Feeding a Giraffe—with My Mouth

adventure, Africa, explore, love, Mental Health, Mystery, Teaching, Wellness, worldview

✨BRE🦒KFAST, anyone?✨

🦒Is there anything that freaks you out? Anything that just the thought of it makes your stomach turn? Anything that you said you’d never do? Anything that makes YOU look crazy?

😛I never thought I’d feed a giraffe with my own mouth, but I never knew I’d be given the opportunity to either. There’s a host of things we say we’ll NEVER do, but when opportunity knocks, our tune may quite possibly change.

🦒Today, DISCARD some of those NEVERS and FEED into some new MYSTERY, some new ADVENTURE—some #WILDLIFE.

#LetsGoDoBe

😛Tag someone who needs to be shaken up this morning.

P. S. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

P. S. S. Much love to my #InstaMom @travelingblackwidow. Before I went to bed last night, I screenshot my pic my giraffe feeding for this morning’s post. I logged on this morning and I saw her post and was like 😍. Go check her out! 🦒

P. S. S. The tongue of the giraffe felt like SANDPAPER!

Anxiety, Depression, faith, family, Health, Health, wellness,, love, Mental Health, Teaching, worldview

L🌍VE

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening!

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, remember this:

Worry is a NEGATIVE form of meditation. It’s like praying for the wrong thing to happen.

STOP. Redirect your thoughts toward the beauty that CAN and WILL happen. Reflect on PLEASANT memories. Refuse to RECYCLE pain.

PRESS forward and be RENEWED in your mind, daily by His Word.

You’re NOT forsaken. You’re NOT forgotten. You’re NEVER alone.

I heard The Nevels Sisters sing “I got COMPANY following me!”

Be comforted in knowing that you’re not walking this out alone. You’ve got COMPANY following you.

“Many things

about tomorrow,

I don’t seem

to understand,

but I know

Who holds my future,

and I know

Who holds my hand.”

#HeWasThereAllTheTime #HeIsWithYOU #YouAreNeverAlone

📸: @iamtryon

👘: @ladykroach

Students: What do you think of when you hear Africa?

Africa, Education, explore, faith, Teaching, travel, Uncategorized, worldview

L🌍VE.

I’m a substitute teacher. I bounce around from school to school around my district and have yet to see more than three TEACHERS who look like me. I absolutely LOVE opportunities to ask my students this question:

What do you think of when you hear Africa?

Sure, I could substitute for both Omaha Public Schools, however I was raised in Papillion-La Vista School District. When I graduated with a class of 569 students, there were approximately 15 African-Americans. I never sat in a class with a Black teacher during my entire time in the district.

Let’s get back to the question.

What do you think of when you hear Africa?

🍍I think of sick kids.

🥑Dirt roads.

🥥Poor people.

🍦Helpless.

Above are actual answers from elementary school kids about a month ago.

When the little girl said, “Helpless.” I stopped and said, “I’m so glad that you said that, because there are so many lies that are being told about Africa and I want you to hear from someone who’s not on a screen and who actually visited.”

I didn’t go to Africa on a missions trip. I went on vacation. First to Egypt and then to Kenya. Pictured here I’m in Malindi, Kenya.

It’s in Kenya where my newly adopted Baba Baha told me, “Tell them we have ice cream over here.” He said that as we stood there eating some. We laughed so hard!

It was in Nairobi where I (confession) smuggled avocados back to Saudi Arabia because they were massive and I simply couldn’t go back without them. I took two.

It was in Kenya where I went to the Del Monte pineapple farm and stared at the unending rows and rows of pineapples.

It was in Kenya where I sat at the beach in Mombasa and drank fresh coconut water from a man who picked and pierced the coconut just for me.

So when I ask, “What do you think of when you hear Africa?” and then I hear statements like the ones aforementioned, my eyes light up! I realize: This is a teaching moment.

I do a test. I show them a picture and ask them where is this? It’s usually a picture of a dirt road or slum.

They almost always say, “Africa.”

I reply, “It’s Nebraska.”

I do it with a vibrant picture or setting and they reply, “Europe or Australia!”

I tell them, “Actually, it’s in Africa!”

😱

I pull out the photos of me in Kenya and the children’s jaws are ALWAYS on the ground.

It’s true, there are desolate places everywhere. I just have this holy conviction of telling new stories. The dirt road, shoeless kid narrative rings in our ears constantly.

Who will tell them of the golf courses in between Malinda and Mombasa?

Who will talk about the multi-millionaires and billionaires in African countries?

Who will tell them about the rich resources that can ONLY be found in heaps and bounds in African countries?

Who will tell them about M-Pesa and other brilliant mobile-tech ideas from African geniuses?

Who will show them Kenyan shillings with leaders on the currency who are even darker than me?

Who will show them the scarf that I bought and wore on the beach in Malindi that I later wore at the National Museum of African American History and Culture?

If you want to leave it to a substitute teacher to disseminate the information, I don’t mind. But I’m so glad to know that others are convicted about telling NEW stories too.

I’m not alone. Neither are you. If you went to an African country on vacation, please drop your memories in the comments.

I love hearing NEW stories.

Ciao for now!

Karissa Denae

P. S. I met a man in Kenya named Karisa. Apparently it’s a name for a boy. Guess what it means?! SHEPHERD!

P. S. S. Most of these photos were captured by Evans Maina. We attended the same church in Hangzhou, China. I was in China teaching English. He came to China for college. I think he was getting his Masters in Art there. For my birthday, he gave me one of his paintings that I saw in a gallery.

Urban League of Nebraska Young Professional of the Year & Educator of the Year Nominations

Antarctica, Education, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, Lesson Planning, love, music, Music Class, Teaching, worldview

Take the survey here!

🎼Can you 👏🏿 on the 2 and 4 or the 1 and 3?

🍎A teacher may not feel the fire or sparkle every day in the classroom. Yesterday, unfortunately, was one of those days for me. Music class didn’t go as perfectly as I imagined it, but there were little gems along the way.

A “challenging” student taught the class the Jason (spooky) sound and a little brown girl with glasses sat with her Mom as I prepared to leave for the day. She happened to be talking about me as I approached them to compliment her on her behavior and her funky glasses. I think it made both of our days. Sparkle!

🌟More sparkle was added when I came home and found out that I was nominated for the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professional of the Year and ULNYP Educator of the Year.

I’m wildly honored to be recognized amongst a host of movers and shakers in the Omaha Metropolitan community. Being considered for these awards ignited even more fire to #GoDoBe!

#LetsGoDoBe, party people!

To vote,

Click here!

Boss Babe

love, Uncategorized, worldview

👋🏿Hey, girl!

💃🏿Let’s chat. This whole Proverbs 31 woman is not some weak chick. She’s far from basic. She’s a badd girl.

🤸🏿‍♀️Check her out:

She’s up before the birds even get to singing.

She’s a BOSS.

She owns land.

She’s a stylist.

Her negotiating skills are 🔥.

She grinds cuz she knows her capacity and is willing to tap into it.

Winter won’t catch her by surprise.

She ain’t just running her mouth.

She’s not talking just to be talkinnn.

The woman can delegate.

The green thumb of hers brings fruit to her house.

She’s rocking her own clothing line.

She’s global.

Sweat doesn’t scare her.

She’s not afraid of werkkkk.

There are touches of her crafts throughout the home.

Her husband can trust her with his name and his coins—but she definitely has her own #coins and her own name. #NoShade

She’s a stellar steward.

Finally, she’s a flipping philanthropist!

Oh, yeah! Aesthetically, the world sees her as wildly pleasing.

Did you see her shoes tho?

This morning as we prepare for our day, let’s be reminded that WE are far from #BASIC.

WE are called to make BOSS moves.

WE are CLOTHED with STRENGTH and DIGNITY.

WE were SENT to help CHANGE this WORLD.

Wake up, pretty girl. Let’s go SHAKE the NATIONS!

#WakeUpWednesday #HereWeGo #GoDoBe ✌🏿❤️

No Credit Cards for 7 Continents

Antarctica, explore, faith, family, travel, Uncategorized, worldview

🍃While living and working abroad, both companies in #China and #SaudiArabia provided lodging for me free of charge. I simply had to steward what I received.🌿


🌿Five years ago, while teaching in China, I paid off the commercial debt that I had which was less than $1,000. My trip to #Antarctica cost $5,000+. I used savings to pay for it. Responsible stewardship is critical.🍃

🍃After my first year of teaching English in China, I returned home for a vacation and sold my luxury car (Volkswagen Eos, hardtop convertible) in order to achieve my seven by 30 goal. I simply broke even with that sell.🌿

The Top Five Things I’ve Learned While Traveling the Globe

explore, travel, Uncategorized, worldview

The Top Five Things I’ve Learned While Traveling the Globe

Traveling is wonderful fun, yet it can also be a great learning experience. Here are the top five things I’ve learned while traveling the globe!

1) Ask

Although I have over a dozen countries under my belt, I still consider myself a new traveler. I’ve only been at this thing for three years, and in every country I’ve visited, I’ve learned the importance of asking questions.

It doesn’t matter if you feel ashamed for asking a simple question, ask it. It can save you time, energy, and money.

Put your pride to the side and ask for help. You might have to mime it—like I did my first week in China, when I was asking for toilet paper—but just ask!

Karissa Johnson

2) Give

Some of my most vivid memories are from my trip to Laos. My friend Esther from college invited me on a “trip of a lifetime” to go zip-lining in the rainforest for three days. We had incredible guides who spoke some English, but they couldn’t write.

One evening, I gave an English lesson to one of the guides inside of my mosquito net for a couple of hours. I created a little book for him to practice English and also share the wealth with others. He mentioned that people had given him oral English lessons, but no one had ever made anything for him. I was glad to give him something that he could treasure and give to someone else.

Top 5 Pic 4

3) Learn the Lingo

I get it, we’re not all linguists. We don’t all have the discipline or tenacity to dig into another language and make it our own. However, I find that even attempting the local language is appreciated.

Even if you get the tones wrong or mix up the words, the effort is respected. In my opinion, English speakers and readers have it so easy when traveling. I find that the locals are very accommodating and helpful when it comes to English speakers.

The least that you can do is learn how to say, “Thank you!” in the local language.

Google Translate has become one of my fondest friends on the road.

Top 5 Pic 3

4) Too Much Bling is Not a Good Thing

I’ll be the first to say that I love my big faux pearl earrings, and my giant faux pearl necklace. However, I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to tone it down.

Of course, it’s nice to be stylish while traveling, but you have to use wisdom too.

Since I frequently travel solo, I often do a self-check, to see if I’m drawing too much attention to myself with my attire.

Be aware of the customs and culture where you’re traveling.

Some temples and churches require a certain dress code, which can serve as a hint to what’s expected within the culture. It’s also good to remember that sometimes travelers are overcharged, robbed, and hassled because of their appearance. Remember, you’re there to see the city. The city isn’t there to see you.

Remember, you’re there to see the city. The city isn’t there to see you.

Karissa Johnson

5) Haggle, Hustle, and Handle Your Business

One thing that I loved about my time in China was the ability to haggle. My parents came over during Thanksgiving in 2012, and I was excited to show them my haggling skills—in Chinese. Somehow, I was able to bring my mom’s new jacket down by about 80 percent of the initial asking price. I’m still not quite sure how I got it down so low, but I’m sure that knowing my numbers in Mandarin didn’t hurt!

One more thing: bring U.S. dollars. If you need to exchange money in a country, I wouldn’t recommend bringing several hundred dollars worth of Chinese Renminbi (RNB).

I went on a trip to Cairo two years ago, and I was absolutely clueless about the importance of exchanging your RNB before leaving mainland China. When I got to Cairo and tried to exchange it to the Egyptian Pound at the airport and banks, I was unsuccessful. However, my driver was extremely helpful. He had a connection who exchanged it for me, but I had to pay one hefty fee!

Okay, it’s your turn to share the wealth. What have you learned on the road, as you’ve traveled?

– See more at: http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2014/08/30/the-top-five-things-ive-learned-while-traveling-the-globe/#sthash.jal8lINp.dpuf