Help!

I don’t know about you, but I do not really like to ask for help. Being the oldest child I have learned how to offer help to those who are younger than me. I have always extended courtesy to others when it is obvious to me that they needed some assistance. My sister says, I have the heart to help the “underdog.” But when I need help, I find myself scrambling to figure out the problem and save face so others do not perceive me as weak. What’s up with that? The world teaches us how to take care of me and mine, and you get whatever is left. The world tells me to step on, and step over those in my way of success or getting what rightfully belongs to me. Use whatever means necessary to ensure my ability to climb the ladder of success, have the best house, the best children, the best marriage, even if it is a lie.

For the last few weeks I have been attending a women’s bible study that has challenged me to my core. As a believer, it is easy for me to offer help to those that I believe are struggling more than me, why, because I know the secret-don’t let anyone know I am really the one who needs help. So where’s the disconnect? When did it not become ok, to need help? When we were children, we asked our parents, as students we asked our teachers, as adults, we become silent.  Today, I need help. I need God. I need unconditional love. I need grace. I need mercy. All of these things can only come when I ask for help, genuinely without fear, without wondering who might talk about me, without consequence because I want to be whole.

Life is so precious and wasting time pretending to be fine when you are screaming on the inside doesn’t make sense. I challenge you tonight to ask for Help!

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!!

 

Begin Again

Life.  It is one of the most rewarding, most difficult, most complex, most fun gifts that we have been given. Life takes everything that you are and then demands more than seems possible for you to give. Life, is an individual journey, shared with family, friends, enemies, and strangers. There are moments when words escape you to describe how you feel, then there are moments when life causes you to burst into uncontrollable laughter, some moments that you cry, and some where there is no emotion at all. Yet, we all have one life.

January is the first month of the calendar year, most of the world makes resolutions, determinations, just plans to live life differently than the last twelve months. By the end of this first month, most of us have returned to Life, just how it was last year. Why is that? I mean is it difficult to commit? Do we really think that changing is the best option until we have to do it? Is it peer pressure, is it laziness, is it fear? What happens between December 31 and January 31 has stifled the entire population. There is a drive to be, to do something anything new, until Life interrupts. So how do we change that?

What guides you? What are you passionate about? Who do you love? These questions hold the answer to your attempt and mine in January that fail by February. If we set a goal, why is the goal not centered around my passion? If we want a change in our lives, why not focus on the people we love to help change it? If we want a new career, why are we afraid to follow our hearts desire? Why? Because we think if we try to and fail, it’s over. Here’s the truth, every morning we have new mercies, new grace, to begin again. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised, but you have today. Begin Again, right now. Accomplish something today. Don’t spend this gift of today planning for next year, live right now.

Begin Again.

Happy New Life!

Lamentations 3:21-23

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!!

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!!

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!

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!

 

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!!