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I AM Woman Cover Work

This project has been my heart focus for a couple of years now. When it first came to mind, I had no idea how I was going to achieve a cohesive product because my thoughts for it were/are all over the place.

Despite very sound advice to focus on one theme, idea, pattern and font to carry throughout the project, I don’t think, create or interact like that. I’ve photographed over fifty women in six states at different stages of their lives from completely different backgrounds. The one thing they were all asked was: What word would you use to describe your womanhood? (My theme.) From that we went about trying to portray each woman and her word in an image. (Completely different styles all around.) Aside from the question and their interest, very few had much in common. So as I edit these images, my primary goal is to make each one stand on its own and hopefully, as individuals they can be a collective together. That’s an overall hope for my life as well.

Below are some steps I’ve taken to get to the cover for I AM Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood.

Now accepting pre-orders for a limited number of copies. Place your order at Harvest-Life.org/shop.

Original image and near final cover for I AM Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood. All photography and edits by LaShawnda Jones.
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Video: “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person”

by Alain de Botton

This is such a phenomenal human teaching.

Phrases I had to pause the video for (i.e., my notes):

  • Love is a skill, not an instinct. It needs time be learned. We’re taught to follow our feelings, which usually lead us astray.
    • Vulnerability is key.
  • We don’t know how to love.
    • To love someone is to apply charity of interpretation.
    • We start off with idealization and end up with denigration.
    • Love is not just admiration for strength, it’s tolerance for weakness and recognition of ambivalence.
  • We’re seeking partners that feel familiar.
    • We are not on a quest to be happy; we are on a quest to suffer in ways that feel familiar.
  • If you do not explain, you will never be understood.
  • Good enough.
    • None of us are perfect, but we demand perfection. The demand for perfection will lead us to loneliness.
    • You cannot have perfection and company. To spend time in company with another person is to be negotiating imperfections every day.
  • We are all incompatible, but it is the work of love to make us graciously accommodating to each other and our own incompatibilities. Therefore, compatibility is an achievement of love.
  • We aren’t able to change our type, but we can change how we respond to our type.
  • Compromise is noble.

Either/or, Part I free download: Either – Or (volume One) : Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Either/or, Part II free download: Either/or : Kiekegaard Soren : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

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2022 Calendar Planning: Starting the year off with an outline (Recording)

Listen to my 2022 planning outline suggestions for #indie #creatives, #solopreneuers, and #SmallBusiness owners. There are no hard and fast rules, only simple techniques for staying on track with your overall 2022 goals.

Note: The first couple of minutes are dead air, mic was off. 🙃 (Start after minute 3:00).

Please share your techniques and suggestions in the comments.

https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1ynJOZmroMXGR

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Join Me on Clubhouse/Twitter Spaces: Indie Creatives

If you’re a creative in need of a space to get or discuss ideas for your business these may be the spaces for you.

My primary topics will be writing, publishing, photography and related functions (i.e.marketing, promotion, social media, etc.).

Find me on Twitter and Clubhouse @harvestlifer . If you need an invite for Clubhouse, follow the link below.

First discussion scheduled for Monday, January 3, 2022, 8:30-9:00 AM CST

“2022 Calendar Planning: Starting the year off with an outline.”

Recording will be available for 30 days.

Twitter link: https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1ynJOZmroMXGR

Clubhouse link: https://www.clubhouse.com/join/indie-creatives/3C1q77DH/xXw0WnWP

Tandem Twitter and Clubhouse Spaces.

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Harvest Life 2022 Content Engagement Goals

Spoiler: More audio and video!

Monthly
💻 Zoom Bible Study
🎙Conversations/Interviews (#twitter #spaces + #zoom)
🏠 Home Ownership

What topics are you interest in? Share in the comments.

Watch for additional details here:

#harvestlife #harvestbooks #harvestphotography #harvesthomes #harvestlifer #keepmoving #forward #grace #space #opportunity #harvest

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Thank you for Contractors

What’s a new day without gratitude or a new year without reflection? Woke up with the contractors who showed up to perform heavy on my mind. Frustrating processes, but grateful for the results. Keep moving, folks. The only way it doesn’t work out is if you don’t put in the work.

Peace, joy, and gratitude to you all. Be sure to give yourself grace, space and opportunity. You are the writer and executer of your story.

Message on photo: “Happy New Year! We’ve come a long way.
Thank you for your expertise, suggestions and contributions.
All the best for a Healthy & Prosperous 2022!”

#gratitude #joy #peace #contractors #renovation #rehab #fixandflip #fixandhold #airbnb #realestate #realestateinvestor #newday #newyear #workrelationships #happynewyear #2021 #2022 #Milwaukee

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Update: Rehab Progress

Pre rough-in electrical inspection walk through of my gut rehab – with some gems of wisdom.

Take-aways:

  • Life is never a straight line. You can’t avoid doing the work.
  • “Be stubborn with the vision, but flexible with the details. ~ Jeff Bezos

#realestate #rehab #homerenovation #fixnflip #fixnhold #communitydevelopment #onehouseatatime #makeitwork #getitdone

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Making a home in hostile places

In early November I returned to Arizona for a couple of days. On my drive from Phoenix to Tucson I had some revelatory moments. I share them here.

There are no safe places. True peace is never of the world. I’m learning that my life has been about escaping all the ties that bind my heart, mind and spirit while freely and ecstatically seeking God/my Creator. The bonus is coming into a fuller understanding of being in the world, not of it.

Hard times may come but times aren’t hard for always. Keep moving forward. The only person who can stop your progress is you.

Much love. Happy New Year.

Remember each new day arrives with new mercies. 😘

~ Shawnda

#life #spirit #journey #lessons #keepgoing #keepmovingforward #arizona #theworld #creator #godisgood #newyear #newmercies #space #grace #opportunity #nosafeplace #home #hostileplaces

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Excerpt: Journal, August 9, 2019 (Desert of Solitude)

Since publishing Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace in 2018, I’ve been revisiting the manuscript to edit and clarify the text. This year, I’ve spent quite a bit of time actually rewriting and reorganizing it. The below excerpt is part of the epilogue and seems like a timely share for the holiday and the space I’m in.

  • I AM Woman Cover Work

    Below are some steps I’ve taken to get to the cover for I AM Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood. Now accepting pre-orders for a limited number of copies. Place your order at Harvest-Life.org/shop.

  • Video: “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person”

    by Alain de Botton This is such a phenomenal human teaching. Phrases I had to pause the video for (i.e., my notes): Love is a skill, not an instinct. It needs time be learned. We’re taught to follow our feelings, which usually lead us astray. Vulnerability is key. We don’t know how to love. To […]

Journal: August 9, 2019

New York, New York

My mind is all aflutter with clamoring thoughts… but first I give thanks.

Father God, thank you for all You are! Thank you for keeping me, for providing for me. Thank You for looking out for me when I’m ready to give up all semblance of hope.

My closing is scheduled for next week and now I can think. I can breathe. I wish I had planned this time because it’s a good point for a fast. The last two sermons brought up a lot in me. A lot of thoughts about rejection and how different my life would be with people in it.

I’m recognizing trauma for what it is and what it has done to me.

My sister avoiding me for over a decade has been the most deep-seated, hard-to-face rejection of my life.

One of my best friends from high school treating me as a second rate, after-thought option to fill in for her white best friends from middle school and college has changed my commitment to female friendships.

Three older women I’ve long thought of as “second mothers” each telling me in their own way I had no real place in their lives crippled me emotionally.

Remembering how I traveled across the country to visit my paternal grandmother in the hospital shortly before she died, how I sat patiently at her bedside for four hours, hoping to have one last conversation as she kept her eyes closed and faked sleep, is still painful nearly a decade later. Watching her stir herself and engage with her children when they arrived felt like a betrayal to the special relationship I thought we had. She had no words for me even when she knew she was dying. Her son, Peewee had also refused to acknowledge me when he laid dying two years prior.

Then there was the time my youngest aunt had security escort me out of the hospital my maternal grandfather was dying in simply because she could.

And the time I was the only relative at my uncle’s wedding and he acted like he wished I wasn’t there.

Basically, I was flooded with thoughts of all the disrespect, emotional, psychological and spiritual harm inflicted on me in all my important relationships.

The footnotes of harm can go on and on. Though the rejection has stung each time, the disregard and dismissal have always been unexpected from each of these people.

These instances and more have each happened in their own space and time. Separate and unknown from each of the actors. After each incident I dealt with what I could and buried the rest or thought about what I couldn’t ignore, then filed it away as another great emotional injustice in my life.

This week I realized the anger – deep seated and ferocious – stemmed mostly from the trauma accumulated over the years from these relationship abuses. I’ve endured habitual emotional violence in all my major relationships throughout my whole life.

What a revelation!

Suffering from accumulated pain while thinking my anger stemmed only from the state of the world. Dealing with the little I could handle left a whole bunch of stuff to fester under the surface in years of layering. That’s how I keep getting pulled in fast and deep. My darkness is a quagmire.

Sadly, I asked to be able to love people. From prior experience I should’ve been ready for the worst. Reflecting from a longview, I can understand how many fall to the wayside. How giving up can be perceived as a road to comfort. Yet and still, there is no doubt there is literally nothing and no one waiting for me on the other side of You, Father God. You’re all I have. So despite my trauma and uncertainty, I keep plodding ahead as I’m able. After all, if I’m in You and You’re in me, then I’m already all in, right?

My sense of worthiness was wrapped up in all the hurt, anger and rejection. Reasoning that if the people who know me best don’t love me or care about my well-being, then how can some newbie care about me?

What man would love a woman whose own dad didn’t love or protect her? What kind of wife can a woman be when she’s never had an enjoyable voluntary sexual encounter? What kind of friend can a woman be when her own sister disowns her? I am the common denominator in all my relationships therefore there must be something inherently wrong with me.

My reasoning concluded it’s my fault no one loves me. What is it about me that’s so utterly unlovable? What a sad irony that an unloved person prayed to be a lover of people. No one can give what they don’t have. All these debilitating, shame-filled thoughts loop ceaselessly in the background of my life.

Perhaps kernels of pride rise from rejection. An understanding of being created in greatness and being rejected for Who I AM. Knowing my higher self is rejected more often than my personhood, doesn’t lessen the sting. What is it about the person I am that makes me so disposable?

Despite airing these rhetorical questions, I will continue on the path I’m on – searching and seeking You in my fullness and emptiness. Should my life remain one of solitude, then so be it.

By Your Grace, I am able to remind myself I am blessed and highly favored. My life is good. I offered only the best of myself to all these people. The best of my understanding and intentions. I am not lost without them. My existence is not lacking. I know all this.

Having identified the deeply rooted anger and trauma has lightened me immeasurably and made space for a more vigorous pursuit of healing.  

Thank You for giving me this week to gather myself – my thoughts, my frustrations, my pain and trauma. Thank You for the time and space to explore, examine and itemize the roots. Thank You for making me sit and rest. Thank You for giving me the time to be creative and work on my art forms. It’s so hard for me to stop moving, but when You cause me to pause, it’s a full stop that’s never regretted or resented.  

Thank You for caring for me, Abba. Thank You for keeping me and guiding me on Your path of life to a greater life in You. Thank You for the gifts and talents You have blessed me with. I am nothing without You, but without others I remain one of Your masterpieces. Thank You for Your Grace, Mercy, Love, Character, Nature, Joy, Understanding, Provision, Faithfulness and Guidance. I appreciate You, Father God. I honor You. I bless You. I surrender fully to You. I am Yours. I receive and embrace You as mine. Thank You, Creator, for making me the way You have. Designed to be who I am – salt, light, flesh, spirit – a blessing in this world.

I breathe in and out knowing Your Breath and Spirit flow through me. Thank You, Abba for sharing Your breath with me. For counting me worthy to bear and represent Your likeness in the Earth. Thank You Abba for the mind, heart and spirit that pants after you daily; that aches when I get off track. Thank You for continually reeling me back in, turning me in the direction I should go. Lighting my fire to motivate and encourage action. Thank You, Abba, for all You do and all You are. In the name of Jesus – Your Son, my Savior –  and by Your Most Gracious and overwhelming Holy Spirit, my Guide, Amen. Amen Amen.

Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace (2018)