Loved at Forty

April 4, 2023

By Nicole

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I wake up in my 40th year, surrounded by beauty, grace & affluence. Beauty from the work Holy Spirit cultivated these twenty years (starting from the inside out), grace from His unfathomable love that unclenched me from the fiery grip of sin and destruction, affluence from my ancestors ardently pursuing a dream to craft a better life for the next generation. That generation has now trickled down to me.

So this is 40. 

40 doesn’t look at all the way I thought that it would, but it certainly does look good on me. Share on X

I kicked off the celebration with my dear sisters, one having been on the scene since my early teenage years, while others, this last decade, but all with one thing in common: their tenacious love for me.

We did the thing I love to do and that is my beloved step class. My friends are wholehearted beginners which is why their even showing up was a demonstration of true love. But my instructor, Ari, was the best and led us all through a super fun yet serious workout! We had a blast as we did the choreography I now esteem to old-school songs I will always cherish. Ari has been a jewel and I’m so thankful for her sweet spirit and expertise. I highly recommend you check out her classes if you’re in CLE at The Volt.

Afterward, we ate and drank before I popped in for my WLW Virtual Book Launch! I was so thankful for all the folks who showed up, some of whom I didn’t even know. 

When Love Wins has been the goal of my life for over two years now and has required so much of myself to create and then push to the masses. It has taken each person on that call and then some for me to manifest this dream. I was immensely touched when my sisters (who had been upstairs in the living room) came down to the office and led everyone on the call to sing Happy Birthday (both the standard version and the Black one)! I was near tears. You can check out the virtual launch here and fast forward near the end to witness this beautiful tribute.

Then the big shebang happened. The in-person launch was a hit at Sam Sylk’s Lounge, a venue I covered in my article at The Cleveland Observer

I walked in fully glammed due to my sister Sophii Appsolutellii’s stellar makeup job. I had never had a full-beat face before and that was based on my experience with makeup artists for darker skin tones. It’s rare to find someone who knows exactly how to beautify darker skin, but Sophii killed it. Not only did she make me look FANTASTIC, but she taught me about the nuances of my skin. Often people think darker skin is the same shade throughout the body (or the same area of one body part) but she was able to show me how certain areas are lighter or darker than others. Even that my go-to foundation is a shade darker than my actual skin tone and should only be used in the summer. It was so healing to have this experience and I’m truly thankful for the Father using her to minister to me with her gift. Not to mention she SLAYED the color in my wig. I had ordered a wig online but what I ordered is not what they sent. I needed her to add color to it and she totally DELIVERED.

The night of the launch I had my entourage of my closest with me as we made our way into the room. All of my sisters made financial and time sacrifices but there was one sister who had sacrificed greatly to be there. She forsook her duties with her family just to spend the entire week with me. She was my right hand with everything I needed and I honor her for this. I will forever treasure our alone time together which has literally not happened in 20 years.

Each woman is special to me and has been vital in this journey to 40. They have loved on me in a way that only a blood sister could and I shared with them that their love has caused me to not even miss the love I do not receive from my natural-born sister. God truly creates a family for us from His family.

The night was filled with beautiful people who took time out of their lives to celebrate with me. My decorator did a fabulous job and NAILED my vision using the brand colors for ND Miller Publishing, including the glitter board that I wanted and even creating a large blowup mockup of my book! This was super fun to take pictures with. Hit up Amazing Creationz for an amazing event planner.

My cake lady SLAYED the cake and all night people shared how good it was. Definitely check out CakeTique Studio if you’re in the area for your next event.

           

Another special shout-out I want to give is to Camille Jenai. Camille was on a whole other level with my eyebrows. Her eyebrow game is INSANE. If you want to look like a celebrity with perfectly fashioned brows, she’s your girl. 

A special thank you also to Briea Nicole for SQUEEZING me in at the last minute to get my wig together! My hairdresser had a sudden loss in her family and was unavailable and Briea, by divine intervention, was able to do the job. She said that literally minutes before I texted about an opening for that day she had a cancellation. Scripture says that the Father cares so much about us He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). Well I will offer that He even knows that number if said hair is purchased by us! LOL. See Briea at B. Nicole Hair Studio in CLE for your next hair appointment.

The night of my launch my heart was full as people purchased books, took pictures, and gave me thoughtful gifts. I hadn’t even expected gifts since I felt folks offering their time was more than enough. 

I was able to share a reading from a key chapter on both the virtual and the physical launches and this was fun because I enjoy acting out the characters which I do in the audiobook version that is now available! 

Speaking of audiobook, I want to give a special Thank You to my audio engineer Ricardo Brown and his wife Lisa, both staunch supporters of my dream and who worked feverishly to get me the product I promised to my customers. They made this experience beautiful and aided in my healing from another opportunity that had previously failed.

Thank you to my cameraman Freddy Bryant for capturing all the moments and even creating some awesome videos for promo. Freddy came up with a sneaky video of my friends wishing me Happy Birthday right under my nose! I kept looking for my friends at one point and now I know they were sharing a surprise video message that I will now always cherish.

Whew! The evening ended with my girls and I on the dance floor having fun. I’m so thankful for the Father’s love through them and every single person who has shown up for me in my life. Over the years I have often struggled with feeling loved. Due to childhood abandonment and rejection issues, this lie has been a constant thorn in my side. But that night, and since, I cannot deny it: I am loved. I am so loved. And I think that is the healing 40 has brought me.

Again, life doesn’t look at all the way I thought it would in my early 20s. But in some ways, I cannot refute, it looks so much better.

In other news, did you know that I just dropped the pre-sale for my debut novel When Love Wins? You can check out more here! This time around there is an audiobook in addition to the eBook and paperback versions. Make sure you are subscribed to my email list to catch special offers, discounts, insider information, and more!

Are you on Instagram/Facebook? If so, please reach out. I have a series called “Word of the Day Wednesdays” where I share 5-10 minutes worth of nuggets that are on my heart, which I hope are encouraging to others on IGTV/FB Live! I have these also posted on my Youtube Channel.

And, lastly, if you have read “Stories for the (Urban) Soul, please put up an Amazon review here. I was SUPER encouraged and blessed when a new reader put up her review for my 2nd book which you can view here :).

As always, thank you for your support!

SHALOM

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