Introducing The Grand Prize Winner of Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

Introducing the Grand Prize Winner of Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

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As soon as I read the first few lines of Love Is by Tiffany, I whispered, “Yes.” Determined not to play favoritism, I sat it aside, but every time I came back to it, I would whisper, “Yes.”

I knew from the start this was the poem we were looking for when we decided on this prompt.

When I said this year, our theme was love, I wanted to see how the poets would explore love beyond what we typically think of it. More than romantic love and even self-love. What other faces does love have?

“Love is food stamps, government cheese, grits with sugar, and collard greens. Love is the sand between my toes. Love is the prize at the bottom of crackerjack box. Love is hopscotch and Double Dutch. Love is Afro-puffs, two French braids, and your first French kiss.”

As someone who grew up in the Robert Taylor Projects on Chicago’s south side, I can relate to these words. I remember government cheese and powdered milk and how my mama used to french braid me and my sister’s hair. Sometimes we had one french braid to the back and sometimes two. While we didn’t have much, we had love.

These are the kinds of lines that set Tiffany’s poem apart. She went deeper and took us back to our roots. Her poem showed us other sides of love and it was relatable:

“Love is easy like Sunday morning. Love is Betty Wright, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Patti LaBelle, a brilliant collaboration of lyrical hands fighting for the same devotion because love is Soul Train. Love is rich soil to the soul.”

As you can see from these excerpts, Tiffany understood the assignment. Let me introduce and congratulate our grand prize winner, who will, along with the other prizes, be taking home a full publishing package toward whatever book she writes in the future.

Congratulations Mrs. James!

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Tiffany James | The Personal Encourager, Founder of Encouraging Touch Enterprises Writer/Encouragement  Coach, Spoken Word Artist/StoryTeller, Author of “Living in the Land of I Am- Your Life Story Reveals your Purpose | IG: ncouragetouch

Tiffany James is an incredible motivator, speaker, and gifted storyteller. She is married and has three beautiful daughters, who are her world. Tiffany’s mission is to inspire everyone to own their voice, walk with their heads high when they walk in a room because they belong in the room, and rock their greatness while celebrating the greatness in others. 

Tiffany knows firsthand how hard it is to be the cheerleader behind your dreams, after deciding in 2007, when her corporate career came to an end due to the economy, to pursue her passion of using her voice and writings to impact change. It has been a beautiful, exciting, and sobering journey. There have been many times over the years she found herself struggling with uncertainty from the many disappointments and considered giving up and returning to Corporate America. Thankfully during that time, she had surrounded herself with a strong tribe who believed in her dreams as much as she did. 

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It is now her mission to be a voice of encouragement to people all over, regardless of their journey, to be bold enough to answer the call of the dream. IMG_6117

www.encouragingtouch.com

Tiffany passionately and consistently achieves this mission through her writings, workshops, storytelling, encouragement-coaching, speaking, and her new, inspiring book, Living in the Land of I Am- Your Life Journey Reveals Your PurposeShe teaches you success is not defined by how many figures you make but by the courage, it takes to stay true to yourself while pursuing your purpose. Her mentoring motto, “Greatness is about serving others with the gift that God has given you.”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting each of these poets individually here on the blog and social media. We will start with #4 and countdown from there. Be sure you are subscribed to this blog as we dig deeper into what inspired the winning poems.

Announcing the Winners of Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021: 2-4

Introducing the winners of Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021: 2-4

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Before we introduce winners two through four, I want to send a BIG thank you to everyone who participated in our fourth annual poetry contest, either by submitting a poem or showing support via social media.

I judged this year’s entries based partly on how well they exemplified the entry requirements and partly on the willingness of the poets to dig deep in creative and unique ways. Each winning poet brought something different to the table while staying on topic.

CONGRATULATIONS Y’ALL!

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Jasmina Jammison

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I am from Savannah, Ga. I’ve written poetry since the beginning of my college career. Poetry has become a therapy for me over the years. It has been great healing for me.

Instagram: @JillRxse
Twitter: @_Dezdez
Facebook: Jasmina Jammison

Dondi A. Springer

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My name is Dondi A Springer, from Florida. Beyond being a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and blue-collar worker, I am a writer, poet, and modern-day jack of all trades. I love to inspire, motivate, and let people know it’s not too late to elevate in life.
 
Instagram: @napalmjax / Mr. Runthatback
Twitter: Mr. Dondi A. Springer
Facebook @DSpringer76

Zerahyah Ysrayl

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My name is ZerahYah Ysrayl. Native New Yorker and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey. When I was younger, my best friend’s mother used to make us read the dictionary. That gave birth to my love of words, along with being raised in the hip-hop era. I learned to convey my feelings through the rhyme and rhythm of words. Whatever was going on around me or in me, I learned to put it in writing. Words and poetry help me to make sense of it all. Poetry is the most beautiful form of expression, and I’m honored to share my gift as a piece of my struggles, pains, and triumphs. Each one reaches one, bringing healing to one through poetic form.

Instagram: @shining_of_yah
Facebook: Zerahyah Ysrayl
 

We aren’t revealing our number one winner until Monday, 9/6 so be sure to stick around!

Over the next few weeks we’ll be spotlighting each of these poets individually here on the blog and social media. We’ll get to dig deeper into what inspired their poems and their writing process in general.

You Don’t Have to Do What Everyone Else is Doing

I like following authors on Social Media who post about things other than their books. I wanna know that you are human and alive, that you laugh and experience pain and joy and all those other emotions.

I don’t care for how neat your Instagram page is or how color coordinated you can make it. I don’t care about every post being your book cover or matching your book cover. Yayy for your book, but after a while, that gets boring without a balance.

What’s your favorite food? What was the last movie that made you cry? How did you get into writing? What books are you in love with? How ya mama doing?

If you like to joke, joke. If you a nerd, be a nerd. Do what works for you, not what the self-proclaimed guru says is important. (Personally, I can’t stand the fun police 😒.)

This post came randomly as I am supposed to be taking a break, but ya’ll know I can’t sit still. The point of it all is you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

Now, let me go back to watching Soul Food. I’ll have an update post for you soon. It’s been a while since we’ve had a coffee date anyway.


BTW, the last day to enter this year’s poetry contest is tomorrow! Click Here for details on entering.

Unless you live in Chicago, it can be nice one day and then cold and rainy. In this case, stay warm smh lol.

Your Whole Self

I am reposting this because I needed the reminder, and I thought since I needed the reminder, I am sure others may need to hear it. If you are new to this blog, you are also new to this post. Enjoy!

Oct. 2020, Memphis, TN

I started thinking about the many layers of myself and how I notice that people pick the parts of me they like.

Some people love the silly me. They like when I post funny memes and do silly things.

Some people like intellectual me. They love when I talk about black history and little-known facts.

Some people love the lover in me. They like to see my husband and me together, loving one another and having a good time.

Some people want the spiritual me. They like to hear me quote scriptures and talk about the bible.  They like prophetic me.

Some people like fiction me. They enjoy my novels and short stories.

Others like the poet me.

I’ve learned from life that you’ll meet so many people throughout a lifetime, and they will pick the parts of you they like best.

But you know, as I know, every part of you helps to build you into the person you are.

What I realized today was the importance of accepting your whole self, even if others reject parts of you.

“I have learned not to let rejection move me.” – Cicely Tyson

People may pick the parts of me they like, but it is my responsibility to pick my whole self. I am all of the things people love (and don’t love) rolled up into one. I am not a scattered puzzle. I am a body, and each of my body parts helps me be the full and whole person I am.

While it may be optional for others to pick and choose, it is not optional for me to choose. It is my responsibility to accept myself fully, the good, bad, and the ugly.

When we start to favor one part of ourselves over another because we see it is what people like most, we lose the other parts of ourselves. And since we need every part to make up a full body, in a sense, we lose ourselves.

People who do not vibe with the whole, the full person you are, are not your people.

Remember that there are layers of you, and though people will choose the layer they like best, it is your job to choose your whole self.

That is how you show up as your authentic self.

Hard Truth: Self-Love is Not a Social Media Movement of Posting Pictures of Yourself on the Internet


Hard Truth: Self-Love is not a social media movement of posting lots of pictures of ourselves on the internet.

And don’t twist my words. There is nothing wrong with posting pictures (I do it all the time).

You are allowed to post what you want.

But we also live in a time where it has become cool to post nothing but pictures of ourselves. To talk about ourselves and to make everything about us.

How many of us constantly posting pictures of ourselves actually have low self-esteem?

How many of us are seeking validation?

I don’t know when this became a trend, but it’s important to remember that a selfie is not necessarily a reflection of self-love.

Self-Care is an inside job. Most of the work is done in private and if done genuinely, has the power to show up naturally and authentically on the outside.

Self-love and self-care are also about balance. Thinking less of yourself is not humility. Low self-esteem is not humility. Constantly doubting yourself and being afraid to shine because of what other people will think of you is not humility. You are allowed to be both humble in confidence and courageous in character.

Everything in our lives, from our relationships to how we run our businesses reflects how we feel about ourselves.

Do the inside work.


When it’s cold outside, I sit in the house, drink coffee, sign and ship books. Does one of these have your name on it?? There is still time to grab your tickets to the Texas “Keep Yourself Full” signing on Nov. 30th!! Link below.

>>>Get Tickets Here<<<

4th Quarterly Settlefree Mixer with Settle-Free Coach Tinzley Bradford

I’m so excited to be a sponsor and to perform at the 4th Quarterly Settlefree Mixer with the Settlefree Coach Tinzley Bradford. To live Settle-Free means not to settle for anything less than you deserve whether that’s in relationships, friendships, finances or business partnerships.

Tinzley’s message goes hand in hand with my philosophy of self-love and why it’s so important. Why is it that no one has ever taught us the importance of loving ourselves? No wonder we don’t know how to love others and settle for anything regardless of how it impacts our mental, spiritual, emotional and yes, financial health.

Get your tickets to this dynamic event today. There will be food, vendors, settle-free tips, poetry, and more. If you’re in Atlanta this is the event to be this fall!

Link below and I’ll see you there!

CLICK HERE