Happiness, Uninterrupted

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Studies show that by journaling daily at least 3 things you are grateful for increases happiness and decreases stress and depression.

Many times many of us believe happiness comes from external means, like gaining money, earning a promotion, buying a nice house, etc., but that kind of material happiness is fleeting; then moments later, we’re on our way to promptly refill our dose of “happy” with something else. However, lasting happiness [peace and joy] must be discovered and cultivated on the inside. There are many intangible blessings we already have in our lives that we often overlook because we are too busy following other means too see them. The remedy to this issue is simply slowing down to pay closer attention and appreciating the life and beauty in our world like smelling the roses, achieving personal growth, enjoying the company of a loved one, or delighting in the laughter of our children creates an inner paradise that we control and foster for as long as we choose to. A bonus to this type of happiness means we become contagious to those we encounter like walking thermostats of joy despite the social temperatures around us.

So the next time you’re in a little bit of a slump and need a boost, focus on the true treasures you already have, it really does work!

#Peace
#Love
#EnjoyTheJourney

You cannot judge people because they sin differently than you.
-Erykah Badu

#Perspective
#Grace
#Love

An Honest Open Letter

Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable. I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness.
― Janelle Monáe

My Transparent Moment:
I’m 33 years old and for the majority of my life, my biggest flaw was caring about what others thought about me more than my inner convictions to simply “do me”. When I was a child, I had the complete confidence and freedom to be my true self, but somewhere outside my home’s four walls, I bought into the lie that I didn’t measure up to “the standard”. That’s when my world and path of my personal life journey took a detour.

We live in a society that preaches “come as you are”, “just be yourself”, “do you”; but I truly believe our society is too petty to really mean it. So many times we control, micromanage, make up rules to tell each other what to do instead of allowing one another to organically live and learn our own unique paths in life. I by all means am not advocating disorder and chaos, but grace towards one another’s gains and shortcomings as we all are learning how to “do life”. How can my good heart and actions be considered wrong if it reaps good fruit?! How can me teaching my children how to connect with their Creator and love others be a problem if it benefits all?! How is my non-traditional method to do life offensive if it’s effective?! It baffles and perplexes me every single time!—And now I realize it’s not worth the trouble to ponder over any longer. There is a simple solution to stop the madness.

So today, I’m openly stating that I am done being in a prison of other people’s approval. I’m walking out my own personal journey. I’m choosing to be who I am truly designed and purposed to be, to make an indelible mark in the lives of those I am purposed to reach. I may never be understood or appreciated in my lifetime for what God leads me to do; but that was never my incentive to begin with [as the likes of Galileo GalileiDr. Martin Luther King Jr., and others who didn’t see the fruits of their labor that changed the course of our world for the better]. I’m choosing to stay true to my God-given convictions, and genuinely hope others choose to step out boldly to do the same regret-free. After all, we all hold a special piece of the entire puzzle that makes this world whole. If we won’t step up to give our own unique piece, who will on our behalf?!

Wishing you much peace, love and true freedom,
Dionna L. Hayden

#EnjoyTheJourney

Real Faith, Real Miracles, Real Results

Some of the greatest miracles one could ever receive in their life is the ones that happen when their faith and action has been applied.

I can personally speak of the miracles my household has experienced in recent years. In 2012, my husband was diagnosed with an incurable terminal illness, but God supplied directions for us to upgrade our health and fitness choices; and now we’re seeing healing because of it. In 2013, for 10 months straight my husband and I didn’t receive income because of job and client loss, but survived without homelessness or loss of essentials because of following specific God-given instructions. In 2014, my husband stepped out in faith to take a position that was impossible to support our family of 5 but shortly after, it opened the door to support our whole household and two businesses.

These are the kinds of “miracles” that God supplies that require sweat equity on our end to exercise character and become stronger because of it. Without it, there would be no true appreciation for what we receive; like a parent spoiling their children instead of challenging them to appreciate privilege.

My hope in creating this post is to spark hope and knowledge for those experiencing their very own “walk on water” moments. The key is avoiding stagnation by standing still and sinking, but progressively move forward one step at a time. Your faith requires your action to back it up. Choose to see what part you must participate in to see your circumstance improve and personally grow and appreciate the victory because of it.

#BeBlessed
#EnjoyTheJourney

Brothers-Keeper-Plant

We were wired to learn by imitation. So I truly believe when we come to a level of notoriety, we indirectly sign up to become an example for others to learn from and imitate (whether it be good or bad). For us to deny this responsibility to be such a role model is irrelevant because other eyes have been [and will not stop] watching.

If we want to see real change in our world, it begins with us all on an individual basis. What we put out into the atmosphere is like seeds placed in the ground. What we receive is the result of what seeds we choose to plant and nurture during our time here. Before we all are done with life, it’s always good to examine what seeds we planted in humanity [for better or worse]. What gift or curse did we give humanity? This is our world, we are our brother’s keeper.

‪#CestLaVie‬ ‪#Thatslife‬

 

Exciting Release: My New Children’s Book Series!

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

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.

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

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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

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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!

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