I am a firm believer in loving with your whole heart. After all, what good is it to say “I love you” and harness what it entails? That has always boggled my mind. Even as a child, I wanted to give bubble gum CDs out of the fullness of my heart. I loved shopping for Valentine’s Day cards to give my classmates. Opening up wasn’t a fearful act until I was crushed. After that, I stopped buying gifts for a while because I didn’t want to be hurt again (and it was also hurting my pockets). Pretty standard story, right?
Well, without knowing it, I had applied that rationale to God too. I went through a season of being scared to share my whole self with Him. I would pray and not realize how restrictive I was with my insecurities, questions, painful parts, and broken heartstrings. One day, I decided to change that narrative. If I could love others like a free bird, why couldn’t I release that flow to my Creator?
All of you deserves to be loved — fully and without reserve. Go ahead and start the conversation. He knows you anyway. He made you with His good intentions and there is nothing else He wants from you other than unrestricted Love.
Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart. Pray with any open heart. It’s worth it.
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!
This one was a difficult piece to begin writing. My heart is still aching over the dismal news of 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney and 5-year-old Nevaeh Adams. While in different states, both were found dead and discarded like trash this week (Kamille’s body was in a dumpster and Nevaeh’s body was in a landfill).
Both cities are in mourning and our communities are hungry for clarity and directional blame, yet this isn’t a soliloquy of how disgusted I am over this tragedy. In the meantime, I’m at home sifting through a few questions that are also on the table — what do we do now? How do we still pray when such indignant evil deeds run rampant? What do we do with the anger and despair? How do we prevent this from happening again?
The truth is not pretty, but I don’t know any other way to say it — There are evil people in this world and there’s nothing you can do to eradicate them. It’s sad and repulsive; however, as long as there is free will, evil will be present. People decapitate others for religious beliefs. Humans mutilate fellow humans because of their sexual preferences. Abusers beat their spouses to the brink of death. Corruption begets embezzlement. The current dose of diabolic behavior makes my soul hurt for those innocent babies. Our babies. It was enough to make me reconsider birthing life. I had to ask God what to do with this sickening feeling since Tuesday’s press conference. Here are two steps where my faith walk has taken me so far.
I can’t blame God for everything. It’s difficult, and trust me… I’ve been tempted to do the same, but I have to still believe in the Good. The fact that hundreds of planes fly over my head without crashing every day provides a drip of faith into my spiritual IV. Witnessing a stranger help another at the grocery store yields another drip. Benevolence. Love. Camaraderie. Drip. Drip. Drip. The crimes are horrible, but I can’t place blame where it doesn’t belong.
I must continue to be a support system and advocate for children around me. In a world of pedophilia/ephebophilia, sex trafficking, and abuse, it can be difficult to trust anyone with your child. Regardless of these realities, there are people like me that have integrity. The hope is that we minimize these tragedies by planting and watering seeds needed to grow healthy adults. We’re in the business of empowering others. With this in mind, parents must be vigilant but not paranoid. Everyone doesn’t want to harm your child. We’re your educators, volunteers, counselors, coaches… we’re your village. So, let’s act like it. Let’s work together instead of against each other.
When I began this post a couple of hours ago, I didn’t know how long it would take to release my words from captivity, but I did pray for a shortstop. Drip.
Peace & Thanks for listening. I appreciate you and let’s keep going.
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.
Hello, Sweethearts! I hope you’ve had good days between last Wednesday and this one.
My late father’s birthday was this week and instead of writing a lamenting post, I want to share three lessons Pop taught me in word and in deed.
– LESSON #1 –
You are not responsible for how people treat you, but you areresponsible for how you treat them.
My father was a pastor and before that, he was a deacon. For the majority of his life, he was in a position of servitude. I watched him load his pickup truck with lawn tools to cut the grass of those who couldn’t do it themselves. I heard him pray for people who cursed him. I saw him use kind words as weapons. He would share vegetables from his garden. He would always tell me “You don’t have to give an account for how folks treat you. You got to give an account of how you treat them.” And you know what? He was so right. Every time I wanted to say something hurtful to someone that hurt me, I remembered Pop’s words. To this day, his voice resides in my ears and acts as a stop sign. A gentle reminder that I am only responsible for myself. Someone can treat me horribly, but I don’t have to accept her/his behavior on my plate. I do, however, have to take responsibility for how I respond. That is the only thing that will require an answer from my Creator. (Sidebar: Pop loved to cook and was excellent at it.)
– LESSON #2 –
Say what you mean; mean what you say.
When he married my mother and we became a blended family, he made a point to show me that he was trustworthy. This meant having my mother’s meal ready when she came home for lunch. He also picked me up from school when I was on the floor debilitated from extreme menstrual cramps. With a limp from a stroke, he still rushed to the door of restaurants to open it for me. When my mother and I were mistreated, he was our defender. Immorality was not his cup of tea and spoke up when necessary. Pop’s lesson took root into my spirit because his word was everything. Whatever he said was authentic and solid whether it was encouraging or corrective. The more birthdays I have, the more I absorb this quality.
– LESSON #3 –
Preserve your name.
I have a fond memory of Pop sending me to the local feed store to pick up food for the 20+ hunting beagles in our backyard. I didn’t need money. I didn’t need a note. I just needed his name. My dad had a tab that he settled every month with the owner. They had an understanding that only worked because Pop displayed good character. How simple, yet priceless that is. He was that way about everything though. If something did not align with his moral compass, he did not engage in it for the sake of his reputation. If he was wrong, he admitted it and asked for forgiveness. I try my best to maintain the same decorum. He taught me that your name is the only thing you truly own. Everything attached to it determines your altitude, connectivity, and longevity. I can only hope that when I die, my name is preserved in the heart of those I served just like Pop.
Sweethearts, I pray that you are hugged by loving memories if you’re missing someone right now. I want to also give you permission to miss her voice, his smile, her laugh, his snore… everything. It doesn’t mean you’re weak in your spiritual beliefs; it means you’re a spiritual being in a human body that longs for another spiritual being outside of her/his earthly frame. That’s all. This week, I heard my dad’s chuckle and felt his love all around. I cried a little and let myself marinate in his sweetness. It was a beautifully intimate moment. So, the next time you’re experiencing a memory of your loved one or you miss them so much that your heart aches, just close your eyes and say “I feel you.” Once for your loved one and once for the God who allowed you two to merge moments in time.
Hello, Sweethearts! Here’s a shortstop for your week!
You know how you feel when you’ve broken something you love? I have some jewelry that makes me happy, but they are broken. Beads. Shells. Charms. Seeing them disjointed makes me sad and I can’t bring myself to throw them away. Somehow, I believe I can put them back together or at least manifest a new creation out of their brokenness.
As I thought about this concept, I can’t help but include us humans in the scenario. Some of us believe we are too broken for God’s Love. Life hurled unwanted surprises and left cracks in our hearts. Just like my jewelry, our minds, bodies, and spirits are not as put-together as our social media allows. I am convinced that the more we try to pick up our own pieces to fix ourselves the more those pieces slip through our fingers.
This week, I was reminded of something and I heard His voice so clearly. If God can make a person out of pieces, certainly He can put the pieces back together. All of you is valuable. All of you deserves the opportunity to exceed expectations. All of you deserves to be whole. Pick up the pieces and hold them in your hands. Admit that you can not fix yourself. Acknowledge that you’re broken and allow the Creator to repair His Masterpiece.
Good Evening, Sweethearts. Here’s a shortstop for your week.
What do you do when you’ve messed up? How do you handle it? Guilt and shame usually wait at the door of any misstep. It’s easy to think that you’re invincible and if others think the same, the fall can feel fatal. So, what do you do next? Where do you start?
One of the first things I do is remember to whom I belong. I remember that God sees me as His daughter because I allowed His Love to envelop my heart. Here are some Bible verses that can help you get back on your feet. They have helped me over the years and have never lost their flavors.
Wherever you are, I pray that you remember that you are loved and that you are never too broken to be valuable. You are worth another try. So, give yourself a dose of God’s grace and smile at your fresh start.
Peace & Thanks for listening.
Bible Verse photos courtesy of my Free YouVersion Bible App
Hello, Sweethearts! I know it’s Thursday, but this one took some simmering… and you may be wondering where I’m going with those two letters. I’m going exactly where you think I am.
In the world of social sciences, there’s a term called emotional dishonesty. Various definitions exist for it, but in essence, it is when someone does not own up to their feelings or needs, yet s/he holds the other person accountable for the offense. This can manifest itself as passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive behavior.
When I taught adult education communication courses, we would always engage in authentic and lively dialogue about relationships (platonic, professional, romantic, familial, and social). Every quarter, someone would attribute a lack of intimacy to dysfunctional communication. Every quarter, someone would tell me how lack of trust was the undercurrent in their relationship deterioration. After my first year of teaching, I learned to carve out two days in my lesson plan to discuss the conflict chapter because it always birthed the fruition of self-discovery among my students. The chapter also landed in the middle of the textbook, so by that point in the course, they usually displayed sharpened self-awareness and reframing skills. They were not only able to professionally assess and verbalize the conflict but also express ownership of its escalation which was often via emotional dishonesty. You can bet that made me one happy educator. 🙂
To listen to a man say “I see it now. I’m not helping the situation.” To hear a woman say “Yeah, I don’t really listen to my kids. I need to do that more.” That was what kept the blood flowing in my teaching career. That is what produced life within those four walls and fortified adults to engage in healthy relationships of all kinds.
Speaking of blood flow… let’s talk about that ED.
When a man experiences erectile dysfunction, it can be emotionally crippling. He may not be able to communicate how emasculated he feels and his behavior can be misunderstood and misdirected toward his partner. Multiple factors can cause ED and one of them is decreased blood flow.
How interesting it is that a lack of life in one area can be the cause of death in another? If blood is not allowed to flow and recycle through our bodies, we experience death. Then again, there are two types of death… two organs that are vital comrades in the cessation of life – the brain and the heart. I believe the effects of dysfunctional communication resemble the intimacy breakdown that can occur from ED. Emotional Dishonesty can lead to Emotional Dysfunction. One deters the physical production of life while the other deters the flow of spiritual exchange. In both instances, there’s a broken piece – trust.
And let’s be real… What good is a relationship without trust? How can a relationship survive without the trust that all valves are open… that the flow is free and clear? After all, there are 4 valves in your heart – two for incoming blood and two for outgoing blood, so obviously God knew that circulation and regeneration were vital in keeping you alive in both your head and in your heart. Why don’t we give it a try in the spiritual realm as well? Why not gift that freedom to each other and to ourselves? Be emotionally honest with yourself and with those you love. When you don’t, it hurts yourself because you’re blocking healthy intrapersonal communication, and it hurts the other person because it creates a disconnect from the intimacy you desire from her/him. As I mentioned to some friends this year –I’m in the business of having real conversations with real people that want real relationships.Sweetheart, can you say the same thing?
This doesn’t mean that you need to bleed your heart 24/7 to everyone you meet. As in physiology, that could leave you spiritually drained and unable to function effectively.
Ask God to balance this spiritual flow as you learn to communicate truthfully in HIs Love from one person to another. It can be done; I promise. I have witnessed and experienced it. You may have to be gentle or set some ground rules, but allow truthful communication to flow between your lips. Cherish those in your circle who provide opportunities for that to happen. No matter how messy or how awkward it may be, it is worth the trust structure. Letting communication flow between two hearts creates freedom amidst two people… and that’s the pinnacle of God’s Love toward us and Christ’s sacrifice for us. Freedom in mind, body, and spirit. The kind that can only come from the Prince of Peace and the Author of Love.
For more information about emotional dishonesty, check out this article. It’s one of my favorite classroom references.
Peace & Thanks for listening. Have an awesome week and I love you all!
Today is Mother’s Day in America and I decided to post a special message to my mother; my family and friends who are mothers and mother-figures; and my family and friends who no longer have their mothers here on Earth. I pray these words will reach you wherever you fit among them.
These 3 words come to mind when I think of you – courageous, relentless, sincere. I could write a million words and they would still fail to capture the power of that trifecta. I’ve watched you peel back layers of motherhood to reveal the woman within. The bravest part was allowing me to be part of that journey. In this phase of our relationship, we are discovering the latest version of ourselves. I love it. In our rawest state, we unfold unapologetically and I love that too. We aren’t afraid to grow in front of each other and I am so grateful for that gift. From wearing your natural beauty to your larger-than-life laughter to your fervent and effectual prayers, you are the epitome of a spiritual soldier and I appreciate you with every fiber of my being. Ain’t no mountain high enough.
I love you, Mommy.
MOTHERS & MOTHER-FIGURES = THE WARRIORS
You are fierce. I can’t imagine what it is like to be you. Throwing on your armor every day to ensure your tribe is enveloped in love. You are nurturing, protective, and flexible. You don’t break; you shine. Through the mud that life throws on you, the unkind treatment you receive, the dirty looks from religious hypocrites… you wake up with a back full of bruises and start over. Some of you have let me into your village and it has been a hilariously beautiful experience. Your children will always be family, just as you are to me. I stand with you as you fight for them. Some of you have children who are no longer here and, my sisters, I admire your bravery and your humanity. You were entrusted with a forever gift and you will forever be a mother to me. Warriors, I see you and I salute you. Thank you for being your beautiful self.
SONS & DAUGHTERS
Whether your relationship with your mother was positive or negative, I am so glad she birthed you into the world. You are part of my circle because of her and I couldn’t imagine experiencing life without you. So, while the world celebrates mothers here on Earth, I also celebrate who your mother left behind for me to cherish – you. Consider sharing one thing your mother said that positively steers your life with someone younger than you. If this isn’t applicable, choose one negative behavior from your mother that you refuse to perpetuate in your circle. Either way, I encourage you to breathe through today and every day. I love you.