Saturday, February 1, 2020

My Journey to Refresh Feature: Encouragement and Transparency for Aspiring Entrepreneurs



In January, I had an opportunity to be featured in an article for the publicationMy Journey to Refresh by fellow writer and blogger, Erica Relaford. The article was centered on providing encouragement to aspiring entrepreneurs. Below are my responses to the initial questions from Erica. I pray that you are inspired as I was writing and sharing:





What Aspiring Entrepreneurs Would Like to Know 


Personal



ER: Where are you from?

LO: I’m a Georgia Peach, originally from the small, rural city of Dawson, GA. Many don’t know this but the late, great soul singer Otis Redding was born there.




ER: When did you encounter Christ and how did your life change as a result? 


LO: Although I was ‘churched’, experiencing my first baptism at age 9, leaving the church a year later after my parents’ divorce, rededicating my life back to the church at 16 years of age just to end up with hardly any connection to the church for years, I truly encountered Christ at the age of 24 through my interactions with one of my former coworkers during my Accounting days. I distinctly remember a conversation we had where she asked me if I knew what salvation meant and it challenged me because it was never a question I had encountered before. My parents never explained salvation and neither the church I attended. I just remember attending church because I was told to and because my father felt it was time to join a church. I encountered religion more than anything related to salvation and the Gospel. It’s interesting I knew everything else when it came to school and different facts, but I didn’t even know how to answer the question and I became defensive because I felt at that time I was being judged not knowing that eventually my heart and spirit would continuously be regenerated and transformed. When I moved to Atlanta in 2008 there was so much brokenness that I didn’t know existed. It was those tough questions and me finally understanding God and Jesus Christ as my Lord that yielded me to submit my brokenness and other iniquities to fully heal. Has it been easy? No, but it’s been worth it and a beautiful process because it changed my life where God answered my prayers for His will in areas of my life from family, friendships, career, and experiences.





ER: Share a fun fact many people do not know about you. 

LO: I associate everything within my life to music and film and so one of the things I love to do is mimic my favorite movie or TV show lines either in conversation or while I’m working on a creative project (blogs, editing). I remember while working as a staff accountant, my coworker and I would answer each other with a movie line and we would have random moments of laughter where no one knew the joke behind the movie lines we were saying. It was definitely a great stress reliever for the environment I was in and it is something that I still do to this day just to be silly and carefree. I’m such a nostalgic person and an old soul with an appreciation for all things creative. 





Career



ER: What do you do as an entrepreneur? Share your story. Provide your why. 

LO: As an entrepreneur, my business is centered on writing, editing, blogging, and social media (brand ambassador, admin, and influencer). My story of entrepreneurship officially began in 2012 although I recall at a young age being fascinated by logos from luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. I remember reading Black Enterprise magazine and drawing my initials as a logo to see how it would look. I didn’t know then that entrepreneurship would be part of my experience. I later learned that I come from a family of entrepreneurs and creatives. As a teenager, I enjoyed reading the inspirational columns of Susan L. Taylor, former editor in chief for Essence magazine which unknowingly would inspire my writings later. Fast forward to 2012, I’m 26 and working as a staff accountant. I remember providing suggestions to my coworker for an email she was writing to a client. I remember how writing during my school days was a dreaded task for me because I felt the topics were boring so I was into free writing more. I remember being asked by my coworker have I ever considered blogging as a possible career. At that time the blogging I was familiar with was the blogging I only did on social media via my Myspace and Facebook pages. I never thought of any writing for me as a business or career. At that time, I was in graduate school for my Master’s in Accounting and Financial Management (finished in 2013) and I needed a stress reliever so I decided to create a blog through Tumblr and Blogger. I was on Tumblr mostly and only posted on Blogger twice. Surprisingly in 2012, a church member asked me to create content for her blog which focused on educating students and the community. I graciously took the assignment and it was my first freelancing opportunity. The following year I was laid off and I finished my degree a month later and from there I really had to do a self-assessment on where God was leading me next. It was difficult getting back into the field of accounting right away so I took on a contract position with a local CPA while simultaneously working in education as a substitute teacher. I loved the flexibility and when the contract ended with the CPA, I was back to working in education. While navigating my next career move, I joined, Just Write, a writer’s group in 2014 which connected me to writers who were self-published and in other facets of writing. I remember coming to the first meeting with the thought of just wanting to form connections around other creative people. I didn’t desire to be an author or anything related to writing as a business. The only thing I knew at the time was blogging which was something that many in the writer’s group were not familiar with. At that moment, I became an expert on blogging which led to me taking on the task of creating a writer’s blog entitled The Write Moment (https://thewritemoment1.blogspot.com) which I still maintain today with engaging monthly posts. Through that responsibility, I was able to meet more writers and in one particular moment where I helped a business owner and author with some social media ideas, she helped me see that there was a potential business for myself along with the members of Just Write. At that time, I had revamped my personal blog DivineGift317 (a  name analysis revealed that my first name means “divine gift” or “gift of God” and the numbers 317 is the time I was born) (https://divinegift317.blogspot.com) and had just finished editing a client’s book and typing out poetry for another client along with being a social media admin for a women’s ministry. I’ve always been a fan of acronyms so I remember thinking about the significance of the business and everything it encompassed. The majority of my clients and people I associated with were unique individuals who had ideas about their projects but they didn’t know how to expound and convey their messages through any form of media. I knew that my writing abilities were a gift from God so the word divine was descriptive of how my writing came into fruition. Only God could give me the words and messages to write. I recognized that I am a messenger and scribe by nature who has a way with words where I could decipher what people needed to express and that’s how my business D.I.V.I.N.E. Blogger, LLC (https://www.divinebloggerllc.com/) was birthed. The acronym for D.I.V.I.N.E. represented my ‘why’ which was to help “Develop Intellectual Visionaries Individual Needs Exceptionally” through writing, blogging, editing, and social media. Even though I was steadfast in working in one field for the rest of my life, God orchestrated moments in my life that led to my entrepreneurial journey which freed me from my own limitations. I’m thankful for my previous studies in Business, Accounting/Financial Management, and current studies in Professional Writing along with me working for business owners which prepared me for my present and future endeavors.




ER: What are some of your most memorable moments and highlights throughout your career? Struggles? Challenges? 

LO: My most memorable moments throughout my career which has spanned business, education, healthcare, and writing are the lessons I’ve learned and my ability to connect with people in any environment. I have been blessed to have worked with and for some amazing people who challenged me and encouraged me in my gifts. It has been a blessing to meet other creatives who share similar beginnings to how their projects developed. It’s that constant edification and creative momentum that keeps me going. The struggles and challenges I have faced stemmed from me initially trying to meet these unrealistic expectations which caused me to almost abandon my gifts. I was allowing others criticism of what they thought I should be doing as a career control me and didn’t allow myself to let the creativity and inspiration from my gifts flow organically. 


ER: What stage are you currently in? Aspiring, beginner, intermediate, expert? Are there any new business ventures, projects, or collaborations for you this year? 


LO: I consider myself an expert who is always learning and perfecting my craft. I always joke that I am a Queen of all trades but there’s nothing like beginning with one trade and mastering it which in my opinion opens up doors of opportunities for one’s other gifts. This year I’m excited to announce that I have collaborated with 7 other women for the book, A Woman’s Journey, an anthology of stories of substance, success, and survival. You can find it here with Balboa Press and on Amazon.
I share my testimony of brokenness and abuse and how I overcame it. Another project I’m on will be released in February. Outside of books that I’ve contributed my story to, in 2019, I finished editing a fiction book where I was written in as a character as well as a CNA school policy book for a school in California (a collaboration with nurse practitioner Victoria Randle MSN, NP-C, a CNA school consultant).  I am currently a 2020 brand ambassador for iwi Fresh Garden Spa, a farm-to-skin local spa in Atlanta that will be opening a 2nd location, a 24/7 social wellness holistic retreat in February. I’m excited about this collaboration because in the last 2 years I have begun to eat more healthy with vegan and plant-based options and love self-care. Also, I love sharing good news and it feels good to be a social influencer for a well-respected brand. Since 2017, I have utilized my administrative skills to serve for a local nonprofit, Protocol Saints, Inc., a basketball mentoring program that provides cultural, spiritual, and practical guidance to young men of Atlanta. I am a certified MoneySmart financial educator and one of my goals with Protocol Saints is to provide the young men with financial literacy tools through the FDIC MoneySmart Financial Education Program. Finally, I have been requested to share my views about my experiences of being a woman of color in America through the podcast, Love Thy Neighbor, which dissects the tough topics of race and the cultural influence it has within business, politics, education, and other sectors of society. It is a great podcast that I’m honored to share my views with. Check out previous sessions here: https://open.spotify.com/show/4dnbpNrbEhYROqwjoSQiXJ  





What’s Next



ER: What are your prayers for 2020?

LO: My prayers for 2020 are to continuously utilize my gift of writing and content creation for the Kingdom, submit to God’s Word and will for my life and to see many people saved by the Gospel and come to the knowledge of who they are in Christ. I know many are searching for their purpose but as believers in Jesus Christ, the overall purpose for all of us is to go into all the earth to spread the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever God has placed us. One of my sisters in Christ, Brittany Jay, summed it up best in a 2018 social media post: “In order to know our purpose, we have to submit to the Creator of purpose. We were created for God’s purpose: to know Him, serve Him, glorify Him, and exalt Him in all that we do.” There’s nothing like living in the fullness of who God created you to be and I would like to see many people experience that. Remember everything we do is an assignment and mission. And one more thing, I also pray that student loan debt for everyone is forgiven, lol.



ER: What would you like to accomplish in 2020?

LO: In 2020, I would like to travel to some new places, support more Christian businesses, publish more of my individual writings and challenge myself to even more writing projects and collaborations. I would also like to do more with financial literacy and investments. Basically, continuing to live, love, and laugh through creating memories and learning.


ER: Today many individuals (believers too) are affected by their communities, schools, homes, environment, etc. What advice would you give to those who are interested in moving forward with what God has called them to do, but they are afraid considering their circumstances? What practical tips did you take to get past that hurdle in your life?

LO: From my experiences, my gift of writing was birthed from my circumstances meaning I used my adversity and a negative environment as a way to push myself to go forward. I’ve always said that when people told me “no” or when I received rejection notices from companies, it was just another opportunity to go in a different direction. I encourage others to use their obstacles or circumstances as stepping stones for what they are trying to accomplish. It’s better to try and fail than not try and not accomplish anything with regrets. One of the scariest things I did in life was leaving my family and everything that I knew behind to move to a new city for a fresh start. I just remember putting one foot in front of the other and just doing it while trusting that God would take care of me. I had moments of doubt and fear and numerous mistakes but I pushed through it and stayed consistent with whatever I was accomplishing until God moved me elsewhere. Everything has a season and a place. The important thing is to look at everything as a learning opportunity. It’s a natural reaction to always question why certain things happen to us but it’s the lesson behind the trials that strengthen and perfect our character. Remember to pray about everything, have faith, and work at whatever you would like to accomplish as the Lord leads you.




Thank you Erica for the opportunity to provide encouragement to other creatives and aspiring entrepreneurs. 



Click here to read what other entrepreneurs had to say about their experiences and be sure to follow and support her writing and entrepreneurial journey: https://myjourneytorefresh.com/4-brilliant-entrepreneurs-share-their-journey-to-success-stories/



God bless,


Lequvia Ousley



Monday, April 22, 2019

KingdomWriters Intersection Live Writing Session #2- Poem (My Praise to Him)

Hello! I just wanted to share the following poem I wrote on 4/20/19 at the #KingdomWriters Intersection Live Writing session:



My Praise to Him

Rising out of the ashes
My soul is lit with fire
Fire of the Spirit, His Holiness I'm in awe.
Love is all I feel when in His presence
A love I pray everyone experiences
A love that is pure and everlasting
A King to rival all royalty, His lineage, I'm not worthy for
But He died for me, enduring scars He bore
A death that was chosen, His soul in submission.
A death I couldn't fathom to be in His position.
The Good News of today
King Jesus crucified and risen, He lives always,
Praise God for a new day.

Overall, the experience was amazing as always with everyone sharing their love and heart for Christ. Next up is the Creator's Table, an event with a mix of creativity, socializing, and food by the The Lauren Gordon Company I'm excited!!


See you all in the next blog!


In His presence,


Lequvia Ousley

Sunday, November 4, 2018

KingdomWriters Intersection Experience: November 3, 2018

"Challenging Worship Traditions"
Hello!! It's been a while since I shared a blog. Just wanted to share my first experience at last night's KingdomWriters Intersection, an event I've been trying to attend since early 2017 when KingdomWriters' Instagram followed me one day. Anyways, the premise of Intersection is to combine the experience of creativity, writing, and worship, hence the name intersection.  The musical guest was a gentleman by the name of Damien Ellison. He performed a few of his songs and shared a bit of his testimony.



Damien Ellison performing














Next, we had our live writing session which I admit was a little nerve-wracking. I hadn't written on the spot in awhile. The good thing was the session included inspiration from the founder, Caleb Deas, as he played the piano. We were supplied with paper, pens, and a clipboard. I was already prepared with my 'What I Wrote Today' journal from Pop Journals (shameless plug, lol).

My finished writings; check out my Pop Journal on the right, lol

So the writing began and I surprisingly composed two pieces. I shared the following over the mic:


Grace Unparalleled by Lequvia Ousley

In this beautiful space,
I thank You Lord for your amazing grace
A grace that has carried me through 33 years.
A grace that has wiped away bitter, angry tears and numerous fears.
Grace, a healthy balm from your endless love,
So infinite, so pure, a whispering wind from above.
I trust in Your sovereignty and peace.
I know you will sustain me with such patience and ease.
A faith that has been tested and tried.
With humility, I understand Lord why Your Son died.
He died and took my place.
Nothing can compare to Your amazing grace.

The second poem I wrote I just flowed with how I was feeling. It is called,

 'I Feel, I Must Pray' by Lequvia Ousley

I feel anxious and scattered like leaves falling to the ground.
Heart beating fast, thoughts racing, all I'm looking for is a peaceful sound.
A sound of hope, a sound of joy, a sound of OK.
Every time I settle down, I find it's harder to pray.
Pray, a mandate from my soul.
A mandate that never gets old.
God's word, staring me in the face.
My own self-doubt is what I choose to embrace.
False hope and promises seem to be everywhere: media, government, opinions, and everything in between.
My head hurts from what I see daily; it makes me want to scream.
A scream so loud that I can't speak.
A scream so loud that only God can free.
Jesus, I need thee
Oh, how I need thee
There's got to be another way.
Oh yeah, I forgot, I must pray.

After our writing session, we all proceeded to share and we had another performance from Damien which led us into an impromptu worship session. I loved the flow of the music and just the boldness of the individuals who expressed their hearts through song. So beautiful. The event was everything I imagined. Next month, Kingdom Writers is hosting their Afflatus (means, "a divine creative impulse or inspiration event"), a creative worship experience that is a little bit more upbeat. I'm looking forward to that event to close out the year. As I close I wanted to share another poem I wrote from a #WritersWednesday post Kingdom Writers does on every Wednesday. Basically, they share a random photo and the followers of the page write a poem or thoughts on the picture or whatever they are inspired by. Here's the mini-poem I wrote on June 20th which was inspired by a picture of a toy almost being stepped on by a shoe:

In my shaken anxiety, You are with me.
Casting my cares freely, You are leading me.
My joy, my peace in your sovereignty, so true,
I know that I can depend on You.
Jesus.


I'm so thankful I attended this event and that I allowed my creativity to flow. I know if I keep attending, I may have a book of poems, lol



See you in the next blog,



Lequvia Ousley



Saturday, April 14, 2018

I Am Heeled: High Heels and High Standards Retreat 2018



Happy Saturday, I just wanted to share my amazing experience at the first High Heels and High Standards 'I Am Heeled' Retreat 2018 in Atlanta led by founder Brittany Jay and her sis Curtisha.
Exactly one week ago, I had the most wonderful time spending a weekend away with my sisters in Christ at a beautiful lake house. It wasn't just the amazing view of the water, the sound of ducks, or the coziness of the house, but it was the instant connection, presence of God, and hunger to know more of God's Word that amazed me. As soon as I arrived on Friday, I instantly connected with Jakala who resides in SC. She and I helped set up a few hours before the ladies started arriving. As they arrived, the ladies were presented with candy-filled jars that included some HHHS souvenirs and a mini notebook we would later use for the sessions.


Some of the ladies I knew from previous bible studies and interactions while the others came from Missouri, Texas, South Carolina, and other parts of Atlanta. Our mutual friend Courtney also came but only for the Friday session. As we started to greet each other, we checked in our rooms, went outside to enjoy the view near the lake before the rain came, and then later we had an introductions/girl talk in the enclosed porch. That was our first girl talk, lol. As more ladies came, we had another session outside until dinner. After dinner, we proceeded with prayer, worship, and our first sessions with the ladies. There will be many scripture references and points so as you read please take note. Brittany and Curtisha tag teamed with the sessions "Desperate for God" and "What is the Gospel." They referenced the following verses which lays the foundation of pursuing God: James 4:8 (“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded” (NKJV), Matthew 22:37, Revelation 2:17 (also read Revelation 2:2-17) I learned from that session that we can't say we're desperate for God, if our hearts are not yielded to do the following: 

1. Repent
2. Pursue the Lord with everything in you. (2 Timothy 2:2)
3. Make Time for God
4. Read/Meditate on God's Word
5. Quiet Time
6. Fasting/Killing The Flesh Daily

Additional points were cutting off hindrances (Matt. 5: 29-30) and living by the spirit (Galatians 5:16-25). The enemy wants to kill our desire and fire for God. That's why godly relationships/friendships and having accountability is important (1 Cor. 15:33). We must guard our fire for God with the fiber of our every being. (John 10:10)

For the 'What is the Gospel' session, we read the following verses in regards to being women anchored in the Gospel:

Ephesians 2:3
Romans 1:16
John 3:3
Hebrews 4: 14-16
1 John 2:1
Romans 8

When something is anchored, it has a foundation. When we as women are anchored in the Gospel, we Hope in the Gospel, Look to the Gospel, Preach the Gospel, Live out the Gospel, Rest in the Gospel, and we Believe the Gospel. The Gospel is our Rock of Offense that brings forth power and transformation (Romans 5:8) Amen.  After our sessions, we ended with more girl talk and prayer. Brittany and Curtisha challenged all of us to write a short version of our testimony in the form of a rap, song, or poem and we would present it the following day as a fun game. Initially I was thinking, "how am I going to condense my long testimony into a poem?" Lol. As I prepared for bed, the idea came to me. I love acronyms so I decided to take the first letters of  my name and write a short poem. I instantly wrote it. I admit I slept, but I kept waking up in the middle of the night, mainly due to the excitement of the retreat and the sound of the ducks, lol.


On Saturday, we started our morning with prayer/worship on the lake; even though the weather was slightly gloomy, it didn't take away from our experience in God's presence. Even the ducks joined us, lol. So we just reverenced in prayer and read scriptures that we were led to read. I read one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 27, a scripture that I would often reference as a teenager whenever I felt alone and hopeless. It was a beautiful moment outside. Afterwards, we gathered inside for breakfast and later had another introduction/icebreaker session. We played this fun game called "Who Am I" where 5 of us had a sticky with a biblical character on our forehead and we would ask the other 5 ladies questions to see if we could guess who we were. For instance, a question would be, "Did I save my people?" "Am I in the Old Testament and the other person would say, "yes". The answers will give clues to our guesses. In that case, the person's name was "Esther". We also did one on pop culture and ourselves. I was able to guess for both games. It was so much fun. It's a game that can be played with any subject/theme such as math, history, English, etc. After our mini energizer, we jumped into our sessions and the Word. Brittany led the first session on 'Being healed from brokenness' starting with the scripture Mark 2:17 (Jesus being the great Physician). We also read John 4:1 (Woman at the Well), John 4:6-21, John 8, and Psalm 27:10. For those who were single, we all agreed that it is difficult living for God and you get questions from others about not having a husband or children and just the pressure to be married. We read through 1 Corinthians 7, specifically starting at verse 5 where Paul talks to the singles and widows. The following points were taken from that passage: 

1. Be honest in how you feel about singleness; it's not sinful to desire marriage. It is sinful when the desire of man/marriage is greater than your desire of God. This leads to us awakening love before it's time, referenced by the Song of Solomon.
2. God does not owe us a husband. Marriage is not a reward for serving God.
3. Leverage singleness to the glory of God.(Travel, disciple others, serve in your community, etc.) 
4. Guard your thoughts
5. Believe God's promises; we are whole in Christ.

That led to our mini breakout sessions (Single/Marriage/Parenting) with each other before our Health/Wellness session with Curtisha. Danielle, Ebony, and I were grouped together and we were just vulnerable and transparent about where we were in our walk. The prayers for each other was so encouraging and edifying. It was more than just our opinions about our discussion. We pointed each other back to the Word of God. 

After our mini sessions, we all came back together and we briefly shared from our sessions and Curtisha jumped right into her sessions on "Spiritual, Emotional, & Physical Well-Being" and "Breaking the Cycles of Deadly Lifestyle Habits" starting with scriptures, 1 Cor. 6:19 and Hosea 4:8. Curtisha cut us no slack as she challenged us to have a sense of urgency to wake up to the current health crisis. She went in depth as we answered the questions of 'why don't people eat healthy?' and why don't people exercise?' She informed us that many of the diseases we suffer from is due to increased intake of sugar (too much is equivalent to cocaine), high-processed foods, vaccines, pesticides, etc. She referenced the scripture Phil. 3:19 which talks about gluttony (being a slave to our bellies). The infamous saying, "you are what you eat" is so true because whatever you feed your flesh overtime will become a part of you and kill you; the same goes for your spirit; when you feed your spirit the wrong things, it becomes a part of you and over time will kill you spiritually. That's why it is so important to fast physically and spiritually. Fasting breaks food addictions and other spiritual addictions. Another point she brought up is how we as people make excuses for not eating healthy and exercising. The top three are 1. No Time, 2. It's boring, and 3. Microwave syndrome (fast and in a hurry). In the instance where the statement of "it's so expensive to eat healthy" is often said, Curtisha's rebuttal was, "either you pay now or pay later" which was so convicting, both spiritually and physically. If we can invest in our outer appearance, we can surely invest in our spiritual and physical well-being. We are no use to the Kingdom if we are not taking care of our temples. That's real. The benefits of exercise are as follows: 

1. Rids toxins in the body 
2. Tones body
3. Strengthens Immune System 
4. Strong Heart and Lungs
5. Improves Sleep.

 Some solutions to rid the excuse of not exercising: 
1. Educate yourself (Romans 12:1), 
2. Exercise to music you love 
3. Walk
4. Have accountability partners. 


Recap of session: 
1. Choose healthy foods
2.Drink Water 
3. Exercise
4. Manage Stress
5. Sleep


Because of the time and the way the Holy Spirit flowed in our sessions, we weren't able to do our freestyle poetry contest as planned (poem will be shared later in blog), so we all had a mini break and our Zumba session with Curtisha, who is a certified Zumba instructor with her own health/wellness company. I hadn't done Zumba in a long time and it was so much fun. The funniest part was everyone thinking the warm-up was the workout. Hilarious. The amazing thing about Zumba is you get a full body workout without doing strenuous exercises and it's fun. Afterwards we had a late lunch and just rested for awhile until our outing in downtown Atlanta.While some of the ladies were asleep, I went into the living room and listened as Ms. Beverly, Brittany and Curtisha's mom shared with us her testimony of how God restored and healed her after divorce. Such a blessing to hear. Hours later, we all got dressed and beautiful, took pictures and headed out into the city. It was rainy and cold, but it didn't stop the fun especially for the ones who were visiting. We wanted everyone to have a wonderful time and that we did at a fun karaoke spot in downtown Atlanta. I'm glad we were able to have that balance of fun and fellowship throughout the retreat. As we ended our night, we said goodbye to one of our sisters who had an early flight in the morning and prepared ourselves for our last session on Sunday. As usual we were still up resonating about the moments of the day, but we all went to sleep and woke up the next day for our final session/departure. We began the day with breakfast and prayer. Curtisha led the last session entitled, "Being Ready for the Master's Use." She referenced 2 Timothy 2:19, a topic she touched on during our Tampa fellowship a few weeks ago. She stressed to us that the Lord is looking for those who are dependable and honorable, people that he can use for the advancement of the Kingdom. The Lord can't use us if we're constantly distracted, engaging in sin with no repentance and no willingness to live upright. Our foundation must be in God and Him alone through: 

1. Staying Prepared
2. Being Imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1-2)
3. Living a pleasing and obedient life for God (Acts 5: 25-29 and Daniel 1:8)
4. Needing Holy Spirit power to be effective. (Acts 1:6-8, Acts 2:17, Acts 4:8-13, Acts 6:8-10)
5. Reminding ourselves that God cannot be put in a box. (2 Chronicles 4-19

After our session, we all shared our thoughts on the retreat and how it blessed us. Some of the sisters traveled back home and the remainder of us headed downtown for another outing at the Atlanta Fair (first fair and funnel cake in years, lol) 



 I think we all agreed that the retreat was a different atmosphere we needed compared to what we had experienced in the past with other conferences and retreats. Not only did I leave with more sisters and accountability, I left with more information to help me out daily. We were all given folders that included recommended resources, preachers, and books as well as important biblical terms, the breakdown of the Gospel, and the spiritual test, a list of questions that challenges us to examine our hearts daily (2 Cor. 13:5). 





Overall, I'm so thankful that I was able to share in those moments with the ladies. An answered prayer from many years ago. As I close, here is the testimony poem I wrote:


LEQUVIA, From Reject to Redeemed

Lost in rejection and other's opinions
Expecting love from other people, nothing genuine
Questioning God's existence and looking for peace
Until one day, He answered
Victory through Christ Jesus
Ignited and set me free
Ashes of my former self released, I've been redeemed.

Thank you God. Because you love me, a new creature in Christ is all I can be.


Check out the retreat recap video below and be sure to check out http://highheelsandhighstandards.com/ for more resources and updates. I'm looking forward to the next retreat.




I encourage you all who read this to continue to pray and seek God in everything and to never give up, no matter how hard it gets. The Holy Spirit is here to help and guide us. May we all be transformed by the power of Jesus Christ's redemptive love. Amen.




God bless,



Lequvia Ousley














Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mini Spring Break 2018: High Heels and High Standards Tampa fellowship





It is Thursday and I've finally sat down to write about my mini Spring break trip this past weekend. This post is actually my first blog for 2018 and my recent trip was the first trip to Florida in 6 years. Yes I said it......6 years. My last trip to Florida was in Orlando in 2012. I spent a whole week with a college friend and her family and I also visited with my uncle and grandfather (he passed in June of 2014). That trip back then was my first real vacation and so was this one. I didn't realize I worked so much, but this year I am intentionally getting back to taking care of myself and smelling the roses or should I say placing my feet in sand. I got a chance to visit a city I had only visited about 15 years ago when I was a senior in high school. It was our senior trip and outside of the usual theme parks in Orlando, we traveled to Tampa for Busch gardens. This time I got to see downtown Tampa and Spring Hill, city an hour away from Tampa. This trip was not only a mini vacation for me, it was a weekend of fellowship with some sisters from High Heels and High Standards, a women's ministry centered on encouraging women to grow in sound doctrine, discipleship, and exalting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, founded by my sis in Christ and fellow Albany State alum, Brittany Jay. Brittany Jay and I connected online in 2014 after I read her testimony of how Christ saved her in 2012. A year later we connected in person at one of her many bible studies. It was a breath of fresh air to hear the Gospel preached in its proper context and to be among women who were seeking truth and desiring to live for God. Later on I connected with Brittany's older sister, Curtisha who is just as on fire for God as Brittany.  Curtisha is an advocate for health and wellness, amazing mother and wife, and teacher of the Word. I was blessed to meet her and her husband Rob during their brief stay in Atlanta last year. This weekend they showed me hospitality as I came down for the High Heels and High Standards Tampa meet up hosted by Curtisha. Although I didn't have to come down due to the upcoming women's retreat in April, my spirit needed to get away for awhile even if it was for a day and half. So I pressed my way to Florida on Thursday night, arriving Friday morning. As I was greeted by Curtisha, we spent the day catching up and later on in the evening she invited me to Pine Island Park, a beautiful beach near her home. It was my first time going to a Florida beach. The only beach I ever visited was Hilton Head Island in 2010 and a smaller beach in Pine Lake, GA near an area I previously lived in. Pine Island Park is very secluded and tucked away from the typical tourism you would expect in other parts of Florida. The drive there was so beautiful, a pathway of greenery as you get closer to the beach. Upon my arrival, I was intrigued by the colorful sunset and musical sound of birds. I finally had a moment to put my feet in sand and water, while being present in the moment. I ended the evening with great conversation with the fam. Saturday was the day for the High Heels and High Standards fellowship. Before we left for the fellowship, Curtisha gave me a Christian fiction novel to read called "Redeeming Love" by Francis Rivers. She knows I'm a reader and have been introduced to Christian fiction through a novel I purchased many years ago and through a mutual friend of ours MiMi Atkins who wrote '3627' (check out my review here). I've started to read it and am looking forward to seeing the power of redemption throughout the story lines. As we made our way outside, Curtisha and I took some amazing photos courtesy of her husband Rob who is very talented at photography.

Very unexpected, but I loved the idea of an impromptu photo shoot during my visit. From there, Curtisha and I headed to Jackson's Bistro Bar and Sushi in downtown Tampa. It was also St. Patrick's Day so we saw many people visiting for the parade. The view from the restaurant was very nice and the weather was just perfect, not too hot with a cool breeze. My meal for the day was the shrimp and chicken linguine which was so delicious.


Outside of the meal and the scenery, I met one of our sisters, Bev who also lives in Tampa. We also had an encouraging Word from Curtisha through the scripture, 2 Tim. 2:20-21, "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work." This was timely as I was thinking of my focus for this year and beyond through the scripture, 2 Timothy 2:15 which says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." In order for me to be used by God, I have to know God's Word, live God's Word and allow myself to be cleansed and purified by His Word and prayer. The scripture shared by Curtisha reminded me to strive to be like fine china, refined, sturdy, and durable and not a paper plate that is disposable, easily tattered, and worn down. Only God's Word can cleanse us and make us new with the desire to be used by Him in the earth. Lord help us not to be paper plates. As we ended our luncheon, we all took a few pictures outside and parted ways. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and will definitely be back to visit again. Next up, the Atlanta High Heels and High Standards retreat in April. A London retreat will be coming soon in June as well.





If you are a woman in need of prayer, encouragement, accountability, and desire sound doctrine, I encourage you to check out the following links for High Heels and High Standards:

Website: http://highheelsandhighstandards.com/
Brittany Jay's blog: http://brittmjay.blogspot.com/
Email: Highheelsstandards@gmail.com
Facebook Group: Facebook.com/Highheelsandhighstandards



In His presence,



Lequvia Ousley



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book Review: 3627 by MiMi Q. Atkins

This past Resurrection weekend, I finally finished a great read from author MiMi Q. Atkins. Check out my review of her first fiction Christian romance, '3627':
Faith, Hope, and Love intertwine two souls from two different worlds.
My copy of '3627'

Before reading 3627, I hadn't picked up a Christian novel or any other genre of fiction in a long time. I only had one other Christian romance novel (purchased in 2007) in my collection which I still haven't finished to this day. After that, I became more engrossed in non-fiction inspirational/self-help books. Thanks to 3627, my desire to read fiction books again has resurfaced. The story of Rumor and Holden has touched my heart in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time since, "A Walk To Remember" (one of my favorite movies as a teenager). There were moments in the story where I would see myself in Rumor and Holden, while at times feeling convicted. No other book has challenged me or brought me to a place of conviction and repentance the way that 3627 has done. At every turn of each page, I could tell that the author was led by the Holy Spirit with each word. Oh, and the details!! As an avid reader and writer, I am very detail-oriented and love stories that are written the same. I am still in awe of the details in 3627 and how they were so intricately written. I could literally picture the places and the characters as if I was right there with them. I witnessed hope, faith, and love between two people from two different worlds with a commonality, brokenness. Through their story, I felt hope again. A hope that there is a God-fearing gentleman out there for me that will love me past my flaws and I will love him the same and we will both continue to bring each other closer to Christ every day. Most importantly, 3627 reminded me that the Lord gives me hope and promises me that through His love and my faith in Him, I am whole. I wish I could say more, but you will have to read it yourself to enjoy this beautiful, timeless treasure that is 3627. May you all be blessed by this book. I know I was.  Thank you, MiMi; I'm looking forward to your next masterpiece!😄 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Journal of Lena Oliver (My Tribute to Dr. King)

Every year that it is Dr. King's birthday (January 15, 1929) and we celebrate MLK Day (2nd Monday in January), I love to reminisce on his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.

The following fictional story was written on March 11, 2004 as an assignment for English 1101(Ms. Murphy's class-Darton College) It is based on Dr. King's march on Washington. I've noticed that since high school, I've always loved writing about Dr. King's life and work. I hope everyone enjoys this story:


The Journal of Lena Oliver by Lequvia Ousley



November 8, 2003



It is a rainy, gloomy Saturday afternoon and as usual I don't have anything to do. I remember as a child spending Saturdays with my grandmother, I affectionately called Mama Pearl. Mama Pearl always knew how to chase the boredom way. She would gather my sister, Lois, my brother Lionel, and I in the kitchen, bake cookies then let us eat all of them until we couldn't eat anymore. Sometimes when the day was good and sunny, Mama Pearl would take us shopping. We would go to the antique stores and the nickel-and-dime stores of her youth and she would share a story with us. I saw that each store held some kind of sentimental memory for her. Her stories whether true or imaginative, were my favorite memories as a child.

"Lena, Lois, Lionel, come here. I want to show you something!" Mama Pearl exclaimed. "What is it, Mama Pearl?" I said. I found my scrapbook," she said. All of us gathered in the living room and began to look through the scrapbook. It contained several photos of a young, vibrant, carefree, Mama Pearl. "Mama Pearl, would you tell us another story?" my brother asked. "Of course, Lionel I will tell you a story." Storytelling is my specialty," she said. "Did I ever tell all of you about my trip to Washington, DC?" she asked. "No, Mama Pearl you did not tell us that story. " Could you please tell us?" Lois asked. "Yes, I will tell you the story."

The year was 1963 and I was twenty years old, working part-time as a waitress at a local diner in Chicago. During this time, blacks didn't receive the same treatment as whites. Blacks were beaten, harassed and unemployment was at an ultimate high. I just felt blessed to have a job. There was a light through that dark tunnel though, the civil rights movement. It was the one catalyst that helped not just the blacks, but all people."


"I heard about the march from my friend, Charles. He said, "Pearl, participating in this event could be the one thing you will never stop telling your grandchildren about. Needless to say, he was right because here I am telling each of you about it." "What happened next?" I asked. "Well of course, I didn't refuse. Besides, I would have the best of both worlds, a reunion with an old friend and a chance to show my political side."

Weeks before the march, Charles and I reserved our seats on the "freedom" bus, as it was called, which would take us directly from Chicago to Washington,D.C. We also made protesting signs. My sign read, "Fight Discrimination for Integration!" We were so excited.

"When we finally arrived at the march, we departed the bus, grabbed our signs, and headed into the crowd. I could not believe there were so many people. It had to be at least 400,000 people. Whether black, white, old, or young, everyone was there. The scene was beautiful. Throughout the march, people chanted, "Pass the bill!" "Pass the bill!" One of the important reasons for organizing the march was to pass a series of bills, one being the Civil Rights Act. When some people talk about the march, they discuss the serious aspect of the event. The march was not just a serious event; it had its entertaining moments as well. I saw performances from Josh White, Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan, and the famous trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary. The performances were spectacular.

As the day went on, more people arrived. What impressed me the most was that there was no violence. With so many people, anything could have happened. The highlight of the day was Dr. King's famous, "I Have a Dream" speech. At this point, I'm thinking, "I can't believe I'm here, a part of such an inspirational and influential event. My favorite part of the speech was when Dr. King said,"....all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants, will all be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last; free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" Dr. King's speech was the true essence of the march. "

"Mama Pearl that was a great, story," said Lois. "I'm glad you liked it, "Mama Pearl said. "Let's go into the kitchen and make some cookies!"

As I sit here reminiscing about my grandmother and one of her many inspiring adventures, the feeling of boredom has gone away. Now that Mama Pearl is gone I can always feel her presence from all the memories we shared together. Like Dr. King and so many other pioneers of the past, my grandmother's legacy will live on and be told forever.