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Wednesday Wind Down: Produce

Hello, Sweethearts!

We made it through another week, didn’t we? What a blessing! We’re 15 days into 2020 and the new year is going fast!

While walking my dog this week (which seems to be my secondary #LATSOL hotspot nowadays), I thought about Jennifer Lopez. I had just binge-watched Hustlers and Second Act, and being a long-term supporter of J. Lo, I imagined how she must have felt after producing these two films… pride, relief, and excitement. She’s known for not putting her name on anything she does not fully endorse and she exudes excellence in every mission set before her. In her words, she doesn’t see herself as getting older — she just strives to be a better version of herself year after year.

With that said, I pulled a virtual chair next to Ms. Lopez and I kicked my feet up for a split-second. We recalled her body of work on stage, on screen, and behind the camera. She has and continues to produce a broad spectrum of art. We nodded in approval as photos of movie posters circulated in front of us like a carousel of colorful horses.  Then, I absorbed the lesson of the moment.

Be proud of everything you produce.

Now, that’s a tall order, but it is definitely doable. You see, we are soil. God created us out of dirt (just take a look in the tub next time for verification), but I believe we host spiritual soil inside of us. It is capable of growing amazing things because everything God made can produce something. That’s the God-like quality in us — to produce inanimate creations like music and lively humans called babies. Part of the reason I appreciate the prowess of Jennifer Lopez is because she is always proud of her work… her produce… the fruit of her labor. How many of us can say the same thing?

So, if we’re the soil, where are the seeds? Where’s the light? Who’s got the water? I’m glad you asked! We host seeds from various places. They’re a special blend of our parents and our experiences. All of them have a chance to grow, but the goal is to produce the best fruit we have to offer the world before we leave here. With Light from the Word of God and a flow of guidance (Water) from the Holy Spirit to nourish us daily, we can produce exceptional things in this life. And let’s not forget Love… that beautifully gritty fertilizer.

Need some help getting started? Here’s a few verses for your journey.

Matt 5.16Galatians 6.10Hebrews 10.242 Cor 9.6

My prayer is to die empty and I can only do that if my soil produces fruit that I am proud to present to my Father and to His Creations. The beauty of it all is that I have this remarkable opportunity every day.  So do you.

What are you producing, Sweetheart?

Peace & I’m praying for the soil of your heart. Thanks for listening!

Bible verse visuals courtesy of my YouVersion Bible App

Wednesday Wind Down: Upon Deaf Ears

Good Evening, Sweethearts!

It’s been a week since the decade started. How’s it going? Are you smashing those goals? So far, so good on mine. *fist bump* Here’s some motivation for your week as you continue to shine.

The new year usually causes people to purge their homes, phone contacts, and Facebook friends. Many Christians participate in a fast to gain spiritual strength and clarity. People around the world undergo a new exercise regimen to improve their health (or to unveil a new summer body — whatever works). As I was talking to a friend about fasting, I heard God’s voice clearly and created a great reminder for me.

Pride is deaf to everything except its own voice.

photo of a boy listening in headphones
Photo by jonas mohamadi on Pexels.com

As you’re in the midst of de-cluttering your life and increasing your awesomeness, I encourage you to be mindful of those that are deaf to your concerns, desires, and goals. Have you tried more than once to change the lenses in someone else’s glasses? You expose the gears of your soul and be straightforward with your expectations, but s/he still doesn’t get it. No matter what you say, there’s a negativity belt that suffocates your pursuit of purpose all the while their own version of truth is on repeat in their ears. If you’ve said all you can say and changed your behaviors for the better and the message is still “return to sender,” be encouraged to be just as deaf as they are. What you may be experiencing is their pride plugging their ears to the Truth. The bad news is you don’t get to control their hearing. Go ahead. Let that sink in.

Since your words fall upon their deaf pride, I suggest you allow their pride to fall upon your deaf positivity. Talking to someone who doesn’t listen is frustrating and exhausting. I have learned to plug my ears with what God’s Word says about me. The negativity, the disregard, the ego… it all bounces off my spiritual earplugs. You too have the option to receive or deny what someone tries to put on your plate. Don’t let the manifestations of their pride stick to your progress. It’s a new year, so don’t back down. Keep going walking toward the best version of yourself. Honestly, you don’t have time for anything else.

Remember: Be mindful of what you see and hear because it can determine what you say and do. You control what germinates in your spirit, so let their pride fall on your deaf ears. Here’s a visual of Philippians 4:8 to help you along the way.

Phil 4.8

Peace & Thanks for listening. I’m praying for you. Have a great week!

Wednesday Wind Down: DNA

Hi, Sweethearts!

I had a thought this week and I hope it encourages you as it did me. I always say that what’s in you will come out of you. Let’s look at that from a biological perspective.

The famous double-helix of deoxyribonucleic acid. It’s a pretty cool construction of genetic material. Some genes are prominent while others seemingly appear out of nowhere such as eye and hair colors. Genes can also remain recessive and others express themselves loudly and proudly. Remember that Punnett square from biology class? That was one of my favorites in school.

punnett square khan academy
Courtesy of Khan Academy

Speaking of dominant vs. recessive, I recall times in class when I knew the answer but was discouraged to share it. You know how it is… it is easier to blend into academic cultures if you don’t seem like a know-it-all. How unfortunate that I was coerced to snuff my intellect to make my classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. I was ridiculously shy and my comfort in learning was never intended to create a shadow on those who I hoped to be friends with at some point in childhood. I felt that I studied the content, did the homework, and came prepared to share it with others. I just didn’t understand why they were so reluctant to share their thoughts too. What they didn’t know was that I was always nervous. Always afraid that I would be misunderstood. I also didn’t like the teacher standing there wanting someone to just show some effort and looking disappointed at the silence. Then came math class — my nemesis. I wasn’t so excited to share in that arena. I felt dumb and inadequate, but I still tried to express my desire to learn. After all, I still studied the content and still did the homework; I just wasn’t good at it, but I wanted the teacher to see that I tried. The life lesson I gleaned from my childhood was that dousing my abilities cost me peace. The less I allowed God to simply shine through who He made me to be, the more unrest and insecurity I experienced.

This week, God brought that back to my remembrance. The heaviness of hiding is such a difficult cloak to wear. God made us so beautifully different that it would be a discredit to his creativity to be anything else than yourself. Taking it a step further — my faith is part of my spiritual DNA. When Jesus died for me, His blood provided all the divine genetic material I need to walk confidently in faith. Sweethearts, allow your spiritual DNA to shine through just as strong as your natural one. Whether you’re a science wiz, nail polish lover, or welding enthusiast… be that. Own that. Flourish in that. If your spiritual gifts include hospitality, prayer, or influence… walk in that. Flourish in that too. Time’s up for decreasing what makes you exceptional.

I believe God’s grace is in my DNA. His loving fingerprints are all over my soul and I am unapologetic about that Truth. My chocolate skin can’t hide herself. My tone and texture are distinctive to my vocal cords. My faith has expressive DNA as well. I’ve been through the rounds and my scars have created a battle cry that I can’t suppress. So, oh well, if it makes others uncomfortable. I can not sit quietly when I know the Answer… and His name is Jesus.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I’m praying for you during this holiday season.

#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 #19

Prayer: “Lord, this is so cool. I’m actually here. I’m doing what I love to do. I have no idea how this is going to work out, but I am so grateful for the ride.”

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my massage practice! *insert happy party horn blow here* The day I opened, I had no idea that my school would close in less than a month. So, needless to say, I was ripe for that moment I spoke to you about yesterday. Instead, I felt ready to accept the next chapter of my professional life and spiritual growth even without all of the answers. A lot of entrepreneurs set their sights and prepare their resources for the business ahead and I did that. Unfortunately, the legs were swept from under my colleagues and me in a matter of minutes and my 3-6 month plan to transition into my business came early. Super early.

Nervous? Yes!
Excited? Absolutely!
Wondering how it was going to work out? That too!

Fast forward to the present day and I wake up honored to help my clients, teach dance students, write to you, and rehearse with my Crew. Am I riding in a brand new car, sporting flashy clothes, and sitting in a beach chair every weekend? *insert a loud laugh here — in real life* Completely the opposite. But I remember the seasons when I hated going to work every day and I promised myself that I would not live in professional bitterness until I die. It feels good to eat lunch with my mother or visit a friend more often. It feels lovely when I look at my calendar and I was a choreographer, public speaker, and licensed massage therapist all in one day. I love it. It’s fulfilling and I can’t wait to keep going.

I pray that you reach that point too, Sweetheart. I pray that you will at least write it down so you can see its possibility in your hands. I also pray that you link with God’s divine design in you. Everything about you was meant to make this Earth better than it was before you got here. So, keep the real prayers coming. I’m rootin’ for you.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #18

Prayer: “Lord, I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why can’t things just go right?!”

My passionate expression probably seems outlandish, childish even, but God knows I’m serious. He knows that I don’t pout at every little thing. I take the brunt of various blows so my friends, family, and teammates do not have to. It’s how I’m wired. Oh, but every now and then, I just have a good old-fashioned fit. I wouldn’t call it a tantrum, but close calls have occurred. The contents of said fit generally include a raw verbal exchange with my Heavenly Father, frustration tears, and deep breathing. Afterward, I usually end up praying words of thanksgiving and leveling up my faith that everything will work out.

Max Lucado calls it “the perfect storm”… the rather imperfectly perfect blend of unfortunate things that could happen all at once. For the most part, I chew up that storm and keep my energy focused on what’s ahead. I channel unnecessary energy to the Truth that there is an end to the misfortune. At times, it just gets too much and I am purely annoyed and frustrated. If I had a fistful of flour, my inclination would be to throw it all over the place. If there was a punching bag, it would ask for mercy… but only for about 2 minutes. Yes, you read correctly. When I need to just get it out, I do and I give myself a time limit to do so. My flustered self may scream, whine, grunt, cry… whatever it takes. Then once it’s out, it’s out. My faith takes over and God reinforces His strength in me and I’m geared up for the fight again.

That “perfect storm” allows God to show Himself strong in me and also in the situation that is trying to smother me at that moment. I’m also crazy enough to believe that He allows me to release the pressure valve if needed. Whenever that is. Without judgment. Without shame. I can go there with Him and I love it.

I pray that you release your real prayer in the midst of your “perfect storm.” Get it out. Say it, breathe through it, and do so unapologetically to your Creator. It’s definitely better out than in.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #16

Prayer: “Lord, please help my unbelief. I know you’re here. I know you are God, but it’s just hard to believe that this is working for my good.”

I know what the Word says but that doesn’t mean my belief muscles are always strong. There was a time when they felt frail. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe at all; I just had fragments of hope that couldn’t find their way to faith. In Mark – Chapter 9, I found someone who understood me.

Belief is a tricky thing because you are taught that it is all or nothing. Either you believe that your chair will hold you or not. Either you believe that the plane will carry you and your luggage to the next destination. But what happens when you believe with all you have left? Is that enough for God to work with? Absolutely. I am the evidence. He can work with the shredded pieces of your tragedy. He can love the torn parts of your faith. Just give what you have to Him. He will help your unbelief and it’s OK to admit that it is there. In Mark 9, the father had to give his unbelief to Jesus in faith that He would accept that too. And He did.

Peace & Thanks for listening. Keep praying real prayers.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #14

Prayer: “Lord, please cover my words. I didn’t mean to say it like that. Just cover all of that, please. I’m so sorry. Let them know I didn’t mean it.”

I’ve said plenty of things that I didn’t mean. It may have come out of my mouth with a little more heat than I expected or it wasn’t as clear as the thought in my mind. Either way, I was put in a position where I couldn’t take it back or I couldn’t reach the person to fix it. Like a muddy pig, my words slipped out and there was no redeeming the moment.

One time, I was at an event where my team donated water. I mentioned over the mic that our water was cold and my team later tapped me on the shoulder to let me know that it could have been taken in a negative way… as if to throw shade at other water donors. That thought was the furthest thing from my mind when I said it and I couldn’t run back on stage to fix it. All I do was pray that prayer above. It may be small, but I never want to hurt anyone in word or deed — knowingly or unknowingly.

Sweethearts, it’s inevitable that your words will not adequately reflect your intent one day if it hasn’t already. I pray that you’re wise enough to own it and ask God for forgiveness. I’ve run into people that recalled me from an event and they had no clue what I was apologizing for. God always knows the heart. Remember that. And you’re not perfect. Remember that too. Just do your best to have a clear highway in your heart for God’s Love to always land.

prov 21.2

Peace & Keep Praying, Sweethearts. May God direct the words of us all and clarify our intentions toward each other.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #13

Prayer: “Lord, please help my friend.”

The worst feeling for me is wanting to provide assistance but something is blocking me from doing so. I’ve experienced blockages of both distance and spiritual directives when it came to those situations. There were times when I truly wanted to extend myself and God told me no. That hurt just as bad as not being physically present in their time of need. Now, my friends (and I don’t take that term lightly) know they can call me at any time. If I can, I will — they know that too, but what do you when your hands are tied? When you know that this is a lesson they have to learn on their own? When you want to do it for them, but you know it will handicap them instead? When you’re hundreds of miles away? I had to learn to release that control freak to God too.

I say this often — I’m not Jesus, but I do listen to Him. I can’t be everywhere for everybody. I can’t make every baby shower, wedding shower, bridal party, funeral, birthday party, retirement party, hospital stay, court hearing, church event… you get the point. Trust me, I tried and it was an exhausting lesson of my finite abilities. I had to make peace with that unfortunate truth and send prayers where my hands couldn’t reach. Sometimes, I’ve sent prayers and a PayPal blessing where my pockets permitted. Other times, I stopped what I was doing, tucked away in an empty classroom or closed the door to my office and interceded on their behalf. Whether through my hands or my lips, through a text message or through a hug, my friends are always on my prayer list and I have learned to let God move through me however he wishes in order to confirm His Love in their situation. I’ve gone through some doozies with my tribes, but they always appreciate prayer… and so do I.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts! Keep praying for your friends and listening for your next steps! I love y’all!

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