So, on several occasions, I say those words. Awe hits me at random moments and I have to admit how cool He is. The oddest truths arrest my thoughts and I go with it like a free bird – wings wide open. Some of them include the following:
An open road with beautifully lush green grass and intoxicating blue skies
A mountain chain
Rivers flowing around Mount Ranier
Muscle/organ functions (Check out this post as an example.)
Fog hovering over my head
I look around me and see so much that sends me into a tailspin of amazement. I’ve learned to allow myself to swim in His glory. If it means that I stop on the side of the road to drink it all in, then that’s what it means. I go with it. How else can I expect to refuel my soul if I keep driving past it, talking through it, and working in it? I need to pause for a minute and say wow. That’s what keeps me sane. That’s what keeps us close. That’s what keeps the lines of my prayer communication fresh and exciting. I’m able to connect with the majesty of God on organic levels in real-time. There’s nothing like it.
Below are a few moments I captured this year.
I pray that you have those moments too. If you need some help, just check in with your child, niece, nephew, or friend’s child and s/he will take your crusty glasses off and replace them with wonder-filled lenses.
Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart! Keep those real prayers going!
For this year’s #bloglikecrazy challenge, I am peeling back the curtain and revealing moments of my prayer life — the good, the bad, and the ugly. By sharing this part of my humanity, I hope it encourages you to be vulnerable to God as well. You are not any less of a Christian if you don’t act like a smiling stonewall every day. God knows how human you are and I’ve learned to just let Him see it all. Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
The Prayer:“I don’t want to do this. I really don’t want to do this, but *sigh* OK. Fine.”
Have you ever just didn’t want to do what you knew you had to do? Yeah, me too. It may sound childish, but hey… it’s the truth. Some Christians paint their faith with a wide brush and one of those strokes includes the misperception that you will always want to do what God says. I can’t lie to you like that.
The contention between humanity and spirituality dates back well before this century. That boxing ring can emerge at any given moment and frankly, I want my humanity to win sometimes. I want to stand firm. Dig in my heels and say no. After I pout for a few seconds, I usually breathe deeply and raise the champion gloves of spirituality. Why? Because I’ve learned that God’s way always wins. It always works best when I follow His direction. When I sit down and loosen up those heels, I realize that I’ve come too far not to trust Him. I have also found that He honors my obedience even when I’m not excited about it right away. You are still His child, Sweetheart, and He understands you. It’s OK. Remember He loves you no matter what. Dig your heels in that!
Tonight, pray for real. Pray what’s in your heart. That’s your challenge this month as I share my challenge with you. Peace & Love you all. See you tomorrow!
Here’s a shortstop (500 words or less) for your week. I hope it helps!
Are you guilty of having your phone elsewhere while your Bluetooth is in your ear? Yeah, me too. My headset would say in a pleasant female voice “Out of range. Trying to connect.” One time I was so comfortable with the convenience that I went for a walk outside before I realized my phone wasn’t with me. I could hear my mother’s voice clearly until it was disjunct and ultimately non-existent. I rushed back inside and her voice clarified. So did the Holy Spirit’s whisper. I shook my head and made a mental note to tell you what I heard.
It is possible that we move about life — experiencing new things or getting lost in the daily grind — and eventually slip out of range. The noise of responsibilities, time-sensitive decisions, and pressure-packed expectations can drown out the warning signs that you may be beyond the scope of God’s intentions. I believe His Spirit is always near and His fingerprints are all over our existence; however, I also believe our communication can get cloudy sometimes. So, what do you do when there’s static and His voice isn’t as clear as it used to be?
Let’s consider remote controls for a minute. It’s annoying to keep pressing buttons and nothing works. You may hit the remote, stand up, or even walk up to the television. How absurd that you stand in front of the box and keep pressing buttons! If that doesn’t work, the typical next step is to reach out and touch the television itself. The next step for the interrupted headset connection is to usually return to the phone’s last known location.
So, what about you? Are you out of range? Consider the following questions just in case:
Is there a place where you can quiet the noise? Do you often feel confused and frustrated? Where are your last known whereabouts regarding your closeness with God… where you were close enough to hear His voice clearly? What do you need to do to be spiritually sound?
You may or may not feel utterly lost. Maybe you just realized that you’ve wandered outside of His intimacy. The beautiful part is that you’re not out of the range of His Love. Maybe it means snatching back your lunch breaks instead of working through them. Perhaps you can go for a walk before or after work. You could make your drive-time your new commune-time. I tell you this — there was a little sense of relief when I heard that pleasant female voice say “Connected” and I could resume my conversation.
Get back to the original source of Power, Strength, Joy, and Purpose. Reach out and clear the connection. You may be surprised by what you hear that could clarify your next steps.
Peace & Thanks for listening! I love you and here’s to a blessed week, Sweethearts!
What a full week it’s been. I’m glad you made it too. If this is your first time joining me, welcome in and I’m happy you’re with us. Here’s a shortstop (less than 500 words) for your week.
A difficult thing for me to watch is someone who believes s/he is untouchable. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while as it relates to my massage therapy profession, but last night at church I heard a whisper that added another layer to the word. Let’s chat about it for a quick minute.
Illness can make a person feel unworthy of touch, especially if the disease is contagious or fatal. You may know someone that had a premature baby and the parent(s) were unable to touch their child outside of the incubator. What an aching abyss of longing for both souls to experience.
Secondly, when someone is exceptional in her/his craft, we may refer to them as untouchable. That’s a good thing — to be so stellar that you are beyond the reach of inferiority. Unfortunately, it can also create a sense of invincibility and that, my friend, is a dangerous glasshouse. As long as we are in this human frame, we are vulnerable somewhere. Your Achilles heel may be in a different spot from your neighbor’s, but rest assured, you have one… or several. Contrarily, you can also feel unworthy of touch when ego flips upside down in the form of low self-esteem.
Here’s the deal — either way, the untouchables are in need of connection. A connection that creates intimacy. An intimacy that births loving exchange. Maybe you’re an intentional or unintentional member of this club. Today, this is a reminder that you are worthy of a beautiful encounter through God’s Love. You are not untouchable to Him. No matter what end of the spectrum you call home, there is no part of you that God can not reach. You are an excellent creation and being you — with those eyes, that skin, that heart — is all that is required for you to be worthy of Love. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, Sweetheart. Nobody.
I’m glad you’ve made it through another week. Tonight’s LATSOL moment is brought to you by my dog. Paws up to Sammy for this one.
When Sammy needs to relieve himself, he goes pretty quickly. We have a schedule and it works beautifully. I take him out for a walk, he eliminates, he wants to see what’s going on, then we return home. There are a couple of other dog owners in my neighborhood, but Sammy finds his scent or the quickest spot without marking. So, that fact led to a whisper from God during a recent stroll with my furry friend.
Some of us are just marking our territory instead of
releasing what is meant to pour out.
It’s one thing to say “I have a business” and another thing to pour yourself into it.
It’s one thing to say “I love my kids” and another thing to sacrifice for them.
It’s one thing to say “I want a better life” and another thing to apply for the school or job.
We’ve all been guilty of marking our territory without letting God have it all. A little here and a little there without expelling the whole self. I believe there is a time for planting, building, resting, harvesting, etc. I also believe there is time to surrender all for the sake of purposeful living. In that same context, there is a time to release what no longer belongs inside of you. No playing. No patty caking.
What have you been holding on to? What mission have you been toying with? Are you going to keep walking around marking territory just to be seen and heard… just to mask someone else’s footprint? Are you ready to be on the mark and ready to go?
Just something to think about as you finish the week. Peace & Thanks for listening! Sammy said he’s over these lights, so that’s a wrap for the night. lol
As promised, I’m sharing this year’s birthday behavior with you. I altered my original plans a bit as my knee recouped, but I definitely did something I wanted to do every week. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with my annual ritual, let me catch you up.
Each week in August, I do something that fills me with joy or I’ve been postponing, then I continue the celebration once per month until the end of the year. Catch last year’s behavior by reading Birthday & Beast: Part I and Part II. This year, I am full of gratefulness and blessed to be here again to share with you.
Week 1: Rest. Much needed rest.
Week 2: Fun Rehearsal with my Troupe. Self-care Nails Day. Fun performance with my African dance company teammates. Rest again. Much needed rest. Week 3: Great conversation with an old friend and a new friend. Online dinner date with my long-distance sister eating one of my favorite meals at Olive Garden. Recorded a back-to-school video clip with my Troupe. Attended the birthday party of my friends’ twins (that game of musical chairs was something serious) and ran into another member of our old Crew. Enjoyed my favorite milkshake – the limited time peach goodness from Chick-fil-A.
Week 4: Great food and conversation with my mother. A beautiful conversation over prime rib with my sister. Self-care Pedicure Day. High Tea at the lovely Smith-Byrd House with my favorite tea-drinking sister. Girls’ Night Out with lots of dancing and laughs.
Week 5: Facilitated an absolutely fun step dance class that almost didn’t happen but I’m so glad it did. Self-Care Massage Day. Shared an uncomfortable, yet necessary detail of my personal growth with my Troupe. Had a complete blast at my alma mater’s first football game of the season with my friend and sorors. Searched for new Bluetooth wireless earphones so when it’s in the budget next month, I’ll be ready.
So, why do I share this list with you? Because I want to show you that it can be done. That joy can be visible when you’re willing to look. That you can and should live a life that is fulfilling from the inside out. Today, I encourage you to create your own personal law. If you’re caught in the hamster wheel of work-sleep-repeat, you’re missing out on beautiful moments that won’t break the bank. Furthermore, when you’ve had near-death experiences (as many of us have), you should definitely invest in those moments on the regular. I engage in things I love all year, but during my birthday month and for the remainder of the year, I kick it up a notch to celebrate that I’m still here, reward myself for being on the grind, and refuel my spirit for what awaits me in the next year.
Lastly, I share this list with you because if my stretch marks make you feel more confident about yours, I’m for it. The older I get, the more I am compelled to peel back the layers of my soul. I’m OK with that. I’m at peace with the woman that continues to evolve inside of me. I love her and she appreciates the opportunity to stretch, learn, and breathe. Maybe your inner self has a message for you too. I hope that this post helps you to hear her/him and oblige accordingly.
Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts. Here’s to your week!
Here’s a shortstop for your week instead of the birthday month recap (because the celebration is still going). I hope it helps!
I had an epiphany while driving to work last week. As I saw mountain peaks in the distance, I thought about the song For Every Mountain by Kurt Carr. A fitting song for my surroundings, I went along with it for about 5 seconds. Then, I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit to notice the mountains. I scanned along the horizon and sighed in amazement.
Alabama is home to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Their beauty can arrest your awe on any given sunrise or sundown. It should also be noted that the mountains create a chain — a series of peaks and valleys that can cripple the strongest warrior. As I looked at each forest-covered mountain, I noticed their repetition and various sizes. Then, my understanding opened.
Mountains rarely stand alone. When we conquer a challenge in life, we consider it a victory… and we should. The truth is, we have another mountain coming. And another one. And another one. We can’t rest for long after the climb; we should prepare for the next trek.
The second truth is that the peak may even be the same height… the same vice… the same person… the same enemy. After the victory, you usually run up against the same issue you dealt with and conquered. I can’t tell you how many times I have beat something that I beat a long time ago. Some things are easy, like smoking. I have no interest in creating that habit. Other things, such as insecurity in crowds, rear their ugly heads more than once. What I am learning is that the next peak comes to test the muscle strength you acquired on the previous one. This means that you should train for the mountain chain and prepare a chain reaction to win.
I encourage you as I encourage myself. Don’t be caught off guard, Sweetheart. Don’t assume that once you’ve reach the top that you don’t have to climb down and back up again. Gear up for the chain and complete the victory.
We don’t get to rest after one victory. We get ready for the next one.
And the next one.
And the next one.
Peace & Keep conquering. I see you and I’m rooting for us.
In The Valve, I described what it felt like to reach a pressure point. Tonight, Sweetheart, I’m going to give you some practical tips to regroup after you’ve emptied out. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but the more you do it, the easier you can reach for it when you need it.
Remember who you are, not what you feel. I read Bible verses that remind me of whom I belong. I may feel like crap or be treated like it in a situation, but how I feel doesn’t reprogram the Truth of who I am. What I feel is valid; however, I have to live like I’m still wearing a crown. If you need suggestions, here are a few.
Write it out. If you’re like me, sometimes (who am I kidding… most times) I don’t feel like talking when I need to do so. On most occasions, instead of venting to a friend, I’ll release it on the page. I have cheap notebooks and fancy journals — it doesn’t matter. A page is a page. The beauty of writing is that it’s between you and you. Sometimes I talk to God through the pen and by the end of the sequence, His spirit has answered my questions.
Be still. When was the last time you paid attention to your breath and heartbeat? One of the most valuable lessons I learned in college was how to stop for a few minutes to check-in with myself. Each heartbeat is a blessing. Each breath is a beauty. If you have a high-energy personality, set a timer for 15 seconds. Put your hand over your heart and focus on it. Tune everything else out. After a few days, try 30 seconds. Work your way up to 5 minutes. You can say truthful sayings or Bible verses between exhales or stay silent. This practice saved me on many lunch breaks so I could return to work in a calmer state of mind.
Solo jam. – If you know me personally, you know that music runs through my veins. Another way I fill up is to jam to some favorite songs. I could be driving, standing in a check-out line, walking, or in my kitchen. The location is irrelevant. If you have a friend that can jam it out with you — even better.
So, if you see me out and about and I’m bobbin’ my head and snapping my fingers, you know what’s up. Ask me what I’m listening to and join in. lol
One of my favorite things to do is stargazing. As a child, I had an astronomy book to help me locate the constellations and understand the galaxies. It was fascinating. I would look outside my window when my mother fell asleep and let my imagination run completely wild. Somewhere in the world, there was another child looking at the same star as me. I was taking a nap on the crescent moon unafraid of heights. I could walk on the clouds.
As an adult, there’s nothing like looking up at the end of the day and realizing how small my problems are. I see the night sky as a midnight blue blanket sprinkled with twinkling promises of God loves for me. I smile every time at the thought of that Truth. Regardless of what is going on in my world, looking up inspires me to keep going.
Though they are far away, they are clear reminders that cause me to stare in awe. They are silently loud. I pray that God’s Light in me is able to be seen for thousands of miles. Onlookers will see me but admire the Father. Admire His Spirit. Honor His Glory.
When you go about your week, I want you to remember that you’re covered. You’re safe in His arms. You are Loved. You are protected. Your problems can only overtake you when you forget those stars. Breathe, look up, and smile every chance you get.