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Wednesday Wind Down: Stick in the Mud

Happy Wednesday, Sweetheart!

How was your week? Mine was pretty great. If yours wasn’t, it just got better. *smile* Keep reading to get a shortstop for your week.

I was walking Sammy after a rainy day and noticed the ant mounds. They had been pounded by what probably seemed to be gigantic raindrops in their eyes. If I were an ant, I would have abandoned the mounds; they looked unlivable. Some had already dried to form a semi-hard crust of mud. Then, God whispered a reminder in my ear.

Ants don’t leave when it rains.

They stay and rebuild because they know the mud will harden and create protection for what lies beneath. How often have you wanted to quit when it rains? How many of us think of rain as a bad thing? Consider this — the very thing that appears to be destroying what you’ve built is actually creating the form for what you need. The storm is causing you to anchor deeply into your faith. The wind is forcing you to stand firm on what you profess. The lightning flashes jolt you into awareness that life is not a game and that you have a purpose. You could apply this to relationships just as much as your personal life too.

We could learn a lot from ants. Storage, communication, unity… I vote to add resolve and perseverance to their coat of arms as well. I bet I could add those words to yours as well.

Still praying for you all! Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Hello December!

Hi, Sweethearts!

Coming off the heels of #bloglikecrazy, you would think I would need a break from writing. Quite the contrary!

This week, I am in a welcoming mood. The holiday season brings an influx of business in the worlds of massage therapy and performance art and God has given me the grace to handle the tight schedule. He also has given me a forecast of what’s required of me and I’m excited… genuinely excited. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m ready for the harvest it will bring.

I look at December as a launchpad full of anticipation. My friends know that I’m a planner. Truthfully, I’m already into late 2020 and early 2021. The planning only comes after a divine download of intentions. Once I see it in my spirit, it’s a go. Below are three tips to guide your goal-setting for next year. They have served me well and I hope it helps you too.

  1. Split the year into four quarters. When the year is broken down, goals appear less intimidating to me. Whether it’s a mini-vacay or a performance event, quarterly thinking prevents overwhelm both in finances and in time. I always look at the entire year and do what my friend/mentor said — pick a date and plan backward. Best advice for goal-setting I’ve ever received.

    app apple calendar computer
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  2. Do what works for you. I’ve tried the pretty planners and my latest beauty ended up in the recycling box. I was sad to let it go as an avid planner junkie, but I had to come to grips with the fact that it wasn’t efficient for me in this season. Maybe I’ll circle back around to my former habit, but for now, it’s not worth the guilt trip. Try using Google Calendar and set notifications to keep you on target weeks in advance.
  3. Write it down. I don’t care what type of goal it is, write it down. Use sticky notes, notebooks, copy paper, whatever it takes. When you write it down, the intangible “One day, I want to…” vortex loses its power. It’s visible and you can’t deny it (or yourself) anymore.

Maybe one of your goals is to decrease your fast food intake or eat dinner with your family twice a week or have a staycation. Whatever it is, I encourage you to create a December to remember as you plant seeds into your 2020. We got this, Sweetheart. Just take it one goal at a time and celebrate the wins. You have plenty of them coming. *fist bump*

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #30

Prayer: “JESUS!”

Sometimes, that’s all you have time to say. In a split second, your life could be in danger or you’re so far in despair that you can’t see a way out of your situation. In times like those, I learned that the name of Jesus IS a prayer. Let me tell you why.

We love justice. We love to see those that have wronged society get what they deserve. Since we were created by God, I believe his spiritual fingerprint is on our lives. So, that justice-seeking attribute, that is a God-like quality in the form of Jehovah El GemuwalThe LORD God of Recompense. Because this same standard applies to our wrongdoings, Jesus died and rose from the grave so we could be freed from the power and perpetual penalty of sin. When Jesus died on the cross, he provided the opportunity for freedom to be our lifestyle instead of a historical luxury for the affluent, lawful, and patriarchy. Take the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. The law stated that she be stoned, but Jesus brought up a great point — that the law needed to apply to the accusers as well. He then pardoned the woman and told her to go and sin no more. That’s the power that I believe in. His name is like no other.

So, you best believe, when I only had that split second during a drive or doctor’s appointment, the only thing I could think to say was the name that I believe is above all names. Is it a magic trick where everything goes perfectly whenever I say it? Absolutely not. Bad things still happen; we see it every day on the news. I also know that in times when I could have had justice, I was given grace and that’s enough for me to keep believing… and praying.

I’ve enjoyed you this month and I hope that I’ve said something that will carry you into the new year. You have been exceptional company and I’m glad you chose to stop by my writing home this month. Next week, we’re back to the Wednesday Wind Downs.  See you then and stay safe out there.

Peace & Thanks for listening. *drop mic on #bloglikecrazy challenge*

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #29

Prayer: “Bless ’em, Lord.”

Short and sweet, that’s exactly how the prayer sounds. Every time I pass by someone who is experiencing car trouble, I can’t help it. I’m an empath.

Now, I know everyone is not genuinely stranded and no, I do not stop to help. I do, however, make a non-emergency phone call when it appears only the driver is present so help can be on the way. I also pray whenever I see someone walking along the interstate emergency lanes. Why do I say a prayer every time? You can thank my mother for that.

I recall us being stranded on the interstate when I was a child. It was nighttime and a sweet family (who didn’t know us) stopped and took us to the nearest exit. I remember the couple had a little girl that was a bit younger than me and they moved her to the front so my mother and I could sit in the backseat. She and I kept looking at each other and I remember thinking how different our lives probably were. Without digressing too far, let’s just say I’m glad they helped us and who knows if the drivers before them said a prayer for us until they arrived.

God hears every prayer, even the short ones at 70 miles per hour when you see someone changing their flat tire. Try incorporating this habit into your commute as well. Think about the time you were inconvenienced with car trouble and have enough empathy to pray for others. Perhaps your prayer is just the jumpstart they need to receive a miracle.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #23

Prayer: “Lord, please make this work. I really need this to work.”

Have you ever had all the eggs in one basket and you were hoping you weren’t an idiot for putting them there, but you had to wait it out to see if it was a dumb move or a smart step? Cool. I knew I had found my people.

It reminds me of the bridge in my favorite hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” –

“O, what piece we often forfeit

O, what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.”

Sweethearts, I’ve had my fair share of forfeited peace. Plenty of moments where it was no one’s fault but mine. I saw the signs and walked straight into (or stayed in) the quicksand. Maybe I thought it was truly a smart step or I didn’t want to be deemed a quitter. Either way, I was still stuck in it. I’ve also experienced times when I took God at His Word and couldn’t ssee the dividends of doing so. Same prayer applied in each scenario.

Whatever it is that you’re in, pray for it to work. Now, here’s the kicker… when you do that, you relinquish your right to choose the avenue in which it will work out and in what capacity. It could mean that you don’t get the raise, but you increase in favor with your colleagues and supervisor. That happened to me. It could mean that you are let go under false pretenses, but you are released before the crap hits the fan and the workplace reeks of unethical behavior. That happened to me too. In essence, be prepared for all things to work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I’m praying for you all. You got this and God’s got you. Peace and Thanks for listening! It will work out!

Wednesday Wind Down: Dichotomic 

Recently, I felt the pain of a woman who’s only desire was to provide the best solution for her children at the expense of what she wished for them. She cried after we prayed together. I bought the items she needed and she agreed to a massage therapy session. I just wanted to help, wanted her to know that I see her. She was the 2nd person for I whom I prayed and to whom I had given. The first person was homeless and when I asked him for a prayer request, his response was to pray for his family. How selfless. These opportunities started hours after I received news that my income would decrease… again. Perfect timing, right? Exactly. That’s what I said too.

Now, I’m not monetarily rich. I’m not a superstar. I don’t have someone taking sensational photos of me at every turn so I can post them on the ‘gram. And I’m definitely not a selfie girl. I just… listen. I sincerely try to listen to God’s voice everyday and anywhere. That’s how this blog Listening at the Speed of Life was born. So, when those opportunities presented themselves, I had to be obedient. No questions asked. 

What have I learned about myself along this journey of obedience? 

  • I hug my students.
  • I even hug strangers. 
  • I pray for people I don’t know.
  • I say thank you. A lot.
  • I love big and I retreat quickly.
  • I boldly express my care.
  • I can speak up when I’m scared.
  • I can ask questions unapologetically. 
  • I seek to understand. 
  • I generally stay to myself, yet I have meaningful relationships.
  • I am a delicate, and resilient balance of mind, body, and spirit.
  • My introversion is beautiful, not a defect.
  • I don’t have to be loud if I don’t want to be.
  • I don’t have to be in the mix to feel included.
  • I like breathing and being, and sometimes these come at the cost of being misunderstood. That’s OK with me now. (It wasn’t when I started.)

So, back to the moment. She was grateful. I was humble. We connected.

The message?

It’s time that we slow down and feel the heartbeat of one another. We’re all humans trying to navigate through this life, and if you’re a Christian, then you’re trying to adhere to a certain compass as you travel on your path. It’s not easy, and we are all doing it… walking it out, journeying into the next dimension of ourselves, and feeling our way around in the darkness of tomorrow’s challenges. 

What would it hurt to wave to the service worker? Speak to the custodian? Give a thank you card to the teacher? Buy an extra meal for the hungry? Or simply hug your friend without it being an obligatory salutation? 

What happened to us orbiting together instead of spinning around each other, being afraid to bump into one another’s space? 

What happened to running the human race together and checking on others along the way?

Peace & Thanks for listening. 

No Matter What 

Flight Write: ATL -> DCA -> PVD

No matter what, God is good. 

His goodness is not contingent upon my feelings,  reactions, or justifications. He is good. Period. And His mercy endureth forever (Psalm 136:1) – which means whatever I’m going through, whenever I’m going through,  wherever I’m going through it, He is still good. He transcends time and situation. There is nothing too far where God’s mercy can’t reach; He’s already tHEre. There is nothing too hard for Him where His goodness will not reign.Psalm 136.1 YouVersion

I have a list of things that went wrong in the last 7 days, but I also have a list of what went right. They combat each other, and then they balance each other out.

How can you laugh when your license plate was stolen off of your car in broad daylight? You get grateful that your car wasn’t missing too.

How do you not be upset that you have to work on your day off? You become grateful for employment. 

How do you breathe when someone leaves your life? You begin to thank God for the time you had, knowing that s/he could have been born on the other side of the world and you would have missed out on her/his awesomeness.

I’ve grown in this area, this No Matter What territory. Life’s challenges continue to improve my agility. I’d like to think that I came straight from heaven with it, but it was forged in me through my parents and mentors that served as night lights along the way. 

CAUTION: This No Matter What mentality is not for the faint of heart. It comes with distractions sprinkled like glitter on a carpeted floor, luring your focus away from your purpose as you attempt to walk forward. It has splashes of anger as you recall the sacrifices you made while fighting your demons… alone. It requires you to acknowledge the bad stuff, square up, and say that all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)… and believe it. It means crying tears of courage that leak from your broken heart.

No Matter What takes practice. Expect bruises. Check for sores. They’ll be there, but keep walking, keep praying, and keep fasting from the feast of your fears.

Believe, no matter what.

Give, no matter what.

Go, no matter what.

Love, no matter what.

And while you’re standing there braving the winds or bent over wounded from the blows, remember that Jesus is Immanuel. He is with you… all the time…

no matter what.

Peace and thanks for listening!

The Plan

​Perfect timing.

Just when I was questioning the blueprint and the Architect’s design, He gives me this beautiful reminder. He knows the Plan. I just need to keep walking in His direction.

I mean, really… who argues with the Architect? Especially years after the Masterpiece is built. Who questions the plan after perfection is proven? Certainly not me. An architect knows the pressure that each beam can hold. She knows which materials are best for the purpose of the house. He calculates the foundation and its ability to host the vision. There’s wisdom and care that materializes into a physical plan… a plan for a future and hope.

Because I trust the Architect, I put my faith in the blueprint. It just seems like the journey is dysfunctional and pieces won’t fit, but the Builder used a wooden cross as the Architect instructed so I have no need to worry about the structural integrity of my life. It has an expected end, a hope, not some aimless steps that happened to host good things along the way. He knows the Plan. I just have to keep walking.

Jeremiah 29:11 was a good dose of medicine for my aching soul. Take some for yourself.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
– Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred… That pair of words reminds me of Harlem, the famous Langston Hughes poem. It was one of my favorite reads in high school.

What truly happens to a dream deferred? That question has been a mystery for years, but the truth hasn’t changed in that the dream only dies when we allow it to cease. When you stop feeding it, it will starve and die within you. Then, you carry dead dreams, dead hope in desperate need of resuscitation. It’s hard to carry broken promises, shredded heart tissue, and withered hope. They’re like cannon balls in your chest, holding you down from flying past your present potential. This is where faith comes in from Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith kicks in and stands at the door when hope runs out and fear circulates the perimeter of your heart in wait of your paralysis.

IMG_20160809_232315You can also think of this as a monetary transaction. Faith is the check written to you, while hope is the construction of belief that you’ll receive the cash. You can hold on to faith because it supersedes hope. Hope deferred will make your heart ill in longing to fulfill your purpose on Earth. Now this is where the 2nd part of the proverb makes its impact and where I get excited.

Desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Trees are designed to bear seeds. They can’t control where these seeds go, but they produce them out of obedience to their Maker. It has one job… to produce.  The tree stands tall and bears seeds and that’s how forests are formed. When your desires line up with God’s will, not fulfilling that desire/dream will make you feel seedless, unfruitful. The key word is here is FEEL. You are not a sterile spiritual being. You weren’t created to be that.

Once you tap into that TRUTH, you’ll see a tree of life inside of you, not a death sentence. Then, like a tree, the life cycle of your dream will continue well after you’re gone and growth will be inevitable. Your purpose-filled dream will touch many lives after your hands (or “branches”) have aged and produced seeds of great service. Your hope and dream(s) can not afford you to be lazy, discouraged, or spiritually sick. When something is deferred, it is not canceled… so your hope can still be resuscitated.

Keep your hope alive and intimately near  so that your rich, customized life can be the gift that keeps on giving to the soil and air around you.

Have you ever felt like your hope was petrified?

Your dream is a gift, so what are you giving?

What can you do this week to oxygenate your hope and aerate your dreams?

Feel free to comment below.

Peace & Thanks for listening. ✌

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