Category: Spirituality

7 Ways to be Mindful and Pursue Gratitude

by Carjamin Scott on July 8, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. CST

A number of years ago, I read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and it completely changed my life. I learned that our thoughts attract what happens in our lives, both good and bad. This notion made me become critical about what I spend time reflecting on. Byrne says, “Your life is in your hands. No matter where you are now, no matter what has happened in your life, you can begin to consciously choose your thoughts, and you can change your life. There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstance of your life can change!” Below are seven ways to be mindful and pursue gratitude.

1. Every morning, spend time reflecting on everything you are grateful for.

Instead of unlocking your phone and checking emails, practice mindfulness. The very first thing you think about will shape the rest of your day. Start with thinking of three things you are truly grateful for, like, your health, family, and career. Then, add to the list every morning.

2. Welcome all of life’s challenges and learn from them.

There is very little you can control in life. In fact, the only thing constant is change and challenges. Embrace it all, learn from it, and teach others. Be grateful for setbacks, roadblocks, and detours. These moments are preparing you for something greater.

3. Assume that others are inherently good and do not want to harm you.

Yes, of course there are people who do not have your best interests at heart. Yes, there are those who want to see you fail. So what! Live your life with courage and never compromise. Treat everyone well even when they don’t deserve it. Life is just so much easier that way.

4. Appreciate the differences in people and find ways to complement those traits.

It’s very easy to be a member of a group where everyone thinks and looks alike. However, it is more fun to take the time to get to know people who are not like you. Discover the strengths of other people, we all have them, then work to highlight those strengths. Be grateful for what others have to offer.

5. Look forward to routine tasks in life by finding ways to make them fun.

Sometimes life can become routine and mundane. Spontaneity makes life more fun. A friend told me about the Waze app. It’s a driving app that alerts you about traffic delays, route shortcuts, and more. You can also text other people using the app on the road with you. On your next road trip, let your passenger use the app on the trip and test all of its functions. It’ll make a routine ride more fun.

6. Create opportunities to give more than you take.

It just feels good to give. Is your co-worker having a baby? Host a diaper shower. Did your friend graduate college? Send a celebratory card. Is someone having a bad day? Give them a hand. Never underestimate the importance of a good deed.

7. Show your appreciation when accepting compliments and credit.

If you are someone who has a hard time receiving compliments, now is the time to begin to change that behavior. Accept the “thank you’s”. When earned, take the credit. Gratefulness includes being grateful for what you do for yourself and for others.

You are Accepted: How to Get Accepted into College and Life

Carjie Scott provides a first-hand account of her experience as an administrator serving at trade schools, graduate institutions, and HBCUs. You are Accepted, is required reading for first-generation college students and higher education professionals. It encourages readers to own their story and accept themselves so that they can transform education for individuals who were historically excluded from attending college.

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The Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative Summer Institute was the self-care I didn’t know I needed.

by Carjamin Scott on May 26, 2019 at 10:05 p.m. CST

Last week, I attended The Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative Summer Institute at Vanderbilt Divinity School. I did not know what to expect. Admittedly, I assumed it would include, academic talking heads, speaking a language that would require me to keep a dictionary app handy and attendees who were racial justice experts claiming to advocate for inclusion but not actually doing the work. However, I attended because I wanted to silence my inner critic.

The institute lasted one week. We checked in on Monday and started with Collaborative Fellows giving us a Ted style talk of the work they had done regarding Public Theology and Racial Justice. I was impressed.

Later, we attended a Fearless Dialogues event. At this event, we were all greeted with, “It is good to see you.” Then, we practiced how to genuinely “see” the gifts in each other and the world around us. The experience was eye-opening and it helped me let my guard down for the remainder of the week. It encouraged me to “see” and call out what I see to make real change in the world.

Every morning started with “morning centering.” For me, morning centering was prayer, for others meditation or reflection. Each centering was led by a facilitator. After centering, breakfast was served. In addition, to breakfast, we were served lunch, and dinner and every meal was really good. I tried to sit at a new table during each meal to practice “seeing” new people.

We were able to choose tracks to further our understanding of Racist Governance or Radicalized Economics. I was interested in both tracks but ultimately chose Radicalized Economics because I am interested in learning more about Housing, Urban Development, and Gentrification. My tracks were led by Vanderbilt professors who were great at sharing their knowledge of the topics presented and engaging us to have group discussion.

After our tracks we had processing salons, in which we continued our group discussion and built community. It was during these intimate thought sharing groups that I came out of my shell and realized that the institute was not designed to teach me about Public Theology and Racial Justice. It was designed to encourage us to share our truths and engage in the work. The facilitators were effective at creating a safe space; and, it turns out that the institute was the self-care that I did not realize I needed.

Self-care is important if you are going to do this work. Community is equally important. Prior to the institute, I answered the call to service and committed to volunteering for The Equity Alliance. However, I was afraid to share that I am a member of this community. Reflecting on my fear and realizing that my assumptions were not valid, I understand how I have perpetuated the exact symptom that I claim to be against. In other words, if I am to continue finding a community of activists, I am going to have to share my activism too.

Now, I am no longer afraid to fight injustice, racism, and oppression. I am also excited to use what I learned to sharpen myself and my TEA community so that we can work together promote ourselves and seek freedom.

I am grateful to have ended the institute with a new beginning, new challenges to pursue, new confidence, and a new covering. Here are a few quotes from our leaders that you are welcome to share on your social media channels.

Ruby N. Sales, on inspirational women who have impacted the fight for social and racial justice.

Judge Wendell Griffin, on principles and presumptions for dismantling racist governance.

A charge to the cohort by Mary Hooks.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie, instagram @carjiescott, and facebook at Dr. Carjie Scott.

10 Things I Wish for my Marriage

by Carjamin Scott on January 16, 2019 at 11:55 p.m. CST

This weekend marks our five year wedding anniversary and it is hard to believe all that we’ve accomplished over these last few years. From raising our children while enrolled in doctoral programs to participating in a number of community service events — outsiders want to know about our marriage and how we are able to juggle everything. The short answer is, it’s a team effort.

Admittedly, it took time for us to work at becoming in sync to work as a team. We have had issues and have had a number of tough conversations about how we want our marriage to be, why we got married in the first place, and even if our marriage is going in the right direction.

Ultimately, we have learned that marriage is much like a plant seed. It needs fertile soil, indirect sunlight, adequate rain, protection from bugs and disease, and pruning to bloom. I’d like to put emphasis on the protection and pruning. I could write a biblical sermon about the parallels between marriage and plants. I’m going to flush that out in another post before I lose track of the 10 things I wish for my marriage.

Throughout our relationship, I’ve grown much more in love with myself, Kerwin, and our family. From friends, to lovers, then newlyweds to now, our marriage has been truly transformative and the longer we are together the more proud I am of what we’ve accomplished.

As I reflect on the success of the last five years, I’ve compiled a wishlist of what I’d like for us to continue as we spend our lives together.

10. Keep our stock up.

As Kerwin accomplishes goals – education, fitness, and career, I want to accomplish mine. My wish is that we continue to encourage each other to accomplish goals. I’m grateful that we are both willing and able to make sacrifices for one another so that we keep our stock up.

9. Share our relationships.

We have a number of relationships outside of our marriage — work colleagues, church members, classmates, that we share. My wish is that we continue to share our relationships with each other, that we continue to trust each other, and that we remain selective with the company we keep.

8. Give and take honest advice.

This one is hard to write but appropriate for this list. During the earlier stages of our marriage, it wasn’t easy taking or giving advice to each other because we were successful at being single. We didn’t truly value the advice that the other person had to offer. Now we listen and are open to loving critique. We are much stronger and trusting of each other. My wish is that we continue to share with each other and talk with each other first before seeking the opinions of others.

7. Laugh a lot.

Kerwin is the funniest man I’ve ever met. He keeps me laughing. We truly have a good time together. Sometimes I can get him to laugh too. I appreciate that he knows how to lift my spirits and have a good time. My wish is that we continue to bring joy to our marriage and laugh a lot.

6. Remain spontaneous.

I do not enjoy routine. I get bored easily. If given the option I’d rather watch a tv show instead of a movie because I prefer the commercials. I love the spontaneity of our relationship. When I get off work, I enjoy when we have an unplanned event to attend, or Kerwin is able to come home early. My wish is that our marriage remain spontaneous and fun.

5. Be accessible.

We are accessible to each other. We are first in each other’s lives. When I need him I expect him to help me and he feels the same way. There is something special about being in a healthy relationship with someone who wants to be there for you, a true helpmate. My wish is we never ignore the other and that we continue to be accessible to each other.

4. Create romance.

I used to think that romance was dating, gifts, and soft music. Now, romance is putting gas in my car, washing the dishes, doing laundry, or giving me some time away from the kids. His idea of romance hasn’t changed and I make sure to do those things for him. My wish is that we continue to share what romance is and then provide that experience for each other.

3. Meet in the middle.

There are things that I like to do that Kerwin doesn’t like to do and vice versa. During the early stages, we had to learn how to meet in the middle. We learned how to spend time together while engaged in different activities. We do this when Kerwin is watching a movie and I’m reading or when I’m in a Barre class while he is playing basketball. My wish is that we continue to meet in the middle with our activities.

2. Be forgiving.

Not one time, not two times, but many times, I want us to remain forgiving. We’ve done something hurtful, did something out of character, or just got on each other’s nerves before but it’s all been forgivable. My wish is that we continue to have a short memory of faults and remain forgiving of one another.

1. Love each other anyway.

My top wishlist item is for us to just love anyway. I am who I am and I’m glad that he is still here. He is who he is and I love it. Sometimes I’m in a great mood, sometimes I don’t feel like being bothered, sometimes I’m quiet, sometimes I’m sick, sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I don’t want to go out etc. He also has those days. Even when we are not doing what the other wants, I wish that we continue to love each other anyway.

As I conclude this post, I’d like to learn from the married folks if you think this list is attainable. From the single people, I want to know what your future marriage wishlist contains. I hope you share this post and comment about it.

To Kerwin: You are the love of my life and I thank God for you.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.