Black Girl Magic

Starting this Friday off with some #selflove and #beauty 💕💕💕💕 For my African Queens 👸🏽

#Repost @fatisnotanadjective
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As I previously mentioned, I will be posting some of the pages I have found the most inspirational throughout the month. Today- let’s show @sassy_latte some love!!! #Repost @sassy_latte 
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Black girl magic, you ask? Is it real?
We are told our skin is too dark, yet we glow with pride. We’re told our hair is kinky and short, yet we grow our Afros big enough to block out the sun and locs so long they drag on the ground. We’re slut shamed for birthing children by different men, yet we raise our children, often alone, with passion and perseverance. We’re told we’re ghetto, loud, and dumb, yet we’re quickly becoming the highest educated population in the country. We’re told throughout history that our bodies are exotic and should be used sexually, yet we’re learning to stand in solidarity and take back ownership of our sexuality. We’re painted as desperate arm candy to rappers and athletes, yet many of us own our own businesses and organizations.
The list goes on. The obstacles never end. The judgment never ceases. The only thing that holds true is that Black Women keep shedding light on these myths. We keep our heads held high. We keep surpassing boundaries placed around us. We keep charming the masses despite being told we’re nothing. We keep pushing back, fighting for ourselves and one another. We keep proving you wrong and changing your mind. What else could that be?… To come from the ashes of slavery in America, to endure the metaphorical shackles of the present, and to be born-again QUEENS? … It has to be Magic. Black Girl Magic. And only We have it.
#fatisnotanadjective

Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) – 1565

Listen to the podcast with Nikki and Bill Murray here.

Tonight’s special guest is Nikki DuBose from Los Angeles, a returning NAASCA family member who was abused as a child and later as a young professional model. Nikki works closely with Matt Sandusky at the ‘Peaceful Hearts Foundation,’ and will tell us about her new book, ‘Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.’ In her memoir, Nikki details how being sexually abused as a child led to a seventeen-year battle with serious mental health issues such as eating disorders, depression, self-harm, substance abuse and sexual addictions. She experienced a great deal of success, yet that prosperity came with a high price that often mirrored the sexual abuse from her youth. Among other things, Nikki advocates on her web site for better regulation of the modeling industry. Coming to a place of full healing has not been easy for Nikki, but she says, “I wholeheartedly believe that full recovery is possible. It starts with speaking out and reducing the shame and stigma that is so often attached to mental health issues.” She goes on, “Being an advocate is what allows me to wake up every day and feel truly alive. All of that pain that I lived with for so many years is now channeled into making a difference in society. Whatever issues you’re passionate about, use your voice and the resources you have; love yourself first and from there you can help to change the world.” We’re delighted to have Nikki as a card-carrying member of the NAASCA family!

Another Great Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

I squeezed in between Vanessa and Sarah on the bow of the sea doo boat and leaned my head back into my shoulders to let the sun bake away at the freakishly boy short tan lines on the tops of my thighs. As the boat bobbled further away from the campground on the small lake waves, Sarah pulled out a bag of chips. Vanessa tapped her stomach and shook her head no and then she patted mine.

“I envy your tummy you know. Always have.”

“I do too. It’s so flat. You must do something at home,” Lana said from behind.

I felt the blood rush to my cheeks and I quickly draped a Minnie Mouse beach towel over myself.

“No, I don’t do anything.”

“Well I’ve been doing these crunches that I saw in my mom’s magazine. I do like 100 of them. I brought it with me. We should all do them when we get back.”

Read the full review at All Work And No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something

Feminine Collective – Victoria’s Secret Needs A Makeover: Former Models Speak Out

We are Nikki DuBose and Cherise Shaddix, two former models working to be role models for the next generation.
And if there is one thing we know all too well, it’s the pressure to be perfect and climb the ladder of success in the fashion business at any cost.

(Nikki recently spoke out about the dark things she experienced in the fashion business in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. Cherise left the industry after an agent said things like, “your pictures make me want to kill myself,” and “oh yeah…they kinda make me want to slit my wrists, too.”)

Read more on Feminine Collective.

Get Busy Thriving! Podcast: Interview with Fashion Model with Nikki DuBose

“I’ve been reading the recently released memoir of Nikki Dubose called Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.

I sense so much hope from this woman and her life’s message. To read about what she’s been through and how she is starting to rebuild a happy life for herself is inspiring.

Nikki was a fashion model who landed the cover of coveted magazines such as Maxim and Vogue in the peak of her career. While from the outside her photos portray a woman living the life many people dream of, beneath the surface she was dealing with severe depression, sexual abuse, anorexia, alcohol and drug abuse and much more.”

Read more and listen to the podcast on Getbusythriving.com.

Recovery.org Interview – Meet Nikki DuBose: Model of Recovery

“Nikki DuBose’s eating disorder that began in childhood was exacerbated by her high-profile modeling career, but the tragic death of her mother sparked a life transformation. She quit the modeling industry and has since served as a driving force behind proposed legislation to ban underweight models and regulate the industry in California. DuBose is telling this powerful story in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, which was released on Aug. 25.”

Read the full interview on Recovery.org.

Trials Come In Bunches But So Do Comebacks

My testimony
by Christopher Chavez
Christopher’s Facebook

I come from a divorced home. My mom raised me, and I have one older brother and one older sister. My mom told me that I was conceived during a reconciliation; I was unplanned and it was an overwhelming time for her. My father was an addict so he was absent most of my life; growing up was hard without a father, my mom worked tirelessly to provide for us.  I was a very needy child, I remember always wanting people to like me and I was always looking for a father figure.

 

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The abuse started when I was six or seven years old. I was abused verbally, mentally and physically. The main abuser was a relative; he felt that because I didn’t have a father that he should step in and “discipline” me. Sadly, at times my mom would ask him for help in bringing that “discipline.” I remember being taken into my grandfather’s room and being smacked so hard that I couldn’t move my neck afterwards. To make matters worse no one knew I suffered with ADD and a learning problem ’till much later in life.

I remember being hated by relatives because of my behaviors; they felt sorry for me but at the same time they were cruel. I have been to eight schools in my life – that instability affected me greatly. I never had long term friends and was often hated for being the new kid.  I was forced to go to church as a kid so I had some basic fear of God. However during my sophomore year in high school I turned away from God and started to smoke weed; some friends lured me into the drug scene. During that time my family had also lost our family home and we were living with our grandmother, so I started smoking cigarettes, then drinking, and smoking weed.  I didn’t care for the high I felt so I stuck with weed until my senior year then I tried meth.

I remember I wanted to get away from my family – I wanted out. I did think about suicide at times to escape my pain but I didn’t want to go to hell. I almost bought a gun from some gang members to kill my abuser, but they wouldn’t sell it to me. They asked why I wanted one and when I told them the truth, they said they didn’t want to be involved with that. After I went to continuation school I felt even worse about myself and more depressed. I was nineteen and older than everyone else because I had been held back two grades. So all I did during school was drink and get high; it was the biggest waste of my life.

For the next four years I went head first into drugs. I was doing meth just about every day, until it came to a point where I stopped because I had a nervous breakdown. I started hearing voices and seeing shadows; I went to God and stayed sober and tried to change my life for the better. I managed to stay sober for five years, then I started using again and hanging out with old friends. That’s when I got into smoking crack. I would go with Simone who would steal a car and we would drive down to the projects in Compton and get a couple hundred dollars worth of crack. During those times we never got caught – it was God’s Mercy that we never got robbed or shot at.

I never stole anything, it was my friend who did; I was just along for the ride but if we would have gotten caught I would have been in just as much trouble as the driver. A few years later I got sober again and tried do the right things, but drugs damage your body, spirit and emotions. I couldn’t get myself together.  I ran into hard times, started smoking weed again and began hanging out with the wrong friends. It was the year 2000, I had just gotten a good job as well as my own apartment, then drugs came back into my life again.

I was in a motel room doing meth. I decided to do a hundred dollars worth in one big line, and after I snorted it my nose began to bleed everywhere. My heart was beating so fast I could have sworn I saw it pounding out of my chest; I ran into the shower hoping it would calm me down but it didn’t do a thing, so I started to cry and ran outside naked screaming for help.  Someone brought me inside and called 911; when they told me that help was coming, I fell to my knees and began crying out to God, asking Him to not let me die in that state.

That was one of three times I that I rode in the back of an ambulance. The second time I was upstairs at someone’s house. To make a long story short I had to jump out the second story window to get help then walked to the fire department. I was taken to the hospital because I was overdosing again. The third time I was at my aunt’s house. I had done meth, alcohol, and crack everyday for two weeks straight. I had gotten sick so I took some robitussin, but by the second day I started feeling faint. I felt weaker and weaker and began to look pale; my body was ice cold. I called 911 and they gave me oxygen because I felt like I couldn’t breath. After that night I had people saying goodbye to me because everyone thought I was going to die. I cried out to God, “Help me! I wanna live!”

Then in November of 2004, I rededicated my life to God, and never touched alcohol or drugs again. I did, however, have to deal with the aftermath of my addictions. I suffered from horrible anxiety, nightmares, and had a very difficult time trying to rehabilitate my mind. I had lost everything and was starting my life over from the bottom. I realized that staying sober meant the difference between living and dying.

I know God gave me a another chance for a big reason; I’ve stayed sober all these years by being rooted in a church and cutting off all relationships with anyone that used drugs or partied. I also found role models to look up to, such as my cousin Danny Perea who used to be a heroin & cocaine addict, Adam Goldstein AKA “DJ AM,” as well as some well known ministers on TBN. As of today I am one of the leaders of the youth ministry at my church and I’ve witnessed to them many times about about my past with addiction and speak on abstinence too. I give all glory to God for saving me from myself, and refer often to the Bible verse that got me through the darkest of times:

Psalm 118:17 says, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

 

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On a side note, my father came back into my life in 2005. He is now sober and recently married. He opened up and told me that he had been living on Skid Row for twenty-one years during his addiction; he now does ministry work on Skid Row every weekend and feeds the homeless with his church. I just want to close and say that if God can change my life he can change yours; a better day is coming, don’t give up.  Jesus loves you so much that He died for you. As well there are plenty of programs such as AA that are available for you. You can also find wonderful programs through your local church. Someone is always ready to help you.

“Trials come in bunches but so do comebacks” – Christopher Chavez

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please contact: 1-800-273-8255, or visit: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s Website

If you are an adult victim of child abuse, please contact: Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse

For help on drug and alcohol addiction, please contact: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

“Gifts Come With a Struggle” by Emma K.

What do you see? by Emma Klein
“Gifts Come With a Struggle” by Emma K.

This piece is by a regular contributor thirteen year old Emma K. from Los Angeles. Emma is a talented young artist who understands the beauty of the pain behind her creations. She has struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder but has overcome so much of it through channeling her energy into her incredible artwork.

Emma normally draws in anime style, but her teacher encouraged her to paint something figurative. Emma agreed to step outside of her comfort zone and through the depiction of the Mona Lisa she and her teacher not only formed a stronger bond, but she was able to open up about her OCD.

When I observe this painting, I sense a raw wisdom and emotions that reflect Emma’s remarkable inner beauty and strength. As Emma’s mother remarked, “It’s a true gift that comes with a struggle.”

Thank you Emma for sharing a part of your soul with us today.

B.E.A.U.T.Y hopes to redefine our understanding of beauty. Have a painting or artistic representation of inner beauty you would like to share? Please email me nikki@nikkidubose.com to submit your poem, drawing, painting, recovery story, photograph, song, or any creation that represents your inner self…which is simply beautiful!

Apple of my Eye

Mountain Rose Apple
Mountain Rose Apple

 Our authentic beauty comes from within. Sounds cliche, right? Oh, but how true it is.
Just like this rare Mountain Rose apple grown in the Mountain Hood River Valley of Oregon, we never know what we have to offer until we cut beneath the surface. If we take the time to meditate on the inner beauty in others too, we can form longstanding, rewarding friendships and relationships that otherwise might have been missed.

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Story–Self Esteem: A Long and Winding Road

“Self Esteem: A Long and Winding Road”

by Sam, from New Jersey

When I was growing up, you might not have noticed there was something wrong with me. I was a healthy-looking, fit, active boy. You could have asked me about it, but I wasn’t aware anything was wrong. The problem was subtle and invisible: the face and body everyone saw was not the face and body I saw in the mirror with my own eyes. Where you might see a nose that was proportionate to the rest of my face, perhaps a handsome nose, I saw a weighty, unwieldy, shapeless thing. Some people would compliment my broad shoulders, and I would focus on my imperceptibly protruding belly.

If you’d asked me who I wanted to look like, I would’ve said Superman. As child of the 1980s, I specifically wanted to look like Christopher Reeve as Superman. The fact that I didn’t look like him didn’t make me feel sad or depressed. I believed that if I exercised and did enough push ups, I would build a strong physique. It didn’t bother me that I couldn’t have his face.

There were things about my face and my appearance that did cause me distress, however. Both of my parents had difficult childhoods, and less than loving parents. My mother and father were both regarded as good-looking people; though I inherited their features, my parents would make offhanded comments about my appearance which hurt. These comments were not intended to be hurtful, and I couldn’t have known at the time that some of the things they’d say stemmed from insecurities they had about themselves. My mother didn’t like her nose. She wished I had my father’s nose. In fact, my father didn’t like my nose either. He developed a routine where he’d clench my nose between his thumb and forefinger and hold it tightly until I managed to wriggle away. He thought it was funny. Having a swollen and red nose for the rest of the day wasn’t funny. “Like Rudolph,” my mother would joke. I began to wonder if I had inherited any of my parents’ preferred parts. Were any of my features the right ones? Still, my appearance wasn’t something I thought about every day. Not until I reached high school.

In high school, it seemed like everyone was dating or socially active except me. Other boys would get attention from girls and I wondered why they didn’t seem to notice me. I questioned my looks, I questioned my personality. Most families in town were upper-middle class, and there were periods where we didn’t have much money. Was it my lack of designer clothing?

I wondered about race, too. I’m an American-born East Indian. Around this time, the demographics of my hometown and neighboring towns were changing. East Indians were moving into the area in droves, yet my school’s population remained nearly all White. I got teased a lot for looking different. I was bullied over my religious differences, mocked because I developed a beard and chest hair before the other boys. Some White adults in town were quietly unhappy about Indians buying up homes, businesses, with little to no cultural integration. You could feel something was simmering underneath the surface of tolerance. Walking to school or walking home, the threat of violence from other kids always existed. Having a healthy sense of humor helped me diffuse a number of intense encounters, but jokes didn’t save me every time.

I remember getting caught in a sudden, heavy rainstorm with a friend. His house was a few blocks away, so we ran for it. It was futile, we were soaked in seconds. When we reached the front door, sloshing clothes hanging off our frames, his mother swiftly opened up. “Get inside!” she yelled. My friend ran in first. When I stepped forward, his mother shut the door in my face. How could she not see me? I rang the bell and knocked. Through the hard crackle of rain I heard the muffled sounds of an argument inside. They never let me in.

I was surprised, and yet, not surprised. In all the years we’d been friends, his parents had never allowed me inside their home. All of our mutual friends had been inside. I wasn’t a troublemaker, I got good grades in school. What made me unfit to enter?

It didn’t take much more before I developed a full-blown self-esteem crisis. I returned home from the barbershop one summer day with a crew cut. My mother told me I looked ugly. Looking back on it, she probably meant, “I don’t like that hairstyle on you.” English was not her native tongue. Nevertheless, her actual words were, “You look so ugly. Your face looks too long. And with that beard you look even worse.”

I wasn’t aware that I had a beard. I’d been so busy with activities that I’d forgotten to shave for a couple of days and had some stubble. I was a sensitive kid who wanted to please his mother, and those words injured me deeply. A subtle dig here or there might not have fazed me, yet a lifetime of them can wear down all but the most self-assured. The next time I looked in the mirror, the gap between reality and my own perception had become a chasm. I felt trapped inside an ugly thing, an ugly thing that was not a part of me, not who I wanted to be.

My mother had been injured this way too. Despite being a beautiful young girl, her brothers and sisters constantly teased her about her weight. They didn’t call her by her given name. At home, “Chubby” was her name. She wasn’t chubby. She was a standout athlete and as strong as the boys in school. Her physique reflected that. Sadly, the criticism didn’t end with her childhood. My father criticised her weight as well. She had never been overweight, but he expected a model-thin wife and expressed his desires plainly. I was 4 years old when I realized something was wrong with my mother: she wasn’t eating. What could a little kid do, except wonder why his mother was always sad, why his mother was always feeling sick, always coughing, always throwing up?

The catalyst for her recovery from eating disorder was not one she could have predicted. My father died of Leukemia. Her recovery began not so much with relief, merely the removal of her most outspoken critic. Years of starving herself left her with severe asthma, a significant loss of smell and taste, and lots of weight gain due to metabolic changes and medications. As time passed, I’d tell her that her weight didn’t matter. I’d tell her that her size didn’t matter. All that mattered was that she ate enough of the right things to make her feel strong. That’s all. Some 25 years after she’d married my father, I think she finally came to accept her appearance. I’m very happy for her.

My wounds would close, for a time. When I got to university, I was part of a diverse population. I wasn’t a weirdo or a social outcast. Many of us began university with a clean slate, and I felt liberated. Girls spoke to me, I went out on dates. I made better friends than I’d known in years prior. For a long time, all I wanted to feel was normalcy, a peace inside my own skin, and not some great desire to wriggle out of it and hide. It was a good time for me.

Then something hit me, hard. I came down with a bad case of the chicken pox. I never had it as a child, and for some adults it can be quite serious. My body looked ravaged, and I was covered in scars despite my dedication to proper skin care. The fit body I’d build up over the years shrunk down by 40lb. in a month, and my overall health in the following years would be poor. Infections, fevers, body aches, sharp muscle pain, tiredness, allergies, they became constant. I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Best to keep working, I thought. I’ll eat healthy food, I’ll exercise, I’ll do whatever I can to stay functional. Nothing helped. My muscle pains became worse and worse. Then migraines started. Weekly, then daily, then my life was a big migraine. A doctor prescribed a drug called Neurontin. He said, “Take this, you’ll feel better. Don’t worry about side effects, you should be able to tolerate it. It seems to work for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I believe this will help you.”

Neurontin significantly reduced my pain while introducing new problems. My hair fell out in handfuls, I was constantly tired, and my weight ballooned. Every month I’d need new, bigger clothes. The image I saw in the mirror—an image I’d sculpted through hard work and healthy habits, an image I’d finally made peace with—was getting away from me. I saw a face and body that felt like my own melt away into something else. What I saw in the mirror was far worse than what anyone else saw. Some of my friends noted the weight gain, but they never said anything unkind. My hard-won confidence turned out to be quite fragile, and it crumbled. Any compliments about my looks were disregarded as insincere, or I deflected them with self-deprecating humor. I stopped socializing and buried myself in work, all because I couldn’t stand how I looked. I mused, “How crazy am I being? Why can’t I accept how I look and move on? I look like a normal person.”

The self-affirming ideas I had on an intellectual level didn’t sink in emotionally. Therapy didn’t help. I just couldn’t believe that I looked like a normal man to everyone on the street when my eyes saw a distorted mess. I became deeply depressed. I fell into a hole so relentlessly bleak that I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there. Is this really how I feel, or is it the drug? My doctor and I suspected the drug, so I tapered off the Neurontin.

Within a few weeks, the darkness faded but I hated how I looked and felt. Despair gave way to malcontent. I was overweight, and all of the physical pain I’d compartmentalized was back up front. The pain was more acute than I’d remembered it. We tried other medicines, but nothing helped. I gave up on pharmaceuticals and tried meditation and alternative medicine. Nothing helped.

The stress of dealing with my health problems, work, family responsibilities, and damaged social life became too much for me to handle. My doctor advised me to take a long vacation if I could. I could, and I did. On the second day of my vacation, I felt a searing pain on the right side of my face. When I looked in the mirror, I saw lines of red bumps. An allergic reaction to something, perhaps? I saw a doctor, and he didn’t need too long to give me a diagnosis. “Yep, it’s shingles.” He gave me anti-viral tablets and a topical cream before sending me on my way.

Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. Once you’ve had the chickenpox, the virus never leaves your body; it simply goes dormant. In people who have compromised immune systems, the elderly, or the seriously stressed out, the virus can wake up and cause all sorts of damage.

Doctors became worried about nerve damage when I lost hearing in my right ear. Soon after, my sense of taste disappeared and my eyes became extremely light sensitive. And then, things got worse. At some point during my shingles ordeal, I picked up a very serious bacterial infection.

The regime of anti-virals and anti-biotics that saved my senses didn’t come without a price. First, all the undesired weight I’d gained on Neurontin dropped. I was happy about that. Soon, a couple dozen extra pounds dropped too. We realized I was having problems digesting food. The good bacteria which live in healthy intestines, helping us extract nutrients from what we eat and lending balance to our immune systems, were wiped out and replaced by bad bacteria.

Two years after the shingles, the waves of bacterial infections and immune issues left my face scarred and discolored. The skin that grew back on my forehead was fragile and unhealthy. The look was familiar, I suffered some small but deep burns on my body a few years prior. Only this time, I couldn’t cover up. I looked at myself in the mirror, and saw a face like pizza. Skin dark brown and yellow, mottled and rough, striations of bloody red and moistureless white: this was not the face I’d known. It wasn’t the face I’d come to accept during the good times. It wasn’t the chubby face I’d come to hate, unjustly, in the difficult times. This face cracked and bled when touched, it split when I moved my eyebrows. It burned when I cleaned it. It burned with every gentle breeze that kissed it. It was so sensitive and vulnerable that it easily became reinfected, and it often did. Months passed, and the scarring seemed to set itself in stone.

I could have fallen into despair, but I didn’t. There was a specific turning point: one day I looked into the mirror, sulking, and my cheerlessness, my indulgent self-seriousness became comical. A small laugh ascended into a laughing fit. Had there been a witness, they’d probably describe the scene as a psychotic break. It wasn’t. This was a break of clarity. I experienced one calamity after another. It was amazing that I hadn’t lost my eyesight, I could still look at myself in the mirror. It was amazing my hearing was returning, I could hear myself laugh. Yes, I was unlucky to have fallen so ill, but I was so lucky to have survived largely intact.

Suddenly, the smoke of self-hatred was clearing. For so long, things I didn’t like about my appearance overshadowed things people liked. The distorted view of myself was one I believed everyone else could plainly see. The distortions were phantoms of my mind. Now, everyone could see my scars. There was no hiding them.

I made a decision. I control how I feel about myself, no one else does. Why do I have to look like anyone else but me? And who decides what the best version of me is? I don’t have to look like my friends, I don’t have to look like people on TV. And most importantly, it is not how I look that matters, it is who I am. Taking care of myself physically and emotionally is my goal. If looking good to others is a side-effect of this, so be it. If it isn’t, why should I care? Those who are good, those with values I respect, those who truly care about me will accept me scars and all.

With healthy eating, plenty of water, exercise, and gentle natural skin care, I have begun to reverse the damage my body endured. Every day I feel a little bit stronger, a little bit healthier. The chronic pain and migraines are fading, even my skin is recovering against the odds.

When I go out, people rarely notice my scars. When they do, I don’t take offense, and understand it is usually benign curiosity. If it isn’t, it’s not my problem. It’s strange that my appearance had to become worse before I could learn to accept it. Pain can be a swift and merciless teacher, but I respect its power. I don’t know how long I will carry my scars, but they remind me that I have a life to live, and I can’t allow a negative mindset or hang ups about appearance prevent me from living the kind of life I want to live. Our time in this world is limited, and time is an arrow pointing in one direction. Forward.

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project by Justine Sophia

Beauty Project by Justine SophiaJustine Sohpia, one of the dedicated mentors at Mondays at the Mission, created this drawing for the Beauty Project. She said that the “fingers in the picture are the engergy points where we reach out to all the things in the world, and in that way there is a lot of power in the hand. The hand of action, which allows us to search out beauty, earn beauty and create beauty. The pictures are just examples of things inside the universe that are unbelievable. Yet here we are. And we exist.”

Thank you, Justine, for your powerful perception on inner beauty!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Art by Jordan

Jordan sees beauty as being outside and playing in the fresh air, surrounded by nature and a dog, too! I think that that’s not a bad way to see life, what about you?

Beauty Project Art By Jordan
Beauty Project Art By Jordan

How about getting back to nature and reconnecting with the simplicity of what God has created?  Life is naturally beautiful; sometimes we just need to stop and pay attention.

Thank you Jordan, for your art and zest for creation!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Art by Saunvvia

Saunvvia drew a big, happy heart surrounded by a rainbow and colorful dots!

Inside of the heart were positive words such as “love” and “harmony.” I suppose Saunvvia was trying to tell us that inner beauty is a reflection of all of the wonderful emotions we should focus on, right? 🙂 BeautyProject_Saunvvia

It’s not that we don’t experience the negative feelings, it’s just that the more we magnify the positive, the more the positive emotions will grow, and that makes us stronger!

Thank you Saunvvia for your deep insight and excellent addition to our Beauty Project!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art by Damien

Damien believes that “Beauty” is Without Words! I have to agree! What do you think? Perhaps the most meaningful things in life are only felt, and not seen?

Thank you, Damien, for your insight and creativity!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art by James

Today’s Beauty Project is brought to us by the veryBeauty_Project_James_Nikki_DuBose bright James!

James believes that beauty represents love above all! Love seems to be an ongoing theme here so far on the B.E.A.U.T.Y project, what do you think about that? The love allows the flowers to grow, sun to shine, the clouds to float and the love ties everything together 😀

Thank you, James for your creative artwork, and your super smile 😀

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art by William

Here is William’s interpretation of B.E.A.U.T.Y!

Pretty amazing, huh? When you have love inside your heart, it

Beauty Project Art by the very talented William :D
Beauty Project Art by the very talented William 😀

spreads, and that is the most powerful tool that you can ever have, right?

Thank you William for your inspiring art, it is special, just like you 😀

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Art “I am Free”

I am Free!

Focusing on our inner beauty allows our true nature to shine through. When we build our identity based on our spirituality, values, strengths, and gifts, we are free to be happy!

What are you made up of from the inside? Do you feel free? Why or why not?

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Crispy Hazelnut Tomatoes

So my brother Anthony is probably going to be so embarrassed when he reads this, but I just have to share this story with you all!

When Anthony was around three years old he was outside crawling and playing near the vegetable gardens that our mom had planted. Mom had taken the clothes down from outside and had gone upstairs for what seemed to be only a few minutes. Anthony and I were outside by ourselves and somehow during that short time of mom’s absence, Anthony picked over sixty green tomatoes from mom’s vegetable garden! Our mom came back from inside the house and was livid needless to say, however she made the best of the situation and our family ate fried green tomatoes in every shape and form possible for about two weeks straight.

(Note: A little oil goes a long way)

 Crispy Hazelnut Tomatoes

You will need:

2 Heirloom Tomatoes

1 egg

1 cup Hazelnut Meal

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (add more if you like)

3 tablespoons coconut oil ( a little goes a LONG WAY!)

To make: 

Heat an iron pan with the coconut oil, but be careful not to burn.  Slice the tomatoes thick.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Take each piece of tomato and dip it into the egg first, then dip into the hazelnut meal with the pepper mixed together before dropping it into the pan delicately. Cook only once on each side until golden brown.

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You’re done, but not before you sit down and enjoy each bite slowly and mindfully! 

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

 

 

 

NEDAwareness Week 2014 is Officially here!! Show Your Support!

I am thrilled that NEDAwareness week 2014 is upon us and kicking once again! This is a great chance for people all over the world to get involved on social media, the workplace, school, home – everywhere!

To find out how you can get involved in this year’s NEDAwareness week, please visit their site.

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The Hope Diary: Step Eight: Reflecting on Who We Had Hurt

Step Eight requires tremendous doses of humility and courage as we ponder over the courses of our lives who we have hurt while living in our addictions. Sometimes we have mistreated others and were not even aware that we had done so. As we begin to meditate on those who had been affected by our irresponsibility we quickly find that we can list a slew of of people we had hurt.

This was a tough step for me the first couple of times I went through early recovery and now I really try not to hurt others. I may not always be where I need to be but with God’s help thank God I am not where I used to be! Take heart and know that although your healing journey may seem difficult or like a long road to walk on, that it is a path filled with healing and with healing comes many blessings and happiness. And we all deserve to be happy! Most importantly we all need to learn how to treat other people with kindness and love so this is a very important step to accomplish but with God’s help you can do it one day at a time.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Making Restitution
Exodus 22:10-15

1. How have I failed to respect the property of others.

2. Have I been so harmed or condemned by others that I have avoided responsibility for myself. By whom and when.

3. What excuses have I used for not looking at my behaviors.

Unintentional Sins
Leviticus 4:1-28

1. In what areas have I unintentionally harmed others with my words/moods/self-pity/depression/anger/or fears.

2. In what ways have I acted thoughtlessly without regard for others’ needs or feelings. When; To Whom;

Scapegoats
Leviticus 16:20-22

1. Have I been putting off making a list because I am afraid of some responses. Whose.

2. Have I held on to shame about a certain incident or relationships. What am I willing to do to let go so that I can become willing to make amends.

3. Is there someone I am having trouble forgiving who blocks my willingness. Who.

Overcoming Loneliness
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

1. How have I allowed isolation due to shame and guilt to keep me from supportive relationships.

2. What is the role of shame and guilt in my isolation.

3. Am I willing to forgive myself for the hurt I have caused others. Write a prayer of willingness to forgive and ask for God’s grace to heal these relationships.

Forgiven to Forgive
Matthew 18:23-35

1. Are there people on my list that I am having trouble forgiving for their part in our relationship. Who and Why.

2. What keeps me from letting others off the hook. Fear/Resentment/Caretaking.

3. What blocks me from forgiving others for the wrongs done to me.

a. Fear of what others would think of me. (Pride).

b. Fear of letting others see my hurts.

c. Fear of conflict. Protecting others feelings to avoid conflict.

The Fruit of Forgiveness
2 Corinthians 2:5-8

1. Is there anyone on my list whose behavior I do not approve. Who. Why.

2. Am I willing to let go of judgement and disapproval to open myself to working this step.

3. Have I been so afraid of rejection that I have delayed willingness to make amends. Who could reject me and why.

Reaping Goodness
Galatians 6:7-10

1. What “crop” did I sow while practicing my addiction.

2. Describe the correlation between healthy living and acceptance of the consequences for my addiction/behavior:

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Seven: Humility and Asking God to Remove our Defects

Step Six was all about getting ready for God to remove our defects in order that He may help us to be all that He has created us to be. Step Seven now is simply and humbly coming before God in prayer and asking Him to remove every shortcoming that stands in the way between us and our God-Given Purpose.

Being a humble person is so important because without it it is pretty impossible to recognize our defects and to be people that can ask God to help us. I daily come to God in prayer in the morning and all throughout the day and ask God for His help now because I know that I know that I know that without Him I can do nothing. Within myself I am weak addicted and a total mess but In Christ I am strong confident courageous and an overcomer. I am set free from every attack that satan tries to bring against me because God is with me and for me.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Clearing the Mess
Isaiah 57:12-19

1. Have I developed enough humility from my experiences in addiction to see that I need to let God work in my heart. Is there any doubt that self-reliance has kept God out.

2. Describe the difference between humiliation and humility.

Giving up Control
Jeremiah 18:1-6

1. Have I ever demanded to have circumstances changed for my benefit. When.

2. Have I ever become impatient with God’s timing in the process of changing my heart and character.

3. What keeps me from letting go so that God can shape my life better than I could ever imagine or create myself.

Pride Born of Hurt
Luke 11:5-13

1.Is it hard for me to ask anyone even God for help. What keeps me from sharing.

2. What experiences in my family of origin have brought about this self-sufficiency.

3. Have I held back from asking God for what I need because I am projecting my disappointments onto Him. Do I trust Him.

4. Am I willing to give up self-sufficiency and pride to persistently ask for God’s help in removing my shortcomings.

A Humble Heart
Luke 18:10-14

1. Have I ever compared my faults/problems/sins to blatant sins of others such as robbery/murder/adultery to justify avoiding deeper work on my own character defects. What does this do for me.

2. Have I ever justified myself because I attend church/sing in the choir/do service work. Do I judge others for their lack of participation or involvement.

3. After self-examination in Steps Four through Six have I been struggling with self-hatred and shame.

4. Do I realize that the “secret sins” of pride/judgement/comparison are just as serious as the more blatant ones.

5. Have addiction and adversities humbled me enough to open the door to God’s forgiveness.

Declared Not Guilty
Romans 3:23-28

1. Steps Six and Seven re one path to acceptance of this verse: all of us have fallen short not only of our own ideals but also of God’s glory. Have I been trying to “measure up” and show God that I can “be good” by doing good works. How have I tried to show him that I am okay.

2. Can I now trust in faith that Jesus will not only make up for my weaknesses but will also begin to remove shortcomings as I surrender humbly to his will. If not why.

Into the Open
Philippians 2:5-9

1. Have I disguised my addiction by covering it up with a good image. Have I hidden behind a good reputation.

2. Do I still fear that others will find out about my addiction. Will my pride be hurt if someone knows the extent of it. Am I willing to share it if it will help others.

3. Can I release to God my self-centered fears of being known and of losing my image. If so write a prayer to God expressing your desire to do so.

Eyes of Love
1 John 5:11-15

1. God already sees us as we will be when his work is done. Am I aware of any blocks that keep me from asking him into my heart to do that work. What are they.

2. Is my confidence in God’s willingness to remove my shortcomings renewed. How and why.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Five, Trusting Another

After going through my Step Four Inventory the first time in 2010, I was scared to death to actually share it with another person. I had read in my recovery book early in my program that I had to confess my deepest, darkest secrets to God and to a trusted sponsor, pastor or unbiased friend.

At that time I remember thinking: “HUH? How humiliating! Wasn’t it good enough to give it to God in prayer and trust that He was Healing me? Why would I tell my shameful past to another person? Besides, they would just hurt me like everyone else…right? How in the WORLD could I truly trust blindly someone else. I knew it, here was the catch. I knew this recovery program was too good to be true, everything always is. No one and nothing is ever to be trusted. There is always fine print.” And I thought like this for about, oh, a good six months or so the first time I went through Steps 4 and attempted to go through Step 5. And I backtracked in my recovery and slipped into old habits because of FEAR. Do you know what fear really stands for? F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real.

I was so afraid of the false scenarios I spent more time making up in my mind about sharing my mess with my sponsor than actually DOING it for the healing that I needed to get, that I ended up having a relapse. Now, relapse can be a part of recovery, but do you see what I am saying that if we just learn to take hold of the fearful thoughts and know that God is with us and for us, and just DO the things that are being asked of us, surrender and get the help we need, we would see so much victory in our recovery and lives.

Fast forward, three years later, strong in recovery, Praise the Lord I did regain victory over the relapse and did end up completing Steps 4 and 5 (a few times). I had gotten a wonderful sponsor and life coach who really worked and worked with me and never gave up. I would never be where I am without my sponsor and without working with her and continually taking inventory and telling her about my messes. I believe that we generally give up too easily in life and we can give up on others too soon also. You never know what you can do for another person’s life if you just keep praying for them, working with them, and helping them in any way you can.

In the Catholic religion, confession is very similar to step five, you know, going and releasing your sins to the priest and being relieved of your burdens. Well in recovery, your past and the things underlying your addiction truly have to be inventoried and shared with God and another person because if not, they continued to get buried. Our secrets, pains, traumas, defects and past fuel our addiction if we do not get healing for them. This is what I consider to be the most critical step of any 12 step program.

So as I continue in sharing from the Life Recovery Workbook, here are the questions from Step Five.

“Overcoming Denial
Genesis 38:1-30

1. What am I avoiding in Step Four by delaying Step Five?

2. What is the exact nature of my wrongs as listed in Step Four?

3. What interferes with my being honest about myself?

Unending Love
Hosea 11:8-11

1. How do I react/respond to the truth that God does not give up on me?

2. What keeps me from being truthful with God?

3. What makes me think that I can hide anything from God?

The Plumb Line
Amos 7:7-8

1. Have my morals and values been in line with God’s? Explain.

2. Have I had morals and values without being able to apply them to my life? Explain:

3. What has kept me from staying in line with God’s and my own morals and values?

4. Am I ready to surrender to God’s moral “plumb line” and share my Step Four Inventory? If not, why am I hesitating?

Feelings of Shame
John 8:3-11

1. What scares me about sharing “the exact nature of (my) wrongs” with another human being?

2. Who is my fear related to in my past? How did this fear develop?

3. Has there ever been a time in my life when I felt the fear and took action anyway?

4. Have I set the appointment for completing Step Five by sharing my Step Four Inventory? My commitment to myself:

Date: Time:

Receiving Forgiveness
Matthew 5:23-24

1. Why would God want reconciliation before praise when we bring gifts to him?

2. Does anyone have anything against you that needs to be reconciled? Who and why?

3. What would be the impact on your life if you opened yourself up to forgiveness of others and from others?

Freedom through Confession
James 5:16

1. Lack of confession and openness with others results in a self-constructed prison. Do you know what that is like? Describe it here.

2. How can confession result in such profound healing?

3. Reflect it here on God’s command to be open not just to Him but also with each other.

Escaping Self-Deception
Lamentations 3:40

1. As you examine yourself, can you admit to some self-deception in the past?

2. Does anyone have the freedom to speak truth into your life on a regular basis? Who?

3. Ask three or four trusted friends to write five words describing your strengths and five words describing your weaknesses. Record them here and examine them to discover areas you can work on within your small group of trusted fellow strugglers.”

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for letting me reprint the above questions to help further the recovery process for those still suffering.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

One Year Later: Remembering Nana

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One year ago today, Nana passed away while I was shooting in the Dominican Republic with a very sweet crew. I never thought that in just a few months I would lose my mom and my mom’s mom. I have all the Faith in God that His Ways are Higher and that they are in a better place. We love and miss you Nana and Mommy. Here are some photos I took the day Nana passed away when I was in Punta Cana. She was one of the most influential people in my life and her passing has greatly affected me. She will forever live in my heart and soul. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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How Yoga Has Helped Me Heal From My Eating Disorders

I am all for medicine and traditional therapies to help on the road to recovery for eating disorders, but there is something to be said for the ancient art of yoga, the tried and true Eastern practice that originally hails from India over 5,000 years ago.

Combining both Western and Eastern practices has been my method for the past two and a half years since I started overcoming my disorders. Yoga helped me reconnect to my inner self and has allowed me to focus on my body and the things that it really wants, instead of being ruled by my impulses. Before I practiced yoga as part of therapy, I lived as an addicted person who lived largely ruled by compulsive decisions. I am now able to listen and live intuitively on what is good for me. The art of yoga has greatly helped me get back to the basics of loving my body and myself.

Just how does yoga help to heal anorexia, bulimia and other eating problems? Read this great article by Velvet Mangan on yoga, meditation, and eating disorder recovery to find out! Velvet is an eating disorder specialist in Los Angeles, California.

God Bless,
Nikki

The Hope Diary: Step Two: Only God Can Restore me to Sanity

Step two of the twelve step program was one that did not come so easily for me. I mean, I was raised a Christian and I had always believed in God. However after all of the addiction, abuse, and disordered eating behaviors I experienced for many years, I became angry and bitter towards the idea of God and religion so I turned away from Him and lived my life on my own terms. I spent most of my teenage and twenties examining other religions and spiritual concepts, believing that I could control my life without any consequences.

Without a solid spiritual foundation, and after spiraling deeper into my destructive behaviors, I found myself flat on my face in despair without any way out and no one to help me. None of my alternative spiritual principles could help me out of my mess, and I was confronted with the unshakable truth that God was the only one who could save and strengthen me. I had a big pride pill to swallow, and many character defects to dig out, but man, how much pain and suffering did I hand over to Jesus, the one who had died for me, when I made the decision to stop hurting myself and give it all to Him instead in exchange for a beautiful life. The biggest difference now in regards to God is that I seek a personal relationship with Him, instead of abusing religion. I don’t belong to any religious organization, and if you ask me, God loves everyone!

I had many questions to reflect on as I humbled myself in the recovery process and allowed Him to take away my power. After all, did I create the universe? No. Did I create myself? No. Had I ever been successful in stopping my eating disorders and addictions on my own? No!! So, I had to humble myself and accept that only God could bring about the changes in me that I so badly needed.

But you know, I surprised myself with the issues that came about with step two. I believed in God, but I fell many times in recovery with my pride! I realized that one of the reasons why I had struggled with my disorders and addictions for so long was because I had tried to be my own god! I thought that I could worship my body instead of God and still have a meaningful relationship with Him! It does not work! When I put myself first instead of the One Who Created me, I fell to my own sin and devices repeatedly.

There are countless examples in the Bible of leaders who tried to take the place of God and fell terribly.
Take for example King Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel Chapter 4, we see how the king thought he was the greatest and worshipped himself. He looked at his successes and called the glories for himself. He forgot to be humble and remember that God is the creator and ruler of all and that He gives power and success “to anyone He chooses” (Daniel 4:32). God took everything away from King Nebuchadnezzar and spent a time period with the cattle in the fields, eating and living with them until he humbled himself and acknowledged that God was the only one with power and might.

I lived the same way as King Nebuchadnezzar for most of my life…in pride, selfishness, and thinking that I was my own god! Because of my choices however, I also lived in addictions, pain, and an endless cycle of eating disorders that I could not get out of on my own. God allowed me to live in my own filth until I humbled myself and said, “Ok God, I admit it!! You are the only way, truth and light, Please help me!!” At that moment, my whole life began to change. I started to live according to what He wanted, and not unto my own destructive habits. I started to slowly become free.

Let’s take a look at the corresponding questions on Step two from the Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop.

Persistent Seeking
Job 14:1-6

1. How has life seemed unfair to me in the areas of family?

Trauma/abuse?

Addiction?

2. What are my objections to trusting God fully with my addiction and my life?

3. What emotions and questions do I need to be honest with God about?

4. Am I willing to work through the pain and unfairness of my life in order to find God and be freed from addiction? What holds me back?

Grandiose Thinking
Daniel 4:19-33

1. When in my addiction, in what ways did I display the belief that I was only accountable to myself?

2. How have I tried to have power over the events, outcomes, and people in my life?

3. In what ways did I show that I forgot that God is ultimately in control?

4. How have I avoided acceptance of God’s power over my life?

Internal Bondage
Mark 5:1-13

1. What self-destructive behaviors have I inflicted on myself due to addiction? List and describe them.

2. How has my addiction kept me from living my own life while finding myself more comfortable in “caves” of isolation, anger/rage, or silent judgement?

3. Have I begun to drop my insanity of living alone and being trapped in addiction? Am I ready to have Jesus visit me in my “caves” and cleanse me? If so, write out a prayer to Him here:

Healing Faith
Luke 8:43-48

1. How have I tried to control my problems in my own power?

2. What were the results?

3. Is there any other way that I would like to try to control and manage it?

4. Am I ready to do my part, as this woman courageously did, by reaching out for recovery in faith that Jesus’ Power will be there? Write a statement of readiness to God.

Restoration
Luke 15: 11-24

1. How have my compulsions and addictions led me to compromise my values, convictions, and principles?

2. How have my compulsions and addictions dehumanized me and brought me to shame?

3. In light of how my addictions and dependencies have degraded me, am I now open to a deeper level of believing that the power and forgiveness of God will restore me to sanity?

Coming to Believe
Romans 1:18-20

1. How have my experiences shown me that my way of living is not a satisfying or productive way to live?

2. How have I seen God’s power at work in other people’s lives?

3. What are the signs that I am on the path and in the process of being restored to sanity?

Hope in Faith
Hebrews 11:1-10

1. Am I becoming able to believe that God can help me live sanely? How?

2. Can I now believe that as I reach out for God’s Strength and surrender to Him, God’s Nature is to be present and ready to help and support sane choices? Why or why not?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step One, I am Powerless!

The Hope Diary: Step One, I am Powerless!
October 30, 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I have been spending the evening quietly reflecting the past couple of days and how so many people in Jersey City and NYC around me are without power, submerged in water, scared, alone and helpless. I am extremely thankful that by the very Grace of God, my home was one of the only to not be affected with loss of anything, and I am definitely counting my Blessings.

The running theme right now of helplessness around the East Coast reminds me of Step One of my Twelve Step program for recovering from an eating disorder. Step One states that when we finally come to the realization that we have a true problem that is destroying our lives and many times, the lives of others, we say that we are “powerless.”

It took me 19 years to admit to myself and to others that I was powerless. Even after going for help 17 years into my bulimia and anorexia, I still did not admit that I was powerless. I sought help mostly for the wrong reasons; to please others and to make myself look better. I wanted everyone to think that I was again…perfect. That even though I had had an eating disorder for so many years that I could, in fact, pick myself right up and get help and be recovered immediately.

How absurd it was to pridefully seek help, and never really admit my powerlessness. The outcome of this was I went around and around my problems for much longer than needed, with results far more atrocious than the past.

True admittance of my powerlessness came when I found myself with nowhere to look than up at God for my life and my answers. Hopefully you will be smarter than I was and learn from my and others’ mistakes and seek help before you have to just about kill yourself to get there.

My Twelve Step Program defines powerlessness as such, “Step One: We admitted that we were powerlessness, that our lives had become unmanageable.” My unmanageable life, emotions, finances, and relationships all became sure-fire signals that my addiction had taken over and that I was powerless over myself. It was a sad realization but one that truly set me on the path to God, self-discovery, recovery, and ultimately, saving my life.

If you are thinking that maybe you have a problem with food, anorexia, bulimia, taking laxatives, over-exercising, or binge-eating, here are some questions and correlating Bible verses taken from The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop that are truly valuable in helping you get on the way to recovery.

Genesis 16:1-15
No-Win Situations

1). What feelings do I experience as I acknowledge people in my life who have power ( such as supervisors, spouse, religious leaders, and sponsors)?

2). What do I try to escape from?

3). How do I escape my feelings such as anger, boredom, fatigue, or loneliness?

4). When things do not go my way, or when I am in a no-win situation, what is my reaction (with relationships, work, promotions, kids who question or rebel, traffic, drivers in front of me, people talking on cell phones in public places, financial difficulties, people who hurt or disappoint me, or God, who seems to be silent)?

5. If I could, how would I change my response?

Dangerous Self-Deception
Judges 16:1-31

1). What is the longest time I have been able to stop addictive behaviors or using addictive substances?

2). What are some of the reasons I use for starting my behaviors or substance abuse again?

3). What are the things I think I can control? How do I lie to myself, and about what?

4). What is so scary about telling the truth?

5). As I explore powerlessness, what blind spots have I discovered?

6). What are the results of pride in my life?

A Humble Beginning
2 Kings 5: 1-5

1). What is the difference between humiliation and humility in my life?

2). How do I regard myself as being a little more important than other people?

3). What makes me think I am in control of anything?

4). How do I try to influence or control God or his representatives?

5). When have I places expectations on other people or God?

6). When have my attitudes shown that I believe I know better than God?

7. Why is it difficult for me to follow another’s instructions?

Hope Amidst Suffering
Job 6:2-13

1). What kind of people do I hang around with and trust– people who criticize, or people who encourage truth?

2). What emotions can I identify with when I am at the bottom?

3). What have I done in the past to tidelands with pains or sadness?

Like Little Children
Mark 10:13-16

1). What happened in the past that still provokes fear in me today?

2). When do I feel the most cared for?

3). What do I see in my life that reveals God’s care for me?

A Time to Choose
Acts 9:1-9

1). When I continue to pursue my own agenda without asking God for direction, what happens in my life?

2). Are there areas of my life in which God may have to use extreme measures before I will listen for direction? Which areas?

3). What will it take for me to listen to God?

The Paradox of Powerlessness
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

1). These are examples of when I have demonstrated acceptance of my own powerlessness and God’s Powerfulness.

2). How do I respond to trouble?

3). How do I respond to being perplexed?

4). What do I do when it seems that God or someone else has abandoned me?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

Fall Time Fun Back at Alstede Farms, NJ

Bunnies, cows, pigs, oh my!! I was in hog-heaven this Columbus Day weekend at Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ. Not only was the scenery surrounding the Fall-Festival breath taking, but the “scene” inside the park wasn’t half-bad either! From kiddies to pumpkin fudge (who knew?), animals galore to more Pick-Your-Own activities than you could shake a honey flavored stick at!!

I don’t know about you, but fall time is my absolute favorite time of the year. The beautiful colors on the leaves changing signal that the Holidays are a-comin’ and that the layers on my clothes will be a wrappin’!! I am so thankful for the beautiful seasons that God has created, but fall and winter have always been my favorite! You can be sure I will be blogging much more during this time as it brings back my childhood memories with my family, and I love to create that here on my website.

The South of France, Where I go to Rest my Soul.

Out of all the places I have visited, none have compared like the South of France. From the dreamy lavender fields and Midsummer Night’s Dream-like air of Provence, to the way that every aspect of nature looks like it it carved out of a painting, my soul is truly refreshed when I come and stay here. The quality of the food, the smell of the fresh, uninterrupted air, and the rare, precious quiet time I have in the countryside is something that I encourage all of you to treasure wherever you may have it! Here is a peak of the way I see life in the many cities on the Provence region.

So there is a full complete rest still waiting for the people of God. Christ has already entered there. He is resting from his work, just as God did after the creation. Let us do our best to go into that place of rest, too, being careful not to disobey God as the children of Israel did, thus failing to get in. (Hebrews 4:9-11)

In my action-packed life, I thank God for the opportunities to rest and relax!!

Peace, Love and Light,
God Bless the World,
Nikki DuBose

Hey Girls and Boys!! Wanna Be a True *SuperModel*? Here’s the Real Deal Inside!!

Beauty Blogging and Photo Booth Funning…

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Little Girls and Boys Everywhere Rejoice!! We are all Model Citizens of the World!! You don’ t have to be a “supermodel” of the fashion industry’s standards to be a star in your own right! You have to first realize that within YOU lies the secret to being the wonderful and amazing humble Diva that you already are! God made you already a true beauty unlike any other so when you wake up every day you can say, “I am a SUPERMODEL!”

What are the characteristics of a true SuperModel meaning YOU, an everyday SuperModel? Well first things first, a true model is a role model which means you set a good example for others around you from the inside out. After all, when you are acting beautifully you are inspiring others and lifting them up instead of acting proud and snobby. So, let’s look at a few of the key ingredients to shake up the mixing pot of your inner SuperModel, shall we? OK!!

*The number one most important ingredient you need every day is God. Without God, you have nothing, and everything you do, is for Him! After all, He made you truly beautiful, inside and out, and He wants nothing more than for you to spread your kindness, talents and gifts to the world for all to see. It is extremely important in your life to remember to always give God the honor, glory and praise for all that you do!! Think about this, how are you even breathing this very moment…it is all God! So the first sign of a true “SuperModel You” is giving God back all of the credit He deserves. He loves you! He has an amazing and hopeful plan for your life!! I know that I personally would not be anywhere at all in any area of my life without God, and I owe everything for the rest of my life to Him. I love you Jesus!! Thank you God, for saving me!

*The second key factor in determining a SuperModel is humility. My oh my, how long I have gone around the humility train and failed, and will always have to take a ride again and again. We are all human and fail! What matters is that we have a heart that desires to reach up higher and become better because God sees the hearts of people. No judgements on this panel folks!! We will never be perfect in this lifetime and that is what is so wonderful about living in the presence of God. What is humility to you? The Bible describes humility in Philippians 2:3-11, saying:

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

Come on now, if Jesus can be humble and be a servant, then surely we all can be humble and put others before ourselves, even and especially when we don’t feel like it. That’s the toughie!! When we don’t feel like it! Yet, this is what will make you a Super Duper Role Model so beautiful, everyone will want to be shiny like you, and won’t the world be a much better place to live??

*Third, I am just gonna be so bold as to say that your persistence in life is extremely important as to determining your level of SuperModel. Unfortunately too many people give up on things way too early and this is not how we are bred to live. We are made as Conquerors in the eyes of God!! Victors! Romans 8:37-39 says:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Every time you go through rough and tough trials in life, see it not as something to stop you, but as things to prepare you for the greater victories down the road. All it takes is a slight refocusing of your mentality. Think of your favorite Disney hero. Did they quit when the going got tough? NO!! Why in the world would you, thank you? Alright now, let’s proceed, my little warriors and warriorettes.

*The fourth determining role in a SuperModel is someone who truly Loves themselves. You have got to learn to deeply love yourself!! Man, I spent the majority of my life trying to please everybody in the world, to the point that I never gave myself first priority behind God. I mean, A LA DUH! What the heck? No wonder I had so many screwed up problems that later in life I realized I kept bringing them on myself! I did not love myself!! I was so overworked and trying to people please everyone on the face of the planet and way out in Mars, Venus and Pluto too, that I had realized that when I sat down one night to watch a movie by myself at home, I did not even know what that felt like. HOW SAD! Love yourself! Take time to get to know yourself and when you really and honestly can say that you are whole within yourself and are well balanced, then you are able to go out into the world and help others. Until then, you can help all you want but will only be hurting yourself because you will be taking away precious time and energy from depleting life source. In 1 Peter 5:8, The Bible says:

“Be sober, (be well balanced) be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion (in fierce hunger), walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Whoa!! No thanks, buddy. You gotta keep your SuperModel Strength!! Be balanced, love yourself first after God, then you will have more time for other people.

*Finally, but not indefinitely, Confidence is so important for a “SuperModel You.” And you are listening to someone who, as I wrote one-time in one of my other articles, was one of the shyest and most un-confident teens you could EVER imagine. In fact, in my sophomore year of high school because I was SO quiet all of the time, my economics teacher announced in front of the entire class, “I don’t know what I would do if I had a room full of Nikkis.” Well now. Lord help me. Confidence is something that comes with time and patience. It is not something that you can buy on a shelf, but you CAN know where your confidence comes from, and you CAN “fake it until you can make it” kind of thing. First, your confidence, comes from God. In the Psalms, David knew where his confidence came from, as we see in Psalm 71:5:

“For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.”

Wow! Thank you God, for your never ending confidence!! You see, With Him, your confidence jar will NEVER EVER run out! Second, even when you do not feel confident, you can FAKE being confident, and eventually your inner confidence will shine through. I am the queen of this, let me tell you honey! Especially being in the modeling and entertainment industry, it is all about “faking it ‘till you can make it! If I went every day by the way I felt I might NEVER get out of bed and into that gym, writing chair, endless casting room, runway stage, etc., And that’s just the business world I am speaking of. The real times I have needed confidence that only comes from God is in my every day trials and tribulations. And my goodness, seems like since the day I came out of my momma I have been sliding down the one way track of trials. But you know what? I know who I am and where I come from, because I have had to learn to equip myself with this deep unshakable confidence that only comes from God. Thank you Jesus!

Well my beautiful SuperModels of the World, God Bless you and see you soon!!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

The “IT LIST” on SQUA.RE

I am so Honored to announce that now I am a Contributing Editor for the “IT LIST” on SQUA.RE!! http://squa.re/category/community/
SQUA.RE is fresh and unique because it is the first All-Encompassing online platform dedicated to luxury. Coming onboard to SQUA.RE with a writer, editor, and supermodel’s eye, I also want to broadcast soon people across the world who are doing something for others…because isn’t that REALLY what the world should be about.
This month so far we have John Mayer and Lovecat Magazine editors Prince and Jacob joining Musician Olivier Bassil and SQUA.RE Editorial Director Adnan Z. Manjal.
Stay tuned with me for this exciting new addition to my ever growing family 🙂

Peace, Love and Light
XOXO
God Bless the World
Nikki DuBose

The World’s Trash is God’s Treasure!

I am inspired today by this quote from pastor Joyce Meyer, “Who the world would throw away, God will pick up, choose and use to do GREAT things.”  If you do not know Joyce Meyer, she had a terrible first half of her life filled with all kinds of abuse, torment, neglect and wrongdoings, like most of us have. I know in my own life for many years I experienced a terrible beginning, however, only through the Grace of God, I was able to totally turn my life around and receive a Healing of a brand new life. A life of forgiveness, restoration, peace, abundance, self-love and kindness, humility and self-control. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, (King James Version) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

So, if you are feeling like trash today, understand that what are the world’s standards of trash, are God’s standards of beauty. God loves to take anything broken and use it for His Glory. First, to heal and restore you, to give you a New life found only in salvation through the Blood of Christ, and second, to use your mended past to help OTHER people get set free from their “garbage.”

I think I have more trash bags than I know what to do with from my past, and I always have plenty of bags to take out every morning.  But thank God, that He sent His son Jesus to save me totally and Give me a clean, shiny, new body, soul, mind, and emotional state where I am forgiven and renewed!!  And You have that treasure too! How beautiful it is!

Every day, let’s choose at least one person to lift higher!  With our words, actions, anything.  Choose today to be a Blessing to others!!

Proverbs 18:4 says, “Your words can be like Life Giving Water.” People are thirsty, so be the water of life and encouragement that we so all need 😀

Here is a little poem I wrote, entitled:

YOU SURROUND ME

I’ve felt you all my life, and in the whispering night

Your Spirit came to me

It spoke with love so sweet

It Made my soul feel complete

Before I even saw your face

Surround me with your breath

I want to smell you

Surround me with your Arms

I want to feel Protected

Surround me with your Love

Your Eternal Love

It’s all I need

For the rest of my life

*************************

Peace, Love and Light

God Bless,

<3 Nikki DuBose

 

Sky & Sand Editorial, Space Magazine with Oscar Munar, Ibiza

Editorial: “Sky & Sand”

Space Magazine, June 2012

Ph: Oscar Munar

Shot in: Ibiza

Styling: Katia Gregori

Hair and MUA: Luiz Mantei

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose









Alfonso Vidal-Quadras Skin Beauty Series

Photograher: Alfonso Vidal-Quadras

Shot in Spain

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose







Lander Larranaga

Photographer: Lander Larranaga

Shot in: Spain

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose










Mia Magazine Cover February 2012 Spain

Photographer: Fede Serra
Mia Magazine Cover, February 2012, Spain.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Nikki DuBose in Maxim 2012 Calendar as Miss April

Nikki DuBose Maxim Calendar April 2012

 

Photographer: Jeff Olson.
Shot in Miami, Florida.
Don’t forget to pick yours up at Amazon.com today or in bookstores everywhere!
I love the team at Maxim!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Camellia Menard in Paris

Photos by the very talented Camellia Menard, Paris

XOXO God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose









Fashion with Jack Eames and the F.A.M.E. Team/London

Photographer: Jack Eames

Shot in London with the F.A.M.E. Team and GHD.

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose







Your Mannequin

My slippers laced

Pink, pressed and tied

My feet are engaged

Pointed left and right

My back is straight

No room to breathe

My body cannot contain

More control, more detail

Your mannequin cries in pain.

The lights are set

The curtain is drawn

The sea of faces

Waiting, judging, knowing

What lies beneath

This perfect face

A devil of distress

My heart in tears

Your Mannequin loses the game

Your Mannequin gains the fame

Your Mannequin stands lifeless

Limp

Pale

Perfectly packaged

Your mannequin needs her name.

©2011 Nikki DuBose

 

FHM, “Carioca Tres Chic”

FHM Magazine, Spain.

Photographer: Juanjo Molina

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose












Andre Gabb.

Photographed by Andre Gabb.

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose