The Journey Here

Greetings,

I hope this blog is a refreshing and resourceful place for you, sweet sister. Guys are welcome here too. We are made differently yet loved equally, so you being here is a blessing too.

The journey here

It was a big challenge at the time, but I was called to get purposefully quiet and start this blog in March 2013. For a while it had an audience of 1. Since then, it has reached readers in 100 countries and is one of the leading Caribbean lifestyle blogs and websites to follow by FeedSpot. I’m thankful for the growth…but try not to get swayed either by compliments or criticism ‘ cause life comes with both and they can interchange unpredictably like the wind.

You ever realized life can become a blur instead of a journey sometimes if we’re not conscious about it? Well, ‘free spirit’ and “nature girl’ were words I heard a lot until the speed of life changed awhile back for a lil bit and one day it was clear the pace wasn’t healthy. When you love what you do it can be hard to press pause for a cause, but if your quality and pace of life comprise your essence, health or joy and stop you from serving well, well…that’s something else.

So life went from spending a lot of time on the road, on planes, in vocal booths, coaching and tour-guiding to living on a farm in St. John, Barbados songwriting, gardening, cooking, hiking, freelancing in libraries, recording in my home studio, cooking, growing my faith and launching this blog.

During that time, I volunteered on Upright Farm growing food with The Sojourner Foundation team for a year. It was refreshing, peaceful, muscle-building, educational and therapeutic, after the high pace and volume I had started to get accustomed to…and it reminded me of how the most High intentionally designed me to be. It harmonized with those days -those years that melted into each other…at Bayleys & Blue Wave Studios with music mentor and longtime friend, Eddy Grant, recording, picking coconuts and cane, filming interviews, listening to endless reasonings in the gazebo with ones from all walks of life and lands, bringing juice or water for guests and carrying across food for Eddy lovingly and faithfully made by his cherished wife – giving tours of the estate and studio to school children and visitors, feeding the cats and dogs after answering phones for Mrs. G who quietly does plenty, making music fluently and documenting the journey yet making room…to live…enjoy what money can’t buy…and just be…

The lessons from that time plus the reminder from the season as a volunteer farmer and years living in the countryside remain and shaped healthier habits, more understanding, better endurance, a fresh sense of purpose and a more thankful heart that’s still being refined. Saving up for recording gear freed up so many hours spent on the road going from one studio to the next and that one decision (and move) to work at home seemed to ‘multiply’ time that made room to take care of the home and garden, ride the tides of songwriting and work on projects without a frantic countdown. Our lives may look very different – no comparison – hopefully inspiration to remember your beautiful design.

“Don’t lose your faith

Or let dem jump over the wall or the gate of thy mind

Don’t you lose hope

As challenges they come and go

Daily we pray for the wisdom, courage and strength to endure 

One’s thing’s for sure 

Most High reign forever more…” – SHINE ON YOU

Beautiful views along nature walks

How busy is your life, and how loud is your space?
Before this stay-home season, were you always on-the-go, and was the tv, radio, a podcast episode or playlist always on rotation?
Not a quiz; just a gentle prompt asked by a former hot-footer. Your answers to those questions aren’t my business but your health is my concern.
Sometimes it seems like we in the west are competing to see who is more busy. Being productive is healthy and there are times when you gotta pump the gas pedal to get moving and gain momentum, but being overwhelmed with work can affect our quality of liferead post
Have you ever had a moment or walked through a season when you knew what you were called to do – a time when you understood how you serve best, shine brightest and live lightest?
What’s your beautiful design?
What are some activities that harmonize with whom you’re made to be? Not necessarily who you aspire to be (because that can change with seasons) but who you’re uniquely moulded to be. They don’t have to be glamorous or high-volume at all. In fact, they’re more likely to be things you can do without feeling the need to idly check your phone, look at the time constantly or measure its value by money.
Is there purpose in the pace you’ve set? Read post
Read full post here
When’s the last time you went on a slow nature walk, where you weren’t pressed to rush back home, meet anyone or do anything else right after? 
Nature walks – especially ones lasting at least an hour, can be so therapeutic; nourishing to the soul and our state of mind.
You don’t need to save up to do it, and the benefits outweigh the small effort it takes to put on a pair or sandals or trainers.
Stress is a real threat, so being proactive about our wellness and state of mind is essential…read post
Read post here
Read post here
Recently, I had the chance to visit Kew Gardens, home to the largest temperate greenhouse in the world – located in London. After a few peaceful yet stimulating hours of strolling through beautiful gardens, walking amidst huge and textured trees, birdwatching by a pond, visiting the Marianne North art exhibition, taking pics during purposeful pauses, and having a look in the garden store, we had only explored a little under one third of the 330 acres that makes up Kew Gardens…read post
Recently, I saw someone’s comment on social media about ‘when fresh air was free.’ Fresh air is still free, and in these times when freedom of choice is suddenly up for debate while rights are selectively being granted to others, every opportunity to breathe clean air, stretch your legs and enjoy scenery or go for a nature walk or country drive is something to be thankful for. On that note, today’s post is a photo tour of a short trip to Wales – with views from the cliff above Pobbles Beach to be exact…read post
Early mornings, hot drinks, nature walks and time in creation. Those things might sound simple enough but they can still jumpstart a heart, usher in a smile and lead to beautiful surprises along the way. In today’s post, we’re walking through a forest in another country.
Did you know that the quality of the air in a forest can help build the immune system? From the enhanced and purified quality of the oxygen we’re breathing in while walking, to the distinct visuals and aromas in the woods, it’s like a complete calibration – a refreshing reset. Our eyes get a rest from screen time and olfactory systems take in fragrances that uplift our mood and relieve any residue stress…read post
Today I’m inviting you for a virtual forest visit with pics sharing:
homecooking moments
forest flower bouquets
a quad bike ride
target practice
nature walks
all in a forest in east Germany where I’ve been visiting friends…read post
Read post here
Read post here
She hated my guts, at that point in time. With the receiver still perched in her hand, the woman who thought I wanted her job eeked out the exact words I’d just said to another caller,
You’re welcome. Hope you have a bright rest of the day,” and hung up with a cold smirk. Though each revised word seemed sweet enough, she was glaring across the office at me with a sour look the whole time.
Has anyone ever borrowed an aspect of your personality they otherwise react negatively to when no-one else is around?
Abrasive: showing little concern for the feelings of others; harsh.
Gentle: having or showing a mild, kind, or tender temperament or character…read post
Hi sis, how are you today? The answer isn’t really my business but i still care. By the way, guys who are subscribed to this blog and reading now, y’all are always welcome here. No offense intended when you see ‘sis’ ok?
All of us have been through something – a challenge, encounter or storm of some kind and measure. Coming out of that season can cause us to tip-toe our way around certain people and similar environments, become defensive, turn into workaholic fanatics, pump up the volume on our introvert nature, develop unhealthy habits or worse yet – plant a seed of bitterness (which we don’t want to encourage at all.) Overcoming tough times can also help refine our character, build a stronger sense of patience, cultivate compassion, apply new healthy boundaries, strengthen faith and usher us into a life of prayer. Some rough seasons end with a near-instant breakthrough to brilliance while growing beyond others is a journey made up of a series of steps…read post
So, sometime ago i shaved off one side of my hair. i thought i’d give this ‘artist-look’ to kick it up a notch…and so, i shaved half of my hair (then in locs) off.
But check it – years and care after, without any conscious effort, both sides of my curls are even. Sweet sis, what have you lost? What’s been stolen from you?
Listen up. You can get it all back. Everything you lost can be restored – an’ get dis – like it was never lost in the first place! read post
He was sitting on a broken chair in the middle of a roundabout on the outskirts of town.
i walked over, handed him something and said, “God loves you” before crossing over to head to pay a bill. He looked at me surprised as said – kinda harsh in a way, “KNOW!” Instead of responding piggily, i smiled..then thought about it. He sounded surprised – probably because i’d assumed he didn’t think or know so – but why? – cause he was sitting on a brek-up chair doing seemingly nothing in town? – cause his clothes were raggedy? – cause he was homeless?
That convicted me, but also made me joyful for him. He knew God cares about him. And so, the day went on. The next morning, the same man was on the front cover of the online local paper. He’d been given (get this) – A HOUSE! A house y’all! Yeah, i saw him sitting on the broken chair one time since then, but the point – the lesson (for me too) was and still is – sometimes you have to declare a thing to see a thing…read post
She was standing there at the crossroads by a traffic light in town a few years ago – looking beautiful and all dolled-up.
Waved, smiled and was gonna pass by since my mingling-days have been left behind (lovin’ it.) Then recognized something like sadness in her perfectly-lined eyes.S topped to speak for a bit. She opened up and said she was on her way home to take pills and say goodbye to everything. A mother of many…broken by disappointment from…read post
Today, some brief but pressing thoughts interrupted my day like flashcards begging to be sewed together as a blog post. So, here it is.
You know how I keep sharing reminders that you are meant for more than your career? I say that not to be poetic, but to gently nudge all of us out of the tendency to define ourselves and our worth by what we do, know, or have. Putting up appearances is essentially acting, but even pro actors have work hours and off days…read post
There isn’t a woman I know who doesn’t have a journey of bright highlights and heartbreaking challenges, beautiful smiles and oceans of tears, bestie memories and betrayal let-downs, wonderful surprises and painful trials, confidence-injections and insecurity battles, celebration moments and passing storms, things to look forward to, things to breathe past and things long gone.
Whether we’re friends, polite acquaintances, former amigas, barely on waving terms or otherwise…whether your bank account is temporarily bald, pockets are packed or wall is stacked with awards…whatever your skin-tone, accent, native language, social status, ambitions or address…
We’re all works in progress…read post
Quiet moments are becoming more rare and valuable in an ever-growing noisier-by-the-minute world where news is blaring, playlists are pumping, IG stories are baton-passing, gadgets are always going, and phones pinging in stereo. 

Being comfortable in purposeful moments of quiet can overflow graciously into areas of life where others may lean more towards restlessness. Proactivity is important but patience is still a beautiful fruit. What compels you to ‘be still’ while taking in something? Read post
The world is noisy. If it isn’t the news, it’s notifications or people voicing opinions and asking interview-style questions left, right and center. It’s not that it bothers me; more like it unappealing and can be more than a little unnerving – the noise of it all.
It’s not that I don’t have thoughts or express them (there’s this blog and 100+ songs after all)…it’s that words matter and using a filter brings the best results. We’re also extremely prone to having and harbouring negative, ungrateful thoughts so refreshing the mind is a daily thing. Also, if you’ve ever been around anyone who says every single thing that comes to mind regardless of what temperature, flavour or volume their mind, mood or mouth is set to or what time of day it is, you know just how valuable guarding your mind and checking your heart posture is. Read post

Encouragement from Guest Writers. We are made in plural for a reason; to love, encourage and kindly correct one another.

Thanks for coming by and reading today’s post. Your visit to itsjoywithin.com means a lot. In this 9-year journey of blogging, there have been over 300 articles with online writing steps, work at home tips, creative career talks, recipes, encouragement and multimedia refreshment content. Joyful Life | On Purpose is listed on the ‘Top 45 Caribbean Lifestyle Blogs & Websites To Follow‘ by FeedSpot (for two years now) and is a labour of love. There is no behind the scenes interference, secret billionaire shareholders or message influencers so the posts that reach you are shared with love using whatever resources and access I have. If you’re inspired to support this blog whether with a $1. today or more monthly, the PayPal email address is itsjoywithin@gmail.com – thanks very much and hope to see you in the next post.