Full Audience, Where’s the Artist?

Art

CL🙈SE your EYES and picture this:

The seats in the auditorium are full.

It’s jam packed.

People are whispering and waiting—

in great anticipation for the show to

BEGIN.

There’s only one thing:

They’re waiting for YOU.

Each day, an audience sits

WAITING

to HEAR from YOU.

Waiting to read YOUR original work,

to SEE your paintings,

to HEAR your voice,

to WATCH you dance,

and choreograph,

and LEAP,

and LIFT weights,

and RUN fast,

and COOK diligently,

and TRAIN passionately.

They’re waiting.

They’re watching

to see

WHEN

you

will

GRACE

the stage.

NOW is the time to SHARE like never before.

What are YOU waiting for? We NEED you.

#LetsGoDoBe

#Isaiah43v19 #iWillDoANewThing

📸: Terrence Tryon

👘: Kinesha Johnson-Roach

PA: Karieta Walker

P. S. Before you were born, God knew the earth needed you. The earth NEEDED you and what YOU bring. Don’t ever discount WHAT you have and WHO you are. You were handpicked to make a difference in the EARTH.

I Cut My Hair

beauty, Big Chop, courage, Hair, natural hair, Uncategorized

Yes, I C✂️T my hair.

👉🏿FOUR years ago!

Sorry, y’all. But I did cut it!

Here’s the story: Four years ago it was Christmas 2014 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I began taking out my waist-length Beyoncé braids and finally had enough. I got my scissors and made a decision. This hair was about to be GONE.

In 2011 I did the same thing. I texted my sisters saying, “Y’all, I just took craft scissors and cut my hair.” They didn’t believe me. I sent them a pic and they all called me simultaneously.

Best. Decision. Ever. For my hair.

It gave me a clean slate. Fast forward to December 2014, Christmas Day. I clearly felt loaded with emotions of missing home and that I graded papers at King Saud University most of the day.

Needless to say, my spirit lacked JOY. In a non-emotionally-sober moment, I snipped. And snipped. And the next thing I knew, it was all gone. And I loved it. Then I hated it. It didn’t feel like the 2011 cut. The same woman in 2011 paled in comparison to who stood before me.

Worst. Decision. Ever. For my hair.

But I GREW from it. I learned:

When making long-term decisions, be sober.

Go through your little checklist, first.

Am I in the flesh?

What’s my motive?

What does God’s Word day about this?

What is God speaking to me?

Is this wise?

Who will be impacted if I make this choice?

How does this improve lives?

Will my conscience be clear?

Is this a selfish act?

That is my list for MAJOR decisions. Now, I don’t know if all of this really applies to hair, but it’s just a good guide.

Presently, my hair is safe and sound underneath some faux locs. It’s one of my favorite protective styles to get. My friend Chris Brookins did them this time in less than four hours. Still uncertain as to how he moves so quickly.

This is what I want to leave with you:

Be led by God. Be led by His voice. Move in His direction.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shall go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8

Are you seeking instruction or guidance? Drop you prayer request below and I WILL pray FOR and WITH you!

#LetsGoDoBe

With Deep Love and Gratitude,

Karissa

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.

A Stroke THEN 7 Continents BEFORE 30 PODCAST

Anxiety, Depression, Education, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, Health, Health, wellness,, Lesson Planning, Mental Health, music, Podcast, stroke, Teaching, travel, Uncategorized, Wellness

So here’s the deal:

I got to meet this remarkable young man who I shared a stage with at the Leadership Africa Summit this summer. Tayo Rockson invited me to speak on his podcast called “As Told By Nomads” which is not only sweeping the nation, but the entire world.

Check out the 👉🏿 podcast 👈🏿 to hear how I had a stroke and then STRUCK back.

Ciao for now!

Karissa

sevenby30.com/books

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!

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 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.