Tag Archive | Inspiration

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,

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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.

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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!

 

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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!

And The Winner Is…

Greetings Sassy Sophisticates!

The last 2 weeks have been filled with marvelous encounters!

I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in several different activities and functions that have exposed me to some pretty spectacular ladies! And I have been overflowing with inspiration!

I was invited to be a part of the Renew & Restore Expo brought to you by Restoration From Within and even hosted my very first Sassy Sophisticate Social! At both events, all in attendance were able to enter the drawing for the Sassy Sophisticate Inspiration Sampler which is a gorgeous gift basket filled with tons of goodies designed to inspire the crap out of you!

Sassy Sophisticate Inspiration Sampler

If you have a dream, a goal, an aspiration–anything trapped inside and dying to get out–then pray your name is drawn, because the goodies in this basket were all selected with the purpose of encouraging you to explore your inner most thoughts and feelings.

Giveaways are awesome! Giveaways that inspire…Even Better!

I would like to thank you for taking the time out to enter. I am about to make one Sassy Sophisticate very happy!

So, without further ado, click on over to the video! Could the winner be you?! Find out now! And be sure to congratulate the winner in the comments!

Oh yes, and subscribe, too!

And remember…

Discover your passions! Create your own identity! And let the world hear your Voice!

Until next time…

Stay Sassy!

The Creole Magnolia

The Butterfly

FLORIDA  WILD    ~   NATURE & WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY ~ BY LEIGH A WAX: FLORA BUTTERFLYS DRAGONFLYS &emdash; WO-9889-Black Swallowtail Butterfly
~

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, there was a beautiful valley nestled amidst two hills. There were open meadows filled with Milk Thistle, Shasta Daisies and Purple Cone Flower. There was a stream…wild flowers lined the sides of its banks.

This beautiful valley was the home to a community of butterflies in a wide array of colors and types.

The butterflies flew along the base of the hillside, throughout the meadows and near the stream. However, they never ventured beyond the valley. They never even flew to the top of the hillside to take a peek and what lied beyond this barrier. They were content with what they knew, and had no interest in expanding their horizons. The valley was a beautiful place, and they were just fine with that.

But one butterfly was not okay with this mediocre mindset. The valley was beautiful, indeed, but she wanted to learn new things, see new places and travel as far as her glorious wings could possibly take her.

So each day, Blossom ventured beyond the valley, taking in new sights and expanding her horizons.

The other butterflies did not like this at all. They scoffed at Blossom’s curious spirit and ridiculed her for seeking more. They did everything they could to dissuade Blossom from setting out on her journey each day,

But no matter how hard they tried to convince her that she was behaving foolishly, Blossom continued on her quest to discover amazing things. Each morning, after fluttering about in the valley, Blossom would fly high above the meadows and cross over the hillside.

She saw mountains, rivers and the ocean. She saw happy children playing in parks, far more than the few who would occasionally visit the valley to play. She visited the bushes and flower gardens of homes in quiet neighborhoods and frequented city parks surrounded by large buildings and honking horns.

And each day, when Blossom would return to her home in the valley, the other butterflies would laugh, point and stare. Some would whisper, while others would jeer.

One day upon returning from an exciting adventure, the taunting from the others was far worse than it had ever been. Blossom had had enough. “Why do you insist on being mean and spiteful?” said Blossom to the others. “Why do you poke fun at me every day and why is today worse than all the others?”  Bianca, who always seemed to be at the center of the mockery, fluttered forward. “Blossom, look at yourself,” she said in a disgusted tone. “You leave this valley every day, stretch your wings beyond their limits and spread them far and wide. And each day when you return, your wings are larger and grander than the day before. Now look at you! You are monstrous and hideously huge—a disgrace amongst butterflies.”

Blossom looked around at them all, shook her head at the sadness of this situation, drew in a deep breath and calmly responded, “Bianca, perhaps it is all of you who should look at yourselves.” They all looked around at one another, puzzled at the point Blossom was trying to make. “Have you all not noticed how much higher you have to fly before you get to the delicious bud of the Milk Thistle?” A few eyes began to open and expressions began to change. They hadn’t thought about it before, but now that Blossom mentioned it, they realized that was true. They quickly shook off any effect this truth had had upon them, and continued to scowl at Blossom. Blossom went on. “And have you all not noticed how long it takes you to flutter from one side of the stream to the other?”  Again, their expressions began to change. “And have you all not noticed how large the Purple Cone Flower is when you rest upon it, or how you must steady yourself when drinking from the Shasta Daisies so you don’t become stuck in its center or buried within its petals?” By this time, everyone was nodding in agreement. Blossom was correct…these things were true. But until this very moment, it had never occurred to any of them.

Blossom looked around at them all and said, “The flowers in the meadow have not changed. The hillside has not grown, and the stream has not widened.” She flew towards and landed upon a Shasta Daisy. “Notice my size compared to this flower. It is quite normal.” Everyone looked confused. Blossom did appear to be normal in size next to the daisy. They all looked at one another and then back at Blossom. “Broadening my horizons and spreading my wings has not caused me to become hideously huge,” she said. 

“Well then what is going on here, Blossom,” said Bianca in a flustered tone.

“Don’t you see?” responded Blossom. “It is not I who has become grand and monstrous. It is you and your wings that have become withered and wilted.”

~

Are you a Blossom or a Bianca? Will you allow your wings to wither and wilt?

Or will you spread them and take flight?

To view a live reading of this blog post, please click HERE

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Whirlwinds, Pinwheels and Passions

The past 4 weeks have been a whirlwind! It’s been both amazing and overwhelming.

Some of the highlights…

With many blessings–whether in business or on the home-front–come many responsibilities. And between you and me, sometimes the whirlwind is filled with chaos that ain’t so blessed! Yep, I’ve had to tussle with a bit of that, as well (A husband, 8 kids, aging parents and bills! Need I say more).

But even when the winds have blown in an unexpected element…even when they’ve stirred fearful emotions or have thrown me so far off balance that I miss a step or two…even when good stuff is all mixed in with a little bad…even when business blessings pile up so high on my plate that it appears to be too much for one person to handle…even then, it has been amazing!

An amazing whirlwind…

Whirlwind by Lisa Strazza

 

And me…I’ve been a pinwheel. Twirling. Spinning. Dizzy. One direction. Then the next.

 

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Standing tall in the wind, facing its strong currents head on, allowing its energy to fuel my passions.

The Passion flower bears a stunning resemblance to a Pinwheel.

The Passion flower bears a stunning resemblance to a Pinwheel.

Dancing during times of challenge, showing off my colors as a celebration of victory…This is how I handle overwhelm.

Like a Pinwheel!

Why am I telling you this?

You know you’ve had those moments. Moments when the pressure seemed far too great. Moments when you’ve felt the weight of the world on your shoulders. Moments when you’ve felt you couldn’t possibly get through or hang on. Moments when you wanted to let go, cry and allow the whirlwind to sweep you away.

When the overwhelm is just too darn overwhelming and the winds become too intense, be a Pinwheel.

Hold your head high, tap into your why, and roll with it…one breeze, or gust, at a time!

Remember these 4 key points!

  1. Prioritize! You cannot handle everything at once. Focus on the most important demand, knock it out and move to the next!
  2. Change your outlook! You can’t get anything done successfully if you have an attitude of dread, doom and gloom. Think Pinwheel!
  3. Approach your tasks as challenges! How awesome do we feel when we’ve kicked a problem in the Patooshka or crossed an item off our To Do Lists?! Pretty dang awesome!
  4. Keep your vision at the forefront! By doing this, you’ll be inspired to come up with innovative ways to get things done.

Tell me…How do you handle overwhelm? When things have become so intense–whether good, bad or a combination–what techniques do you employ to get through?

Tell me in the comments below! REMEMBER! Your techniques may be the answer that someone else needs to hear! So please, share!

 

If you love this blog, then please subscribe! And remember! Inspiration is a dish best served with gourmet coffee! Want a complimentary cup? Then click the OG symbol on the column on the right!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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Day 7 of my journey to Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics thanks to the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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!

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!

 

 

Still giving strength to my roots…

Early morning, this past Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012, my husband dragged me from my bed.

“Close your eyes, I’ll lead you,” he said. He walked me down the hall, through the family room and out the front door.

It was cool out that morning. I felt the tiny whispers of rain faintly brushing against my skin, as if they were quietly trying to escape my attention.

Aastan, my husband, uncovered my eyes, and, standing before me, all eight of my children shouted, “Happy Mother’s Day!” They all moved aside to reveal a baby Magnolia tree…in my eyes, the perfect Mother’s Day gift!

It was quite significant on many levels.

Here’s the surface level…Since Louisiana and South Carolina share a common bond with the magnolia tree, it seems only fitting that a Louisiana French Creole girl living in beautiful Charleston, SC should have one in her yard. Secondly…I have a Magnolia doorbell and a Magnolia door wreath–A Magnolia tree completes the set. Thirdly…How is it that The Creole Magnolia, who happens to be a floral designer, doesn’t have a Magnolia tree? It seems now I’ve added touch of credibility to my name. (Oh yeah, I’m legit now!)

Delving a little deeper…I was touched by the fact that my husband thought of such a moving gift, filled with sentiment and symbolism. It is my passion to inspire others to reach for and attain personal growth. For the past 18 years, I have been charged with, not 1 or 2 lives, but EIGHT, precious lives to nurture and grow. I have also invested and continue to invest much time, thought, prayer and energy toward growing, transforming and developing into the woman I know I am destined to become. Being a source of inspirational nourishment for my children and others, as well as for myself, has been at the forefront of my mind. It has been carefully crafted and intertwined within everything that I do. One can only hope that a fraction of their efforts is recognized and appreciated. By giving me this tree, for me, my husband was recognizing my skills as a nurturer. For me, he was saying, “Here you go, baby. Here’s one more thing for you to nourish and grow. You can do it. I trust you.”

On Sunday, May 20, 2012, exactly one week later, my husband and I planted that tree…together. It was as important for him as it was for me. It was one more memory brought to life, one more layer added, one more moment cherished. It was another creation together–a creation in which he is fully vested, yet confident enough to allow me the freedom to cultivate and sustan it. And again, I heard him say, “Take it from here, honey. Do what only you do. You got this!”

When we dug up the earth and prepared the spot that would become my tree’s permanent home, the layers of meaning, again, settled deeper.

10 months ago, my Parrain (godfather) lost his battle against cancer. He played a large role in helping me grow into the woman I am today and in guiding me toward the woman I hope to become in the future. He is one of The Men That I Come From…

Through his love and encouragement, he gave strength to my roots. He watched me grow, and he watched me share my growth with my children so that they, too, could fluorish.

I miss him, but the memories we shared remain…the love we shared remains…the lessons he taught remain…the wisdom he imparted remains…And, although he is gone, I am able to share all of those priceless treasures with my own children. I am able to reflect on those gifts and replenish the strength of my own roots.

When Aastan placed the tree in the ground, I reached for the red velvet, heart-shaped box, with the brown bow on top. I carefully opened it. Inside…a newspaper obituary clipping and a bag of ashes. I sprinkled the gray dust all around my tree, praying that the remains of this man, who had contributed so greatly to my growth, would continue his legacy…

the legacy of Giving Strength to My Roots