Archives

And a New Journey Begins…

Dear Friends,

This post feels difficult to write. Not because I shouldn’t, but because I feel like there is so much to say. I just don’t know where to begin. People often say, “Write from the heart.” In fact, I’m one of those people. But what do you write when your heart is overflowing? What do you write when your heart feels emotions that your mind cannot express?

On June 13, 2011, I began this incredible journey here with all of you. It has been a journey of discovery…a journey of unveiling all the secrets in my roux…a journey of perfecting the gumbo that is me.

…the process of turning simple flour and oil into a rich pot of complex flavors and aromas is much like the process of transitioning from a young, naive girl into a strong, confident, and self-assured woman. It takes time, thought, and careful consideration.

~Donloyn LeDuff Gadson, The Creole Magnolia

Those were some of the first thoughts that I shared with you all.

As I reflect on all the emotions, inspirations and fears that I have shared on this blog with all of you, I see a woman freeing herself… moving away from the young, naive girl she has carried inside and making room for the confident and courageous woman she has become. I see a woman who understands the complex relationship between growth and acceptance. I see a woman who once undervalued her uniqueness but who now has gained the courage to celebrate it.

As I reflect on the ideas shared here, I see themes surrounding love, courage, fear, vulnerability, self doubt, uncertainty, growth and strength. But, above all else, I see the theme of Clarity.

My most insightful assessment regarding Clarity was when I recognized I was Looking for that which I cannot See.

Sometimes We Must Dwell In Darkness In Order To Appreciate The Light!! By darkness, I do not mean despair or gloom. What I mean is the unknown, the uncertain, the unchartered, the absence. Finding Clarity is not like finding a lost hairbrush or your favorite lip gloss. You don’t just happen upon it. Clarity is a presence, a knowledge, a breath of fresh air that is Attained! It is not tangible. And it is immeasurable!

I’m not sure I’ve truly gained Clarity. Some days I believe I’ve achieved it. And others, it’s gone. But I have come to accept that there is a large portion of Chaos that comes with Clarity. And you must work through that chaos, one layer at a time.

Clarity requires action, a continuous moving forward. And that is what I am doing…moving forward, embarking upon a new journey, working through a new layer of chaos.

This post will be last here on Creole Magnolia Cafe. This is last serving of inspiration I have for you. And the truth is, you’ve inspired me more than I have inspired you.

I will be moving forward, not as The Creole Magnolia, but as Donloyn…Donloyn LeDuff Gadson. I will step out from behind the moniker, and I will be whom I have always been…me. I will embark upon this next phase of my writing career with transparency and vulnerability. And I will take comfort in knowing that Clarity will come.

This blog has served me well. Not only has it given me the platform to inspire all of you, but also it has given me the opportunity to find the courage necessary to accept me…a unique individual who has never fit into any one box. I do not know what the future holds for me, but I do know one thing…

Clarity is always closer than you think.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life. I will keep this site active so we both can reflect when necessary. Because sometimes, you have to remind yourself of where you’ve been in order to fully appreciate where you are.

I’d love for you to join me at my new website and blog, www.Donloyn.com. I pray my new  journey will inspire you to develop, accept and celebrate your own beautiful uniqueness.

Wishing you more Love, Peace and Clarity than your hearts can hold.

Happy New Year,

Donloyn_Logo

The Giver, Part 2: Confirmations, Trust and Newfound Clarity

I was obedient. I followed what I know God put on my heart (and, oddly enough, in the fortune cookie). I was obedient. I wrote, and I sketched. Ultimately, I created The Giver, and I shared it all with you.

And then…I waited…expecting Clarity to immediately pick me up, dust me off, and position me upright upon my once stable two feet. I waited…impatiently…and nothing happened. At least not immediately.

The day slowly faded and transitioned into the next, and I found my myself, and my thoughts, even more confused and muddied. Clarity, at this point, was a fleeting memory, a story of long ago, something I had possessed at one point in time but somehow lost along the way. Like losing a box in the midst of a move…you remember packing and handling it with care; but somehow, it’s vanished.

And so I prayed. I begged God to pour into me. I just needed the answers and I needed them from Him. I needed to know what His plans were for me. I needed to know how He planned to use me. I needed to know what my next steps would be and how I was to use my skills to enhance the lives of Sassy Sophisticates. Sassy, I needed to know what was next for me AND for you.

Remember, I’m The Creole Magnolia, the Inspiration Specialist, leader of the Sassy Sophisticate movement…my job is to inspire. Only one problem…I wasn’t feeling so inspirational.

So I prayed. I spoke to a friend. Tearfully and reluctantly, I shared with her how shaken I was. I doubted my talents and gifts. I even questioned my calling and my ability to get the job done. I thought to myself:

My Sassy Sophisticates need me and I need them. We need inspiration, and they depend on me to find it and to find it from within. So just get out of your head, Donloyn, and get this job done. The Sassy Sophisticate movement needs YOU!

While talking with my dear friend, I shared with her my prayer asking God to fill me up, telling Him I was an open vessel ready to receive. She was confident that by the end of the day not only would God fill me up but also I would be overflowing. If anyone was ready to overflow, it was me.

Moments later, the first testimony came in. My post, The Giver, was speaking to people and in such a profound way, a way that I had never expected.

Then came more shares and messages. Like this one:

“This is my Season…I <3 this! Donloyn LeDuff Gadson…what a piece! You just told my story!” PRM

 

My 11-year-old daughter shared with me the first few lines of a book she is writing. Yes, you read that correctly–And it was GOOD! She is serious about having it published and has asked for my help in doing so. Then I stumbled across two beautifully written poems in my 8-year-old twin boys’ school folders. Moments later, one of those boys informed me that he would like to start a book club for kids. This is not a mommy blog; however, mentioning my children is quite fitting in this instance because I even began receiving confirmation through them. Yes, my children were speaking to me. It was as if they were saying, “Mom, we hear you. You’re inspiring us, too. Keep on inspiring. You’re doing good.”

 

And then came a testimony so grand it brought tears to my eyes.

Confirmation

Donloyn Gadson, I hope u don’t mind but I have put pic of ur tree on my locker next to my “Award for being the greatest Mom” that my son made for me. Your blog ministered to me in a great way. I put the tree on my locker as a reminder of who I am, as a giver to my family, co-workers, patients, friends and everyone else in my life BUT more importantly as a reminder of how great a Giver my Father God is. And that even when I rejected Him, He still loved me in my mess and gave His one and only Son as the best gift ever, for a daughter that He waited on patiently, to return to Him!…This Word that God gave u is going to travel and reach farther than u will ever know! It will be the catalyst God uses to heal, deliver and to set His people free. 
Your pic is no longer on my locker. It was up there for maybe 30 minutes. My co-worker has it now along with a copy of the message that came with it. I wanted to share, I mean how cud I hold on to life changing Words and not give them away (I guess that’s part of The Giver in me) She carefully read the Words, asked if she cud have a copy and said that God had just given her revelation, with tears in her eyes. I know that she too will have to share this great Word just as I did! God bless you sis! Be ready for when the testimonies begin to pour in!  LG

 

And then…a few days later…I won this!

 

MeandAward

MyAward

First Runner Up in the 2013 Charleston Multicultural Bridal & Events Association Awards for Best Blogger!

I was humbled, honored and, again, reminded.

After receiving all of the Confirmations, my Trust is being renewed, rebuilt and restored, and I am beginning to ease into a Newfound Clarity. And for that, I am truly thankful.

~

How has your Clarity recently been restored? Inspire us in the comments below!

Embracing Self and Accepting Permission

Apparently, I was correct in concluding that I feel uncomfortable with shifting my focus onto Self. So uncomfortable, in fact, that it caused me to begin to feel pulled back towards the very thing I am trying to escape…a complicated plate filled with things that don’t fuel my passions.

For those who have been following along, this concept of truly putting my goals and aspirations first threw me so off balance that I haven’t been able to find the words, yet I have been immersed in thought. I haven’t blogged for 9 days, yet I’ve been drowning in words and lost in emotion. Crazy, right? Surrounded by words, but unable to use them? So much for the 30 day blog challenge.

But, I am not going to allow my failed attempt to blog for 30 days straight cause me to end my journey for Clarity. I am simply going to pick up where I left off and try to make some sense of this confusion. I’m going to try to give myself permission to be selfish.

To be successful, you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t Isolate. ~Michael Jordan

In addition to being selfless to a fault, I seem to have trouble accepting my limitations. My dear friend Angie, who is also on a similar quest for Clarity, read a quote to me about accepting your limitations. It immediately triggered my control response, and my first thought was if I accept my limitations, then I am no longer in control and must wave the white flag of capitulation. It will be as if I have surrendered…become conquered and defeated. Imagine that…A Selfless Control Freak! Such an oxymoron.

And, now that I’m thinking about it (because, I am completely free-styling this blog post), maybe I did do exactly what I said I would do in my last post. I Sat with Myself in the weird place of Awkwardness & Discomfort. I really did. It’s not important that I didn’t blog each day. What’s important is that I continued to focus on my journey. I continued to focus on gaining Clarity. I wrestled with my thoughts and emotions. I allowed myself to be pulled back and forth, to and fro. And that’s truly all that matters.

In the past 9 days, I have come face-to-face with fear, anxiety, emotional turbulence and the like. I have come to grips with what I have to do, and have realized that sometimes there is a distinct difference between what you want to do and what you choose to do. In a way, maybe that is me accepting my limitations. It is also me realizing that in order to grow and move toward something better, you have to be willing to let go of some things in the here and now. You have to be willing to sacrifice the things that can be perceived as good in order to gain that which is great.

There is nothing bad about the freelance jobs and projects that I am involved with…nothing bad about them, at all. They just simply do not serve any purpose when it comes to furthering my dreams and goals for my business. They just happen to not be good for me.

I believe they may also be a crutch, an excuse, a way to hide my fear…Fear of transitioning, transforming, changing and growing.

So, right here, today, I give myself permission…Permission to be selfish. Permission to accept my limitations. Permission to feel out-of-control. Permission to let go and grow. Permission to be fearful without being paralyzed. And, yes, even Permission to skip a blog post.

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” ~Bill Cosby

20130418-111352.jpg

Embrace your true Self and all the Creativity & Inspiration that lies within.
~The Creole Magnolia
(Artist: Jerod AleXander Davies)

Sometimes Life isn’t about finding your voice, finding yourself, or finding your passion. Sometimes Life is just about giving yourself Permission to use what already Exists Within. However, in order to that, you must Embrace Self and Accept the Permission that has been granted.

 

 

 

Giving Myself Permission

Today, technically yesterday, I kept it low-key. I slept in, fixed breakfast at an hour that is probably considered late even for brunch, went in the back yard with the family, and, even walked to the park with my husband and the kids. We had a blast, and for the second day in a row, I gave myself permission to relax…to keep it simple…to feel the moment…to open the door for clarity!

Oftentimes, we neglect to give ourselves permission. Permission to feel, to think, to say, to do…to live and live happily!

Giving myself permission is like setting my soul free!

20130408-004428.jpg

20130408-004540.jpg

20130408-004622.jpg

20130408-004646.jpg

20130408-004755.jpg

20130408-004830.jpg

20130408-004921.jpg

20130408-010951.jpg
Day 7 of my journey to Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics thanks to the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

Feel This Moment

Life is marked by moments…

How we spend these moments are choices…choices that we make. No one else.

Today, I could allow tasking deadlines for projects, that don’t speak to my passions, dictate how I spend this day’s moments.

Or, I can choose to truly feel my moments…to fill them with meaning and purpose.

As I write this, I am looking out onto the back patio, gazing at the 3 baby Passion Flowers my husband gifted to me. My kids are in the distance playing on the swing set and throwing footballs in the open spaces.

Passion Flower...Fully grown, amazing and unique!

Passion Flower…Fully grown, amazing and unique!

The Passion Flowers remind me to feel, grow, live and love my dreams. They’re babies, with no blooms. But with time and care, they will thrive.

My kids…They remind me to do everything with simplicity, joy, innocence and laughter. They’re babies, as well. Naive and immature, but filled with hope for the future. They feel their moments by choosing to see their world with amazement.

As for these freelance writing deadlines looming above–I haven’t even begun to give them thought. And today, I don’t intend to. In this moment, I’m choosing to push them aside.

Today, I choose to have coffee and great conversation with a wonderful friend while our kids play and create memories together. I choose to allow the relaxation of downtime to replenish, refuel and rejuvenate my passions.

I Choose to Feel This Moment!

(Yes, I did just go from John Mayer in my last post to Pitbull & Christina Aguilera in this one! I’m eclectic and amazing like that!)

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

As a result of this blog challenge, I am on a quest for Clarity. I’d love for you to join me on my journey! Please subscribe to see how it all unfolds. If you haven’t been following, you can catch up by starting here.

Saying What I Need to Say

Today, I fully expected to pick up where I left off yesterday. For me the next reasonable step was to begin examining my why’s.

Why have I put myself in this position? Why do I continue to assist others in reaching their goals and realizing their dreams at the expense of my own? Is it fear? Greed? Competition? Inadequacy?

However, instead of exploring these very important questions, I remained stuck on one, single, solitary thought…

How will I “break up” with all my freelance clients? How will I tell them, “It’s over.” How will I get them to understand that “it’s me, not them?” 

Instead of facing the Why’s, I’ve gotten all ahead of myself and have fast-forwarded to the How’s.

My amazing friend Angie Mizzell, whom I mentioned in my last post, asked my advice today on a completely unrelated topic. She asked, “How do you find the courage…?” I had all the answers as they pertained to the topic we were discussing. Ironically, as it pertains to clearing my plate of all projects that distract me from my dreams, I don’t seem to have a clue.

Since she and I ended our conversation, all I can seem to ask myself is, “How do I find the courage?”

All day, I’ve tussled with this.

This evening, around 9:30 pm, my family and I popped The Karate Kid (the remake with Jaden Smith) into the DVD player. The kids were spread out on the floor and couches with blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. I sat here, on my corner of the couch, laptop open, staring at a blank “Add New Post” screen.

As the movie began, I couldn’t help notice how this mother and son were in the midst of making life changes that would inevitably lead to Clarity. Within the first 15 minutes of the movie, this mother and son arrive in a new place…China. And as they are taking in their new surroundings–uncertainty all around–a song is playing in the background.

That song spoke to me. It brought everything I’ve been feeling today into focus, and it answered my new question of How.

How do I find the courage?

The answer is: I may never find the courage.

How do I end these relationships with my freelance clients?

By Saying What I Need to Say…whether I’m courageous or not.

 

Even if your hands are shaking, say what you need to say...

Even if your hands are shaking, say what you need to say…

 

Thank you, Angie. Thank you, kids for wanting to watch The Karate Kid. And Thank you, John Mayer.

 

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

“I Gotta” Get Off of this Runaway Train

I opened my eyes this morning, and, no sooner than my feet hit the floor, my thoughts were consumed with “I gotta…”

“I gotta” meet this deadline. “I gotta” meet that deadline. “I gotta” deadline approaching next week. “I gotta” get that project done. “I gotta,” at least, brainstorm on the other.

Every “I gotta”–each having absolutely nothing to do with my current business and career goals–left me filled with angst, turmoil and breathlessness.

When you find yourself sighing, huffing, puffing, gasping for air at the very thought of a task or tasks at hand, then that is a sure indicator that it should be removed from your list of obligations.

You see, Time is so precious, valuable and, in my case, limited. I only have so much with which to work. My sweet friend and fellow writer, Angie Mizzell, says it best…”Working in between the cracks!” Any woman who juggles marriage, motherhood, career and individuality knows exactly what that means. Sometimes, we only have small shreds of time to channel our creativity and talents into something productive and meaningful. Sometimes, it’s 20 minutes…Sometimes, you’re fortunate enough to get an hour…Sometimes, only a mere fraction of that.

When my tiny slivers of time are filled with “I gotta’s” that solely benefit someone else, then “I gotta” problem with that.

It feels like I’m flying down the tracks on a runaway train that’s sure to crash and burn.

Chaos is like a Runaway Train. If you don't get off, you're doomed!

Chaos is like a Runaway Train. If you don’t get off, you’re doomed!

You’ve seen the movies and cartoons. Some damsel in distress is trapped on board a train car with no engineer, no conductor, no brakes and the track abruptly ends at the cliff of a mountain. She’s yelling for help, and her hero risks it all to bravely save her just in the nick of time.

Humph! How convenient…

In my story, my only hero is me. If I want to be saved, I’ll have to do it myself.

But before I can even begin to devise a plan of escape, I must first understand why. Why did I re-board this same train? And why did I do so after I had already claimed and embraced my Clarity?

Am I placing the dreams of others ahead of my own out of fear? Fear of what? Fear of failure? Fear of success?

Am I piling more and more on my plate out of greed? An insatiable thirst to be seen as some type of Superwoman?

Is it out of competition? Or a need to prove myself?

I need the answers! I fully intend to explore all of these questions and more, because the only thing “I Gotta” do is Get Off of this Runaway Train!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Recognizing the Chaos & Calling It Out!

This is day 3 of my 30 day journey to find Clarity, embrace Simplicity and get back to the Basics.

In my last 2 posts, I have tiptoed around what truly lies behind my quest. Perhaps that’s part of the process. I’ve been in denial for so long, that now I’m almost fearful to publicly admit the truth. So here it is…in a “not-so” nut shell.

I have been blessed with a husband, 8 children, artistic talent, career goals and aspirations. (Yes…I did just say eight children!) As a result, I wear many hats. I am a wife, a mother, a floral designer, a writer, a business owner, a daughter, a sister and a friend. Regardless of how much I long for one, there’s never a still moment.

I’ve never been one to use marriage and motherhood as an excuse to place my personal dreams on hold. In fact, I’ve always used it to fuel my passions…to ignite my creative spark. I want my children to see their mother as a woman who is loyal, strong, driven and passionate–A woman who can be fully present for them, as well as continue to develop as an individual. And I want my husband to be proud of my accomplishments and rejoice in my endeavors, knowing that he has a wife who lives life on purpose. After all, he married me for the person I am, and I’m certain he would want me to be true to my uniqueness, always.

My plate is larger than most, and it is always full. And there are certain things that just cannot be removed. My husband and children have a permanent position on my platter; they’re supposed to, and I like it that way. My floral design business, this blog and my quest to move from being a writer to a published author all take prime real estate on that platter, as well. Anything else that requires my time and talents but does not assist me in moving forward in developing my brand is Chaos…sheer CHAOS!

NO CHAOS by alles-schlumpf

NO CHAOS by alles-schlumpf

At this stage of my business, I have diagnosed myself as having Starving Artist Syndrome. The treatment…freelance writing work, and lots of it. Honestly, too much of it. So much, in fact, that it consumes my time and talents, and I find myself laboring over obligations that have me feeling disconnected and uninspired. Let’s face it; these freelance jobs are designed to catapult the successes of the individuals for whom I do the work–not for my business.

I also seem to have this uncanny inability to say “No.” New projects and ventures are presented to me and I cannot, for the life of me, seem to say, “Thanks for thinking of me, but no.” And it’s not like they’re horrible mistakes…they’re actually wonderful opportunities…for someone else. For me, they are distractions that will only serve to deter me from my goals, steer me off course, and drown out my purpose.

Clarity is no new concept for me. I had recently moved away from doing all freelance work so that I could focus, intently, on growing my brand, Creole Magnolia Creations. Then slowly, I began adding more and more and more to my once manageable plate. Now, deadlines for the projects of others have taken precedence over my own commitments, and my mind has become bogged down and overloaded with the impossible burden of juggling it all.

This Chaos is paralyzing, as I have become stagnant in my purpose, and my ability to move forward has waned.

But, I see hope…

As someone with the need to always be in control, it takes courage for me to admit that I am overburdened and stressed. But I realize that a sliver of Simplicity is far more appetizing than a plate full of uncontrolled bedlam.

So this is me…fearlessly Recognizing the Chaos and Calling It Out!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

 

 

Navigating My Murky Waters, Feeling Strangely Refreshed

What a surprisingly amazing day today has been.

I reclaimed my position as captain, and today was my first day back at the helm. And though I was navigating through dark, murky, unclear waters, I felt renewed…light…lifted…hopeful and refreshed!

"Muddy waters should never prevent proper navigation of the ship or the spirit." ~Chase LeBlanc

“Muddy waters should never prevent proper navigation of the ship or the spirit.”
~Chase LeBlanc

I cannot allow the dreams, visions, aspirations and goals of others to steer my vessel any longer. As long as I permit the purpose of another to chart my course, I’ll always feel as though I am in unfamiliar territory. This realization alone has brought me so much joy.

I can taste the freedom that Clarity promises, and it makes me want it all the more. It makes me wonder why I ever gave it up.

As I coasted through this day, I realized that it’s not a matter of “IF” I will get back to the basics and claim Clarity, it’s “WHEN!”I drifted through the confusion and clutter and saw glimpses of beauty, freedom, peace, contentment…glimpses of me and reminders of my purpose.

Everything is lining up, and I know I’m moving towards the right decision…I know I have to throw any desires and dreams that are not mine overboard, or else risk sinking into the swampy, watery deep.

I’ll not drown in the labor-filled, uninspired tasks of others. I have far too much to give, far too much to do, far too much to create to do anything so foolish.

I haven’t even lightened my load, yet, and it already feels so good…

 

This is Day 2 in my Ultimate Blog Challenge and my quest to find Simplicity. Are you making moves toward Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics? Please, tell me in the comments below!

If you love this blog, you can have fresh content delivered to your reader, RSS feeds or email by clicking HERE!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics

For me the greatest beauty always lies in the greatest clarity. ~Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

For me the greatest beauty always lies in the greatest clarity.
~Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Children understand the importance of clarity, simplicity and keeping ideas and concepts basic. They want clear answers without the layers of garbled muck.

We can learn a great deal from children.

Recently, I’ve been in a state of confusion. The Clarity I once, so victoriously, claimed seems to have slipped just out of my reach. The Simplicity I created for myself has become convoluted and complex. And I now find myself desperately trying to return to the Basics.

What are my basics, you ask? Growing my floral design business and becoming a published author…as simple as that.

Yet, everything I’ve done as of late has been designed to catapult someone else’s business or endeavor toward success. I have filled my plate with tasks and obligations that assist others and have, once again, allowed my dreams and goals to take a back seat.

I had, at one point, moved away from taking on any new projects that were unrelated to my specific career goals. I had made a decision to make precious use of my time and to focus on certain aspirations that required specific action to become realized. But, now, my Time is filled with deadlines that serve another’s purpose…deadlines that take me farther and farther away from the simplicity…from the basics…from me.

I feel lost in the crowd…bumped to and fro as hurried individuals shuffle and hustle on by. I keep thinking, “What about me?”

Then I found the Ultimate Blog Challenge–a challenge to write a fresh blog post everyday for 30 days. I thought this would not only be a wonderful opportunity to breathe new life into my blog, but also would afford me the opportunity to truly delve into why I continue to allow distractions to steer me off course and why I continue to place the dreams of others ahead of my own. This blog challenge will force me to sit face-to-face with this issue. And hopefully, at the closing of 30 days, I will have regained the Clarity that I once knew.

My theme for this challenge is Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics. During the next 30 days, I plan to ask myself a series of questions. When all is said and done, I intend to have clearer focus. Decisions will be made and my plate will only contain items that are good and healthy for my personal goals.

I hope you’ll join me. Perhaps there’s something in your life that has you wading in murky waters. Or perhaps there’s so much noise swirling about that you are unable to hear the symphony in the silence. Whatever has you feeling confused, stifled and bogged down, know that we can claim clarity together.

How do you plan to get back to the basics? Tell me in the comments below.

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using the Ultimate Blog Challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!