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!

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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!!!! 🙂

I Love You, BUT

Every girl dreams of hearing her Prince Charming say, “I Love You,” falling into his arms and then riding into the sunset for the best life ever , sorry, happily ever after :-). BUT,  this is not a good story, this is Real life!  Love is such a powerful word, that evokes emotions, feelings, and actions that the best men and women cannot explain. Love makes you do crazy things, you know like staying up all night talking which eventually becomes hours of “no you hang up first” statements.  Love makes you spend hours fixing your hair, hours washing your car, and hours standing in the mirror obsessing if this is the right outfit. Although, many have tried to outwit Love and made oaths to never fall prey to its trap, they failed. If you have lived longer than a day you have been caught by the love bug.

So, what’s the big deal about saying those famous three words. I am a woman, and I promised myself, He would say it first, because than I would know he was serious about me. In my first “adult” relationship I would practice saying those words, formulating my mouth to look kissable, and making sure my body language was calm. I would practice writing my name, you know using His last name. I would not sleep at night planning the perfect occasion to say those words. Yet in life you are not prepared to hear, ‘ I Love You, BUT.”

But, is a conjunction that alerts the hearer or reader that what is about to come is going to be in total contrast to what you just heard. I know as a parent I never want to hear, But Mom, I did, But it’s not my fault, But, But, But!!!! What do you do when those famous three words come with a but? If you are honest, you might fight, than cry, than fight some more, however it doesn’t change the truth of what you just heard, they do not love you.  What’s important now are the words that follow the but, for there you will find out where you need to change.

I love you but, you’re selfish, to busy, make no effort to communicate, always keep secrets and lie. I love you but, You don’t love Yourself.  Let’s commit to thinking before speaking and using the word Love only when we have loved ourselves first for then there will never be a But!

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!

 

And just like that…it’s Over

I think the world moves so rapidly that when we finally find time to stop and think about what has happened in the last twelve months, three more months have passed. Usually I put my Christmas Tree up immediately after Thanksgiving Dinner has been served, but it was almost the middle of December and the incessant reminders from the kids, “Mom, can we please put the tree up,” that I finally conceded. While the children were putting up the tree, I was preparing dinner and making sure all homework was completed since the next day was the final day of the fall semester. I was so preoccupied with other things, I didn’t participate in a tradition that shaped me from my youth.  When I walked into the living room, the Christmas tree was stunning, and it had a certain sparkle to it that made me stop and stare for fifteen minutes.

In those fifteen minutes I thought about the entire year. I couldn’t believe almost 52 weeks had passed and honestly life was a blur. I mean I could remember birthday’s, anniversary’s, school events, and church, but intimate moments seemed vague in my memory. As I stood there, I thought, that’s it…it’s over.  What I have done with one more year of life, granted graciously to me by God? What I have done with my time? What have I done with my dreams, goals, hopes….The answer, NOTHING.

Just like that, the year over, and now today taking down the Christmas tree, I stopped to write to serve as a permanent reminder to myself to not just let my life be over this time next year, but to work, live, and love PRESENTLY. Every moment is a gift and yes, hurt will come, death will come, grief will come, happiness will come, but when those moments are over, I MUST MOVE ON! So, of course I’m already planning for Christmas 2014, but before I get there, I will LIVE.

I will embrace my children, my husband, my family, myself. I will take each day and Be Still, seeking God to guide me to make a difference that day. I will love, because He first loved me. I will change my mind therefore changing my life.

And just like that…Happy New Life!!

All Aboard the Choose-Choose Train!

So, I am by no means a gamer…I mean I like the next popular app as well as the next person but there is something embedded deep within the pixels of these apps that drives me wild.  I have spent hours waking and even those hours I should have been asleep playing some of my favorite apps on my iPad. I want to blame my sister for introducing me to them but she has not once forced nor coerced me to play them. The truth is, I LIKE PLAYING GAMES! Whew, that wasn’t so hard to admit, right? Well the problem, is what happens when the game begins to play us? I mean I give myself a time limit, 15 minutes and then I have to go to the grocery store, an hour later I’m stilling trying to juice some cubes, grow some wheat, or crush some candy… how does this happen? How does time slip away from me?  When did I lose control and allow something or someone to control my every move for an endless amount of time? How do I or better yet why do I become upset, angry, frustrated when life interrupts my game? When out of the coma like state I’m in, I’m suddenly  jolted into reality with children, money, debt, dinner preparation, and working?

The simple answer, choice.  Choices, are made every second of the day. From what do I wear, where do I eat, what do I drive, where I work, what I choose to do, choices determine our destiny.

Today I chose to write from a place that hurts a LOT,  I thought I can’t be free or help others be free if I deny the choices I have already made and those that I will continue to make. There is a consequence for choice, we could spend our lives debating if those are good or bad, but wisdom helps me understand there is a consequence for each choice I make. When I spend hours watching television, playing games, gossiping, or surfing the internet, before I acted there was a choice. The mind is our greatest tool, it controls our body. The mind tells us when we need to sleep, eat, play, and when we have had enough. Our struggle is listening and then choosing a different path.

Choose Life. Choose Faith. Choose Health. Choose Fun. Choose challenges that make you grow.  Choose. Choose. Choose.

If you decide that i’s a bad thing to worship God, then CHOOSE a go you’d rather serve- and do it TODAY. Joshua 24:15a (The Message Translation)

Happy New Life!

Please Hold……..

It seems like yesterday that you could use a landline telephone, dial a number and a real LIVE person would answer the other line.  Unfortunately, today when you hear the phone ring on the other side is a human voice recording offering you an endless amount of options to “get you to the right person” but you never really speak to a person.  I have called my cell phone company and become so frustrated with the IVR (interactive voice response)  that I have hung up and called right back and pressed every button on the dial-pad to prayerfully reach a person. When I finally hear, please hold for the next available representative, I do my happy dance.

However, the dance is short-lived because I have to HOLD! My first thought is, where did they get this music from? My second thought is, why are they asking me to purchase the newest accessory and I haven’t even spoken to a representative yet. My third question is, why does the recorded message say, “We know waiting is difficult, your time is valuable, BUT PLEASE CONTINUE TO HOLD!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Holding is torture…it is a constant reminder that you cannot complete this task nor focus on anything else until you are finished. It is a thorn in the flesh, because I attempt to complete other tasks on my to-do list for the day while I’m holding. But today I learned a very valuable lesson. I can do many things while I place my home phone on speaker and keep my right ear honed in on the holding music; I can cook dinner, help with homework, call on my cell phone if I need to speak to someone else, have a conversation with my husband all while on hold, but you say well what’s the lesson….

I am not paying attention to anything! I’m on HOLD, meaning my attention is divided and those around me only have the shell of me, not all of me. The hold causes me to be absent in  my present life. I function normally but we all know there is a slight dysfunction once we hear,”thank you for calling….how may I help you.”  My spectacular ability to multitask crashes instantly and the only thing that matters is the voice on the other end. How often are we only living a shell of our existence waiting for the voice on the other end to answer? Today, take your life off hold, hang up, and LIVE!

Happy New Life

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.