Photos by Brendon Pinola via StyleBlueprint Birmingham

Writing Prompt: Write about the five things you know for sure. Here are mine:

1. God is Love and Love is Life. When it comes to faith, I have more questions than answers. Though I identify as Christian because I love Jesus, organized religion confuses me to no end. It always has. It probably always will. But I am sure that God is Love and Love is Life. My life should center on loving others and loving myself. I believe this is how we worship. This is why I consider my marriage a ministry and my feminism a divine calling. When I serve my husband, when I join hands with the women of my tribe to help them make their dreams come true, these are holy acts. When I share pillow talk with my husband, when my friends and I share secrets over a bottle wine (or two), this is communion.

2. What God has for me is for me. Last year my husband and I set out to purchase our first house. As offer after offer was turned down we got discouraged. The rejection was heartbreaking. It felt like getting dumped again and again. But eventually an offer was accepted on a house that was more spacious, less expensive, and closer to our jobs than any of the other houses. It was after this that I truly began to believe the saying “What God has for me is for me.” And I have started to apply it to every facet of my life. And therefore I no longer believe in competition. This attitude will work wonders for your relationships with other women. You will no longer see other women as competition in business or anything. As one of my favorite quotes says, you will see them as your tribe, your sisters, your fellow goddesses. And you will treat them as such.

3. A woman’s words can change the world. This belief defines my life’s work. This is why I’m an English teacher at a predominantly female school. This is why I founded See Jane Write, a Birmingham-based membership organization for women who write and blog. This is why I write. This is why I blog. This is also why I am careful of every word I speak to my husband, to my students, and to my friends. My words have the power to tear down or build up and so do yours. Will you use your superpower for evil or for good?

4. She who learns teaches. This Ethiopian proverb is my mantra. I am a teacher, but not just in my classroom. I teach through See Jane Write. I teach through this blog. I teach through the column I write for a local magazine. I teach through my every action and my every word. I teach because so many have taught me and it is my duty to keep this virtuous cycle going.

5. Self-care is a feminist act. All work and no play makes me a very boring babe, and oftentimes a very sick one, too. I used to pride myself on working all the time. Javacia “No Days Off” Bowser, I once called myself. But that got old and so did I, or at least too old to keep up at such a pace. Now I have lazy days at least every other week, days during which I do nothing but watch reruns of Law & Order or NCIS (I told you I was old), and I get a massage every month. Self-care is not selfish. In a world where women are expected to take care of everyone except themselves, self-care is a feminist act. And self-care is not selfish because we can’t take care of others if we have nothing left inside to give. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

What 5 things do you know for sure? 

This post was inspired by the series 5 Things I Know for Sure created by Ashley Coleman of the blog Write Laugh Dream and originally published at