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Queens, I've realized that I've done a lot of telling over the last three months, but I haven't done a lot of showing. So, while we are all working on our Summer Goals and getting our life in order, I am going to give you snippets of my story, reasons why I am bold, blessed, beautiful, and already a success. Just like with my upcoming book, I will be sharing these stories not to brag or to talk ill of anyone who was in my life in the past, but to inspire and motivate you to keep going and keep reaching for your goals.

Today, we're talking that second B of Phorbe: Blessed. I'd like to share an example of how God was blessing my life, even before I had committed to getting to know him. Let me take you back to Summer 2015. It was June to be exact and I had just lived out the most terrifying week of my life.  Which was crazy, because I had just graduated from Chapman University the weekend before.

Haha yeah, I just graduated from college.

Why so terrible you ask? Well, while graduating from college was a tremendous accomplishment,  it also meant that I had just 6 days to move out of the house Chapman admin had let us stay in.  Yes, you read that right. While I was fighting for guardianship of my younger brother LeLand, the Associate Dean of Students negotiated for me to be able to stay in a university house, at that time only reserved for university staff, that was right off of campus. It was a great house where LeLand and I both had our own rooms, we had a back yard, and even a laundry room.

The only photo we took of our cute little house. This was the day we received our guardianship papers in the mail.

The catch was, just as with normal student housing, I had to check out of the house mere days after the semester was over. While I knew this and understood full well what that meant, I didn't have much time to focus on that. I was in the middle of writing my Communication studies thesis, studying for finals so that I could graduate, planning Chapman's 1st Annual Black Graduation for BSU, looking for a job, and somehow taking care of LeLand. I was so caught up that I kept putting off looking for a place to stay until the day after graduation when when all my work was turned in, I had walked across both the regular commencement stage and the Black Graduation stage, and was now looking at just six days to find a place for LeLand and I to go.

Basically, I had put LeLand and I in the same situation my mom has put us in a hundred times over.  We had no where to go and all Leland kept telling me was that he didn't want to go back to a shelter or hotel. I COULDN'T let him down.

So, as with every obstacle I faced, I gave my myself a moment to feel all the feels, then I created a mental plan of how to attack the problem. Remind you, I graduated on Sunday.

Here's the timeline of how god saw me through this situation:

Monday, I started looking for apartments and organizations that could assist me with a deposit and first month's rent.

Tuesday, I was given a list of low income housing in Fullerton.  I started calling the places on the list. Each time, I was told that there was a 3 month to 5 year waiting list.I almost gave up, but one more call led me to a place that had just disbanded their waiting list. That same day, I found a program called SPIN that is funded by United Way.

Wednesday,  Leland and I went to go see the apartment I had found and apply. I didn't have the $50 application fee, but my mentor Lisa stepped in and put her card on file for us so that we can turn in our application. That day I also turned in my application for SPIN.

Thursday,  I met with SPIN aka Serving People In Need. SPIN is a program for families who are facing homelessness. They both aid you in finding housing by providing you with a deposit and first month's rent and they empower you by gradually paying less and less of your rent each month over a period of six months while teaching you how to budget your money and providing your family with other resources to help you survive and thrive. They accepted our application and I relaxed knowing we would have rent paid and plenty of food for the next six months.

Friday,  I found out we were approved for the apartment. However, it was going to take a couple of days for the apartment to be ready. So, I had to ask Chapman for an extension in our house and thankfully, they granted that extension.

The following Wednesday, we signed the lease for our apartment, received our keys and moved in. Moving was a daunting task. I had no way to get all of our stuff the 10 or so miles to our new home. I posted in a Chapman alumni group on Facebook asking for help and a fellow graduate offered to drive us back and forth and even helped LeLand carry the heavier items up to our second story apartment.

LeLand and I, all smiles after moving in to our new home.

It was the most stressful week of my life, but with the grace of God and the support of my angels we made it through. I spent the rest of the week exploring our new neighborhood with LeLand. We soaked in our jacuzzi and walked around taking photos and being happy in our new surroundings.

Chilling in the Jacuzzi with my best friends Jack Canfield and Mt. Dew!

But the blessings don't stop there. The next week, I had my first meeting with SPIN where I met a woman named Sharon. Sharon would be my account manager. I would meet with her once a month and go over my budget and she would provide me resources whenever necessary. Most account managers for programs like this (I remind you that growing up homeless, I came in contact with a lot of them) are mean, insensitive, or just in the wrong profession all together. But Sharon, was different, she was one of the nicest and pure-hearted people I had ever met. She went to bat for LeLand and I and blessed us so much that I just couldn't let her down. For the next six months, I was to report to her at least once a month and provide receipts to prove I was staying on my budget and proof that I was searching for a job.

During our first meeting, Sharon informed me that SPIN's housing grant was coming to an end and they needed to make sure that they had spent all of the money they were given, so instead of gradually paying less and less of our rent each month, they were just going to pay our rent in full in order to use up the grant.

Over the next six months Sharon would introduce me to a financial advisor who helped me set and keep to a realistic budget for myself, a career coach who helped me write a bomb resume that ended up helping me land my first job out of college, a family therapist for LeLand and I to see each week to work through the issues of going from brother and sister to guardian and guardianee, and a math tutor to help LeLand with his math.

Sharon took LeLand and I on two Costco shopping sprees where we were allowed to go crazy and spend $500 to stock our apartment with food. Never in our lives had LeLand and I's kitchen been so full. Sharon, gave us pots and pans to cook with and helped us get a refrigerator and bedroom furniture for our new apartment.

Our kitchen had never been so full before!

She even nominated LeLand and I as FedEx Christmas Family. This meant that FedEx would sponsor LeLand and I for Christmas. We both wrote a list of what we wanted, sent to Sharon and Sharon delivered everything on our list, wrapped up with bows just days before Christmas.

Our first Christmas in our new apartment was lit thanks to Sharon.

When our six months with Spin was finally up, not only was I able to continue making our rent payments on my own, but I was excited and no longer terrified to be out in the real world. Sharon had give me that confidence and hope that I could make it. LeLand and I have been thriving ever since.

You see, if you let him, God will show up and show out for you. All you have to do is let him into your heart and he will do the unthinkable, the unspeakable, the unbelievable to make sure that you are safe, happy, and taken care of.

Our wittle family!

This post is dedicated to Sharon. Sharon was also a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sister and I was just informed that she unfortunately passed away last month. For all that you've done for me, for your littles, and for countless other families in Orange County,THANK YOU SHARON! We love you. Rest in Power!

Sharon with one of her littles.

It's a beautiful day to conquer the world, so go forth, be blessed, and slay!

-Queen Maree



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