Monthly Archives: February 2017

Finishing Strong …

Standard

Perhaps it has been a tough week filled with unexpected occurrences. It happens and of course this will not the the last time. Each time you try to get a sound footing, well, life happens and you slip. I actually ‘fall’ -ungraciously 😳. But I want to encourage us to press on and get back up again. If we stop now we may never realize hopes, dreams, goals, potential and purpose. Let us not be lulled into the flawed concept that if we have a passion for something it will come easy. Nope. Life itself takes determination, diligence and courage. 

Get back up, get back in the fight and be an overcomer!

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one to beat air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. ~1 cor 9:24-27

Advertisements

Enjoying the Bright Side

Standard

This week I have am traveling for my job and tomorrow is Valentines Day. My husband and I are a little slow in understanding Valentine’s Day and we normally skip the festivities. Most things I really enjoy can’t fit in a box anyway. I love being in these two places

I don’t really have to buy anything while I’m there. Just love walking and looking and gathering ideas.  Sat on oversized furniture while soaking up some evening sun and enjoying the perfect climate -inside. Cabela’s is my vacation store. Wegmans is my shopping splurge, imagination station and restaurant. Tonight was sushi to take back to my hotel room                             

So I’m one of those weirdos who likes to travel for work and like to stay in good clean safe hotel. But it’s back home tomorrow and I shall not return empty handed. I just had to buy my sweetie something. Whenever I travel I bring him a treat. It will be extra special tomorrow because it will be Valentine’s Day and as I stated earlier we just don’t do anything in preparation for Valentine’s Day. I could not resist getting him these cookies by the pound from Wegmans. The two at the top are oatmeal cream sandwichcookies and they are heavy and soft. The two in the middle are chocolate chip peanut butter crunch cookies. He loves chocolate chip cookies and he loves peanut butter cookies so I thought this may be a great addition to his culinary cookie pallet. In the final cookie at the bottom is a Macaroon cookie that has been dipped in chocolate. Sorry but that one is for me. Love love love love coconut. My home away from home gig will be up tomorrow but thank God I have a wonderful home to return to. Well, that loud freeway outside my hotel room is lulling me too sleep.   Until next me …

AN ORDINARY GLORIOUS DAY

Standard

It is a Wednesday.

The sun is rising with all its beauty and majesty with the anticipation of a glorious day. I rose from my slumber of 7.5 hours to greet the day and sat on the side of my bed for 15 minutes before the fog of slumber would release me to start moving.

There is nothing like a shower first morning to help the senses come fully awake (adding my favorite sugar scrub is a bonus –if I remember to use it). And when they are at last jolted by the tepid water they help me to realize … I still have my socks on –while standing in the shower. I now wonder if this is the precursor to my day.

At last with a fresh face and fully clothed. I begin my journey in my pre-warmed car by my hubby (always gracious to me). As I scoot along to work, I tell myself to be fully engaged. I have arrived at work to many times only not to remember my drive to work. So I have been practicing being fully engaged for 4 months now. As I am fully engaged, my mind begins to ponder if others have to tell themselves to be fully engage or are just normally in the moment of what they are doing. And just like that … I have just run a red light after following behind a school bus. No accident! There are few cars on the road at 4:30am. My mind begs the question: why did you only notice the light when you were almost through the light? If you were practicing being engaged, in the moment would you have not seen that light? Thank you Father that you protected me from myself and others from my disengagement.

Arriving safely at work, I make a Latte from our fancy coffee maker and settle myself at my desk to read my devotional and scriptures and have prayer while watching the sun spray early morning pinks and golds so radiantly across the sky. As I stand at the window of my office quietly listening and waiting, I begin to hear the early morning sounds of humming engines and groggy ‘good morning’ greetings. I know it is time to refocus and begin the work day.

Then that ‘tyrant’ enters my office. Urgent is his name. I quickly plead my case of the day’s priorities but someone else’s urgency invades my world and re-orders my day. I am now the receptionist plus my job and oh yes, it is raining so the computers are slow and the internet connection is fading in and out. I think to myself that these are first world problems. Relax and maximize the day.

Yes the phone is annoying as it rings like the bells of Christmas but overall the morning is progressing well. Except it is mid-morning and I just discovered that I left my breakfast and lunch on the kitchen counter and my wallet is in my jacket pocket … -the one that I did not wear today! I would officially like a DO OVER! Lord please help me and this brain of mine. It doesn’t seem to work right but use it for your glory somehow.

I picked up the phone on the 999th ring and found a voice that knows me and wants to thank me. The caller proceeds to introduce herself and quickly my mind knows. I only met this woman less than two weeks ago and interacted with her for a short 3 days. I was training her for a vacant position in our company. I took the time to share with her things I have learned about myself over the years and goals for this year, as well as years 3, 5, 10 and lifetime. As I listened to her life story, parts she was willing to share anyway, I provided encouragement and share knowledge, truth and light when appointed. We laughed and began to develop the eye language that most women develop when they become friends. Deciding that the job was not right for her, she gracefully bowed out one morning via phone call. So gracious were her words to my heart and soothing to my soul. I would love to believe that through me she had a chance encounter with my Jesus as He is always weaved into my conversations. He is my Life and all to Him I owe. We bid our good byes and vowed to stay in touch.

Before I can gather my thoughts, my cell phone chirps with a text message from a sweet young lady I met who was doing temp work for us for 2 weeks.

Her text: I still have your book. I would like to meet and return it although I am not done reading it.

My text: Not a problem, when you are finished text and we will meet then. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Her text: Glad u don’t mind. Never liked reading until I met u. Would love to keep in touch and hang out if you don’t mind. Thank you for helping me on the job. Hang in there.

This is a military spouse who is fairly new to our area. I am grateful she could find respite under my care and that I was not too selfish of my time and talents.

It is lunch time and my fellow coworkers ordered out. By happenstance (yeah right) there is an extra salad leftover. My day is really looking brighter!

The rest of my day was uneventful … or was it just another glorious ordinary day. 

Under Our Skin. getting real about race.

Image

benjamin-watsons-book-under-our-skinIn a book of just 204 short pages, Benjamin Watson expresses his thoughts and feelings and ideas in such an honest and thought provoking manner. Eloquent yet very forward, he takes us inside himself as a man, as a Black (African American) man and as a man of God. This book is not preachy but an honest dialogue of a man’s heart. Whether or not your beliefs are the same as his, you will come away on page 204 different than you were on page 1.

He examines racism and himself from the following -anger, introspectiveness, embarrassment, frustration, fearfulness and confusion, sadness and sympathy, offense, hopelessness, encouragement and empowerment. He draws us in to help us examine ourselves and to be brutally honest and open. I actually love the way he thinks about his own feelings, thoughts and actions and then frames them in a biblical perspective before communicating outwardly. As you progress through the book, you can feel the raw honesty of acknowledging where he fits in the situation instead of flinging blames and accusations. He presents the root -the heart of mankind that only God can change.

Watson does not allow us to sit back and point a presumptive finger at racism. He makes us take that hard look of examining ourselves against the issue of racism and admit that it is inside each of us.  If racism was just ‘a’ person or even ‘a group’ of people we could contain it. But it is much larger than that. This is a human kind issue.

Besides recognizing racism as evil, he expresses the need the conversation -dialogue. Too often we presume things to be one way when they were actually meant or viewed another way. We should seek the common good instead of the small things that are so divisive and hurtful. If we stay closed-minded and never dialogue among each other we allow those differences to stagnate our worldview. Those experiences we have never get shared until something on the racial spectrum happens and then we simply blow in an unhealthy way. It is gravely important that whites and blacks try to dialogue and understand the other side. But, Watson, candidly recognized that racism will not go away completely but we can make it better.

From each book I read, I take away something or garner a favorite quote. I have expressed my views and concerns with many and they mostly parallel Watson’s. But here is where he goes a step further than I …

“And you and I are both guilty,

We all have malice deep down.

We all harbor wrong attitudes towards others.

At its core, the issue is not about race. It’s about the human heart.

… Nothing will change … unless …

Unless God changes our hearts and minds.

God, hear our prayer … (p. 17).

Watson makes it personal for me. He uses the pronouns you and I, whereas I always used ‘they’. Sad but true. It took longer to read this book than I expected because it caused me to be reflective throughout the chapters. And that is just the thing that makes for a good non-fiction book.

Thank you Mr. Watson

A Natural Mentor 

Standard

Two years ago I joined a mentorship program in Hampton Roads. We were partnered or matched with young girls of various ages. What you will quickly learn while mentoring is that no matter the age, it is a reciprocal relationship. You will probably learn more about yourself than about her. You will love, you will grow and you will inspire her to do the same one day. Through mentoring, we have forged some deep and long lasting friendships. These special bond are usually started when one person needs a little guidance, help or just a listening ear. What blooms is growth and love of two or more who only have a heart for loving and desire the best for another.

                                                                                    
 

Strangely enough, I never saw myself as a mentor. I never thought I had myself together enough to mentor someone especially an adult. The opportunity came when I was looking for a meaning way to volunteer in the community. These girls just needed an outlet that was safe, a trustworthy listening ear and lots of fun. Check, check, check, I can do all those! After mentoring into my second year, I was reading over some old journals that I had (in feeble attempt to get organized but that is another blog post) and discovered that I have been a natural mentor for most of my adult life! It was never by mutual agreement but on the journey of life, God would allow my life to intersect the life of another woman who would need love, care and guidance for awhile. The lengths of time varied but the quality of time was always beneficial, necessary and impactful. 

This year I have set goals for intentional and impactful mentoring. Before my plans were fully formed, two women walked in my life -only this time I was alert, engaged and intentional. Coincidence? I think not. Each woman came of her own with stories and dreams and goals and they needed someone to help them organize their thoughts and move those goals from paper to reality. And that my friends is the year long program that I was designing. So yes, I am excited and yes, I am nervous. I look forward with great anticipation to sharing, learning, loving and growing. I would love to see ‘us’ at the end of the year stronger, purposeful, kingdom building women. 

While meditating and prayerfully considering this, I did not tell anyone. Several persons just happened to tell me that I should consider coaching or counseling but I just wanted to know what God wanted of me. I knew I wanted to try to give it a go and it felt right but I wanted to be sure (yep I am that kinda girl). One evening while meditating I read Titus 2 and my heart overflowed. Words cannot express what transpired in that moment. I will work diligently to love and guide those sent to me. Together we will glean all the Father has before us.