Archive for December, 2016
Centuries ago, Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Making that first step may not be easy. Often times, the first step is the most challenging of the entire journey. I know this to be the truth all too well!
Stop waiting on the opportune time. Too many months may escape. Start your journey now. Sometimes, you have to just step out on faith.
Stumbling blocks such as procrastination, excuses, doubts, and fears prohibit progress. They can be conquered. Don’t let temporary deterrents become permanent roadblocks! Worst yet, don’t convince yourself that you can’t do it or talk yourself out of doing it.
Once you take the first step, even if they are baby steps, the closer you become to accomplishing your goal.
If you keep moving, you will eventually cross the finish line. “Nothing beats a failure but a try!” We all need a nudge every now and then.
By the way, these words of encouragement especially resonate with me. There are times that I must be my own cheerleader of motivation so that I can keep going! If it rubs off on you – terrific!
I hope you join me; the journey is always better with company!
Photo credit: www.thenewyouplan.com
Of course, I do not have giant wings and cannot cruise through the sky like an eagle or Superwoman.
But, I do have courage, determination, and perseverance.
Add those to my skill set, faith in God to order my steps, and the intestinal fortitude to try, I am confident that if I take steps in the right direction, I will end up farther than I started.
Action starts with vision and continues with steps.
Idleness is not my style. Besides, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
We all need to be pushed; to be motivated and encouraged.
Sometimes, our circumstances propel us. Occasionally, others who believe in us lead the charge; other times, we have to charge our own battery.
Regardless of where our stimulants originate, “nothing works unless we do.”
I am known from time to time to steal meaningful lyrics, so I borrowed a few from R. Kelly’s, “I believe I can fly!” Words can motivate us. Hopefully, these words will stimulate you and me from inaction to mobility.
Here we go…
“I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I’m leaning on the everlasting arms
If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
See I was on the verge of breaking down
Sometimes silence can seem so loud
There are miracles in life I must achieve
But first I know it starts inside of me
If I can see it, then I can be it
If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it
Hey, cause I believe in me.”
The operative words here are – seeing, believing, and doing.
Vision is critical, but nothing surpasses backing up that vision with substance.
Let’s get it together.
Let’s get started!
Shhh…Look up! What is that in the sky!
Is it a bird? A plane?
Oh my … It’s Vernalee!
Photo credit: www.mercilies.deviantart.com
When we travel, we often carry a roadside emergency kit. We have battery cables, a flashlight, and other essential items. We may also carry a daily survival kit consisting of water, bandaids, tylenols, and other first aid items. If we get lost along the way, we can use our GPS navigational system. If we have mechanical problems, we can call roadside assistance.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we need the same tools spiritually. We need a Spiritual Survival Kit. The items that we need are designed to be with us in our hearts, minds, and souls at all times. As you will see, we can carry them with us to sustain us wherever we are and wherever we go. A spiritual emergency kit might include at least five things: 1) a prayer, 2) a scripture verse or psalm, 3) a place, 4) a practice, and 5) a friend.
On the road, by the side of the road, and traveling on the road with us – is God. Thank you Lord for your never ending presence; for being there when we need you; for being there before we ask; and for providing the needs and desires of our hearts. Thank you Lord for being an “on time God;” readily available everyday of the week, 24 hours a day. God, we also thank you for equipping us with aids to help us make it through each day.
If we are not connected with you Lord or if we’re not grounded in your Word, then storms, crises, problems – can overtake us.
Having these five items in our Spiritual Survival Kit helps.
1. “A Prayer is a good thing to have at hand. Whether you memorize a prayer, make the Lord’s Prayer your own, or perhaps hold on to a special prayer —it’s good to know a prayer so that whenever you need it, it’s right there with you, inside of you.
2. A verse of Scripture works the same way. No matter what comes, you can remind yourself of God’s assurance, God’s strength, and God’s care by repeating the scripture you’ve “heard, read, marked, learned, and inwardly made your own.
3. A place that is holy and grounding can be a life-saver. When you feel like the world is spinning out of control, you simply go to your place and be still. A holy place might be your room, your church, a chapel, a garden, or any special place. You can be walking, sitting, standing. The place really doesn’t matter as long as you have a designation where you can hit a spiritual “re-set” button.
4. A spiritual emergency kit would also include a practice of some kind – a practice you can do without thinking about it; something calming and routine that puts you back in your own spiritual zone. It might be yoga, or meditation, or prayer. It might be riding a bike, or walking for twenty minutes.
5. Finally, a spiritual emergency kit would include contact information of a friend, or a clear cut way of reaching a friend. That friend might be a family member; it may be a religious person, or it might not be, but it should be someone who you can tell the truth to, someone who will listen but not judge, and absorb what you’re saying. Such a friend will help get you through the roughest of rough places.”
A prayer, a scripture verse, a place, a practice, and a friend – all of these ingredients work together like a kit to keep us going. If all else fails, no matter what, we’ve got the Lord!
Happy Sunday! Blessings!
Photo credit: www.drjnorwood.com; Source: www.jfbeddingfield.com
Why do people stay involved in other folks’ affairs? Is it boredom, the need to gossip, not enough excitement in their own life, jealousy, or what? The answer may not be clear; the solution is simple! Stay out of their business; mind your own!
If you stay on top of yours, that’s a job in and of itself – very time consuming, I’ll say! In fact, when you mind your own business, you really won’t have the time to meddle in someone’s else!
Plain and simple!
If you don’t believe me, take the plunge.
Mind your business and not theirs and see what happens!
You will be amazed!
Photo credit: www.pininterest.com
I am sure that you have heard the expression, “You left me out in the cold.” Exactly what does that mean?
I’m glad that you asked!
It means to not allow someone to become part of a group or an activity or to not inform someone as to what is happening or has happened. The person who is orchestrating this process purposefully alienated, excluded, or barred information or support from another person.
You may ask, “What’s wrong with that?” “Isn’t it the prerogative of a person to share or not share what he/she desires?”
Of course, the freedom of choice is always an option that is reserved to the person making the decisions.
Generally speaking, it is their prerogative.
They are well within their rights to do whatever they please. But that conclusion can be drawn for just about everything or any situation in life. Therefore, it is always the spirit and intent of an action that underscore the true meaning.
Sometimes, protecting and excluding information may be well intended; other times, it is blatantly malicious and unscrupulous. In those cases, it changes the flavor.
This process can occasionally backfire if the person that was left out in the cold freezing elements has the wisdom and wherewithal to bring warmth and knowledge that actually lead to progression rather than failure? You may have even intentionally added fuel to the fire and attempted to freeze the person out. You failed to realize that the coldness becomes less frigid when there is movement.
Don’t underestimate their intelligence or expect the person to stand still in the cold! The intelligent ones learn to adjust and adapt to the freezing atmosphere. It is amazing the survival techniques that are acquired when someone’s back is up against the walls.
Alright, here’s the kicker.
Don’t be surprised if the person that you locked out becomes smarter than you. To survive, they learned how to weather the storm. Please don’t get angry when they build a fire, evaporate the icicles, and clothe themselves warmly to resist the coldness.
And … for goodness sakes, don’t be shocked when and if they light a fire up under you! Your intended alienation brought out the best in them! It backfired!
Fairplay, I’ll say.
Now, you can credit yourself with creating a diehard survivor who may outlast you!
You showed them the ropes.
Look … Who’s out in the cold and shivering now?
Dating back to the fifteen century, the proverb, “jump out of the frying pan (and) into the fire” became one of Aesop’s fables. You may ask, “How could something so old be so relevant today?” Exactly what does the expression mean? Simply stated, it means to go from a bad situation to an even worse one.
Our lives are full of decisions. They occur by the second; by the minute. What’s interesting is that prior to our “jump,” typically we make highly informed and intelligent decisions based upon what we know, understand, or see at that point in time.
For certain, there are times of coercion, when our circumstances force us to leap without sufficient cognition.
Here lies the problem.
Because of our lack of vision and ability to predict the future, we may unknowingly position our feet to land in a situation worse than our original position. And of course, once we ascertain that we are no better off and that we should have stayed where we were, we can become very upset and frustrated. In fact, we regret that we moved at all!
Needless to say, hindsight gives us all 20/20 vision.
Don’t you wish you could have seen what you see now?
Certainly, but of course!
As life would have it, there is an upside. We can learn from our mistakes. Life doesn’t give us do-overs, but it gives us an opportunity to make it better the second time around. Time makes us better. As we age and experience more of life occurrences, our judgment and assessment skills should improve.
We weigh, research, consider, and learn to navigate our journeys by looking at the viable options. Sometimes, our intuition stops us dead in our tracks.
It is those moments that we see that the green grass has actually turned brown when we get to the other side. As our maturity kicks in, we stop rushing to judgment and fact find instead.
Once you are scorched and burned, you seek not that pain anymore! Optimistically and wisely, you become better stewards of your time, energies, and resources as you walk in your intellectual gardens that God has planted in your souls.
Our quick jumping days without thinking will hopefully and prayerfully become a thing of the past. The evidence of carelessly jumping from the pan into the fire become conspicuously noticeable.
Mistakes, poor judgment, and bad decisions definitely age you; sometimes overnight. You become unrecognizable. Though you are not “fried” – crispy or charcoal – your inner and outer appearances change. Your hair grays, your body shakes, your skin wrinkles, your back/head hurts as memory losses and stress consume your presence.
Physical and emotional pain begin to speak out loud. Their words often shake you up. However, if the lessons learned sank in deep enough to touch the right membranes, you will become a new person in the same old skin. Then you will notice how wise you have become. If you have been there – in any of the valleys of despair, losses, frustration, and helplessness, you definitely don’t want to go back. Those experiences become implanted within and they teach you to think before you leap and jump!
Photo Credit: www.flickr.com
What you see is not always what you get!
The grass is not always greener on the other side even when it appears so.
Let’s take a look at this theory as it relates to relationships.
A man or woman respectively may think that the other desirable person is better than their current companion. The new chick has a Coca Cola figure with Marilyn Monroe beauty; the new beau has Billy Dee Williams’ handsomeness and swagger!
When will you learn that what The Temptations sang in 1966: “Beauty is only skin deep”is true! However, when beauty is inside, it lasts forever!
Don’t be mistaken. Don’t chase a dream when everything that you need is presently in your life.
Going to the other side may not yield what you think!
Conceptually, this quote refers to many other aspects of life beyond relationships.
Think before you move and realize that some visions are just mirages!
“Do not let the green grass fool you” because it will eventually wither away into hay. In fact, the bright green color will turn brown.
Experimentation is not always wise when you have a proven commodity!
Keep in mind that fertilizer doesn’t guarantee the production of a good crop; it only enhances the soil!
You may already have the best there is!
“Everything that’s good to you may not be good for you.”
Make wise decisions; keep what’s good, eradicate what’s bad.
Equip yourself to discern the difference.
Study the person and the situations.
Remove your blinders.
Judge the tree by its fruits. Look at outcomes. If all else fails; if your judgment is wrong, time will tell! You will eventually be shown the truth. The cream always rises to the top.
Therefore … Enjoy, respect, and appreciate the proven relationships in your life!
Otherwise, you may be jumping out of the pot into the frying pan!
Photo reprint: www.garylellis.org
Sadly, I’m breaking up. I’m ending a long termed relationship.
Yes, you read it right. I’m about to initiate a major breakup. It’s been a long time coming, but it is something that must be done.
I know that it will be one of the toughest things that I have ever done.
Not an easy task, I have thought about it for some time, but I’ve procrastinated for a number of obvious reasons and for way too long.
I have even prayed about it. Strength is needed for major changes as this.
I don’t know how this will turn out – but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The entire process is somewhat scary; intimidating to say the least.
Yet, I must move forward.
I kept telling myself that I would shed the periphery of my old self, but it never happened.
I have gotten tired; sick and tired of many aspects of my actions.
For example, I tend to give considerably more than I take.
Generally speaking giving is not a bad thing, but given many life scenarios, the proportional balance can become distorted and whopped sided. It can wear you down. Let me not forget to add that others can also use you …until they use you up! Need I say more!
If I may continue with my idiosyncrasies that need to be changed or annihilated, I am also much too concerned about hurting others’ feelings. Interesting, the opposite is not always the same. Thus, regretfully, I hold back from doing or saying what needs to be done/said. That’s another habit that I need to break.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” Who do you go to when everyone comes to you? None of us are islands. We need a support cast to throw our burdens on; a shoulder to perhaps cry on (It’s ok to shed a tear). We have to recognize that we cannot be the perpetual Rock of Gibraltar. Everyone needs someone!
Check this out!
Why do I keep putting others first which relegates me further and further down the line? It doesn’t sound logical; does it?
I keep asking myself these questions and others.
My answers never really change.
I can share more of my errors that need modifications, but out with the old and in with the new.
It is for these reasons and others that after considerable deliberation, I have decided to break up with my old self.
It is in my best interest to do so now or otherwise these old habits which do not serve me well will continue to be at the top of my list month after month.
Alright, I’m now off and running.
My transformation will start with my thought process.
If you don’t think it, you can’t do it.
The mind determines the steps; the procedures. I must listen this time and take the steps even if it is a coerced process. Realistically, the frequent combative warfare with my heart and head pulling and pushing me in different directions will not instantly stop.
How I balance it – should!
Intrinsically, my soul will probably ache. Yet, I realize that I need a tougher exterior to ward off the internal tug of war.
Because I feel that I need help with this enormous challenge, (after all, I have been dealing with this for years), I consulted a couple of experts. Here’s what I found:
“90% of the thousands of thoughts you think each day are the same you had yesterday.
Our thoughts affect what appears in your reality!
It’s mind boggling to say the least.
When we focus on the emotions of what we’d like to have in the present moment as if what we want is already present, our brains get rewired, our bodies create new patterns, our behavior changes and the experience of what we want finds us.”
No wonder Benjamin Franklin said, “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”
So as I begin my breakup, I am met with Three Benefits off the mark.
1. “Lost-ness Leads to Exploration –
When the familiar is stripped away, you’re forced to search for more. When you can’t fall-back on the old way of doing things, you have to find a new, better way.
If there were no transitions you’d forever remain where you are now.
2. Ambiguity Leads to Humility –
When all we thought we were goes up in flames, chasing the smoke of the remains is a humbling experience. Transitions force you to look at yourself with a new, raw honesty including seeing yourself as you really are – without the titles and accolades that became all too easy to hide behind. Transitions scrape off the built up arrogance and know-it-all-ness, which gives you the chance to learn fresh and anew.
3. A New Relationship Brings New Chances –
Breaking up with yourself is hard, yet necessary. You have a fuller idea who you are and what you want in life. You have the chance to be in a more secure relationship with yourself. You have the opportunity to take the breaking that occurred from the break up and form it back together stronger and more stable. You can choose to be intentional and seek positive change.”
I’ve started this arduous task.
Wish me luck.
If you are struggling, by all means, please join me.
We can do this!
Photo credit: www.beyondmaybe.com; Source: www.hayhouse.com; www.allgroanup.com
Allow me to ask you a few questions.
Are the two of you (your man and you) on the same page?
Is he speaking your language?
Are you speaking his?
Are you listening to each other?
Does what he says matches what he does?
In other words, does he “walk the talk?”
Comfortably, you should be able to take the “man in your life,” at his word. It is his bond; right?
For certain, he can make you extraordinarily happy or disappointingly sad depending upon the outcomes of his behavior.
So that we can be fair here with the gender difference (woman to man), there is no difference. The same rules apply from you to him.
Trust is born from words and actions.
That is why – Nothing beats a harmonious relationship.
Keeping your word and living up to your commitment are foundational principles. If you can’t satisfy those terms, you may as well close the book altogether. However, if the two of you are lovingly reading in the chapter called, the “Three H’s – Harmony, Happiness, and Honor,” you are pleasurably on the same page!
Indeed, that is a good place to be – figuratively and literally!
Photo credit: www.quotesdump.com
A dear and loving sister girl sent me a You Tube sermon by Rev. Dr. Howard John Wesley of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia that absolutely blew me away. It sent electric shock waves through my body. The generic commonality of the topic is one that we can easily relate to as we select various relationships. The subject dealt with “How we identify and remove Poisonous People/Relationships from our lives.” Using a quote from Howard Thurman, Dr. Wesley stated that “our lives are shaped by two things. Where am I going? Who’s going with me.” Inseparable, purpose and partnership go hand in hand. Accordingly to Dr. Wesley as he brought his sermon from Judges Chapter 1, we connect ourselves with several levels of relationships including:
The levels are intensified to include:
Intertwining scriptural references from Amos Chapter 3, Exodus Chapter 34, Ephesian Chapter 3, Psalms Chapter 1, I Peter Chapter 2, and 2 Corinthians 6:14, we are admonished to open our eyes to the character of people that we are dealing with or whom we form associations.
As we examine the Five Test of Toxicity, namely:
2. Admission of Wrong
4. Neediness & Self Sufficiency
5. Vision & Manipulation – it is hopeful that we can discern who God has sent into our lives accidentally and providentially. A powerful message, we know that bad associations spoil useful habits; we know that birds of the same feather flock together; and we know that if we lay down with dogs, we get up with fleas. It is not what we know. It is what we are willing to do with what we know! The choices are ours to make. Choose wisely!
Happy Sunday! God bless!
I invite you to listen to this powerful message and be blown away as I!
Photo credit: www.alfredstreet.org