Passwords

For the last two months I have been trying to remember my password to my school issued email account. The university sends out reminders that your password is going to expire and in that email they give you the option while reading the email to click the link and reset your password. Now, here’s the problem.  I was in the computer lab and did not have my journal to write down the new password, so I found a receipt in my purse and created a new one.  I should have used one of the generated ones and taken a picture of it with my cell phone, but no I wanted to be fancy and make up one that I could remember. Well I scribbled the first combination of letters, numbers and symbols that came to my head and created a new password. All was well until I received notification on my iPad I had a new email for the upcoming semester. Well, I touched the app and it launched and then the dreaded pop-up box appeared. “Please enter your new password.” I didn’t even sweat it, I went to my purse and looked for the receipt.

Oh no!!!!!!! I can’t find the receipt. I don’t know where it is. Did I throw it away? This can’t be happening, how am I going to fix this problem? Oh wait I know, I can hit lost password and reset it with no problem, except when it asks me to answer the security question, I don’t know the answer!!  AUGHHHHHH!!!! I panicked and attempted this daunting task. I hit the reset button and up pops the security question, and I knew the answer!! Success!  I reset the password, wrote it down in the proper place and thought no more about it.

I giggle when I remember the sheer fear that gripped me when I couldn’t remember my password. I mean I didn’t want to see those dreaded words, Access Denied appear on my screen, because then it would seem that I am not authorized to open this account. My identity and authenticity of ownership would be questioned. Although I know I am the rightful owner, the system did not recognize me without the password.  Our life has a series of passwords.  See, these unique combinations represent change and as I’ve grown I have given access to those that I want in my life. If today you have anything or anyone in your life that doesn’t quite fit, and your access denied box keeps popping up it may be time to change some passwords!

Happy New Life!

 

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Untie and Unite

Did you just say those two words aloud? I know I have been saying them since about 5 this morning. I was attempting to sleep but I could not get away from these two words. Being a word junkie I looked them up and jumped out of my bed to write. (ok, I’m writing about 3 hours later, ha!)

So, this is what I found out: Untie- to loosen or unfasten to free from restraint, to resolve. Many times we only think of untie in relationship to our shoes. Unite- to join, combine, to form a single or whole unit, to act in concert or agreement.

What is so crazy about these words is they contain the same letters just placed differently. I thought about life, there are many things in our lives that use the same words but their place in our lives are drastically different. When you unite  in marriage you join your family to another family. You no longer function as a single unit you become whole and during that process you must untie  some knots in your life in order to live free from restraint and conflict in your new life.

Wow!!! As I thought about my life today, I was blown away. What things have I united with when I should have untied? Where have I untied relationships, family, change for my level of comfort?  This is a self check for me. I must pay close attention to how I am using words and knowing what I mean, but not aware of what I say. Today, UNTIE and then UNITE.

Happy New Life!!

 

I would like to introduce, Me

Identity, it can be a blessing or a curse. Most of the time in life, we never stop to think about who we are. We spend most of our time telling people who we are based on what we answer too. I am the oldest daughter of Leroy and Cynthia, I am the older sister to ReeKa and a Mom to too many children to list… ha! However, are those names accurately describing who I am or are they just part of who I am? Part of the struggle I have had with my identity,  is based on defining who I am, in order to meet or match the expectations of those who know and love me. I strive to be excellent, kind, loving, loud, bossy (indeed), but also loyal. The problem however, is not knowing when or how to pull back and remember who I really am at my core.

Shakespeare, said it best, “to thine own self be true” but who is that? We define ourselves by our position; manager, owner, CEO; our occupation, doctor, lawyer, teacher, police officer; our responsibility, mother, father, sister, brother, but none of these words really describe me. I do not plan to spend anymore time looking for myself. I want to be found, immediately. I want to figure out what I like to eat, what I like to wear, where I would like to live without the pressure of anyone/anything else to influence my decision to be happy with me.

One of my favorite scriptures states; I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are thy works that my soul knoweth right well (Psalm 139:14).  And since I totally believe this verse. I wanted to introduce me to you.

I am joyful, quirky, a lover of learning, at times lazy, a food connoisseur, cannot make anything crafty,  but I love to see them made, NEVER WANTS TO WORK, loves to shop on clearance, and I literally want to be retired from this day forward. I am totally fine with me and invite you to become fine with you. Peel back all the names you answer to and get to your core, and embrace Y-O-U! It’s a pleasure to meet you.

Happy New Life!!

I Got a New Attitude

Sing it with me….

I’m feelin’ good from my head to my shoes
Know where I’m goin’ and I know what to do
I tidied up my point of view
I got a new attitude                                                                                                                 Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
I got a new attitude!!  ~Ms. Patti LaBelle

We have all heard and probably said, I have a new attitude. What affected me last year, last month, heck even yesterday, will not today! Sadly by 8:30 in the morning the same ole’ attitude is back in full effect. I can not tell you how I used to always say, her attitude is ridiculous, that is exactly why no one likes her or him. If they ever intended to make it in the world they better do an attitude check quickly. During my rant and being the internal disposition police for society, I never could gauge my own attitude.

It is as easy as breathing to point out what’s wrong with someone and why their life is in the pits because of their attitude. We spend our entire educational journey learning how your attitude determines your altitude. If you grew up in a house like mine, the only person authorized to have an attitude was my mom, all others would be shut down. So I better save my neck popping and eye rolling for my homies at school, because at home I would definitely be a candidate to meet My Jesus sooner rather than later.

Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder now as an adult how my attitude has shaped my life. If I choose to allow what others say to me to become what I say about myself, I have now taken on their attitude about me. The problem? Those people and what they say is really about them. I cannot help how I look, that is genetic, I cannot help where I was born, my parents are responsible for that, but I CAN HELP MY RESPONSE TO LIFE! No, nothing is perfect, nothing is easy, but all things are worth the fight.

My attitude is one of my biggest enemies. It tells me how to look at others and judge, it tells me how to criticize no progress, it tells me how to blame others for my failures, it tells me, I’m always right. What my attitude fails to tell me is,  at the end of the day I will be alone, because I choose to keep my attitude instead of my life.

Dude, 2014 is WORK!! Work that I am willing to pay daily for the best life ever. I will not waste one more day, or roll my eyes at anyone else, today I got a New Attitude! 

Happy New Life!!

No, I Didn’t Do It!!!

My baby is 11 years old, and I completely adore her. She was the first grand baby for my parents and she has been “privileged” in her short time here on Earth.  My father only has girls, (my younger sister and I) and  then he was blessed with two granddaughters. He sighed and said, “Oh Lord, more women.” Anyway, my baby loves the Disney Channel. No I mean she is  absolutely engrossed with the Disney Channel. As she grew, we watched many shows, yes you guessed it on the Disney Channel and I think for the last 11 years, I forgot what regular television programming was like.  The Disney Channel has been a staple in her life and we have shared many memories around the television. Recently, the Disney Channel introduced a new show entitled, “I didn’t do it,” and I was in awe. The premise of the show is five best friends that have outrageous adventures and when those go awry, parents interrogate and the reply is, “I didn’t do it.”

While contemplating what the show could possible teach my baby who adores the Disney Channel, I thought more about how many times in my life I have used those very words. When I was younger my parents taught me to always tell the truth to avoid punishment, that didn’t alleviate the punishment but it did soften the blow. Yet watching this preview made me think, those words are true.

No I didn’t go to Law school, because I became a Mommy. No I didn’t go to Spain and earn another graduate degree because I was really scared. No I didn’t forgive those who hurt me because I wanted to make sure they could not hurt me again. No I didn’t say sorry to those I hurt, offended, or cut out of my life, because they are at fault. No I didn’t start my dream business because I didn’t have the money. No I didn’t love again because it’s easier to nurse a broken heart than let it heal. No I didn’t live the life God gave me because I didn’t want to do it!

The purpose of this show is to find humor in not owning my own stuff, but as an adult there is nothing funny about saying, living and believing, No I didn’t do it.

Happy New Life!

One more try

How many of us have said, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try try again?” Some of us may have even said the later modified version, “if at first you don’t succeed, quit.” These two statements make me chuckle. I am amazed at how when I was younger, trying to do anything was a daily routine. I did not capitalize on my inadequacies or fear, heck I’m not even sure I knew what those words meant back then. All I understood is that if I want to do something I can just try.  The failure, I thought was is not attempting to do it, not actually failing at it. Now as an adult I am saddened at how often in life I have done the latter, just quit. Why? Absolutely for NO REASON! I can’t explain why I quit, it just seemed like the right thing to do. I mean who works to accomplish a goal, not reach it, then try again? No one.

It doesn’t make sense to keep going, right? If I fail at learning how to drive a standard car, it means that I buy an automatic. If I fail at college the first time, it means I was never a college student anyway. If I fail at money management, I just blame the government, they are the reason everyone has debt.  If I fail at my personal relationships, it is ALWAYS the other’s person fault, why because I am perfect.  Funny this sounds ludicrous for anyone to think or act in this manner, yet I have done those things and used those excuses and believed every single word.

But this moment is new. My life has become precious, not due to any tragedy or magical epiphany, it is a choice. I choose to live differently now because it is possible. I decided that my legacy will not include the words, failed to try because that is just selfish. How can I inspire, motivate or change others if I refuse to change me first? I decided no matter the cost, no matter how uncomfortable I may be or become during the process, His Grace is more than enough and my life is worth One More Try!

Happy New Life!

Courage

You just need 20 seconds of courage, the tagline from the movie We Bought A Zoo.  Twenty seconds, that’s long enough to heat up some leftovers in the microwave, it’s long enough to send a text message, it might even be enough time to answer your cell phone. But what really matters is not time, but courage.

Have you ever faced anything in your life that scared you completely? Have you ever questioned how or even if you would make it until tomorrow? Have you ever lost hope, faith, trust, love? Can you think of just one time that you needed courage in your life? In the face of difficulty, you find the strength to do the one thing that frightens you. I’m not talking about going to school, or approaching a potential love interest,  I’m talking about a strength that causes you to continue when all hope seems gone.

When you hold your loved one’s hand for the last time, when a raging fire destroys your home, when a career that you relied on suddenly collapses and financial ruin is the least of your concerns, when the diagnosis from the doctor is terminal, when life is just life.  Do you still have the will to fight, the will to live, do you still have courage? Can you in the face of pain or grief find strength to continue? Can you be brave? Can you be fearless? Can you be bold?

Tonight, in your life what do you need to face? Don’t spend one more day hiding or running from fear, stop turn around and face it. You and I have a New Year to have a New Life.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Happy Courageous New Life!

 

The Beauty of Hope

I have a blended family. When my husband and I married I inherited four children, two girls and two boys. His children are older than my daughter and to say I was nervous about our union would be a drastic understatement. Being a mother, I was not worried if I would be good enough, I was only worried if I could show them how to love, the way God loves each of us.  Within three months of our union, my son’s (16 and 14 at the time) came to live with us. I was shocked, overwhelmed, nervous and excited. I always wanted to have son’s so this was my opportunity. However, what has happened over the last year has radically altered my life.

Imagine being newlyweds, with one child and then suddenly adding two more to the mix, and did I mention we were still newlyweds? How in the world, do you adjust, how do you make it work, how do you not lose hope? I have never raised a teenager, and matter of fact my son’s were almost raised when the arrived at our home. I have never had to deal with the pressure of high school graduation requirements, transferring from another state and school, finding opportunities for social engagement, and then adding our Faith into a cloud mix. I was drowning in my own life. I felt like I was losing my mind. How in the world am I going to work, be a mom, a wife, a cheerleader, a confidant, a guide, a disciplinarian, and still love? I was hopeless. I was scared.

My oldest son, now a Senior graduating May 24, 2014 was hopeless that first day of his junior year last January. He stood in our kitchen with tears in his eyes, the report from the guidance counselor was, there is no hope, you will not graduate with your class next year. My heart sank, how in world, when in the world, Lord help me right now….what do I say, what do I do?  I felt hopeless in that moment, so I relied on God who is Love,  and wrapped my arms around him, and said, this is not your life, this is only one moment in your life and you will graduate next year.

As an adult, blessed with family and friends that pushed me, encouraged me and supported me, I never worried about high school, college, travel or my career, I always believed I would and I did. But standing in my kitchen I did not know what would happen. In life there are moments that we just don’t know what will happen, and losing hope is the first option we execute and sometimes the only option.

The last year contained many fights, sleepless nights, constant meetings with teachers, administrators, testing liaisons, late night talks, and prayer. I sometimes question did I have enough faith, can I really believe God, can I really help my son believe he can do this? The only answer I could hold on to was hope.

Today, my son and I met with his Dual Credit adviser and a miracle occurred. She informed him that because of his performance over the last two semesters, he would not only be eligible for a scholarship to pay 100% of his tuition beginning Summer of 2014, but with work he could graduate with his Associate’s degree in 2015. His face lit up, and it wasn’t the news, it was joy knowing God answered his prayer and he was now going to become whatever he liked. We left the office running to our car like little kids, entered the house and he said, ” Mom, with a smile from here to China, I just want to say thanks.” We hugged. In that moment I remember what happened in the kitchen, I remembered how scared I was to inherit four children, I remember how many nights I cried, how we fought, how I wanted to give up, and then tonight, I experienced the Beauty of Hope!

Happy New Life!   P.S. 103 School Days until Graduation!!!! 🙂

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

So, I am sitting here at my computer writing this note and the only light is the glow of my computer screen. Growing up, my parents would always say, “you’re not afraid of the dark, go to bed.” I used to think, Yes I am!!!! But now I wonder what was I really afraid of? My room looks exactly the same in the light as it does in the dark, right? Nothing changes, so than what I am really afraid of, less light?  These questions rattled my brain for years and tonight I finally answered myself.

The dark, an absence of light, does not change what the light illuminates, it only casts a shadow over the things that are already known. The dark means I need more light in order to function, just as I do when I have light. It means although I know my surroundings, I must be careful not to take for granted my sight. When it’s light I don’t necessarily pay attention to anything, because my eyes know my environment well. But those same eyes, adjust when there is only a shadow of what it knows to be true and sends a signal to my brain to proceed with caution to avoid injury.

Funny, how we spent our childhood avoiding what as adults we want to live in, the dark. We think that our ability to adjust to shadows will in some way keep us from dealing with what is known in the light. We plot revenge at night, plan to leave our homes, children, employment, at night, we fight at night…why because in the dark I only have to see a shadow of myself and those I intend to injure.

I confess, I am afraid of the dark, not because of what I can’t see, but what I do see. It is a good place to hide, it’s lonely, sometimes it feels good, and I never have to deal with the truth. Unfortunately, I learned tonight that darkness doesn’t last. Its strength, power, and control is severely handicapped because light is always ready to return. See when the sun sets, it is making plans to return. The sun (the hottest burning star) provides time for darkness to enter but not remain. Don’t fear the dark, destroy it. Use your eyes for vision, use your life for purpose, live in the light!

~You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14~

Happy New Life!

Pay Attention

HEY!! PAY ATTENTION!!

Have you ever yelled that at someone? Let’s be honest we all have. But what puzzles me is why do we have to be reminded to pay attention? I mean,  if I am speaking with someone, shouldn’t I be actively  listening waiting for my turn to respond? I should not be on my phone scrolling my Facebook feed, checking Twitter, texting, nor people watching while someone else is speaking to me. However, I am constantly doing those things all the while believing I can pay attention to my present life.

Here’s the dilemma, our world is moving with lightning speed, and a skill that many of us mastered in grade school, to pay attention has been lost. I was groomed to give my undivided attention to my parents or any adult for that matter, make eye contact, and when appropriate respond politely. But now, conversations are held in bits and pieces, we are so accustomed to not paying attention that we hardly ever hear anything in a conversation. Don’t believe me? How many times have you run into someone on the street and you say, hello and without hesitation (not listening for their response) you reply, I’m good thanks.”  It is the social norm not to pay attention. We are just moving without purpose, speaking without purpose, living without purpose, why, because we fail to pay attention. 

This bothers me, because I am guilty. I assume what my children are going to say before they say it, and I cut them off. I am already formulating a response before the question is uttered, I become impatient when those I encounter can’t move at my pace, I need to stop and pay attention; but it’s a two-edged sword, I never want to give my attention to others but demand others give their attention to me…ouch!

How different our lives would be if paying attention was given its proper respect. How different I would be if I started paying attention to my actions and my words. It’s time to pay attention.

Happy New Life!