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Short Stops

Wednesday Wind Down: Spring Into What?

Hi, Family!

I have another shortstop for your week – actually, it’s for your whole season.

Right now, there’s a whiff of grind culture in the pollen-filled spring air that can lead you into a bowl of trickery. If you’re not careful, you’ll get swept in the undercurrent and end up dazed and confused before Thanksgiving.

So, that’s where I come in with the following no-fluff statement:

Don’t buy into the hype of jumping into something you’re not willing to work for.

Tis the season for starting new ventures, moving to new places, and dressing up in new clothes. Easter usually marks the tangible change from winter although the solstice is in March, yet as soon as the warmth of sunlight brushes over our shoulders, we get drunk off goals. The buzz of new beginnings hum around us and we start to make plans without consulting the Divine Compass.

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Add dashes of “I’m going to do this!” and “I’m going to do that!” and the next thing we know, our to-do list is full of 30 things we vow to accomplish in one season. It sounds sexy and doable, but that’s where that trickery comes in.

Everything in your life wasn’t designed to be obtained in this way. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment on your list is learning how to listen to your children. Maybe it’s to draw a boundary between you and your work. Maybe it includes the creation of a solid self-care routine. Whatever it is, God wants quality over quantity. So, if you only accomplish that one thing, I promise Your Father will be just as proud of you.

This doesn’t deface the big bang items you want to accomplish. I am encouraging you to not get swept up in the spring air over overdoing it. Your life is worth more than long list. Your worth is more than your building blocks and you are not in competition with anyone. Be free in the Truth that you have nothing to prove to the world. So, scrub that to-do list and don’t make empty promises to yourself. Pray about your next steps, write down what you know, write down what you want, then go for it.

Photo by Andrew on Pexels.com

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

My prayer is that anxiety doesn’t overwhelm you and that you allow God’s Spirit to guide you and your to-do list. I’m doing the same because that undercurrent is a monster and I refuse to be on its menu.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Now Trending

Hi, Family!

How’s your week so far? Terrible? Great? Both?

I feel you and you are allowed to feel all of those. Yesterday, I celebrated one year of co-hosting QueensBeLike Podcast, but on Monday, I had a mini-meltdown, so hey… no judgment here. We’re in this thing together. *fist bump*

Tonight’s wind down is a tough love post. It’s also a short stop. 🙂

Here we go.

As we close March, we mark one year since the world acknowledged the dangers of COVID-19. I believe it was spreading before we took it seriously, and just like other times in history, we missed the warning signs. It was a conspiracy theory or no different than the flu until there were body bags. Until workers were fatigued. Until healthy patients died next to chronically sick ones. We missed it. That’s all there is to it.

Photo by Rodrigo Santos on Pexels.com

Other warning signs we’ve missed this decade (yes, I said decade) are too blatant to ignore.

One sweep of severe weather and possessions are ruined.
One month of unemployment and salaries feel like peanuts (or they always were).
One minute of wildfire and homes are lost.
One second of a decision and a lost life is a hashtag.
One virus and confusion germinates.

All it takes is one anything and our lives can be disheveled and we are eye-level with our transient brothers and sisters. There are no stables for our high horses and the reminders keep coming.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How many reminders do we need? How many times does God have to knock down our philosophical towers of babble formed with bricks of insatiable egos?

COVID-19 still permeates between geographical boundaries leaving trails of anguish behind. Political unrest and social injustice are yet seething underneath tectonic plates of arrogance. We are deafened to the cries of innocent immigrant children while justifying the economical rape of those we sabotage.

The more we bury our heads in warm jackets of jaded comfort, the more I believe God sighs for us to catch the hints… to notice the following trends:

  1. All it takes is one thing to change everything.
  2. We can’t say we love God and not love each other.

When “Get a better job” is the response raising minimum wage, we’ve missed it.
When we enjoy art and education from professionals then refuse to pay them fairly, we’ve missed it.
When we arrest a congresswoman for knocking on a door, but allow rioters to attack other humans, we’ve missed it.

Once again, Jesus looks at our hearts and wonders where He fits. There is little room for His Love to multiply and the world is watching.

Family, we need to listen to the loudness and move in the stillness of Truth. We need to synchronize in empathy. We need to be the Body we were created to be.

Pray this prayer and pray that you mean it – “Lord, show me my blindspots.” Let that trend.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Deep Dive

Hey, Family!

How’s your week so far? I pray it’s been amazing!

If you’re new to my site, this is my virtual living room and you’re welcome to sit for a minute. We get personal around here as I merge faith and humanity, so I’m glad you’re here. Let’s go!

Currently, I am healing from the outside in and it is painstakingly uncomfortable. Having surgery last year opened up a Pandora’s box of emotional remnants that I didn’t know were there.

A major key I reaffirmed is that I’m acrobatic in giving grace to others.

When you’re a Psychology-turned-Communication Arts major, you are ingrained to look at every situation with a prism instead of judgmental binoculars. You quickly learn that everything isn’t as it seems and you dishonor the truth when you leave out a perspective.

For example, your spouse comes homes and the door slams behind her, what are your thoughts?

Photo by Dobromir Hristov on Pexels.com

At first glance, you may jump to a “What’s wrong with you?” type of response. A communication skill called perception checking would take you through a few steps to allow ethical interpretation of that behavior. Maybe she misjudged how close the door was to the frame or the wind forced it. Maybe, she was annoyed with something that happened during the commute and regrets letting it slam. After you provide the possibilities, you ask your spouse to verify or correct those options. This diffuses defensiveness and allows your spouse to tell you the truth instead of you being upset by your assumption. Even if she doesn’t say so, she can’t say you jumped to a conclusion and reacted rashly.

See what I mean?

Prism. Not binoculars.

So, passing out grace? No worries there. I give situations a 360-view before I draw the line.

Serving that plate to myself? Epic fail. More like “Harpo, who dis?”

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com

Sometimes I even beat myself up because I’m not trudging through every muddy puddle with a smile, waving my usual positivity flag, and onboarding everyone around me on the sunshine train. Why? Let’s admit it, Family… who doesn’t want that badge of honor and who hasn’t glorified that trait in others?

“She never complained.”

“He always put his kids before himself.”

“She always had a smile on her face.

“He always had a kind word to say.”

It’s an addictive perfection drug that can take you out if you’re not careful. I admit – I want the badge. I want the perfection. I want those words said at my funeral… but when I really need to breathe between the punches, I end up landing a fist of guilt on myself as I give a plate full of grace to someone else.

All I can say is thank God for therapy.

So far, I’ve had some serious revelations. One of them is the following: I know how to survive in a box; I struggle breathing outside of it. Thank you, Therapist.

Let me explain. Who knows? Maybe you and I are related.

Remember that scene in Harlem Nights (1989) when Eddie Murphy tells Danny Aiello to take very short breaths while he’s in the vault? That’s me. Little breaths. All day. All month. All year if I have to. Whatever it takes to get me over the hump and keep moving. Don’t get me wrong – I know how to self-care just not between traumatic milestones. In the words of my therapist, I know how to survive on little breaths. It’s like coming up for air after a deep ocean dive, but only taking a short breath before returning to the depths.

That is not sustainable and I hereby declare that I am no longer able to sustain myself on those small puffs of air. See what I did there? OK, I’ll stop rhyming. Lol

I’ve accomplished a lot in the midst of about 14 years of unfortunate events. I felt great about each milestone, took vacations, enjoyed time with friends and family, smashed some goals, and yet – *gasp* Little breath. Why? Because that’s how I learned to survive the shockwaves. That’s how I said to my mind, body, and spirit “Hey, get ready. There’s another one coming.” Over time, a week-long vacation or a mini-road trip transformed into a mere puff of air or a big exhale from holding my breath underwater so long.

Who can survive like that?

None of us.

So, I’m on a quest to learn how to live outside of the ocean I’ve learned to survive in and to kick the boxes that read “This is the way to heal” and “Christians suffer quietly with permanent smiles on their faces.”  I’m asking God to rewire my spirit so I can sweetly pass that warm plate of grace to myself and to accept it easily from my Savior, knife and fork in hand.

I also pray that by sharing this moment, you are encouraged to begin or continue your own journey to a healthier you. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to only show the highlight reel and be shamed as you heal and learn. Our faith allows for growth and grace to flow to us and through us. It calls for us to break at the feet of Jesus and within the sanctuary of   each other’s understanding because His Love should flow from heart to heart to create that circle of safety.

Let’s agree to deep dive into the waters of our soul if we need to and to learn to deeply breathe outside of the boxes we discover – the one that happened to us and the one we taped up ourselves.

I love y’all and I’m praying for you. As always, Peace and Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: So Loved

Good Morning, Family!

I hope you’re doing well out there despite severe weather, hate crimes, and illness swirling around us. I pray for you often, so you have an advocate here, OK? OK. Let’s dig into this short stop.

As my excavation and therapy continues, the layers have revealed a rawness I haven’t been able to ignore.

Sometimes I cry and sometimes I’m overwhelmed with frustration. While the rollercoaster is annoying, I am committed to the healing process. Like I told my therapist, now that I’m aware of this hidden suitcase, I’m all in – I’m healing from this one time and one time only.

One of the revelations on this rollercoaster has been that in spite of the valleys, God has always shown me that I am loved.

A note of appreciation from a student
A love note from my mother
A sunset in my favorite colors
A car ride from my sister
A text message saying I love you
A slow walk with my cousin after surgery
A former student calling to check on me
A stranger pushing my car during a snowstorm
A supervisor letting me sit in on an executive meeting
A long hug that was much needed
A kind word on a difficult day
A chance to cry on a friend’s shoulder
A compliment from a cashier
A friend paying for dinner
A road trip full of laughs
A cup of grace when I was wrong

All of these beautiful moments were unsolicited and there are plenty more. I’ll never understand why horrible things happen. Truthfully, I can’t even say that everything is allowed to make us stronger either. I believe some things occur because we make negative decisions. I also believe nothing catches God by surprise. Somehow, some way, there are reminders we are loved through it all.

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels.com

Consider similar moments in your life. I know the sucky moments are there, but place your pencil on the page and retrace the years. I’m sure you’ll find unsolicited moments of love sprinkled over your life. So, as much as I despised the valleys and felt alone at times, God always said “You are so loved.”

So loved.

The ring of those words has been in my ear for years (and is actually a book in progress), but it radiated such high vibrations one day. I teared up and said “Thank you. I am so loved.” Over and over again, I said those words and they washed over me like a warm water from a rainfall showerhead. At that moment, I didn’t feel forsaken. I felt remembered.

Family, you are so loved. I love you enough to write you on the regular and God loves you enough to send you reminders from various directions. You are not forgotten. You are not forsaken.

I pray you receive every transmitted love message divinely sent to you.

I love you. God loves you. You are so loved.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Replenish

Happy Thursday, Family!

I hate I missed you last night. The sandman knocked me down and I went with it, but you know I couldn’t leave you hanging until next week. So, here’s what I’ve been chewing on lately (and it’s a short stop).

This passage comes after God lets the children of Israel have it. In modern terms, this is also called “giving the business” or “reading” someone. *lol* Whatever you want to call it, God let them know He was not happy with their fasting foolishness.

Then comes this passage which has been a breath of fresh air to this season. Every time I read it, I think about the water cycle. Remember that from elementary school? It’s a beautiful reminder that God’s strength is never-ending and that He has plenty for us. I love that the water never runs out during the water cycle. You can read more about how water reminds me of God’s awesomeness here.

That “continually” part is everything to me. The Lord’s guidance will never run out on you. Your strength will be replenished well enough for you to be well-watered in a dry place. I don’t know about you, but I could use some water right now. Like clockwork, when I feel like I have nothing left to give — like an empty garden — God always give me more… more oxygen, more strength, more peace, more of something to go a little further. I may be emotionally drained, then someone calls and asks for prayer. I may be hurting and I will feel a supernatural boost to help someone in need. He never fails and, like that ever-flowing spring, our Source is everlasting. Since He is everlasting, we do not have to be. What a blessing that is! How relieving it is that we do not have to water ourselves! You and I both know that we try to reach that aerial bar with much failure at our feet, so I pray that you bask in that truth today and every day.

What I also love is that as He replenishes us, we will be infused with enough to be rebuilders and restorers. We can go from being a desolate place to building life around us. How cool is that?

I love you all and I’m praying for you. Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!

Wednesday Wind Down: Love in Living Color

Hey, Family!

It’s Valentine’s weekend and everywhere you go, there’s red hearts, candies, and roses to be had. Some couples and singles have plans while others plan to do nothing. There’s the usual Galentine’s festivities and even February 15th is dubbed National Side Chick Day, but that’s for another conversation.

What will you do if you’re feeling blue on Valentine’s Day? I’m glad you asked! Below is a verse to consider as you enjoy the weekend.

2 Corinthians 4:18So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

It’s so easy to get caught up in gift-giving, but Jesus’ Love came with the ultimate red bottoms. His blood was shed so you would remember how loved you truly are and we can stand firmly on that foundation.

Photo by Konstantin Mishchenko on Pexels.com

It’s the mindset we should have during hardship.
It’s the vision we should maintain when we can’t see a way through adversity.
It’s the platform we stand on in the middle of our stormiest seas.
It’s His Love that allows us to Love others.

Flowers are beautiful but for a season. Gifts are exceptional until they are lost or discarded. The Love we share with others will be remembered most. Think of it as a highlight reel on a television screen and you’ll see that His Love exceeds any money you may spend.

I ask you this, Family – Do you love in a way that will outlive you? Do you love in living color? If you didn’t say a word, could love be easily identified in you?

Consider this your reminder to start today as those questions simmer in your spirit. No holiday necessary.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Unpack the Bag

Hey, Family!

Here’s a short shop for your week!

You know how society stresses the importance of securing the bag? If you’ve never heard of this colloquialism, it means to take advantage of a financial opportunity, obtain the funds, snatch the coins… you get the drift.

Well, for some of us, I say it’s time to unpack the bag. *raising my hand too*

I’ve been undergoing this uncomfortable adventure with my therapist recently. As faith-filled as we may be, there’s a bag of stuff that we keep tucked away or in my case, that we never knew existed.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

So, how does a Christian begin the process of unpacking an emotional suitcase? First, you need two guides – The Holy Spirit and a professional counselor/therapist. If you’re new here, welcome to my blend. I’m an avid advocate for mental health and I believe God gifted persons with the ability to help us navigate difficult waters. If you need a starting point, let me know. I have a list of exceptional professionals that can either help you directly or refer you to someone who can.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

As you find a match for your wellness needs and prepare for the journey, here are three things to remember –

  1. Remember you serve a God who cares.
    • WORD: Psalm 147:3 NLT – “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”
    • NOTE: Whatever the weight, He can handle it. Start unloading.
  2. Remember you are an exceptional creation.
    • WORD: Psalm 139: 13-14 NLT – “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.”
    • NOTE: Your baggage doesn’t change who you are.
  3. Remember freedom is yours.
    • WORD: Psalm 34:14 NLT – “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.”
    • NOTE: You do not have to live in your baggage. The suitcase is not your home. You can be freed.

Family, don’t forget you are not alone and you have everything it takes to begin the journey. I pray you have the courage to take the first steps necessary toward a healthier you. I know I am.

Peace & Thanks for listening to my under-500-word Tiny Desk Ted Talk! *lol*

Wednesday Wind Down: No Shade

Hi, Family!

I hope you’re doing well out there. If not, I hope this short stop helps.

Have you ever had someone judge your plate? You know the type. They throw side-eye shade about your chicken alfredo between their green smoothie sips. They may even comment about the calories and how you should try their diet of the month. How rude.

When I sit down to enjoy a fun meal, I have no regrets. Why? I remember all the vegetables I ate and the carbs I declined. I smile at the fruit I ate instead of chocolate and the extra cardio I enjoyed (dance is my favorite cardio by the way). I let that shade stay on their side of the street. Why again? Because I know the truth. I know my plate is my reward.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

This week, I encourage you to stick close to the Truth and throw off that shade. No one knows your internal struggles but you and God. You’re the only one that lives in your skin. Pray that you are infused with divine strength to withstand the shade of judgment. Nothing but toxicity grows there, so stay on the side of Truth. Here’s three quick vitamins to help with that –

  1. Say to whom you belong, e.g. “I am yours; you are mine.”
  2. Tell yourself one truth about your plate, e.g. “I’m going to enjoy this moment, then continue my journey.”
  3. Remind yourself that judgment doesn’t stick to you, e.g. “I don’t have to own what you give.”

I love y’all and I’m praying for you as you navigate those shade trees. While you’re at it, read Ephesians 6:10-17 and do right by your body so you can have that alfredo. *lol*

Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well out there!

Wednesday Wind Down: Hero

Hi, Family!

Get ready for your short stop.

I saturated myself in the Inauguration yesterday. I always do. Why? Because I’m a nerd, an educator, and a communication specialist. I’m a nerdy educational communicator. That’s a serious trifecta.

It means that I analyze communication like a scientist studies petri dishes. I dissect verbal and nonverbal behavior like a mathematician breaks down equations. I love social sciences. It’s my jam.

Gotta love the National Park Service.

So, I watched the pomp and circumstance as I do every 4 years. I observed body language, vocal inflections, artifacts (objects people use to express themselves), and communicative congruency. I noticed hairstyles, tie colors, and this year — masks. The music. The military. The tradition. I love it all.

After weaving in and out of the little known facts yesterday, I heard the following in my spirit:

“No one is a Savior, but everyone can be an example.”

I paused and wrote it down as I do with these type of moments.

America easily idolizes leaders in various capacities —- especially when it comes to government and religion. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, our idea of leaders can creep into deity status. That’s the trap. That’s a diabolical rabbit hole we can’t afford to travel down every 4 years.

Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

God has called us to be everyday examples of His Love. His compassion should flow through our hands and deposit into the others. Here’s the kicker — titles aren’t required to do what is right. Prestige is not important when Love cries out. Everyone has the same opportunity to be an example because everyone was made in the image of the Father. So, president or janitor, God has given us the same orders. There are giants to slay, hearts that need mending, and lives that need enriching. He armed us with His Love. My prayer is that we accept this precious call and carry out the greatest mission in the world.

One of my favorite songs is “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner. It grounds me and uplifts me at the same time. The lyrics are poignant and we could use the reminder as faith walkers.

Respect every office, family, just don’t forget your own cape. God has given you the power of Love and the sword of His Truth to be an example every day… to be a hero for someone in your family, at work, or at the coffee shop.

Stay well out there. Love y’all. Peace & Thanks for listening!

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