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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: 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 #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!

#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 #17

Prayer: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Papers graded.

Water bottle ready.

Attendance sheet set.

Everything could be in place but right before my class began, I prayed this prayer. I knew I couldn’t teach those souls on my own. Regardless of my training, nothing could prepare me for what I could run into any given day as a high school and adult education teacher. It was a gift to be trusted with their vulnerable season of learning. Some of my adult students were transitioning from careers or life events that caused their worlds to tailspin. I knew that, with one word, I could either make their days better or worse. I definitely didn’t want to do the latter.

Words are so much more powerful than we give them credit for. In a classroom, in a boardroom, on a sports field… we have the opportunity to let God’s Love flow through our lips. I pray you’ll do the same this week. That prayer up there… it’s from Psalm 19:14, by the way. Say it everywhere you go. Through every threshold. In every family meeting. I guarantee He’ll help you with your words.

Peace and Thanks for listening, Sweethearts. I love y’all!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #9

Prayer: “I love You so much. There is no one more important than You.”

I spoke these words during a tumultuous season in my life. So much chaos was going on and I felt like I was holding my ground on a piece of 12″ x 12″ floor tile. It was inevitable that I could lose my mind at any moment as I kept getting pelted by unexpected life blows.

In my tears and in the effort to clutch some grains of sanity, I shared my heart with my Father. I kept repeating those words until my humanity believed it; my spirit had a head start. Everything was stressing me out, so nothing seemed to be more important than my relationship with Him. Money, Career, Relationships, Ambitions… they all seemed frivolous in comparison to receiving His strength at that time. I felt His Love envelop me as I wept and I will never forget the overwhelming infusion I experienced. No one can make me deny that moment.

Tonight, I pray that you realize nothing is more important than your relationship with your Creator. When you have Him, you have everything. For real.

Peace & Thanks for listening! #prayrealprayers

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #8

Prayer: “God, this is the perfect night to walk with someone, but I’m cool with just walking with You. Thank you for being my Friend.”

I remember this one. The sky had transitioned to beautiful dusk and I was drinking it in during a light stroll. Scenes of a good rom-com flashed across my eyes. I could see it all. The hand-holding, the jokes, the unveiling of truths… it was a perfect night for all of that goodness. I could hide it from others, but from God, I just didn’t want to. Not at that moment. I wanted to be honest with my feelings — my romantic pining to be exact. So, instead of the “I wish…” rabbit hole, I decided to let it out. Once I did, I grew overwhelmingly grateful for the friendship of God.

I didn’t feel like I was walking alone.

I wasn’t lonely.

I was sincerely appreciative to not feel alone. I enjoy my own company well now, but that’s because I’ve sat in the ashes of loneliness before. It’s a dark place. Although walking with a loving man would have been the perfect treat, the truth was that I felt like Love was all around me. I smiled to myself. I admired nature. I kept praying aloud. I shared what I wanted and what I didn’t want in a partner. I shared how much I loved His Presence. I told God that walking with Him was just as beautiful as the sky He painted. I felt in love with being alive in Him. Everything else would come in due season.

If you’re in a place of transition, pray a real prayer. Acknowledge where you are and verbalize it to your Creator. I pray God’s Love covers your shoulders along your walk, too.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #7

Prayer: “Why can’t people just do right?! Why is that is so hard?! Lord, get your children because I can’t deal!”

Don’t act like you have never walked away shaking your head at a few people. It may be the workplace, but some folks just make you wish for a Mortal Kombat standoff (Scorpion, anyone?). Countless occasions have yielded moments like these in my life and it wasn’t easy to walk away. I mean, c’mon, when you factually know that a person is lying to you or doesn’t host your best interest or is tarnishing your character, that’s enough to make anyone twitch. At times, only God stood between me and the other soul, and s/he will never know it. I’m not a fighter, but Sweethearts, I’ve definitely been tested as such. The unfortunate part is that I’ve thought of so many spiteful things to say and do in retaliation. Enough to stay on the altar until the day I die.

While it would be wonderful to experience camaraderie with everyone, that’s just unrealistic and the Lord and I have had plenty of conversations about His creations. Can I love you without liking you? Yes! Love is a commandment; Like is not. Even the Bible tells you the real deal.

“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18

See? Do all. you. can.

So, if you’ve ever been in the situation of wanting to dropkick someone, you’re not alone. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it. The best revenge is the view from your mountaintop. But until you get there, get those prayers out of your system… every time. Make it a habit so you can stay free.

Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay prayed up!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #4

Prayer: “What am I doing here? I don’t see the point.”

Have you ever been in a cubicle (or at a desk, on a job site, in a building, whatever’s clever…) and wondered why you were wasting your life in such an excruciating manner? I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve had jobs that I’ve hated too. I’ve had seasons where I’ve looked around in confusion and couldn’t grasp the ridiculous reality of my life. Passion-less days were prevalent and despair was an unwanted partner. Sometimes it even felt like an out-of-body experience. On more than one occasion, I prayed that prayer above. People around me seemed to be flourishing and I definitely felt like a fish out of water. I just didn’t see the point of being where I was. I wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else.

Now, that I’m on the other side of some of those days, the point is clear. A person was encouraged by my integrity. Someone needed a shoulder to cry on. It was time for me to grow. Those are clear points in hindsight, yet there are still a few foggy experiences out there and I may never get my why. I had to accept God’s Peace about those accounts.  Maybe you need to make peace with that unknown variable too. Know that wherever you are, you may not even be there for your own benefit. You may the sidekick in someone else’s story. Be well with that possibility and just be your best self in any situation. It all works out in the end and you are never in a pointless scenario. Here’s a verse that has helped me in those moments –

1572930104688_1280x1280.jpg

Tonight, I pray that your points become well-defined as the days go by… that whatever you’re in right now becomes a past point to which you can smile and say “I’m glad that’s over.” I’m praying for you, Sweetheart, and rooting for you all the way. Keep praying and rooting for yourself too.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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