Inspiration, life

3 Things You can do When You are Feeling Depressed

September 14, 2014

3 things you can do when yo

It’s been almost 4 months since my world was turned upside down, since my daughter was shot (she survived), since we’ve had our own place to live, since…life was “normal”. I’m not going to lie. It’s rough sometimes. I have moments during the day where I struggle…really hard. I don’t like my thoughts and my thoughts really don’t like me. The “d” word hovers over my head for at least 83% of the day. I fight to keep an open heart, to keep communicating with my husband, to keep laughing with the children. I keep trying to pray and keep busy being creative and sometimes it helps.

Tuesday we started family counseling.

It felt like a band aid was ripped off of a wound. A wound that I thought was scabbed over and healing, but no. It’s still bleeding.  I’ve been mad at myself because it still hurts to think about that night when bullets ripped through our home like a war zone injuring my oldest daughter. I should be over this by now, shouldn’t I? It feels like the whole world has gone crazy. Maybe it was already crazy and I finally woke up to it. I say that somewhat tongue in cheek. Of course the world is crazy…it’s just that it’s craziness wasn’t supposed to touch me and my family.

But it did.

I keep thinking about how I’m going to get through this period in my life. I believe things will get better, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that there are moments when it’s hard. I accept that. I accept the wave of emotions that come, I ride it and let it wash up on shore until the next wave rides in. My out of body beach experience.

I keep debating on how much to share. How deep do I go? Will it be too much? Will I be setting myself up for someone to take advantage of me? Then I remember the gift that God has given me.

The gift of creativity. It’s my prozac. It literally lifts my spirits and helps me to keep going. It takes my mind off of dark thoughts and just let’s me breathe. Almost as if I had run 50 miles and collapse out of exhaustion, and happiness and accomplishment. That’s how I feel when I’m able to be creative. My mind can run free, and feel the wind it’s hair…well…you know what I mean. If my mind had hair it would be blown by the imagination wind.

And it would be epic.

It is epic.

I am reminded of the conversation I had with my brother the other night. He is a VP at an engineering company. He is also a gifted musician, rapper, and producer who teaches awesome bible studies at our church. He’s also a father of 4 kids. He’s kind of awesome. So much so I call him my little big brother because I look up to him (literally and spiritually). We talked about the gift of hobbies, and creativity and art and how they literally can help us make it through life’s challenges. Expressing ourselves while in the midst of our journey can help with healing as well as encourage others. While hiding those parts of ourselves can feed the negative thoughts that we tell ourselves throughout the struggle or trial we are facing. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to stay positive. But there are a few things I’m implementing to help me keep my head above water.

I am working on putting my health first:

  • This is hard to admit but sometimes I won’t eat if I’m too busy. Sometimes I forget and sometimes I do it on purpose so I can keep working. I’ve done that with having to pee or get a drink of water. Now I try and stop, pee/eat/drink, and then continue on with what I was doing. I’m still not perfect at this but I’m getting better.

I make time to write in my journal/visit with friends/think/pray:

  • This has always been important to me but I don’t think I really made it a priority even though I know that this is essential to my well being, creativity and overall happiness.

I’m giving myself some grace:

  • This is by far the hardest thing for me to do. I’m working on not judging or criticizing myself for sleeping in, or not doing laundry, or not praying the most “holy” prayer. Essentially for being “human”. Right now things are messy and even get lost but I’m trying to let those things go and realize that my worth is not in how well I accomplish things but my worth is simply in who Christ made me to be.

Do you have any tactics that you use when you are feeling down?



Crafts, DIY fashion

How to Make a DIY Lace Peter Pan Collar

September 10, 2014

This is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make a Lace Peter Pan Collar. I hope you like it!
Old Lace from a shirt I got from goodwill but you can buy lace at your local fabric store
needle and thread
Pearl embellishments from local craft store
Tacky Glue

Please subscribe and share if you like the video!

Creativity, Inspiration, youtube

2014 Essence Festival: Empowering Your Voice with YouTube

September 2, 2014

I found this video from Shameless Maya’s vlog of her visit to New Orleans for the 2014 Essence Festival. I thought this video would be really inspiring for anyone who is thinking of starting a youtube channel or starting an online business. It was really great to get an inside look into the journey of YouTubers who have been able to develop a brand and make a living doing what they love. What made this interview so awesome was the fact that Soledad O’Brien was doing the interview! She did a great job as always inspiring and guiding the discussion. I really appreciated the candidness of the ladies as well as the openness to share their stories. I really enjoyed Jessica’s honesty and passion for making hair videos. I loved the experience and wisdom that Tiffany from Tiffany Rothe Workouts was able to contribute to the conversation. She really stressed how she considers her videos as a way to help other women become their best! Franchesca brought truth and honesty in a light hearted and sober account of her experiences with trying to pay bills and live her life while being online. Maya was someone that I really identified with. She spoke of having to balance her artistic expression with connecting with her audience. She talked about how she decided to shave her hair in order to redirect focus to her brand. I really appreciated her honesty and courage to do something like that and remove what could have easily changed the course of what she wanted to express. I was happy to hear that there are others who want to maintain their artistic expression foremost while maneuvering into the world of YouTube and online work. I think this video is worth watching and very inspiring!

HOSTED BY: Soledad O’Brien
Featuring: Jessica Lewis of MahoganyCurls®, Maya Washington of “Shameless Maya”, Franchesca Leigh, and Tiffany Rothe.

DIY fashion

How to Make a No Sew Glittery Peter Pan Collar Necklace

September 1, 2014

I’ve been obsessed with Peter Pan Collars and when I found out how you could turn them into necklaces to wear anytime with any outfit I was totally stoked! I wanted to share this quick and easy tutorial on how to make an easy no sew Peter Pan Collar necklace. It’s so easy my 7 and 10 year old girls made ones for themselves. I think Peter Pan Collars are a classic addition to any outfit. I love how they kind of give off this sweet and innocent vibe while playing it up with  some bling adds a lot of pizzazz to the collar. Did I just say pizzazz?

Yes I did.

And that’s okay.

For materials you need:


Felt (I got from Joanne’s fabric)

glittery rhinestone thingees (I got from Joanne’s fabric)


Tacky glue


I hope you enjoy this tutorial! Please share it if you like it and subscribe!


Giving Myself Permission

August 29, 2014
do you what you feel in your heart to be right for you will be criticized anyway - Eleanor Roosevelt

I want to give myself permission to write what I want to write. But it seems so hard at times. So many thoughts swirl around in my mind. Actually I think my left and right brains are totally at war. One side wants to express artistic deeply felt prose as inspiration hits… and the other side wants to figure out how things fit together. Which heading, subject, topic fits into what category on the blog. I stop myself from allowing buds of possible articles to grow as I try to decide if they would be well received or even fit with the over all message of The Inspired Cafe. By the way-what IS the message of The Inspire(d) Cafe again? I remind myself of how I need to create an editorial calendar so that I can be consistent. Consistency will build and audience. Consistency in message will build the right audience. Right?

But I can’t do all of that right now. There’s way to much going on in my life. My life has literally been turned upside down, shaken out and thrown in the air. I’m still waiting for all of the pieces to land.( Then my left brain will start the sorting, organizing and purging process.) I started blogging 6 years ago because I needed an outlet. I needed a place to put my thoughts about life while I tended to little children, my home and my marriage. I yearned for community, feedback and validation. Sometimes I still do. But I was so naive back then. I had no idea what blogging was or what it could be. It is not the same today as it was when I started. There is an opportunity to make money running a blog these days. And it seems so enticing to go after that. I tried to for a little bit. It turns out that unless you have a large following there is still a lot of work to be done for little to no money. If I was to refer to Seth Godin’s book “The Dip” and his reasoning that one must decide in the beginning if they are willing to go through the dip to continue with an idea is really wise. It’s how I’ve always thought. I thought I was willing to go through the dip of trying to earn money with my blog but I realize that in this day and age it’s really hard to stand out from the crowd. But since I know there is a possibility to be a professional blogger I will most likely keep trying to figure it out.

So the question begs to be asked-do I want to spend more time trying to get my blog to be seen or do I want to spend my time writing and creating? Right now, I need to create. It’s always been something that’s been hard to articulate to others. Something I think other people don’t quite understand. I have a need to create, to express, to share what I learn because that is how I learn, and grow as a person. When I don’t I feel stagnant and that’s almost like death to me. Blogging and youtubing have been a lifesaver to me. I’m tired of trying to understand how to market my blog, what kinds of strategies are best, what social media platforms are the best. I’m losing my inspiration and I’m not willing to let it all go.

So I’m giving myself permission to write about anything that I want here at The Inspire(d) Cafe. I need to try a new model and just do me like Maya says. So I’m going to do something that is going to drive my left brain up the wall and remove the menu for a little bit. Having the categories stare at me all the time cause a block when I come to my blog do to what I love to do. I want to live a more inspire(d) life. And I think that starts with giving myself permission to do so.

Do you have any creative blocks in your life?


August 27, 2014
Inspirational Quote

Inspirational Quote

Get Re-Inspired

Crazy Sexy Inspiration

August 13, 2014

This morning I watched a really inspiring interview on Marie Forleo TV with  Kris Carr the founder of Crazy Sexy Cancer. She is also a New York Best Seller with her diet, wellness, and recipe books.  I found her blog a few years ago and thought what she had done was amazing. She was diagnosed with cancer as a relatively young woman and started an email newsletter to friends and family to keep them updated with what was happening with her diagnosis.

From there her newsletter grew into a movement which she leveraged to write a book and even create a film. She is also featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.  I love how she took a tragic diagnosis and turned it into something positive and creative. In this interview she talks about success, challenges and how she continues to keep her desire to help people as the core of her brand.

I hope it inspires you today.

Marie asked us to share one thing that this interview has inspired us to do. For me I was inspired to continue to move forward even though I don’t know what is around the corner. Right now I’m working on developing the brands that I have built and bringing some focus to this blog. It’s scary but I really feel good about what I’ve been discovering about what I want to do with this blog. I can’t wait to share it with you all!

Entrepreneurship, Get Re-Inspired, Inspiration

Get Inspire(d) to do What you Love for a Living

July 30, 2014 get inspired to do what you love for a living

Image by Katie Quinn Davies

You’ve been sitting there dreaming of taking your art and starting a business for years. You know that you have something special to say, a message that will impact the world, a story that will move the masses. You’ve imagined countless times of  being able to make a living doing what you love every day instead of what you are doing now.

Now you are stuck in the labyrinth of daily living, paying bills, after school activities, and look forward to small breaks on weekends. You talk a lot about what you want to do, what your passions are, what your dream job is but there isn’t much action to back it up.

I understand it’s hard to find the time to live life and do the things that make life worth living. You have responsibilities, family, a full time job. I get it. I’ve been there. I am there.

But sometimes you look up and think…

What if?

What if I changed my thinking? What if I decided to get serious about my art? What if I invested some money into my dream? Into myself…what would happen then?

But then the lizard brain rears it’s head and brings up a slew of reasons why “you can’t”.

  • You can’t follow your dreams, you need to grow up.
  • You can’t create a job or business for yourself it’s too risky
  • It costs too much
  • It’s too hard to figure out
  • It’s just. totally. impossible.

And before you know it, you are agreeing with Lizzy’s nasty words.

“You’re right. It’s too hard.”

So you go about your life until another inspirational moment hits you and you start to dream again…

If you are like me you have to fight those thoughts on a daily basis. Right now I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming of what The Inspire(d) Cafe can be. I’m dreaming of what it can grow into, who it can help, how writing a blog, books, scripts and making movies could actually, quite possibly become my job.

Sometimes I get caught up in the comparison game and look around at all these people in the blogosphere or in media or in music that are making it. They are living their drams every day. Don’t get me wrong, I know that they have their own challenges, they are human like us after all.

…but still…

…they are making a living doing what they love…

We can take a huge lesson from what happens when we listen to the Lizzy.


Nothing happens at all in regards to our dreams. Life just continues to roll along, we get older, but non the wiser.

If you haven’t noticed, we live in an amazing time in history! Technology is allowing artists to take their livelihood into their own hands  because of one key thing that has fallen into the hands of the normal person.


Musicians can distribute their own music on iTunes, SoundCloud or Audiojungle

Last year alone SoundCloud had 40 million users and 200 million listeners!

Filmmakers can distribute their videos on YouTube, Vimeo, and Netflix. I personally know of a local filmmaker who has had several movies distributed on netflix. Amazing, huh?

Visual artists can start their own graphic design businesses, crafters can sell on Etsy, and designers can upload to Society 6.

Well that’s all nice and dandy, Dija. Making art and throwing it up onto the internet doesn’t automatically mean the money will be rolling in!

Well I’d have to say that:

“You’re 100% correct!”

But so what? Is what you are doing now working for you? Do you feel fulfilled? Do you feel excited about your life and your art? If so-I’m sorry I wasted your time. If you want to make a change…keep reading.

First of all we need to  know that the lizard brain is wrong when it says it’s impossible to make a living doing your art. It’s totally possible and we know that because millions of other people are doing it every day.

Secondly, figuring out how to sell your art is possible as well. I’m not going to say it’s easy. That would be a bold faced lie, and we are not playing lying games over here at The Inspire(d) Cafe.

You need to view being an independent artist as being a business. You or what you create is your product. Figuring out how to brand, market, promote and sell your product is the challenge. I’m right there now. I’ve spent several months working to clarify what my message is, who my target audience is, what I want to accomplish in this world, what exactly is my product and how do I want to present it.

If you want to move from taking a dream and making it into reality you have to realize that that the journey is not going to be easy…but it IS POSSIBLE. You must think about your art in the sense of a business not just a hobby. And you must be willing to take the time to learn about those aspects of business that artists traditionally don’t want to deal with.

Here are some amazing resources that have helped me a long the way. I wanted to share them with you in case you might find them helpful.

You don’t have to wait for permission to get started.

I was the person I described in the beginning of this article for so many years. It literally made me depressed after I graduated from college because all I would do is dream about what I wanted my life to be like while I worked as a cashier at Linen’s n’ Things (which eventually went out of business). I really wanted to be an actor and I seriously thought the only way I was going to get to make movies was by “getting discovered”. It’s embarrassing to admit but I had no idea how  “it” was going to happen.

But there was a part of me that always wanted to create and produce my own movies. I want to act in the stories that move me and get me inspired rather than be forced to take any job to build my resume so I can eventually get the dream acting job. And even if I had a great resume that still doesn’t mean I will get the job. So in 2009 I decided to pick myself and start making youtube videos…even when an actor friend in NY (who was doing well by the way) told me no one will take me seriously if I do youtube. Well today I can say that those youtube videos have gotten me acting gigs and a few awesome friends online!

As you start your journey keep the end in mind. Understand from the jump that it’s going to be hard and frustrating. It’s going to take time to learn things and it’s going to feel like you are moving only a centimeter forward at a time. But don’t give up. Wake up and share your art with the world. We need it. We need you to be fearless and share what you have inside.

Inspirational Quote


Get Re-Inspired, Inspiration

Join me in Celebrating Malala Day on July 14 2014!

July 12, 2014


July 14, 2014 will be a very special day! It is the day in which we will celebrate Malala Day started by a young woman named Malala Yousafzai. It is also her 17th birthday.

As a young teenage girl shook the world with her story of triumph and perseverance after being attacked for pursuing her education. This is the day we have an opportunity to become part of a world wide movement and speak out for the millions of children that are denied education because of gender, socioeconomic, religious, political, or other needless reasons.

Malala was born (12 July 1997) in Mingora, the Swat District of north west Pakistan. She was named Malala, after Malalai, the famous Pashtun Heroine.

In 2012 Malala, 14, was on her way to school when a masked gunman came onto the bus, called her by name and shot her in the head as well as injuring several of her friends.

The question is why would a young girl be a target to a gunman?


Malala was born in a part of the world where girls were banned from getting an education. In northwest Pakistan where Malala’s father, a poet and an education advocate himself, the Taliban began to take a tighter hold and began to invoke lifestyle bans from television to women’s education. Malala at the time was blogging anonymously for the BBC. Soon Malala and her father began to receive death threats that caused them to fear for their lives. Later, Malala was featured in a documentary for the New York times and started to receive awards such as the Pakistan national Youth Peace Prize which also heightened the Taliban’s awareness of who she was. She was then revealed as the author of the BBC blogs. At this time the Taliban leaders met and voted to kill her.

Malala Time Magazine

On October 9, 2012 the taliban attempted to assassinate Malala shooting her in the head. She miraculously survived and was moved to the United Kingdom for more specialized treatment. She was released in January of 2013. This attempt on Malala’s life ignited protests in Pakistan inciting 2 million people to sign the right to education bill in Pakistan. The first of it’s kind in Pakistan.

While the Taliban took public responsibility of their gross act saying that she was a symbol of  the infidels and obscenity, other Islamic leaders issued a fatwa against Taliban leaders countering that “there is no religious reason for shooting a schoolgirl”.

Malala’s courage to keep moving forward with her mission shined the light on the struggle of many children around the world. Girls especially are denied the right to education because of  social, economic, and political, and legal factors.

Malala Quote I will get my education

“Malala started the Malala Day to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change.

Malala One Child One teacher one book and one pen can change the world

“Malala Day is not my day. It is the day of every girl and every boy. It is a day when we come together to raise our voices, so that those without a voice can be heard.

“On my birthday last year, I stood before the United Nations and spoke up for girls’ rights. You stood with me, with letters, messages and photos of support. Thank you.

This year, we need to raise our voices even louder. I’m asking you to stand with me again on Malala Day to say: We are stronger than the enemies of education. We are stronger than fear, hatred, violence and poverty.

They thought that bullets would silence us, but they failed. Instead, out of that silence came thousands of voices. My birthday wish this year is that we all raise our voices for those under oppression, to show our own power and that courage is stronger than their campaign of fear.

The road to equality is long, but we will succeed if we walk it together. Please join me in raising your voice this Malala Day.”

I am so inspired by this young woman’s story of courage in the face of absolute hate and bigotry. Malala has chosen to fight back with standing on a firm foundation of her belief to see children that are free to receive an education. In a way it is amazing and rather divine that the war on terror would be led not by armed forces but by a young girl.

Malala’s life seems to be on a divine path. God had His hand on her in allowing her to survive an impossible situation. She embodies many of the qualities of those “heroes” of our past.  When she was given her “assignment” she was around the same age as another young girl named Mary who was given the task of carrying our Savior at around the same age.

Malala has a dream. A big dream that is transcendent of  the wars and politics of grown-ups and seeks peace to preserve the children of the world. Fighting with peace for peace. Her approach is reminiscent of Gandhi in her ability to see through negativity and peacefully focus on what is important…the children. They are afterall our future.

I’m not comparing Malala to these archetypes because of who she is but because of the choice she has made to embrace what has happened and obtain a powerful perspective and mission because of it. That is why I’m excited to share how you can be part of her mission by going to and join others in helping to fund edcuation for over 600 million girls around the world that could with education grow to be a positive force in changing the world!

“…fear and hopelessness died, strength power and courage was born.”


What are you #strongerthan?

Family, Lifestyle

So I planned your Fourth of July for you…your welcome

July 3, 2014

Sunshine, warm breezes, blue skies and fluffy clouds! For most of us in the U.S. we are celebrating the best parts of summer including the fourth of July where we celebrate our Independence Day!!! If you are like me you might be looking for some last minute ways to celebrate with your family without taking to much time to plan. So I’ve planned the whole day for you!

Evening July 3rd: Call some friends and invite them to a fourth of July brunch if you are not already planning a cookout. Brunch will tend to be a lot less expensive, easier to prepare, and a little less intense in preparation. (No meats to marinate)!
Morning July 4th: Make some of these delicious 4th of July inspired recipes for your guests!

4th of July Brunch Ideas

  1. Berry Patchwork Tart  
  2. 4th of July Flag Toast
  3. Easy Berry Cheescake
  4. Lemon Yogurt Cake

Early Afternoon July 4th: Make some crafts with the kids

4th of July Crafts for Kids

  1. Popsicle Stick Flags
  2. 4th of July Twig Ornament
  3. Easy Fireworks Ring
  4. Memorial Day Ring Craft

Afternoon 4th of July: Water Bomb Fight!! Kids and grown-ups alike can have some fun with these easy to make sponge water bombs while working off those delicious breakfast calories!

How to make Sponge water bombs

How to make Sponge water bombs

Late Afternoon July 4th: After getting everyone cleaned up from crafting and playing in the water it might be about that time to eat again! You might already have plans to head over to a cook out with family and friends but if you don’t you can make some of these super quick 4th of July lunch recipes!

Quick and easy 4th of July Meal Ideas

Quick and easy 4th of July Meal Ideas

  1. Hotdog Bar
  2. Sweet Potato Fries
  3. Deviled Eggs
  4. Bacon Cheeseburger
  5. Roasted Potatoes

Evening July 4th: Check your city’s calendar for fourth of July celebrations and parades where you can enjoy firework shows put on by the city. I particular love going to see these shows because I don’t have to spend money on fireworks, spend the time setting them up, or worry about accidentally starting a fire! In addition, the shows are a lot more spectacular than I could have created. Plus there is no clean up! I’m sure that my husband would beg to differ because he actually enjoys setting up the fire works. Guys!


(yeah…this so wouldn’t happen in my back yard!)

Bedtime: Talk with your kids about what the fourth of July means for our country and for their future. Talk about what freedom means and tie that in to the freedom that we have from sin through Christ’s work on the cross.

Have an awesome 4th of July!