Saturday, January 12, 2013

Go clean your room!

Originally, when I started this journey, my intentions were to write something every month. I have failed miserably!! But my heart was very, VERY heavy about things in my life and I knew that I had to really dig in and try and fix myself. I am definitely more...settled then I have been in a loooong time. I write here when I am stressed about things. My mind is always battling. I wonder if everyone does that. You think about things...decisions, goals, plans, work, bills, chores, kids, America, heaven, hell, pain, on and on. It is non-stop. Writing on this blog helps me get the madness out for a while until the next war starts raging.

*I say "war" because I don't know how else to describe it. I am not really at battle-but my mind is always full. Writing allows me to dump it all out here...for a moment*

I was visiting with a friend the other day and we were talking about school days. It simply amazes me that here we were...everyday...playing, learning, hanging out. It seemed like we were all on the same page. Same views. Ideas. Liked the same things. We ate together everyday. We saw each other every day. I guess it felt like we were in the same boat because we were learning the same things. As we got into high school and could express ourselves more we seemed to be more divided. As we sit is crazy to me of how different we truly are as individuals. With Facebook and Twitter we expose ourselves to what we believe. How we feel about things is so evident because we voice our opinions. We "like" things that paint a picture of how we feel, live, and believe. We speak very openly of how we feel about God, guns, abortion, laws, and anything else that we want to discuss at the time.

So in this blog I am going to talk about something that I believe in. God.

I have been down some dark paths in my life. Things that I could tell you would shock some of you. From 1998-2003 I lived a life of pure self-destruction. I was in a pit that most people never come out of in their life. I lived very different from the way I was brought up. I had been raised in a church. The church of Christ. My mama took me every Sunday and Wednesday. If the doors were open any time in between-she took me then too.

But during these years of self-destruction I questioned my faith. I questioned a LOT of things. During these years I gave up on God. I ignored my duty to worship Him. I rejected His authority. Both of my grandmothers died in 2003 and then in that same year I was a witness of my niece, Autumn's birth. Things inside of me changed. So in July of 2003 I changed my life. I started a new walk. I studied things that I had previously questioned. I studied to find answers I had been seeking.

I attended a seminar about Creation vs Evolution. I attended classes about the world. I studied about the history of the bible. The history of the land. The history of the towns where Jesus lived. I wanted to find answers to things I had questioned, doubted, and struggled with over the years. I wanted to develop my own faith, based on what I saw, what I read. Not what someone else taught me or showed me. My life began to change. My heart began to beat again. The monster that raged within me was put to rest.

**I need to say this: this blog today is mainly written for people that believe in God. But you may be reading this as a non-believer. I can't say that I understand that. I can't say that I agree with you. But I can say that I love you. Jesus was a man of love. The bible I believe in commands love before anything.**

So fast forward to 2005. I met Dwayne at Autumn's 2nd birthday party (she has been a part of significant changes in my life). He was a single dad with 2 beautiful children. Becoming a mother was very quick and I had to adjust to a new life. (as we all did) Again, my views started to change about God and what life is about. I developed a more personal relationship with Him. When you are responsible for someone else's soul it changes things for you. It is no longer a solo journey.

The ultimate goal is going to heaven. Heaven and hell are very real. I feel...and I am also told that it is my responsibility to teach my kids how to get to heaven. Is it easy? NO. Life is FULL of issues. Trials. Struggles. Your walk is different from mine. My mountains may seem like valleys to you. In the James we are told about trials that we will face. Life will never be a breeze.

We are all God's children. If you have children then you can understand how God looks at you. How He sees you. How He loves you. How He forgives you. How He hopes for you. I sometimes think people get so hung up on trying to live a perfect life. We get discouraged. We give up. We feel unworthy. We feel judged. Now we do have standards to live by. We are given guidelines. The bible is what we will be judged by in the end. How we apply what the bible says to our lives will determine our destiny. I am sure that is scary to some people. They hear how Jesus was perfect. They hear how we are to be like Him. How can we be perfect? That is a tall order!!

The purpose of this today is encouragement. If you have been struggling with your relationship with God then listen very closely. God loves you. If you are a parent look at how you feel with your children and replace the roles. You as the child, God as the father (or mother). If you are not a ARE a child so try and think about your parents-their role in your life. Think of what they expect from you.

If you told your child.."Go clean your room"...they, hopefully, would proceed to clean their room. If you crept down the hall and looked around the corner and you saw them working in that room you would be over-joyed. Depending on the age of your child would determine the level of cleaning that YOU would expect. They probably wouldn't be doing EVERYTHING like you would but it would be the determination...the effort that made the difference. That is EXACTLY how God feels about us!!

Our relationship with God is an individual one. God wants the best. Just like you want that room to be spotless...God wants that for us. Sometimes that is impossible. The effort that you put forth is what matters. Sometimes in our walk we only GIVE 25% but then demand a 100% of RECEIVING the good. If you looked around that corner and saw your child just throwing stuff under the bed we would not be happy with their effort. They can do better. So can we.

Life is hard. We fall. We fail. But we can't give up. The world we live in today is discouraging. Our children will grow up very differently then we did. We are divided on may issues. We see life very differently from each other. But love is everlasting.

Heaven and hell are real. The land Jesus traveled is real. His story is real. There are other books other than the bible that talk about Jesus and confirm His life. God is amazing.

There will be pits. There will be struggles. There will be times when you really want to give up. Believe me...I know. Keep cleaning. Keep trying. Don't give up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Letting go

I am always hesitant to expose myself of the past that I have leaped, rolled, bounced, and even sometimes crawled out of. You never know what people will think and how they will look at you after learning certain things about you. I started this blog as a way of escape to some degree. I can write and get it off of my heart. I wanted to challenge myself to be a better person...and if some of you wanted to join the ride...well LET'S GO!! We are living in this world together. Maybe you feel like I do somedays. Maybe you don't. You have your mountains just like I do. Your mountains may make mine look like dust piles. But thats ok. We can't judge each others journey. 
As I look back on the last...27...ok...28 years (big smile) of my life I see a lot. Dark and light. Some days I had no idea where I was going because I didn't even know where I was at! I was surrounded by people that did not have my best interest at heart. Granted, I didn't have their best interest in mind either. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and energy on things that meant nothing. I lost time with my family that can never be replaced. I did things to my body, my mind that has taken years to reverse. 
After escaping that dark part of my life I found the soul that was meant for me. I found Dwayne. When I found him, I found myself. He completes me. We are not perfect by any means. We struggle. We argue. But he is my best friend. I will grow old with him. He knows my dark secrets. He knows my tainted past and yet he still loves me. I can't imagine my life without him. 
I have learned to let go of my past. I have learned that I do NOT have to be defined by my past. It has molded me into the person I am today but it is a mere chapter from the complete 4 book series of ME! (4 books because there are 4 quarters of our adult...young adult-old adult...old adult-dead).
These past 3 years have been very erratic. On one side of my heart they have been full. Full of family. Full of laughter. Watching my kids grow. Memories of good tears. Good decisions. Milestones. Embraces. Gracie. New friends. Just a full scale of goodness that I would never want to lose.
On the other side, however, it has been a dark, hateful, disrespectful, dirty, shocking, grim, and sluggish time. I have been let down by people. People I thought I could trust with my own soul. Situations where I thought love endured all became full of hate and hurt. It has been confusing. Some days are just as confusing as they were a year ago. 
I feel like the devil has attacked my family. I feel like we have battled some pretty heavy stuff. My daughter, Sarah, still has nightmares. She deals with stuff on a daily basis. My husband still has the desire to severely hurt some people. He battles with that. We have been called murderers. We have been lied on publicly. We have had to sit silently in courtrooms while our insides were screaming. We have had to listen to people tell us what THEY think is best for OUR family. It has just been hectic and heavy. 
These last few months have brought on new revelations for me. I was once told by my sister-in-law..."People only treat you a certain way because you allow them to treat you that way.". This has echoed in my mind so much these past few months. Of course she told me this about 10 years ago and she was talking about a situation that she was actually in but it has stuck with me. It has pushed me up the hill on days when I couldn't push any more.
I am in charge of me. You are in charge of you. What you do with you...well God has left that up to us, individually. We have free will as his children. We make the choices we make because we want to make them. We treat people the way we want to because...wait for it...we choose to do so. But by making that choice we have to be ready to accept the consequence. Consequences can be good or bad. But whatever path we take in life we have to live with the decisions we have made.
The beauty and ugliness of this free will is who it effects. If we are doing something cool and awesome for someone else...guess what...everybody gets that warm fuzzy feeling. You makes your heart flutter. Toes tingle. No? Maybe it's just me. HA!
On the reverse side of hurts and causes wounds if you are being self righteous. That is no fun for anyone. Even the one who is acting like this does not benefit. Their enjoyment is only temporary. They will find themselves as I do...wasted time...opportunity...long term effects for short term benefits. 
I have learned to let go. By letting go that does not mean that I do not love or care for someone. Letting go of a hurtful situation means that I am not allowing them to treat me any way that they want. Letting go means that my heart has been put through all that I am going to allow it to go through. Stepping back does NOT mean that I am giving up. 
I have faced these people as boldly as I can. I have tried several avenues to resolve the chaos that has engulfed our paths. Sometimes letting go is the only option we are given. I feel like I have been drowning in a mess and have had to put on a smile. Letting go releases me of that burden. 
I love. I love people. Things. Life. I love hard. Everything I love-he has tried to destroy. He will continue in his fight. He will come after me again. I want to beat the devil. Dwayne and I will be ready. With every blow you can either fall to the pain or rise up. We have decided to rise up. We will fight for our family. Dwayne and I have become much stronger as a unit. I am thankful for him. I am thankful for Gods free will. He trusts that we will make the right decisions...just as we put that same trust in our own children.
Sometimes letting go simply means we have become stronger and it is time to stop allowing those people to treat us that way. Letting go means we are moving forward. Don't be afraid to let go. Your heart and mind will thank you. 
Thank you for listening (reading) me ramble. I am self-healing these days. Old wounds. Old scars. New wounds. New scars. But we are tough, right? We can make it up these mountains. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Timing is everything...

If you know me...really know know that music is a HUGE part of my life. I can relate a song to each part of my life. Each moment. Each minute. I am surrounded by music. At home I would rather put on the music channel then watch any show. Going to concerts is the ultimate for me. I love feeling the kick drum in my chest...the moment that the lights go out and the band makes its way to the takes you places.
This past weekend I was cutting grass and was completely engulfed in my I-Tunes (yes, singing to the top of my lungs) when all of a sudden a song came on, "Timing Is Everything". I became almost numb. I have heard this song a hundred times but in this moment it brought new meaning. I am not sure if it is due to the fact that things in our lives...our family... have drastically changed.  Or maybe it's because as I get older the true meaning of happiness is not found in material things or maybe it has to do with this new journey I have been on this year. Regardless, I started doing some soul searching.
In my last blog I talked about my Maw Maw. Oh...such a sweet soul that I was so blessed and proud to be a part of...I love that woman. I love what she stood for. I love what she engraved in each of us. She was the true meaning of love. But how did this all fall into my lap? How did I get so blessed? How did all of this come about? By chance? Fate? God?
We are put on this path from the day we are born. God gives us a chance at life...a chance to do good and to come back home to Him. He, I don't think, controls our path. He doesn't control the choices we make or the people we chose to have in our lives. That's all on us. We are the ones in control of who we have in our lives. Our environment. The places we go. Things we do. Moments that we share. Chances we take.
My Paw Paw Sarge was in the Marine Corps. He was a good looking man. I never got to meet him but he lives through his children today. Stories, photographs, old documents, and journals. He met my Maw Maw on a bus. The story-a true one-is a true love story. He saw her waiting for the bus. He was already on the bus from a previous stop. He asked all of the people on the bus to move and trade seats so that the only seat left for the beautiful girl getting on was right next to him. They talked the entire trip, wrote letters while he was away, and eventually got married and had 7 babies!
As I was listening to the song I couldn't help but think of this story.
My life would probably not be in existence if this event did not occur. My brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, nor my aunts and uncles would even be alive either! All because of one decision.
I wonder what he was thinking when he was getting that bus rearranged. I bet he was nervous. I wonder if Maw Maw was hesitant to sit with know the feeling...get in a crowded place and you are forced to sit with someone you don't know. They had no idea the magnitude of life they were having during that bus ride.
Everyday we are faced with this same situation. Maybe not finding the love of our life but we do have encounters that we either shut the door to or we open very wide. Life is all about moments. I am so thankful that God gave us an abundance of memory. We can store all those moments and remember them.
I wish we stepped out of our comfort zone more then we do. Sometimes I feel like we get so comfortable in our little area. Our bubble of life. We don't like "intruders". We don't like change. But that's what life is all about! If Paw Paw Sarge would have just sat wouldn't have this blog to read!!! (gasping!)
I am reminded of the day that my friend, Marisol was riding with me, as she often did to and from school. There had been a new guy at school. We had both seen him. He was like 7 feet tall so I think EVERYONE saw him. But that day was different. It had started raining on us on the way home. We passed a car, then passed a guy walking. Wouldn't you was the new guy. We picked him up and while making conversation about him being new and how his first day went I somehow incorporated him and Marisol going out on a date. They have been together ever since with 2 beautiful girls and a baby on the way.
What if we had driven on passed him? Or what if I never would have inquired about his dating status? Or what if we had taken another route home?
We have to step out. Take chances. Timing is everything. That moment is there and then it is gone.
My mama has recently retired. She was a nurse for many, many, many years. She worked as an orthopedic nurse for years but eventually ended up in hospice-taking care of terminal patients. I have no idea how she encountered death every day and still shined. She has many stories. Moments she witnessed. Some she would share...some she would not. The ones that were inspiring, to me, were the ones where people needed closure. They would cling to life, having not eaten in days, barely breathing but waiting. Waiting on someone or something to be said. Something to be finished. Something to be started. Often mama would tell the family..."If there is ANYTHING you can think of that they may be waiting for-tell them". Sometimes it may have been that person they hadn't spoken to in years. Or they wanted to hear from someone that the family would be taken care of and that it was alright for them to go one to where ever they were headed. But why do these moments have to be at the end?
So what are we afraid of? Why are we so hesitant to step out, rearrange the seats? Why do we wait until the end to tell someone something? Why don't we take more control of our moments?
I am not sure why. We never know how the course would change if we spoke up, asked, told, or even shared.
Zac Brown sings a song, "As She's Walking Away", about a guy that didn't take the plunge and ask a girl out. We all have those "what if" moments. What if this...what if that...everyday.
What if we told people how we felt more? What if we shared moments with them that would last forever? Took time to get to know really get to know them. It leaves you with wonder. You could change destiny. You could shape the future. Paw Paw Sarge sure did.
I listen to that song now with a different outlook. It makes me cherish things more. I am more appreciative and grateful for how YOU came into my life. Think about that for a moment. How did we meet? How did you get to this blog? Be grateful for where you are, who you have to share it with-but always be looking for new moments, friends. Tell someone how you REALLY feel-even if you do have butterflies. Rearrange some things. Turn around. Timing is everything...

Friday, June 22, 2012

All Aboard!

Time flies by so fast. Months...days...hours...minutes. In my mind I can still feel myself in high school. Pulling in to my parking games. It's all long gone. Now I see my kids going through all that. They have no idea how true "it will be gone before you know it" really is, do they?
These last few months have been some what better for me. Letting go of all the baggage that was weighing me down for the past two years is starting to pay off. My chest doesn't seem as tight any more. My heart doesn't ache night and day anymore. Although, the gray hairs still seem to be popping up more rapidly then I would like, it could be worse.
I have permanent walls that have been put up due to certain circumstances. I don't think they will ever be torn down. But the circle that I have surrounded myself with is just...well...amazing. I have some of the coolest friends in the world! My family is straight up-AWESOME. I am so grateful for the people in my life and I hope that they can feel my appreciation and love.
In this life we are only given a one way ticket. No refunds. No rain checks. Born naked and screaming-heres a diaper and some milk-now GO! If we are taught right-we are taught to love. Some of us aren't know a few. We are taught that money means nothing, family means everything. We are taught that happiness is about who makes you laugh until you wanna pee not who leaves you aching for days. Simple things always out way the complicated-dont believe me-just watch on Christmas day at the baby playing with the box while the dad takes 2 hours to assemble the product.
We live in a complicated world. People are shady these days. Trust is gone. Back in the day a hand shake took care of a lot of issues...fights, deals, promises. Now that is not the case. Giving of ourselves seems...strained. It difficult for us to justify why we should stop for the car broken down on the side of the road, or slide our change in the jar for the charity at the store. When someone was sick getting a casserole in the oven was priority. Now days, we wait to be asked to step up and do things. Even then-we find ourselves hesitant on giving-whether its justifying the time or having the right attitude.
Now I am not saying that we should just pull over and jump out every time we see a car with their hazards on. Nor am I saying that we should empty our pockets whenever we are asked to give money. But sometimes folks it doesn't cost us anything to be kind. Sometimes just offering help means more then anything to people.
I know it's impossible but I wish we could go back to the way things use to be. And the "way things use to be" has it's own definition to everyone. I think of my Maw Maw's store. It was right off of Hwy 11. Just a little country store that sold hoop cheese and BBQ sandwiches. SHE would pump your gas and if you didn't have enough money to pay for it she would put it on your tab. I remember what the wooden screen door sounded like when it would slam shut. I can remember the old men sitting around the heater playing checkers. The rocking chairs on the front that Rag Mop Mobley (yes, we called him Rag) would fall asleep in as he watched the cars pass by.
If you knew my Maw Maw you were blessed. She was a blessing. She didn't have much...sometimes she had nothing but she loved and treated everyone the same. She believed what you said and she expected the same from you. I think she would be very confused with how things were today. She would be hurt and probably disgusted with the way things were done. But none of that would change how she reacted to the world or how she treated people.
There's only one way to keep that "use to be" alive. We must live it. We are the only ones who can teach our children and others about being simple, kind, good hearted. Playing with a water hose has been replaced with going to a public pool with slides and big floats. Waving at your neighbor and asking how there day was has been replaced with having no eye contact and seeing who can get to the front door first. We get so caught up in the rapids. Life is a journey. We are going so fast that we don't take time to appreciate it. We don't take time to consume it.
Life is also a vapor. Here today...gone tomorrow. Money is the cheapest thing we have in life. Family, friends and sharing this journey with others is what matters. Giving, if just a little, may last someone a lifetime. Many people did not know Maw Maw. However, if you did know her-if only but for a minute-you never forgot her. We should want people to say that about us.
What will people remember about you? How many hours you worked? What brand of clothes you wore? How much you saved with your coupons? No. They will more then likely remember how you made them feel. How you took time out of your day to give back. I want to give back. I want people to feel the love that flows through my veins. Its electric. Maw Maw was electric. She had more energy in her then an entire pack of GE bulbs.
Set an example for people. This world will never be the way it use to be. Life will never be as simple as a Friday night football game. It will never be as fun as a trip to the store on the back of a truck. We won't be able to trust like we did nor believe that someone will pay you just because they said they would but we can show the world how good people still are capable of being. We owe it to the generation behind us. But we also owe it to the one that is ahead of us.
I hope that we enjoy this ride we are on. We don't get to get off and then go to the back of the line for round two. Make the most of your trip. Reach out and shock somebody! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coming and Going

So here we are...rapidly approaching the third month of the year. Yes, almost one quarter of the way done. We start off the new year with all these goals. Losing weight, eating better, studying the bible more, visiting more, saving money, being a better person and on and on. Well a confession-those are mine. In the past it takes ohhh...maybe three weeks until all of that is out the window and I am back to the same ole me that I was December 31st. But not this year. No sir. I am bound and determined to stay on this course of becoming a better me. Letting go of the weight that has had me down for so long. In this blog I will venture into one of those weights. Not to intentionally throw stones or hurt anyone but this is therapy to me. I think it is important to reflect on what you have come out of to appreciate what you are going into.
Everyone has a story, a testimony-it's what makes us who we are today. The book of our life is amazing to some and nothing to others. Some take the time to listen, some take the time to become part of the story. But our stories are always changing. We never know what is around the corner. This is about a chapter in my life that I thought would never be written.
Finding out that someone you love has hurt your child is devastating. It knocks the wind out of you. It leaves you with only each other to cling to as a family because you have just become so guarded from the rest of the world. Trust is gone. Everything you thought you knew becomes a blur. Wanting to hurt that person that hurt your daughter becomes a plan. Perspective is lost. Anger...hate...rage sets in. Day and night. Dreams...nightmares. Constant thoughts...questions...theories of much. For a full year it consumed Dwayne and I. It's a chapter in our life that I wish we could have ripped out. It was so public. Anyone who knew this man was, in my opinion, a victim of his actions. To some degree all of our trust in him was broken. It changed us-all of us.
For some people they have been able to move on. Forgive. Fall back into the same person they were prior to living this story in their life. I have not. Not yet. I will tell you that it is a process and I am working very hard everyday in this process. And no person is the same in the progression of this process. It's so easy for some to say "You have to forgive him". I often wonder if it had happened to their child if they would be so quick to dictate what my actions should be. I think God understands anger better then anyone. Look at all the mess He has dealt with over and over until finally dealing with the ultimate trials of Jesus...THEY KILLED HIS SON-WHO HAD DONE NOTHING WRONG. They didn't just kill him-they beat him-spit on him-threw dirt in his face-nailed huge pieces of metal thru his body and then made fun of him as he hung, helpless, in front of them. God was angry. Blackness covered the sky, the temple was cracked. He gave us that emotion.
But anger has gotten me no where.
While dealing with all of this with our child I became a surrogate mother for Tina and Dean. I think God's timing is perfect. The providence of God is amazing. We often can't see the big picture but God can and in the end we can look back on chapters in our life and see how it all played out, perfectly.
So fast forward through all of the mess...investigators, therapists, lawyers, court dates, sentencing, ALL OF IT. November marked a year that our lives were turned upside down. The dynamics of our family were forever changed but Dwayne and I had embarked on a new stage in our life together.
I was about to deliver a sweet child-hand picked from heaven-to my best friend. It forever changed me. Changed how I view things. That feeling that I got...knowing I was helping God in His master plan of life was, still, and will forever be humbling for me. I wanted to keep that feeling. To do so I knew I had to confront these feelings I had been carrying around like weights for a year. I had to let go of the bad and embrace the good God wants to give each of us.
Returning back to church with a new preacher (now that's a whole other set of weights) who had a series of lessons that could not have come at a better-much needed time in my life was like a breath of fresh air. From his lessons and studying to come to an understanding of what forgiveness is about I have set out on the process of forgiving the man that violated my daughter and the trust we had in him.
The interesting thing about God and sin is that He hates it ALL. He doesn't hand out lesser sentences in hell for cussing then He does for murdering a child, or cheating on your taxes verses raping an innocent child. So that means that me and this man are on the same level. My crimes may not be as sick as his but they still hurt God just the same. Thats hard to swallow isn't it? Society has allowed us to think that there are degrees of "bad behavior"...and when we are talking about breaking the law, there are different levels. But in God's eyes there aren't.
So what does this all me for my whole "Be blessed? Be a blessing!!!"? Well, I am coming to terms with things. I am trying to understand God's intentions for me. I am letting go of this anger that latched on to me November 2nd, 2010. Maybe something that I have said will help you to let go. Maybe it will encourage you start the process of forgiving someone in your life. Or letting go of some anger.
Forgiveness is a blessing. Could you imagine life without it? My mama would still be mad at me. :)  There would be no chance for eternal life in heaven if we weren't offered forgiveness. How awful would that be?Maybe this will inspire you to ask for forgiveness (as I too have experienced with this process) from someone in your life or even from God.
It's almost the third month of this new year. I don't want to give up on this journey. I am a LONG ways from where I was with this man on November 1st, 2010 and things will never be as they were before but I am making the effort to rid myself of the anger and hurt that I've been hauling around. I am making an effort to forgive the sinner but not the sin. If you started something this year and have kind of gotten slack...don't give up. Don't give in. It's a daily thing to push thru but in the end it will so be worth it. Don't wait for others to make the move. Show them what forgiveness (from whatever end) is all about. You never know who you will inspire....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Be A Blessing? Me?

I have heard more in the past year of what a blessing I am then I have in my entire life. I really don't know how to act or what to say when I hear this. It makes me feel awkward. Not many people know that Tina jumped in front of dobermen pinschers that were about to rip my throat out one night. She saved my life-without hesitating too! HA! I realize that not every one signs up to carry a child for their best friend without any strings attached. BUT so many people have said, "I would SO do that for my sister" or "I told my sister-in-law that I would do that for her". It leads me to believe that it's not that I am special but that I was given an opportunity AND I TOOK IT!
Throughout our whole lives we have heard phrases such as: "golden opportunity", "we live in the land of opportunity",  "window of opportunity"...I could go on and on. It's a word that's big and gets misspelled a lot. But it's also a word that could make us have better lives, in my opinion. Lets try and see if we can use it to our advantage.
These past few months I have embarked on some serious soul searching. Learning to let go. Learning to grab a hold. Just plain ole LEARNING! I want to be a better me. I want to give more of myself to others. I want to be a BLESSING to people that I come in contact with in my life. Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. What is a blessing to one person may be nothing to the next. I'm not talking about dishing out money to folks here people or stretching ourselves to the max. Nor am I talking about taking every opportunity (see how quick I threw that in there-you didn't even see it coming) we are given to do for others for our own personal gain or to show others how good we are to people. Blessings can be silent. Blessings can be hidden. Blessings can be private or public. Blessings aren't always about money, or time, or hand written letters, or pretty things. They don't always have to be touchable things either.
I think all of us want to be a blessing to others. We want to be thought of as good, helpful souls that are making someones day better. It's such a nice feeling to know that you made someones world brighter. But I think the first step in "Be A Blessing" is to evaluate our own blessings. How do you count your blessings? Do you do it daily? Or do you do it when something is threatened? Do you focus more on the negative then you do the positive? It's kind of hard to bless others if we first don't see or feel how blessed we actually are in life.
I was slapped in the face one time with a blessing. I didn't even realize or had not even thought of this as a blessing but after it was brought to my attention I give thanks for it every single day. My husband has a crazy work schedule. We dance around each other a lot. Before, it was so frustrating. I would get so aggravated that we couldn't have a "normal" day like every other husband and wife. I was angry until someone brought it to my attention of how blessed I was to have a husband that was WILLING TO WORK. Come again?! Yes. They expressed to me of how many men they knew that WOULDN'T work. Some men that jumped from job to job. Some men whose wives had three jobs just because they couldn't find the right job with the right amount of money. I was shocked. Shocked at my own selfish, petty complaints. From that moment on I began to look at our schedule and my husbands WILLINGNESS to work and provide for us as a true blessing. He works hard to provide for us.
My mama has always taught me to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Sometimes thats hard, aint it? Oh child! It is!!! This world is full of hate. The devil loves dark sided people. We sometimes base our "do unto others" by what they have done to us. We only go as far as they did on the "doing scale". But let me share this with you..."do unto others..." implies that you do the doing FIRST. Don't wait for the action or the reaction.
Maybe I have lost you. Maybe Im getting off track. We may have even missed the turn to the track. So back to the word of the day: opportunity. Take it! Embrace it! There are so many throughout the 24 hour day. Use it. Maybe you have the opportunity to open the door for someone, compliment their clothing, forgive them, ask for their forgiveness, make a cd for them, write out some cool verses that might encourage them, leave a note on their pillow, take out their trash, help them back out of a parking space...I could go on and on. They come in all shapes and sizes folks.
At the end of the day just knowing that you did the "doing" first is a blessing all on its own. You took the opportunity to be kind, selfless, and thoughtful to someone. Being kind, selfless and thoughtful are true blessings. I challenge you-as well as myself- to be a blessing. Give to others...share with others...see how good it feels. If you have the opportunity TAKE IT!!! You will be blessed.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

**tap-tap** Is This Thing On?

We have all heard phrases like "bite your tongue", "think before you speak", "God gave you two ears and one mouth". I, myself, practice these on a daily basis...well I TRY to-how bout that? The bible even gives us a strong warning on what turmoil our mouths can get us into. At some point I think we have lost how much meaning, no, no, not just words-OUR words can have in our lives. The words that are coming out of MY mouth. I think along the way we have been made to feel that keeping silent is the best way. I do believe that in some cases this is true but we have adopted this belief and we carry that silence over in to areas where we don't need to do so. 
Goals, beliefs, ideas, dreams, mottos, changes are often kept silent because we think someone will make fun of us or maybe even judge us by the exact words we have just said. It's hard to put yourself out there. It's hard to ask for forgiveness from someone. It's hard to decide to go back to school. It's hard to tell someone you love them for the first time or the 100th time for some. But I believe that saying it is the first step. Whatever your "IT" is, get it out. Keep saying it. Don't just say it once. Stand on it! Become it. Believe it. 
This has been my first step in the whole "Be Blessed? Be A Blessing!!!" change that I am experiencing. With the issues that I have been facing the past two years I held onto some very destructive, dirty, and disgusting feelings. They held me captive from the person I really wanted to be. They wouldn't allow me to move further. You know what I did...LAID DOWN IN IT. Like a pig in the mud. I stayed there. In my heart I didn't want to be there but I couldn't move. UNTIL I SAID IT!!
I felt in my heart what I had to do and I SAID IT. Well...uh hmm (clear the throat) I AM saying it. I have been telling everyone what changes I want to make. What a difference I want this year and ultimately the rest of my life to be about. I feel there is a power in stating things. Look at how powerful wedding vows are (or are supposed to be). Remember when we took the Pledge of Allegiance every morning-those are powerful words we said. We may not have understood them at 8 years old but we said them...hand over unison. 
Change isn't easy for everyone. It hasn't been for me. Its easy to stay in the mud. It's hard to decide to be different. It's hard to start making those changes. But do you know what happens when you do? You inspire others. They may not tell you. But again-they may. But regardless, believe me, you are inspiring somebody~somewhere. That my friends is a blessing all on it's on. 
Today I cleared the air with someone that I really hadn't spoken to in almost a year. I decided to put into motion the ME I want to BE. Forgiveness was granted. And in turn it was asked by me to forgive. Say what? Yes. Someone wanted me to forgive them. How humbling (and I only speak of myself) it was to be asked to do that. I was not expecting it. The air feels lighter. Not so thick anymore.
So what does all this mean? What's the point? This will not be a dormant year for this white girl! I have SAID it and now I will DO it. Is it hard? Sure. Staying the same cluster of nothing would be easy for me. Holding on to all of this that has been locked up is just what the devil would want. I don't want him to have the power of me anymore. My words have become my motivation. Telling others about my goals have become my map. Today was a start. But at least the engine is running. I have many, many miles to go. I'm sure I'll need to refuel and I'll bet a dollar that my GPS will scream "recalculating" more then once. But I'm going for it. I was blessed today and I am thankful.