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Wednesday Wind Down: What A Day

Well, my original first-Wednesday-of-the-year message has been altered a bit.

I’ll keep one part of the initial plan — to change my affectionate name for you. I thought it befitting to call you Family. After all, we’ve shared a whole heap of life events together (5 years worth come January 26th actually). So Sweethearts is retired and Family are you. 🙂

On to the different message.

I’m watching. So should you.

My eyes and spirit are keen and I am not dismayed by what happened in Washington, DC.
I’m not surprised.
I’m not angry.

I’m watching… and I’m actually glad we saw the attempted coup of the U.S. Capitol.

Photo by Thiago Matos on Pexels.com

Why? Because proof can not be ignored. A mirror is still a mirror even when it’s broken.

More people were able to see behind the veil of privilege and democracy (and this is from a social science educator). For America to lift up her skirt and show her tail to the world was exactly what we needed to affirm how damaged we truly are. Hypocrisy spills from her lips every time she tilts her liberty-crowned head back and scoffs at other countries for their supposed lack of governmental and military prowess. The last 3 months show how much pride is around our borders and how much ache is in our souls.

On numerous occasions, I’ve written about my love for America (just search “America” on my blog) and that I don’t always likes what she does. So what do you do in a moment like this… when you don’t like what you see and you can’t un-see it? When you’re trying to digest your sentiments with friends and family and they refuse to respect your thought?

You watch.

You pay attention and take notes.

You don’t let anyone infiltrate your peace of mind.

Photo by Barik5ive on Pexels.com

You can be sad, upset, confused, frustrated, but don’t let it alter your personality. Don’t let it harden your heart. I hate that people attach the name of Jesus to the foolishness we saw, but I refuse to exhibit behavior that would cause even more people to turn away from His Love. And that storming of our democratic symbol was no where near it.

Another tip – Be ridiculously aware. Pray for wisdom and I guarantee the Holy Spirit will be your navigator in these uncharted waters. Hone in on who is saying what and why. Notice their actions. Seek for alignment between word and deed. Ugly or not, the Truth is always present. This one is just more personal (and uglier) than we thought.

Family, you can navigate through the smoke.

You can disagree without losing your wits.

You can be disgusted with the haps and shine at work. Being temperamental is what the darkness wants you to do. So, don’t give your heart away and while you’re taking notes, remember this one – Galatians 6:7-8 New Living Translation (pretty easy to remember the number sequence, right?)

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.”

Courtesy of my YouVersion Bible App

It may worse before it get better, but keep watching. Keep paying attention to God’s move in and out of you. Keep sowing the good seeds.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Don’t Play With Me

Hi, Sweethearts!

It’s the last Wednesday Wind Down for the year and I want to talk about two women and a surprise.

Let’s talk about the two women first.

They’re both in the same place. That don’t-play-with-me-i-ain’t-got-time-for-your-foolishness-today place.

You know what I’m talking about. You arrive to Don’t Play With Me Land after you’ve been duped… after you’ve experienced pain… after you’ve lost something or someone. You’re driving down Happiness Street with smiles and rainbows shooting out the tailpipe until the road suddenly looks dark and the trees are creepily crooked. The warmth of the sun turns into a bitter cold and emptiness surrounds your shoulders. You keep driving though you’re unsure of this area. Eyes ahead and sometimes darting left to right, you move forward believing the brightness of your headlights will carry you through the darkness. Then the road smooths out and the sun reappears above your head. Birds chirp joyfully and you’re left with a “whew!” in your chest. You made it, but you don’t want to go through it again.

Photo by Matu00fau0161 Burian on Pexels.com

That’s where these women were in 2 Kings, Chapter 4 — one of my absolute favorite chapters in the Bible.

At one point, everything was fine then it wasn’t. Here comes a prophet asking them to hope again — believe in God again — but they were hurt. They had experienced a dark part of the road. Enter the prophet Elisha with the divine audacity to put God’s infinite power to the test.

For Woman #1, it’s a debt she can not pay.
For Woman #2, it’s a dream she does not want to resurrect.

Woman #1 is a widowed mother with a voice of desperation and some olive oil.
Woman #2 is married, wealthy, and hopeless with a guest bedroom.

Woman #1 reminds Elisha that her late husband was one of his faithful servants (verse 1).
Woman #2 reminds Elisha not to get her hopes up about having a child (verse 15).

Photo by Fillipe Gomes on Pexels.com

In my modernized heart and mind, this is what it would sound like —

Woman #1: “My husband devoutly worked for Your prophet and reverenced Your Word and now, I’m about to lose my sons? After everything we’ve done for God, now we have no money?”

Woman #2: “I’m fine. I gave up on that dream. I finally made peace with the fact that it’s not going to happen and you want me to dig all of that back up? It’s just not in God’s plan and I’m cool with that.”

I believe both women were saying the same thing — God, don’t play with me. They reached out to Elisha at different times along their journey, but don’t discount their fortitude and faith walk.

Woman #1 had to have a lot of courage to borrow empty jars from her friends and neighbors. At this time, debt collectors didn’t call you on the phone. They came to your house — aggressively. Everyone that lived nearby would have known she was a widow and that her family owed money. Can you imagine having to knock on each door in your neighborhood to borrow jars after being ruffed up by bill collectors all because a man of God told you to do it? That’s some fire in your bones. Period.

Let’s look at Woman #2. She’s also a bad mama jama — just read the whole chapter. When her child died (yes, the one she thought she couldn’t have), she fiercely told her servant to take her to Elisha pronto! So, not only does she have to reach down into her soul and grab some dusty hope to become a mother, but she carries that hope with her to remind Elisha that she didn’t ask to be let down again in this area of darkness.

Neither woman asked to meet that part of their faith journeys, but there they were… at Don’t Play With Me Land. Both of them were at a point of “God, you gotta do something. It’s gotta be better than this.”

Both said I’m going to hope one more time.

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels.com

Maybe that’s you as you’re reading this post. The year is coming to a close and you’re tired of hoping. Trust me, I’m on that patch of road too about some things. You’re not alone.

I encourage you — encourage us — to try again, hope again, and keep driving through the dark place. The road is bumpy, but it’s not eternal. The branches are crooked, but they bloom in the spring. This is just a patch. It’s not the journey. It’s not the end. We have headlights of faith to see ahead. The engine of God’s Word is proven to be steady, so we have no fear in being deserted in the dark. This is not the end. OK? OK.

Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

Well, here goes the surprise real quick. Ready? Keep reading!

Next year (2021), I will launch an inspirational/meditative podcast made with you in mind. I can’t wait to share short tidbits of love and empowerment to help us walk this faith journey out. We’ll continue to listen at the speed of life together as I step outside my comfort zone yet again. Will you join me there? I hope so! Stay tuned for the date and details!

Here’s to us staying on the road. Here’s to the Son shining on our shoulders. Here’s to meeting 2021 with a better version of ourselves. *clinks glass*

Peace, and as always, thanks for listening. Happy New You!

Wednesday Wind Down: Remember When

Hey, Sweethearts!

This post is dedicated to the “survivor you.” You know — the part you tucked away because you thought you were done with that season? That you. Right there. We’re going to tap into that person again.

Which person was you?

  • College student with minimal income and a heavy semester course load
  • Single parent trying to stretch a minimum wage check
  • Homeless person avoiding an abusive home
  • Fresh out of school and figuring out how to budget expenses
  • Sick at home and not able to work
  • Laid off from work and working a lower paying job
  • Caregiving for a loved one and trying to balance work demands
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

If none of these fit you, fill in the blank with whatever lean state you’ve experienced in your lifetime. Now, let’s revisit some ways you can survive this season too. You can’t be too high and mighty to dig into the following three tips. Ready? Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane.


Survival Reminder Tips

  1. Stretch those meals.
    Remember those ramen noodles? I hope I didn’t make you gag. lol Essentially, you ate within your budget. You made one pizza last two days. You got creative with pasta. You could eat off of $10.00. You knew each restaurant’s deal days. This may be a different time, but you may need to dig into that mindset for a bit. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you have to feed that family on spaghetti, make it happen. When I was an RA in college, I created a study break for my residents by buying about six boxes of kiddie cereal and various types of milk and setting up a cereal bar. Do what you need to do, Sweethearts. Create that magic!
  2. Go outside.
    It’s no secret that when we were younger, we went outside more. Yes, there’s a pandemic out there, but there’s a reason why my grandparents would always tell us to play outside. Remember when you had to walk because you didn’t have a car or you took public transportation to the nearest stop? It expands the mind, strengthens the body, and uplifts the spirit. Take advantage of parks and hiking trails. Those are excellent places to create beautiful memories within social distancing and budgeting parameters. So, explore your city, county, and state!
  3. Sharing is caring.
    Back in the day, my college friends and I shared meals. Between three of us, we would conjure up a protein and some sides. This may be a little interesting with the virus, but it won’t hurt to buy a couple of frozen dinners or cans of soup for your neighbor. If you’re that neighbor, it won’t hurt to accept the kindness. The more we stay in silos, the more likely we are to die in them. Be careful? Yes. Be caring? Yes again.
Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com

I truly believe that COVID-19 has been a great equalizer and everyone has the opportunity to tap into the survival skills that got them through the tough times of yesteryear.

The pandemic won’t last forever. We just have to make it through this chapter. Don’t be afraid to dig deep to see it through. Don’t be afraid to let that “survivor you” float to the surface and do what s/he does best. Then look in the mirror without shame and smile at that awesomeness.

I’m rooting for you!

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Vitamin Boost

Hello, Sweethearts!

I wanted to share four verses that may help you get through this week or this season. Think of them as vitamins for your spiritual immune system. You may be taking a hit between current events, homeschooling your kids, caregiving for a loved one, or juggling work deadlines. Your spiritual armor may have a few dents in it and that’s OK. That means you’re fighting. That means you’re surviving. That means you’re winning. So, let’s power up a little. There’s nothing wrong with taking your vitamins.

  1. “But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.” – Psalm 59:16 NLT

    When we drench ourselves in Love, He makes our hearts impenetrable to anything that looks otherwise. It’s a way to gear up with what’s true instead of the fiery darts melting away your joy. Clothe yourself in what’s true. Armor yourself with the Truth that you are loved. Reach out to someone that loves you to circulate that superpower.

2. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

His bowels were hanging out. They had beaten him beyond recognition. He wasn’t as white and clean as we’ve seen in pious paintings. He was bloody and his hair was matted from to his scalp underneath the crown of thorns. After all, when blood dries, it isn’t glamorous. Jesus knew what it was like to be deemed inferior, yet He tells his disciples to take heart because He already overcame the world… before He is arrested to die for it (John 18). You have the right to take heart too. I promise.

3. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12

It’s hard to look someone in the eyes and know s/he/they are lying to you. It’s frustrating to explain why you’re wearing your protective mask when it seems obvious. It can make you angry for someone refuse your help. Let me help you, Sweetheart. You’re fighting a spiritual battle. The quicker you remember that, the less those darts will hurt. Does this mean you’ll be invincible? No. It means you won’t let those darts stick because you’ll separate the person you love from the behavior you hate.

4. “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” – Ecclesiastes 10:10

Boost your spirit with wisdom. Now, in order to that, humility must come with you. To gain wisdom, you have to admit that you are not all-knowing. Pride damages armor. What a foolish decision for a soldier to run in front of a formidable straight line of opponents without protection. This is how we look when we leave wisdom behind to pursue items on our own accord. Like the Word says, sharpen your ax. When the ax is sharp, the skill is able to shine.

Well, Sweethearts, I hope these vitamins help you go a little further on your journey. I love each and every one of you, so if you ever feel like you’re drowning in your situation or that your suffocating under the “I’m fine” syndrome, call the number — 800-273-8255. Counselors are available 24/7.

Peace & Blessings! Thank you for listening and stay well out there!

Wednesday Wind Down: Self-care

Good Morning, Sweethearts.

Serendipity entitled this post because that is what happened unexpectedly last Wednesday evening. I’m convinced that I fell asleep in nanoseconds.

After an insightful yet sensitive roundtable about race relations and current events, my social self smiled and exhaled in another healthy example of communication. It went well but unbeknownst to me, my introverted self was on a timer and she didn’t power down.

She plummeted.

God kept my drowsy eyes open until I made it home. As soon as I clumsily unlocked the door, I immediately pulled my shoes off like I was allergic to their soles and I fell face first into the couch. I remember this moment. I remember my body sinking into the cushions. Then, I remember waking up… without talking to you. I told myself “They’ll understand” and I went back to sleep. It was by far the best sleep I had experienced in weeks.

So, where does that leave you? It made me want to share four personal tips I use to keep myself grounded. Mind you, it doesn’t mean I am oblivious to what is going on (you can tell that from my other posts). It means that I’ve learned how to ground myself so I am not easily tossed to and fro in the tsunami of social media, industry standards, personal relationships, health issues, and anything else that can throw a dodgeball at me. Check out these four things I do on a regular basis.

My Self-Care Regulars

1) I massage my feet before bed every night. As a teaching/performing artist, my feet are my carriers. Not only are my pedicures non-negotiable, but my feet take so much impact in a day that showing them some love is not an option. Peppermint oil lotion or epsom salt lotion have been my besties before bed. It is also a reminder to be grateful to God for body to do such wonderful things.

2) When weather permits, I comb my fro outside. There’s nothing like a breeze channeling through my scalp. It’s like Moses and the children of Israel walking on dry land after the parting of the Red Sea (only my “land” is moisturized). Liberation meets my comb with every stroke of the wrist. I love smiling at the sky and taking deep breaths until all sections are untangled. I meditate and soak in the beauty of nature.

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

3) I treat myself to a solo lunch/dinner/treat every 2 weeks. I started this tradition as a collegiate intern and it stuck with me. Actually, it was how I deepened my relationship with Christ. Nowadays, I don’t have as much expendable income of course, but the self-love gesture continues. While eating alone can be debilitating for some people, I cherish it. I can journal if I feel like it, enjoy a nice view, or listen to some tunes and dance in my seat while waiting for my meal — all without talking to anyone (which can be refreshing for someone who has to talk for a living).

4) I allow myself to daydream for 5 minutes when I’ve had a difficult day. Yep, you heard me. I daydream. It’s pretty healthy for the brain and it was the only pin in my sanity on many o’ days. What do I daydream about? Well, aside from fairytale romances, I love to watch myself at the beach enjoying the warm ocean water or snuggling in clean crisp sheets at an exceptional hotel. I’ve even daydreamed about being home in bed. Do whatever works to make it therapeutic just be sure to set an alarm in case you fall asleep.

I hope this helps, Sweethearts. If not, here’s a bonus — turn off the television for a bit. It’s OK to give your senses a break. There’s a lot going on in the world and we’re going to be here for a while. It would be wise to find something that works for you and make it a habit. Your interpersonal and intrapersonal interactions depend on it.

Peace & Thanks for listening. What is one of your self-care regulars?

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #27

Prayer: “God, I just want to breathe. That’s all. I’m not asking to do a somersault or get a million dollars tomorrow… I just want to breathe and go to sleep. I’m so tired.”

Health challenges cause me not to breathe well sometimes. While I wear an “S” on my chest in the streets, I’m all “W” at home. This means that there are restless nights and early mornings still required of me. That also means sometimes I am aggravated with my respiratory issues to the point where I pray that prayer above. I wish I could just get a peaceful night’s rest and wake up energized. Most mornings come with fatigue in tow because I have wrestled all night and that prayer wasn’t far from the nightstand. Every time I prayed (sometimes in tears and screams), I woke up without knowledge of how I went to sleep. What a lovely gift to know He hears me when I call.

I encourage you to pray when you’re frustrated and watch Him work it out. It’s OK. He can take it.

Peace and Sweet Dreams out there. Thanks for listening.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #21

Prayer: “God, you gotta help me get rid of this. It’s eating me alive.”

Bitterness is such a tricky thing. First, it seduces you like a delectable dessert. With every bite, it becomes part of your spiritual DNA… infecting the entrails of your common sense. You become infused with anger as it dilutes your happiness. Its roots take hold of every good thing that has happened to you and you become a hostage in your own skin. The bars seemed passion-retardant and kindness-resistant. On the outside, you’re doing fine but on the inside, you’re a caged phoenix.

That’s what a particular season of bitterness had done to me and I had finally reached the point where I could admit it. And I was bitter for a good reason if you ask me. A viable reason. One-hundred-percent-not-my-fault reason… but I was only one harboring the storm in my spirit while the offender seemed to frolic in a sea of Dutch tulips.

During my prayer, the words didn’t sound right to me and I’m so glad it didn’t matter. I let them out anyway. All I knew was I felt like I was choking in the vomit of my pain and I couldn’t take it anymore… and He heard me. I would be lying if I said I only dealt with bitterness once in my life. The cool difference about now and then is that I recognize it before that bite. I see it for what it is and I ask God for help much sooner than I used to.

I pray that you do the same. Don’t let it reel you in.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #12

Prayer: “Thank you for my life. It may not be everything I thought it would be, but it’s not as bad as it could be. I appreciate where I am. Thank you for being here with me.”

I’ve had my fair share of close calls and downfalls. I could have lost my life due to car accidents alone (before I started driving) not to mention the other unfortunate situations that could have taken me out of the game. If you ask me, I believe I’ve had a spiritual hit on me for quite some time, but I’m still here.

Outside sentiments usually include “You’re so busy!” “What can’t you do?” “How do you make time for all of that? and “When do you get to rest?” If you only knew how often I thought my time was up and that I wouldn’t get the chance to realize my visions, you’d understand why my grind-rest balance is so strong. I also had seasons of bitterness (yeah, definitely more than one) because my social clock wasn’t ticking according to everyone else’s timetable. Then that prayer became a breathing point in my spirit to re-align myself with the truth. No, I don’t have the things I thought I would at this age, but I have had some groovy things transpire so far like international travel and exhilarating performances. Amazing food experiences and friend excursions full of joy and authenticity. Moments of supernatural solitude and beautiful loving relationships. I’ve gone deep-sea diving into myself and found gems unbeknownst to words. I have a clear sense of self, reverence for God, and a refined focus on my purpose. All before the age of 40. For that, I will be forever grateful.

I thank God for my life. All that it is. All that it isn’t. Everything it has yet to become.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts! Keep praying and I am praying for you!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #11

Prayer: “Lord, please help the homeless. Watch over them all wherever they are. Keep them safe from harm. Please protect them from the weather. Please keep them warm and let help find them soon.”

While the words transient and homeless are still debatable, the fact remains that there are people that do not have a formidable structure in which to live. My heart aches for them, but when the weather is strong, I say this prayer. Every time. The truth is that many Americans are a couple of paychecks away from losing their homes due to lopsided debt-to-income ratio, illness, or lack of income altogether. The part deux of that truth is without multiple jobs or help from friends and family, a lot of us wouldn’t be where we are today.

My church collaborates with a ministry organization that meets the physical and spiritual needs of the homeless community in Birmingham, Alabama. I volunteer with them at times and one day I met a man who intrigued me (I won’t use his name with respect). He asked for prayer and was happy to do so. After we prayed, I asked the burning question… what his life was like before he lived here. He explained how successful his cleaning business was in another state and that he came to Birmingham to help a sick family member. Unfortunately, the family member abused his assistance and eventually, he lost his job and his home trying to help his loved one. That moment of humanity will forever be etched into my spirit. His smile. His “It’s OK. I’ll be fine” attitude. The warmth of his heart. I think about him often… hoping that I’ll see him again.

What I have to remember is that God is everywhere I can’t be. He is with him and my other homeless brothers and sisters. He is with the mentally ill. He is with the veterans. I don’t know the why and I can’t help everyone, so my prayer will remain where my hands can not reach.

When you get a chance, add the forgotten to your real prayer list. Who knows? You may be the answered prayer they have been waiting for.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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