayden

P.S. Check out this great link for the Young, Anointed and Empowered Project headed by a great friend of mine making an impact in the lives of youth: www.younganointedandempowered.com

[Source of Dr. Bernice King's video can be viewed at: http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/24433868/dr-bernice-king-disappointed-by-twerking-party-flyers#axzz2qM8p4veX]

Rising Above the Clouds

13 Jan

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Sometimes there’s so much ugly in the world going on that it’s easy to forget that there’s always beauty going on as well. No matter how cloudy life appears, the sun is always present and always shining. We just have to remember to look above the clouds. – Didi Hayden

Hello world, it’s a new year and it’s been a while since I’ve last posted. A huge reason why was because my 2013 was one of the most tumultuous but yet glorious years in my entire life! It was the year of deeper soul searching that included discovery, rediscovery, tearing down and rebuilding. I’ve learned a lot about where I’ve come from, where I am, where I’m heading and what I have to gain or lose to get there. Through all the extreme highs and low, I was given the grace to see much more clearly than ever before. My perspective had took a paradigm shift in the right direction; and because of it, I was able to endure and overcome in a way I would never found humanly possible in previous years.

In due time, the details of this leg of my journey will be revealed, but right now I do have another story to share. Did you hear about the Chicago Bulls’ basketball player Jimmy Butler? I’m not a big sports buff, but my dad is. So when Daddy posted Jimmy’s story on Facebook, I decided to take a look and was immediately captivated by it. This story is a powerful example of hope and perseverance through tremendous adversity from homeless teen to NBA player. (Before I continue, note that it’s not the NBA that amazes me, but his attitude to overcome the most excruciating times of his life that does.) This guy was torn down every way possible and left without much to survive; but by the grace of God, he persisted  through it all by using the stumbling blocks in his life as stepping stones to greatness. He had every reason quit, but fought for his reality to change for the better. Simply AMAZING! [Check out the video link here.]

Jimmy Butler’s story is a also a true testament to the power of hope programmed within every individual. With hope, it is possible for us to avoid becoming victims of our circumstances. We were designed to be resilient like the eagle; instead of flying through the storm, the eagle uses the storm to lift it higher to rise above it! So in the same likeness, we too can choose to rise above our storms by focusing our perspective to higher places [mindsets, dreams and goals] that will give us the boost we need to make it.

So I say this to you to help empower you not only for your new year, but for the rest of your life to consider the eagle and not lose hope. Rise up! Because your hope is the engine that keeps your faith running (Isaiah 40:31). No matter how cloudy or stormy life gets, remember that the sun is always present and always shining. You have to remember and choose to look above the clouds to make it through to the next phase of your life’s journey.

P.S. Thank you Daddy for the amazing post!

Enduring “The Middles”

31 Dec

Not long ago, I seen a movie that had a interesting topic and outcome. The movie was about a young stagnant house wife who becomes infatuated with a neighbor. To her, he was something new, mysterious and exciting compared to her seemingly mundane life with her own husband, a struggling professional. By nature, she was sweet and well meaning but immature. As time and her impatience with her life progressed, she decided to throw caution to the wind and finally leave her husband to pursue what she believed she lacked in her life. Broken hearted, he gracefully lets her go so she can pursue whatever it is to make her happy, including her new beau. After a great deal of time passed, her husband finally received the fruits of his years of labor while she has come to another stagnant place in her life after her appetite had been satisfied and her high has come down. Moral of this story?!—don’t give up during the process of change, endure through the “middles” in life.

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”(Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV)

Everyone likes either the beginning or the end result of something like the honeymoon stage of a marriage, or the birth of a baby (or in my case new babies). Arriving to new heights or milestones in life are new and exciting, but hardly anyone admits to being excited about the middle, that place where that newness wears off and reality settles in. You know, like when the honeymoon stage is over and marital boot camp begins or when that beautiful new baby becomes this loud messy eating machine that saps your energy and sanity—The “middles” are here to stay and aren’t going anywhere, so what do we do about it?!

In order to get to the finish-lines of our lives, we have to go through the “middles” [don't worry, the middles can be conquered]. The middles are those rough patches that come before the completion of our milestones. In order for us to successfully endure, we have to first see the importance of the “middles” and not be quick to despise it. Believe it or not, it’s in the middle that we have the best opportunity for growth. Just like it takes extreme pressure for a period of time for diamonds to be formed, we as people also grow and mature as we endure the process of the changes that take place in our lives. The trick is to be extremely careful not to allow negative emotions like impatience, fear and frustration drive us to make rash decisions that will only prolong the process or worst end it all together.

A prime example of what NOT to do can be found with the children of Israel. An 11 day trip to the promised land stretched to a whopping 40 years all because they were too bullheaded to endure the middle. In that 40 year period, a whole generation of people died in the wilderness (aka the middle) instead of enjoying life in a place that was set aside just for them.

Don’t be like them!!! Get what is coming to you when you properly endure the middle to get to the finish-lines in your life. Watch that messy loud baby grow into a beautiful person you can be proud of or watch that marriage grow into the partnership it was was designed to be and see yourself bloom as an individual during the process. Remember, the middle is only a temporal place, never settle there or cut corners to get out!!! So as you start this new year, start it with an attitude that embraces the middles of your life and take every opportunity of growth there is in it, then progressively move forward so you can in turn live the best version of your life possible!

Until next time, I’m still enjoying the journey,
Didi Hayden

28 May

Originally posted on Live. Learn. Enjoy the Journey!:

“If you take care of the small things,
the big things take care of themselves.
You can gain more control over your life by
paying closer attention to the little things.”
- Emily Dickinson

Hello again! For the sake of this post, I’m going to start things off by putting myself out here on blast. All while growing up, I loved to be an achiever by actively pursuing the arts, getting good grades, winning contests and receiving awards for my achievements, but one of my major flaws was I couldn’t stand doing chores, especially doing the dishes! When it was my turn to do them, it was like pulling teeth! I HATED doing the dishes!!! So to avoid my responsibilities, I would procrastinate literally all day, sometimes into the wee hours of the next morning before I’d dared to attempt the task and since my mom was a stickler for a tidy…

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