Shut Up!!?!

When I was younger, ‘Shut Up” was a bad word. I mean you would have thought I said some serious profane, vulgar word when I let that phrase slip out of my mouth. I used to dream of the day that I could say it without fear of consequence. My mom would always say, those words are so ugly and there are better words that you can use to convey the same message. Man, I didn’t want to hear that. If I didn’t like something said, I would not prefer to use, please close your lips, cease from speaking, could you please employ silence, I wanted to say SHUT UP!!! Ha!

Anyway, even still as an adult, I always think twice and look to see where my mom is before I say those words. This really has me thinking, words indeed have power. Words can build, destroy, grow, change the course of action, mean everything or mean absolutely nothing. Take for instance how many words we read in a day, whether through our news feed, a blog, email, text, words are everywhere. Those words are just read silently, but we say them aloud, in an instant those words become alive, active, engaged, moving.

When I say shut up, I usually mean stop talking, and I want instant silence for a minute. But what is heard is; stop talking, I don’t want you to speak, what you say is worthless and invaluable, please don’t waste my time talking, just stop. Now, I think, what I am doing? I don’t mean anything other that be quiet when I use those words, but when someone hear’s it, they may just shut up. I cannot bare the responsibility of speaking words of death, gloom, hatred to anyone, and my only reply is, “sorry that’s not what I meant.” Although that is probably true, I am responsible for what I say.

Let’s clean up our words! Speak Life! Proverbs 18:21 Death and Life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it will eat the fruit thereof. 

Happy New Life!!

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Bye Bye Anger

Have you ever been angry? Is that a silly question? I know there are some people who will say, “I’ve never been angry,” and if that is true I need to come talk to you immediately, but for the rest of us, we have at one time been angry. Let me tell you first hand the problem with anger, it controls you. I mean if you get upset because the kids made a mess in the house, or you forgot to turn off the oven, or you left your thumb drive at home for your meeting, there is a slight elevation in our stress.  But I’m talking about anger, I mean when someone jumps in your face and starts yelling, when you are lied on at work and as a result lose your job, when you are heartbroken for nothing, then you get angry.  The second problem with anger is it is an emotion driven by fear. Fear, is a killer. It paralyzes its victim and scoffs at the result. In the heat of the moment, when all the emotions are at the surface, the fight of flight reflex initiates, in like a millisecond your body (at that moment) on autopilot decides what to do. It is a scary thought, but a more painful reality. The final problem with anger is that it changes your natural body function, it changes YOU.  Your body responds  quickly to anger. It can change how you think, move, live. I mean you can blackout, fight, scream or just shutdown.

Anger, the word makes me cringe and cry at the same time. I have been at times a willing participant with anger. I have used words and actions to paralyze those who may have crossed me and because of fear I attacked first. Anger is a real problem, but only the surface problem. When in life do we find enough courage to deal with the root. I have a joyful disposition most of the time, it is not like me at all to be mean, but I find myself questioning who I am when I get angry. It is a dark place to be, but absolutely necessary if I want to change.  Last night, I laid in a hospital bed, IV hooked up, blood drawn, medicine coming through the IV, because I allowed anger to drive me. The doctor tested everything, heart, lungs, urine, thyroid, stress levels, and all results were normal. But although in that moment I was relived, I was more disappointed that I choose anger and that choice could have damaged my life permanently.

Today, is a new day, with new mercies, new choices and me. I will from this day forward dismiss anger from my life, it no longer lives here.

Happy New Life!

And now, The Rest of the Story

“And now,  the rest of the story”, with these words Paul Harvey completed some of the most intriguing stories ever told on public radio.

My life is not on the radio, and sometimes I think it’s not that interesting so who would want to know me or what I am about? I think the daily grind of my world is just that, mine. I do what most mothers do, what most wives do and I don’t think that deserves any type of recognition or does it? You know I have taken this journey in writing this blog and really reflected on the rest of my story. I have quite a bit of life yet to live,  so if I sabotage myself in thinking I will do nothing more that what I am doing now, my story is over.

How many of you have ended your story in your life? How may of you have taken one thing that happened to you and made it your entire story? Please understand what I am saying to you. Life is full of difficulty, change,  and triumphs, but the beauty of life is its ability to in one moment be unbearable and be fully relieved in the next. How many times have you looked over your life,  and said, “whew, I’m glad that’s over.” See that’s just it, things come in and they go out, but what matters; family, friends, love, and peace remain. Those are the tools we need to use to write our story.

This year, 2014  is only 19 days young, meaning we still have 346 days yet to be seen or lived. Don’t waste time planning and have NO ACTION to work the plan. Pick one thing you want to do and do it. You wanna know how I found the strength to do this? I can’t swim, so instead of talking about learning, I drove to our Family Recreation center and signed up. I was shaking, because I have a slight fear of water and being in it too long makes me uneasy. But I paid my money and in two weeks my lessons start. I have been practicing, where? In the shower of course, I mean I don’t want to look totally ridiculous! Now it’s your turn, what is one thing you want to do, make a plan and then ACT, and let this year be “your rest of the story.”

Happy New Life!!

Write a Note

If you are like me, there is something special about a handwritten note. First of all, the person used actual pen and paper and thought about the message they were going to leave you. When I grew up, in the 80’s there were no mobile phones. Ok, there were except they were as big as your face and you could not Facebook, Tweet, or even text. So instant communication was pen and paper. When we would come home from school, our Mom would leave notes for us explaining what chores she expected to be completed when she came home from work. The note would be extremely detailed, leaving no room for misinterpretation of her expectations. Sometimes she would write(draw) a smiley face on the note. Now if you could imagine your mom or dad drawing, it was kind of like this. A huge circle, ( that was my head), two smaller oval shapes for my eyes, two dark big dots for my eyeballs,and about 5-6 lines for my eyelashes. Now to complete this, she would draw a huge smile ( no teeth) two half-circles attached to the side of my face for my ears, and some BIG HAIR!!! That image, no Picasso but beautiful nonetheless made me smile.

Words and images are so powerful. We take the advantage we now have with social media and abuse the reader by writing words and posting (drawing) images that damage all those who see. It almost seems like that the art of communication has been lost, because we forgot why we write.

My Mom wrote to provide instruction, guidance, humor but most of all love. When I became a Mom I followed her example and began to write notes in the children’s lunch boxes. I would use that moment to say to each of them what they mean to me. Most times after a conversation with each of them separately, the theme for that week’s note is made. The note is designed to make them feel special, to help them remember who they are, to remind them of their dreams, but most importantly to never let them forget I love them.  Taking time to put a few thoughts to paper was overwhelming at first. I thought with the schedule of the morning, I am not adding one more thing. But the first time I forgot a note and all three of my kids said, “mom where’s our note?” I knew it was more than just a chore, it was a connection.

Take time to tell those you love, those you are working on loving, even those you don’t love right now, the truth through pin and paper. Use those words to reflect what you need to do, and how you want to change the relationship. It may be old-fashioned, but today I wrote you a note!

Happy New Life!

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Unseen Grace

I pride myself on being a very involved mother to my children. I take the job seriously, because how I raise, instruct, and nurture my children is a direct reflection of my rearing and a future indicator of their success when they one day become parents. Let me paint a picture, my mom believes in the power of prayer. She has never been a medicine person. She took my sister and I to the doctor routinely and kept us well, however her instruction to us every time we experienced a slight sniffle was prayer. If we fell and hit our knee as we ran toward her for comfort,  she would say, “pray baby pray.” As I grew, prayer became as natural as breathing. I learned that I could always ask God to help me and immediately He would and then I could go to the doctor if I needed to.

My baby girl, who is 11 is full of life. She is spunky, sassy, intelligent and one of my greatest joys. When she was about 7, she was not eating her sandwiches in her lunch box. She came home and told me, ” Mom, I don’t like the bread.” Now I am a wheat bread junkie, so I told her, “too bad. Just eat it!” I mean seriously, we don’t waste food! Later that night, I was preparing for bed and I heard the Lord say,  “just let her eat white bread.” For those who know me intimately, I am real stubborn….don’t tell me what to do without an explanation, because you and I will have problems. I remember in that instance I shrugged my shoulders and decided to buy white bread. From that day til now she has been devouring every single sandwich. Fast forward four years and just last week I found myself  in the hospital clinic with my baby and she is having blood drawn for a possible undetected allergic reaction.

Now, you know I immediately heard, “pray baby pray,” and so I did. The results of the test confirmed that she was indeed allergic to wheat and most nuts. I almost cried as I heard the doctor this morning explain how to use an EpiPen in case of accidental ingestion of those foods. I recounted the times that I noticed her sneezing, coughing, and eyes running, seemingly out of nowhere because I didn’t know about this allergy. I thought to myself, if I would have known I would have changed everything. I thought, Oh my God, for the last 11 years You have protected my baby and kept her alive without any assistance from me.

We thanked the doctor for the information and left the office. As we drove home, I just couldn’t figure out how I missed the signs… why didn’t I know, why didn’t I recognize the changes? When we pulled into the driveway, all I could do was shake my head and thank God, for his Unseen Grace.

Are they any witnesses out there?

Happy 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!