C😭URAGE

Antarctica, Anxiety, Depression, explore, faith, family, love, Mental Health, Wellness, worldview

I remember telling my sister @ladykroach, “I don’t think I can do this.”

“Just go up and tell your story and then it’ll all be over.”

This #TBT is from Creative Mornings this past spring. I was WILDLY depressed and suffered with EXTREME anxiety.

My topic: COURAGE.

The hosts didn’t know. The audience didn’t hear me say it. I got up there and spoke on bravery, Antarctica, exploring alone, blah, blah, blah.

But that blah, blah, blah ignited a ton of fire in a room full of people. All from a woman who didn’t recognize herself anymore.

I lost my identity while caring for my mother as she fought #lymphoma. My GREAT accomplishments of reaching my goal became a quiet whisper as I was divinely assigned to care for her. From Aug 2017-May 2018 I battled depression for the first time and anxiety in HEAPS like never before.

HOWEVER

I rose.

I pushed.

I prayed.

I spent time in nature.

I believed.

I received counsel.

I had therapy.

I cried in my Mom’s lap.

I exercised.

I ate well.

I prayed.

I cried in my pregnant sister’s lap.

I read the Word.

I exercised.

I meditated.

I got counseling.

I prayed.

I went up for prayer.

I spent time in nature.

I worked.

I booked speaking engagements.

I wrote.

I prayed.

I forgave myself for being too hard on myself.

I looked in the mirror and smiled.

I’ve learned the agenda of the enemy.

He desires to get into my HEAD to STOP the work of my HANDS.

If he can get in your head, your hands will stop. Your feet will stop. You’ll be frozen, paralyzed—unproductive.

BUT when you understand his strategy, you LEVEL UP with YOURS.

You do the work to BLOCK and BRUCE LEE KICK those thoughts away and combat them with DECLARATIONS and the TRUTH.

Today (if you’re still reading),

take the time to share this with someone who may need a LIFT or some encouragement. Let them know that a girl who traveled to all seven continents before the age of 30, came back home and fell FLAT on her face—and then RELENTLESSLY bounced BACK. And they can too.

You can not only BOUNCE back, but you can get your BOUNCE back.

LEAN on each other and LOVE on each other. That’s why we’re here.

#GoDoBe

💋Booking: karissa@sevenby30.com

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 ✌🏿❤️

An Open Letter to My Single Brothers & Sisters

Antarctica, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, love, travel, Uncategorized, worldview

*******
DISCLAIMER: This is •my• open letter. You, of course, are entitled to your own.

While not all singles desire to be married, all singles should desire to be whole. While not all singles will get married, all singles should constantly strive for enhancement, development, and refinement.

What is written below is a conglomeration of that which has been poured into me over the course of my lifetime at home and abroad as a single woman. I have gleaned well and I am grateful for all of the seeds that have been sown. I am yet learning.
*******

Shalom, Kings & Queens. Shalom.

It is a joy to address you today. Perhaps I can have a moment of your time.

While you are preparing for your most intelligent choice, I’d like to share a few items that you may find beneficial.

Instead of asking, “Why are you still single?”, consider asking, “How are you stewarding your time as a single?”

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.🌿

An Open Letter to Those Who Say, “NO! DON’T GO THERE!”

Antarctica, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, travel, worldview

✌🏿❤️

As I continue to get messages and replies, I have been released from On High to share my sentiments on Israel, Palestine and beyond.

An open letter to those who say,

“NO! DON’T GO THERE!”

Shalom,

Thank you so much for your comment. I am incredibly pleased to hear from you. The gift of this educational tour is to see the conglomeration of the bitter and beautiful. The goal of Passages Israel and COGIC World Missions is to provide an authentic experience of Israel.

Although much that I’ve experienced has been magnificently overwhelming because of the Biblical historical context while visiting, I’ve also witnessed heart wrenching facts right before my eyes and observed the misery that many endure. I’ve touched these people and walked on their grounds in their community.

This is certainly a place to tour. 

Treasured Trinkets

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

👵🏾 On the #WashingtonDeluxe 🚌 #bus from #NYC to #DC and I’m grateful for the last rest stop. I just took one of the #bracelets that my 103 year-old Great-Grandma Brown left behind after transitioning in February (She departed on #Superbowl Sunday and during Black History Month. She did nothing small even in her departure! 😂) and moved it closer to my #heart. ❤️

Dear Young, Old, and Somewhere In Between Traveler,

Uncategorized

Dear Young, Old, and Somewhere In Between Traveler,

I took my first trip abroad at 26. I had the wacky, crazy goal to see all seven continents by 30. And it actually happened.

snow angel

Once I got to Antarctica, I promised myself that I would make a snow angel.

A stroke tripped me up in 2007.  I graduated from college four years “late” in 2011. Yet, I arrived in Antarctica in 2015 at the age of 29.

The roadblocks came. The tests came. Removing and replacing these words helped me in a major way:

Karissa & Karisa in Kenya

Uncategorized

P1190016 - CopyIt was an honor to meet this man named Karisa.  Before I left for Kenya, a Kenyan friend of mine let me know that I had a man’s name and I’d probably meet a man named Karisa while traveling. Well, I met two while in Kenya.  I learned that the Chonyi name for Karisa means shepherd or herder.  What an honor to carry such a great name.

Grieving Abroad

travel
Karissa in Mombasa, Kenya

Karissa in Mombasa, Kenya

The expat life isn’t too hard. Your housing is usually covered. Your transportation is provided too. And there are even times when you’re given a stipend for food, or it’s provided for you in the cafeteria. But life’s not too hard. Not really. It’s a cinch.

Or maybe you’re experiencing another expat life. Your housing isn’t covered. You walk to work or cycle. You are content with eating off a buck a day and you’re relieved if the AC works when it’s over 90°. You signed up for this life. It’s a challenge, but it’s what you chose.

But what happens when life tosses you something that you didn’t choose? What happens when tragedy strikes back home and you’re 7,000 miles away? Those niceties mean nothing. All the perks suddenly seem pitiful. Nothing can replace the feeling of being home when hard times hit the people you love.

I started writing this piece last week. I actually only wrote the first two paragraphs and then something else grabbed my attention, so I stopped writing. But when I woke up yesterday, I saw text from my mom. “Call me when you wake up.” I’ve gone nearly three years without seeing a text like that from her, but I knew something was up. I wiped the crust out out of my eye, pulled open my Magic Jack app, and she picked up.

“Hi, Karissa.”
“Hi, mom. What’s up?”
“I hate to start out your day like this, but your godmother passed away last night.”
**silence**
**more silence**

I know she’d be sick for quite some time, but death is so final. It’s sudden. It’s bitter. And when you’re not there and can’t be there, it stings even more. Since I’ve been away, I’ve been surrounded by other expats who have experienced heartbreak while living abroad. Deaths in the family, devastating terrorist attacks, social injustices, and natural disasters hit us hard. I mean, hard.

So, what do you do? Do you stuff yourself with videos covering the madness? Do you binge on Google searches—hoping there’s a new update about what just went down. What do you do?

And then there’s the flip side. When tragedy strikes in the country or region where you’re residing, you’re bombarded with messages from loved ones expressing their concern—tossing their warnings and suggestions, and asking, “How far away are you from _______? Are you okay? You need to come home.”

Living abroad isn’t always a cinch—especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

So, this is what I’ve learned and am learning to do:

1. Breathe.
No need to create another tragedy because of your break down from the loss. Take some deep breaths. Take a walk. Drink in some fresh air. But most of all, breathe.

2. Express.
Find some way to express your sentiments. Whether it’s through writing, calling home, or finding a friend nearby, find some way to connect. Talk to someone. Write something. Scream. Pray. Meditate. Release your frustrations and pain. Someone is there to listen.

3. Act.
Sometimes you can go ahead and buy the ticket to go home and be physically present. You can’t put a price on that. Other times, it’s just not possible. You can’t take off work or it’s just not mandatory that you return home. But do something. Give a call. Skype with your friends or family back home. Become an activist through social media. Whatever it is, act on it.

So, when those matters of the heart that hit you when you’re not at home, realize that you’re not alone. There’s still hope. And peace is definitely less than 7,000 miles away. It’s closer than you think.