Christle & Gold

life

Cheers to September 2017

lifeChristle NworaComment

It is difficult to celebrate August when the month ended in such chaos (hello hurricane harvey). I drove to Dallas early Friday morning, not in anticipation of bad weather, but as a last minute opportunity to visit family before the holidays. Hours later, rain and wind devoured the city I've grown to love. Photos filled every timeline and videos captured every moment. I watched friends back in Houston grapple with the destructive force of nature. 

I also watched friends back in Houston selflessly give of their time, energy and effort to help those in need. Seeing my classmates volunteering at local emergency departments and church members leading cleanups reminds me that goodness is real and sweet. My heart is heavy, but my spirit is light. I am so encouraged to lean into this month and help where I can. 

And it is on that note that I find comfort in setting my intentions for the month of September. I'm shying away from more specific goals this month and moving towards affirmations. I want to focus on cultivating a life well lived vs well planned!

Affirmation 1: It is not easy, but I am able. 
Affirmation 2: Work for it while you wait for it.
Affirmation 3: Invest your time in people, places, and spaces that are invested in your growth. 

I created the above phone screensavers to keep my affirmations on my mind all the time - visibility does the heart good. 

just do it.

lifeChristle NworaComment
sarah-dorweiler-127187.jpg

This is by far one of the most challenging posts I have ever written. Not because of length (you'll see it is quite short). Not because of lack of inspiration (I've thought about this space more days than not). 

This is by far one of the most challenging posts to write because it means that I intentionally have to carve out time for self reflection and be bold enough to share. That's tough. It is tough to come back to a space that has given me the space to share and reflect honestly. 

I'm tempted to create a goal that requires I post 2x a week or create a content calendar. I'll resist that urge and instead just write without reservation. To write. To create. To invest time in my growth. 

Hopefully that means I'll be around here a lot more! 

Gold Mine | Cape Town

lifeChristle NworaComment

This has been quite the year. From participating in a civil rights briefing, accepting a medical school offer, and graduating from the University of Texas at Austin - I can confidently say that 2016 has been filled to the brim with blessings and joys. To add even more sweetness to my life, I wrote half of this post from the comfort in my bed in Cape Town, South AfricaI'm resisting the urge to post every new moment online, but I didn't want to leave this experience without some documentation. So in my grand and never regularly scheduled tradition of blog posts, I present my golden moments from my trip!

Tourist Stops
+ Bo - Kaap and De Waterkant
+ Boulder's Beach
+ Cape of Good Hope
+ Cape Peninsula
+ Company's Garden
+ Constantia Wine Route
+ Langa Township
+ Lion's Head
+ Old Biscuit Mill and Woodstock
+ Robben Island    
+ Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
+ University of Cape Town
+ Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

Savored.
+ The V&A Waterfront is an upscale shopping and dining area with a few major attractions. It is also home to a tavern with the best 2L of sangria (which I finished with little help from my friends). 
+ I had a decent amount of beef which is unusual because I'm a fish and chicken girl. But I had some of the best gourmet burgers for such a good price that makes Hopdoddy's look like a glorified fast food joint. 
+ I'm not wildly adventurous with my food, but I tried crocodile and new seafood at Mama Africa. If you go, get the chicken curry and thank me with a take away box. 
+ Mzoli's is home to some of the best braai (bbq) around. Meat on meat on veggies on more meat. The original plan was to go on Sunday for their famous Sunday and Chill, but who could resist going on a class trip with free food on a Friday? 
+ Okay - so food courts aren't home to the best meals, but y'all. When I can pay less than 4 USD for a filling lunch, I'm happy. 
+ Cape Town's multicultural background is reflected in the food scene. Our hotel was nestled between coffee shops, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Italian, American restaurants, each with a unique flavor. Also, I'm a fan of coffee shops that also serve wine and full meals. 
+ After watching three wine documentaries on Netflix, I like to consider myself a certified wine fan. South Africa is home to famous wine and gorgeous vineyards so we took a girls trip to Constantia Winelands. Went to dinner at Knead and capped off the evening with more wine. 

Explored.
+ We took a South Peninsula Tour and visited the most western southern part of Africa, got the best views and saw a few penguins. This is where we knocked out at least four different tourist stops. 
+ I'm not an outdoorsy person; I'm more of a - catch a few reruns of A Different World and browse the internet on my couch - person. But I'm so happy I hiked Lion's Head (twice)! Funny / thank the Lord story time: We did plan to hike Table Mountain. We got out of a cab (more like a mini bus that the study abroad program said not to use but YOLO, right?) and arrived at the foot of some trail. Walk a few minutes and run into a guy who agrees to take us to the start of the Table Mountain trail. Then we run into another guy who tells us that it is another 45 minutes to reach the trail and that the actual hike won't be worth the trouble because it was cloudy day. It isn't just that cloudy days mean low vision, but that you could easily lose your sense of direction, lose your footing or lose your life. Therefore we hiked Lion's Head again. 
+ Old Biscuit Mill. If you go to Cape Town, this location needs to top your to-do list. Imagine a farmer's market meets global cuisine and shopping. It is precious and the perfect spot for brunch. 
+ When in Africa, go on a safari - right? Talk about the most memorable part of my trip, most of which I won't ever retell. Let's just thank the Lord that everyone from my program is safe and sound. 

Lessons Learned. 
+ Study Abroad. As a graduating senior, I didn't think it was possible for me to fit in study abroad. It wasn't like I hadn't travelled outside the United States before and the courses offered didn't fit with my degree plan. If anything, studying abroad was an unchecked bucket list item (like visiting the Ransom Center or taking a Tower Tour). But with a little help from my friends, I filled out the application and landed in Cape Town days after my graduation. Wherever you are in your college career, I encourage you to just explore the possibility of studying somewhere across the world. 

+ Resourcefulness is key. My program required that every student participate in a service learning placement. I spent four weeks at the Retreat Day Hospital shadowing doctors and nurses in the Trauma Unit. Much like my experiences shadowing in rural Nigeria, I was reminded that resourcefulness is how you deal with disparities. Don't have a tourniquet? Use a pair of gloves. Trauma unit only has one examination space? Use a bed as your table. 

+ Take an L and charge it to the game. My phone got stolen two days before my flight home - and I was a mess. But I learned a few things about myself including: a. nothing is ever so serious that you can't move on with life b. the desire to be perfect is overrated c. surrounding yourself with people willing to take photos for you is crucial. 

+ Student protests are a beautiful thing. I attended the 50th anniversary event of Robert Kennedy's 'Ripple of Hope' speech at the University of Cape Town. Less than seven minutes into Rep. John Lewis' speech, a group of student protesters enter the building with signs reading 'UCT celebrates white icons' and 'stop US imperialism.' This had to be one of the most interesting parts of my trip. Civil Rights icon - Rep. John Lewis keeps on going as students line in front of his podium. These students stay until the last speaker and then are given space to address the crowd about their concerns. I immediately think back to the student protests at the Vietnam Summit held on UT campus. Both UCT and UT have had active protests to remove damaging iconography (cc: Rhodes and Davis statues) and both have seen tangible results. In class, we heard from a student protester who was expelled for his work and thoughts. It is encouraging to know that there will always be a group of students willing to put their formal education and bodies on the line to push notions of equality forward. 

+ Say yes. Okay - weird last lesson from the girl who needs to learn how to say no. But when faced with watching another movie or hike a mountain - say yes to a new adventure. Say yes to jumping out of a plane or yes to more wine. Yes to new foods and yes to new friendships. Say yes to spending your time with intention. 

Gold Mine | 2015

lifeChristle NworaComment
My favorite photo of 2015.

My favorite photo of 2015.

If 2014 was about challenge, 2015 was about growth. I've invested in people and moments. I've learned to trust my instincts and embrace the process. I've experienced advocacy and hope at he highest levels. Here's a quick snapshot of my year:

January
 + Made the move to Squarespace and I'm loving it! This platform is so clean and I don't have to mess with code. I spent some time writing a few pieces on this space. Some were repost from my old platform like Dry Bones and Pre Med Resources. Other pieces were brand new like my obsession with Jesse Williams and a happy birthday post to me
+ Turned 21 and celebrated with my first drink and my girlfriends.

February
+ Marched in solidarity with the Latinx community on campus after the Fiji "boarder patrol" party.
+ Partied in the Blanton Museum. Okay, so I wasn't a guest of the party but I did get an opportunity to grab a few snacks, dance with their jazz band and preview the civil rights exhibit. If I had money, I would host all of my parties at the Bob Bullock and Blanton Museums. 

March
+ Traveled to Nigeria to celebrate my grandma's 80th! My mom told me about this trip before I started college and I prayed that it would fall in line with my spring break. Thank the good Lord that it did! We flew to Nigeria, stopped in London to explore and had the most wonderful time with my family. This marked my third trip to Nigeria (1st was during elementary school and 2nd was the summer before starting college) and I can't wait to go back. 

April
+ If there was an emoji for the month, the trumpet with confetti would sum up my April. This is the month where my 2014 struggles started to make sense. And I was able to sum up those experiences in my May post!

May
+ Reflected on my junior year in this post. Thankful to my squad for helping me survive my day by day journey. 
+ This was also an emotional month because of graduations and senior send offs. Can't believe I'll be graduating soon! 
+ The travel bug hits again with a trip to NYC with my family! 

June
+
Settled into my internship with the Texas Health institute. I worked the Primary Care Conference in San Antonio and met my hero, Dr. Morris Singer!
+ Knocked out a few items on my bucket list including hiking the Green Belt or visiting the Bob Bullock African American exhibit. 
+ Ate a lot, worked out more. That's how it is supposed to go, right?

July
+ Sunk my feet into beach sand in Galveston. Took a mini vacation with my family and I loved it.
+ Moved from West Campus to North Campus and I never had to worry about wild parties waking me up ever again. 

August
+ Read Between the World and Me. If you haven't opened the book, do yourself a favor and buy it now. 
+ Also read Jesus Feminist. I hated that book. Don't bother buying that one. 
+ Started my last fall semester of undergrad! Got my nails and eyebrows done to start the day and led the Eyes of Texas for the freshmen welcome. 

September
+
Crowned Black Homecoming Queen. Which is the most unexpected thing that has ever happened to me!
+ So many happy hours and nachos. 
+ Had my very first medical school interview in Lubbock, Texas! Praise the Lord for answered prayers. 

October
+ Sat in on Dr. Moore's Black Power Movement course (and on Nigeria's Independence Day!)
+ Led the Eyes of Texas on the field for the Red River Rivalry in Dallas. Could you ask for a better senior experience? 

November
+
Last football game of the season and I went all out aka wore my scarf and my vest (even though the burnt oranges don't match).
+ Pinned a yellow rose on my lapel and joined the Friar Society at UT!
+ Rejoiced at one year of hair growth. I even wrote about my BC anniversary. 

December
I went to DC. I WENT TO DC AND THE SUPREME COURT. I SPOKE OUTSIDE THE SUPREME COURT. Easily the highlight of my year. Such a sweet topping to wonderful year. 

A Few Extras:

Traveled
+ Abuja, Nigeria
+ Dallas, Texas *
+ Galveston, Texas
+ Houston, Texas
+ London, England
+ Lubbock, Texas
+ New York, New York
+ San Antonio, Texas
+ Washington, DC
* I'm from here BUT I did go on the field for the Red River Rivalry! 

Quoted + Listened
 + I've been quoted in a few articles! USA TodayLA Times and NYT Times
+ "Bless the process" aka "Let go, let God."
+ How to Become Batman by Invisibilia and The Problem We All Live With by This American Life are required listening
+ Everything by Jesse Williams and Ta-Nehisi Coates is worth the listen or read

Thanks for sharing this year with me. Cheers to a new year!

selfies + hair journey

lifeChristle NworaComment
CG_before and after

On November 29, 2014, I sat in my stylist's chair and asked her to cut my relaxed ends off. And in 45 minutes, I joined team natural. No trumpets. No "freedom feelings." Just my relaxed hair scattered on the floor and my stylist waiting for her check. 

I'm used to short hair. A bad relaxer my junior year of high school had me rocking a pixie cut most of the fall. But this was different. Or at least I felt like it should be. I paid my stylist, ran to the grocery store for some chips, and played Jenga with my brother. I'd say it was a pretty normal day - until I got dressed for dinner. I couldn't keep my eyes off my mirror. I cried. And I cried some more. Ten minutes later and I'm still sniffling as India Arie's soundtrack is speaking to my soul. So I snapped a picture and posted it on Instagram. 

Something changed for me when I decided to big chop.  It meant finding friends and videos who will teach me how to flat twist and properly detangle. It meant finding more shows to watch while I deep condition. It meant redefining my ideals around black beauty. 

I, like many of my peers, choose to document my journey through gratuitous photos of myself. My phone is filled with selfies and soft smiles (s/o to my snapchat friends) as I embrace my roots. I've got so much to learn and at least 10 different brands of shea butter I want to try. 

selfies + natural hair.jpg


Cheers to a beautiful year. 

5 Podcasts for your Empty Pockets

lifeChristle NworaComment
LUKE CHESSER.

LUKE CHESSER.

I have a not so unique confession: I'm a podcast junkie. That's right friends, I have a podcast for every empty pocket in my day: morning commutes, laundry days and meal preps. Podcasts encompass what I love about the radio and blogging, accessibility and quality content.

Here's a few podcasts on my playlist:

Two Brown Girls
You never forget your first love. Two Brown Girls wasn't the first podcast I listened to but it is my first favorite! Fariha and Zeba are two (you guessed it) brown girls talking about race, film and pop culture. I feel like I'm chatting with a few friends over coffee! They've moved from a weekly schedule to monthly. 

The Read
Disclaimer: NSFW. I repeat NSFW.
No one is safe from The Read, their shade covers far and wide. A good friend introduced me to the podcast at the start of summer and I can't stop listening. They start the show with Black Excellence, roll into a pop culture segment, answer a few reader questions, and finally, the read. Kid Fury and Crissle say everything you want to say, but don't. 

This American Life
I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of people in this country have heard Ira Glass' voice at least once in their lives. This American Life is an American classic. With over 500 episodes, there truly is a story for everyone. I'd recommend starting with A Not So Simple Majority

On Being  
If I'm looking for something slow and insightful, I tune in to On Being. Krista Tippet gets to the center of the human experience. She's interviewed poets, artists, civil rights workers, faith leaders, etc. Consider this an updated chicken noodle soup for your soul. 

What podcasts are you listening to?

 

Gold Mine | July 2015

lifeChristle NworaComment

This post almost didn't happen. I moved into my new place (gooood bye west campus) and I don't have access to wifi yet. But no worries because I could use my phone for wifi, right? Right! Unless my laptop breaks - which it did. But now my laptop and I are reunited and I have access to wifi once more (thank you coffee shops).

Lived.

+ Like previously mentioned, I moved! I'm in a cute condo that is a 15 minute bus ride from campus. 

+ Vacation in Galveston was such a blessing. My last visit was during a 5th grade leadership camp (once a geek, always a geek) so it was nice to replace those awkward memories with VSCO filtered memories with my family. 

+ I've been chipping away at my Austin bucket list. Visited Juan in a Million, Holy Cacao and ate at Whole Foods!

Read.

+  If are looking for the definition of hustle, just look at Dara from Love, Darbie. She is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and has a successful blog and photography business. She's written the guide on turning your passion into profit!

+ It is no secret that I'm a fan of Laura. She's featured on my must read blogs for premeds and I follow her on every social media account. I really appreciated the quick peak behind the curtain and looking at how she maintains a successful blog!

+ I'm not sure if Laura and Fran both planned to have blog posts about the blogging game published around the same time, but if you enjoyed Laura's post you'll enjoy Fran's "How much do you make from blogging" and other questions!

Quoted.  

+ Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” — Ernest Hemingway 

+ “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” — Eckhart Tolle

+ “Why should I feel lonely? Is not our planet in the Milky Way?”— Henry David Thoreau 

Sunday Favorites.

lifeChristle NworaComment

* cue Lionel Richie circa 1970s *

I've always loved Sunday. Church, brunch, family - I love it all. So in honor of Sunday, here are a few of my favorite things:

Favorite Color: Blue, it complements gold very well
Favorite Drink: Orange, no pulp
Favorite Food: Three way tie between breakfast tacos, supreme pizza and sweet potato fries
Favorite Place: A comfy couch + pillows 
Favorite Book of the Bible: Esther (veggie tales version was wonderful too)
Favorite Celebrity: Jesse Williams, I even wrote a post dedicated to him!
Favorite Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Favorite Hobby: Browsing blogs + running 
Favorite Board Game: Don't play board games but I am the queen of Egyptian Ratscrew
Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice 
Favorite Time of Day: Sunrise
Favorite Flower: I like saying Stargazing Lilies but I really mean sunflowers  
Favorite Ice Cream: Cookies and Cream but I'm a huge fan of Lick's chocolate + olive oil + sea salt
Favorite Sports Team: Dallas Mavericks circa 2011
Favorite Starbucks Order: Y'all, I shouldn't be spending so much money on this S'mores frapp 
Favorite Song: I'm going through a indie gospel phase, so Rend Collective's Build Your Kingdom Here

What are your favorite things?

Gold Mine | June 2015

lifeChristle NworaComment
More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men [and women] than has been taken from the earth
— Napoleon Hill

If you followed my old blog, you'll remember that I had sizable amount of blog series. I've paired them down to my favorites and I'm happy to reintroduce gold mine - a space where I can publicly share a few memories, stories, and quotes with you!

Lived.

+ This month was all about revisiting my 21st birthday wishes. One of my goals is to be more active. It took me a bit longer that I would have liked, but I'm finally on a regular workout schedule. I try to mix it up (hiking the greenbelt, kickboxing, squat challenges) but I want to start and finish a challenge in July. To make up for the calories lost, I've been eating well too! I've tried El Chile, North by Northwest and Threadgills - all Christle approved. 

+ I spent a weekend in San Antonio for a primary care summit and I can't stop talking about the experience. I've met the most caring and dedicated physicians / nurses / social workers / administrators who are setting the bar for medical practices across the nation. 

+ Tragedy is in our midst again. The shooting and assassination at an AME Church in Charleston only reminds the nation of what we as POC and black people already know, blackness is too often perceived as a threat . While there are a lot of pieces talking about the tragedy (find my post here), I really enjoyed the Spin's podcast. Host, Esther Armah, asks us to reimagine black forgiveness within white supremacy. Press play to dive deeply into this topic. 

Read. 

+ Separate but never equal. The Route of Division is a sobering reminder of the stark class differences that still exists in this country. 

+  Representation is such a powerful tool for encouragement. Check out this HuffPost article discussing writers of color. Here's a snippet: When you don't learn the history of your people and don't read their literature, when all you read and learn is white and Western and male, and so very different from anything you've ever known and loved, you inevitably begin to believe that you are less than. You learn that in order to succeed, you have to assimilate to a culture that is not your own and does not welcome you, no matter what you do.

+ I want to be more intentional with the words I use and this post on ableist language has helped in my pursuit. 

Quoted.

+  “I have died too many deaths that were not mine.” —  Audre Lorde, from “Sequelae,”

+  “If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time.” —   Marcel Proust 

+ "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts" — Colossians 3:15

#PRAYFORCHARLESTON

life, social justiceChristle NworaComment
prayforcharleston.jpg

I.

I spent a lot of young summer days at the Farmer's Market in Dallas. I'm sure the market was filled to the brim with delicious fruits and veggies but I was there for one reason: sugarcane. Nothing pairs better with a Texan summer day, 

II.

A white man entered a church and decided that nine beautiful black lives didn't deserve to see morning. He is not a monster. He is a product. A product of a system driven by hate and a national unable to reach a point of racial reconciliation. A nation that refuses to acknowledge the full humanity of black lives. 

III.

There isn't an easy way to eat sugarcane. You have to cut off the woody shell, slice the cane into pieces, chew until you've enjoyed every bit of sweetness, then discard the dull fibers left on your tongue. I learned then that you had to work to find sweetness. 

IV.

Summer should be the time of ultimate freedom. To laugh and learn. To splash and play. To live and breathe. But I can no longer count on summer to be free. I can no longer count on any season to be free. A black church praising God. A young black boy walking home. A young black girl sleeping in her home. A black man trying to provide. A black woman driving home. All black. All targets. 

You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.
— Maya Angelou

T W E N T Y - O N E

lifeChristle NworaComment
birthday cupcake.jpg

I'm twenty-one today. I'm celebrating with loved ones and praising God for another year to delight in His world. Twenty taught me how to trust wisely, how to love fully, and how to stay in the grind. Here's my twenty - one wishes for my new year:

  1. Spend more time in God's word.
  2. Pray over my family + friends. 
  3. Fast from social media at least once a week. 
  4. Follow through on lunch dates + reach out to inspiring people.
  5. Explore Austin + Dallas like a tourist.
  6. Find a bible study + missional community in Austin. 
  7. Stop treating my DSLR like a point and shoot. 
  8. Commit to a workout routine. Hopefully I can make it past the first round of midterms. 
  9. Learn more about my natural hair.
  10. Wake up earlier + go to bed earlier. 
  11. Remember birthdays and important dates. 
  12. Read 12+ books. 
  13. Be a meal planner. 
  14. Stay focused in class.
  15. Strengthen relationships with my mentors. 
  16. Build a functional wardrobe + rock a red lip.
  17. Keep updated in the news. 
  18. Travel more. 
  19. Ask for what I want + make opportunities + quit asking or seeking permission. 
  20. Steward my finances well. 
  21. Enjoy life's daily blessings. 

welcome.

lifeChristle NworaComment
christleandgoldwelcom

New Year. New Space. 

Time does wonder for wine and cheese. Blogs? Not so much. A few things have changed since we last spoke. I switched majors (third time's a charm), conquered my fear of the highway, and I've changed blogging platforms. 

Cheers to a new space and a toast to the same mission: dig deep and find gold.