Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oh, give thanks!

For the first time ever I did not celebrate Thanksgiving Day with my family this year. I was a bit nervous and a tad saddened but I felt as if it was a choice I had to make. For one, my work schedule did not allow it. Initially, I was going to contest this because of course, family comes first. An unexpected event stopped me from doing so. I decided not to contest my work schedule when the mother of my significant other became extremely sick and was hospitalized. We didn't know what was wrong with her but we knew she was now immobile. At that moment, I realized that someone else needed me more than one missed occasion with my family. I love my family dearly but I find comfort in the fact that we have many more occasions to gather and celebrate.

Had I gone home, I would have abandoned someone I cherish deeply but also someone who is slowly losing his mother. He would have been in this area by himself and may have “celebrated” Thanksgiving in the hospital.

In life, we make choices and I decided to be there for someone. I had no idea what Thanksgiving would mean this year to me nor if I would enjoy it. Would it be the same without my family and our cute traditions? I did not know! We don't always have to know what is to come. Expect that you attract positive people and positive environments. I certainly do and I did! A lovely couple welcomed "S.A." and I to their home. They have no idea how much that meant to us. For one, we were able to visit his mother who is still bed-ridden without the worries of where we would eat, what we would eat, and who would have the time to cook. Two, when I say they opened their home, they opened their home to us! We were greeted by laughter, a wonderful spread of food, and cheer in the air. Most important, we were greeted by love. We had a wonderful time. Thanksgiving was different this year but it was still wonderful.

Many people don’t have a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving Day. Many people have to work. Some people are in prison, deployed, and/or separated from their loved ones. Yet, here I was, surrounded by love. For that, I am thankful and know that I am truly blessed.

Thanks to the wonderful couple, they made two people have a home to go to, exchange memories and joy, and touched our hearts tremendously.

I thank them and I thank everyone who touches someone. Whether you realize it or not, it matters.

Many blessings!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

You have so much to offer

Have you ever thought about how special you are? How many lives you have touched? How this world would be different without you? I'm sure at some point, we all reflect on who we are and what we have to offer. Well, if no one has said these words to you in a while, let me say it now, "YOU have so much to offer." We each are uniquely designed and all created with different skills, talents, and gifts. You may not speak as eloquently as Person A. You may not know how to sing like Person B. You may not be the best sales person on your job. You may not be as creative as Person C, but you, my friend, have your own set of gifts. These gifts belong only to you so it is up to you to tap into them and apply them where you see fit. Don't look at another's talents and become envious. That is a distraction from your destiny and your destiny is yours and only yours to be fulfilled. You have so much richness to offer to the world. Think about it. What do people commend you for? What role do people often say they see you in? What did people say they saw in you from the time you were a child? Sometimes, our blind spot is the fact that are strengths come so natural to us, they are so instinctive, that it is difficult for us to identify them. Today, not only do I want you to know that you have a lot to offer but I also want you to know that you are equipped with all of the tools to live up to your potential, realize your dreams, and live a fulfilling life.

Be blessed. You certainly are a blessing!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Praying to be a blessing

Many people often wonder what their talents may be, what gifts have been entrusted to them, etc. Many of us wonder what our purpose in life may be. I pray and ask God that he shows me my gifts, my talents, my purpose. I still don't know what it is. I once heard a wise person say that God will place people in your life who will identify your strengths, gifts, and talents. If that's the case, I will wait on God. People have often stated that I am inspiring and should be a motivational speaker. Is that the case? I don't know but I want God to have his way. I noticed that S.A.'s gifts are his fabulous cooking, his decorative eye, and his generous spirit. He is so talented and gifted. He inspires me to be a better person. No, I won't be like him but if I can find a way to use my gifts to bless others, I want to do so. My house truly feels like a sanctuary and I wish to share it with others. My words have been said to be uplifting at times when people need it most so I pray that I use my words wisely. I've been told that I am very beautiful and intelligent. Even though, I don't always feel that way, I know I must be because God created me, HIS masterpiece. If my beauty and intelligence can be a blessing to others, let God's will be done. Most important, I want to be able to put a smile on peoples face, make people know that they matter, that I care about them. As I continue to pray on how I can be a blessing to others, I ask that you join me in this prayer so that it will be answered soon. As I make a difference in someone's life, I believe they will in turn pay it forward and make a difference in someone else's life. We are all in this together. I pray that my talents, gifts, and purpose will soon be revealed to me. If you are questioning yours, I pray that you, too, find that answer.

Many Blessings!

Monday, August 29, 2011

God Favors Me.................

We may not always know WHY things happen. Most of the time, we actually don't know. There are those few times, where God reveals the why but not in our time, in HIS time. We tend not to question when wonderful things take place in our lives but as humans, when things don't necessarily go according to the way we may have planned or desired, we often pose the question, "Why?" As difficult as it may be, I try to no longer ask why. Instead I ask for strength to go through whatever I am going through and two, to find the "good" in the situation, no matter what it may be. This is a process for me but the more I let go, the more I find that God shows up in my situations, HE blesses me when I least expect it, HE comforts me when I most need it, etc.

I truly had a wonderful weekend. I had one full day of "me" time, something that everyone needs. There was no working, there wasn't anyone around. It was just me, my bed, my couch, my T.V., my e-reader, etc. Let me tell you. I exercised! I napped, woke up, napped , and woke up again. I simply felt at peace. I actually got to sit back and look around me and enjoy my home, a home that through God's grace and mercy is beautifully decorated and furnished now.

The day before, we (S.A. and I) had a couple of friends over. We had such a wonderful time. My house was full of great people, love, laughter, good food, and it was simply a great time. I believe everyone had a great time and that is a testament to God's greatness. I pray that I can be a blessing to others and that everyone who steps foot in my home, leaves feeling at peace, loved, and blessed.

I am so thankful for everything that I've been through. If I didn't go through it, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't have met S.A., the best person I know. I wouldn't have a house that feels like a home but I had to let go and truly trust God. GOD FAVORS ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Today, I ask that you trust God and let go of the things you need to......He will make a way out of no way and take care of your every need.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-26

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Me time....

So, I've made some tough decisions within the past few months but they were decisions that needed to be made. I'm so looking forward and moving beyond the past. *exhale*. I have a house that is looking like a home more and more each day. My beau and I (mostly him) have really transformed this living space. It's a space that one enters and immediately, you feel at peace, serene, and at home. A lot of work went into getting it to where it is but it was well worth it. Right now, we are taking a break from the house projects and it's time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Between the house projects and both jobs, I've been rather busy. Being so busy, I haven't had the time to really reflect and see where I am now and where I wish to go, moving forward. What is missing now...is that important element in life.....me time. Time where it's just me, myself, and I. Time for me to read, unwind, reflect, write. I haven't had anytime for me time and the last thing I want to do is to neglect ME! So, I'm going to change that. I'm going to Jamaica for a couple of days and I look forward to fun in the sun, seeing my family, but also getting away. I hope to come back refreshed and renewed. Upon my return, I will definitely have more dates with myself. So should you!!

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Falling into place

As I reclaim my life, I must say that I see everything falling into place. Things didn't work out as I thought they would but my, my, my what a mighty GOD I serve. I am reminded daily of how immensely blessed I am. Sometimes, we hold on to the very thing(s) that God wants us to get rid of and they actually keep us stuck in a rut. On this journey of change, I am trying to see the good in all that takes place, roll with the punches, and have fun. Life shouldn't pass me by. I want to live and so I am living. As I realize what truly is important, I am able to connect with others and be a blessing to them in whatever way/form they may need. Whatever you may be facing today, I want to encourage you. No matter how things may seem, there is a master plan that you may not be privvy to. Live, laugh, love. We aren't here forever and as you let go of things you cannot control, train yourself to be and think positive, walk towards peace, and embrace life wholeheartedly, I guarantee that things will change for the better.

May peace be with you!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Creating a state of normalcy

I have to admit that of late, I've been in really, really great spirits. It's as if everything is coming together. Things did indeed break apart in my past but I've come to realize that it was for the very reason that better things would fall in its place. The other day a friend of mine asked how I was doing. I responded and said that I felt as if my life was starting to finally evolve back into a state of normalcy. She resopnded by saying, "That's great, whatever normalcy is." I thought about it and then realized that nothing in my life, as far as I can remember was ever "normal" so it dawned upon me that this peace and "normalcy" that I now feel is something I had to create. In the past, I was such a passive player in life that I truly never felt at peace. I wasn't the master of my fate. I didn't make things happen and as a result things happened to me. With that being said, after dusting off my shoulders and picking myself up, my mind is now renewed. I am the master of my fate. I also deserve to be joyful and prosper in every area in my life. I've learned so much and realized the importance and significance of many things and that my friend, is that the best things are not things. I'm starting to re-connect with people who were dear to me and also making time for those I love the most even when there are distance and time constraints. In doing so, I not only love but I feel loved. Not only am I loving how I've evolved but I am determined to move forward with an expectancy of nothing but greatness. Life is indeed grand...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Discouragement

Day by day, I am getting better at not allowing things to get to me too much. I want to be the type of person that bounces back quickly after a setback, dissapointing news, unexpected inconveniences, etc. Is that realistic? I truly believe it is. Of course, there is a time to feel pain, to mourn, to grieve, to feel sad, but I want to make sure that I don't stay in those places for a long time. I aim to see the good in every situation and the more that I do so, the more I notice that God's goodness shows up daily. I know HE wants to bless me immensely and pour HIS favor into my life. In fact, with every day that passes, I see tangible evidence of this. I also feel HIS love and favor. Most, if not all, of our battles are in the mind. If we can control our thoughts, we can control our actions. I came across a quote that stated that you cannot have a positive life and a negative mind. Isn't that powerful? I pray that not only will my outlook be sunny but it will be so bright that I will be a beacon of light for others. In times of discouragement, please remember this: I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not harm you. That of a future and of hope. (Jer 29:11) God's plans are to propel me higher. With that in mind, I truly cannot sweat the small stuff because I am being cared for and looked after. Don't allow discouragement to get the best of you. SHUT IT OUT!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reclaiming my life

We cannot change the past. We simply can't but we certainly can determine how we wish to move forward with our lives. Learn from your past. She is your best teacher. It's amazing the countless lessons one can tap into when faced with certain dilemmas and situations. As a result, make better decisions.  Continue to create and re-create a new self, your better self. Don't compare youself to anyone. STAY IN YOUR LANE. My blessings will not look like your blessings and your blessings will not look like my blessings. Instead, aspire to develop into your best self. I want to be a better person but most important, I want to be my best self. I'm stronger and I'm wiser but I have to choose to channel that strength and wisdom so that I continue to grow and can be a blessing to others.

We all have setbacks but I made a decision a couple of months ago. I declare that I am reclaiming my life. I want to make more time for my family, re-connect with old friends (even though they are not in the area), pursue excellence in all areas, and be proud of me. I refuse to allow my past to determine or dictate my future. No, no, no....but it certainly will be used as a guide and a road map for better choices. Cheers to reclaiming life!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Forgiveness

I spoke to an "old friend" today. I put old friend in quotations because his actions demonstrated that I could no longer consider him a friend. He manipulated me in a particular situation and my younger, trusting self, did not see it while it was happening. The situation that he involved me in brought stress and mental distress into my life. In addition, it sapped me of all of my savings. The range of feelings that I've felt from that time to today has varied. There have been times where I feel angry, times where I feel extremely hurt, mad, and depressed. He knows how I feel and he has apologized countless times. Today, there was a shift for me. After speaking to him, I prayed and I ask God for a more compassionate heart. I also ask for continued strength to keep living life as I should. This person said that every time that something bad happens to him, he always wonders if it was because of what he did to me. Every time!  I don't want to be associated with what anyone believes to be negative karma. We all make mistakes. I know I have. Sometimes, we hurt people - albeit intentionally or unintentionally, but we have to recognize that we cannot change the past. We can, however, shape meaning out of our experiences and evolve into better human beings. Today, I ask God for a compassionate and forgiving heart. I've often heard that forgiving frees you, not the other person. Today, I choose freedom. I'm free and I've forgiven! I cannot forget because there was a sad wisdom that was obtained as a result of that experience. I, will, however discern what invitations to help are invitations for me to accept. Not all are. Today not only do I forgive but I pray that if I've hurt anyone unintentionally, they will forgive me.

Stay blessed and free yourself!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Give credit where it is due

At times, I think it's natural for one to reflect on the past. My issue of late is not to mentally stay there. The present needs to be relished and seized and the future should be embraced. I catch myself at times wondering the "what ifs", the "could haves", the "if I only saw"....but that is not healthy. In fact, I am robbing myself of peace and credit. When one reflects on their past, whether its mistakes or setbacks, I think it's important to realize that if a similar situation presented itself in the present day, it would be handled differently. It isn't fair to look at our younger selves with the same lens or expectations that we would hold our present day self to. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has been with "a mistake" (smile) but the fact of the matter is that we cannot change the past. We have control over the future, however. I am confident and proud to state that I am not the person I was at the age of 28, 25, etc. That's life. As we age, one would hope, we would become wiser and smarter. Today, I pat myself on the back. I can't control the past, I can't control other people. I can control me, my thoughts, and my reactions. Today, I choose to be happy and to be forward-thinking.
.............................................................................No Looking Back!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Compassion goes a long way

As I've mentioned previously, I was in a relationship that ended badly. I was left emotionally scarred, mentally scarred, and all of the furniture, whether it belonged to my ex or not, was taken. At the time, I allowed him to take whatever he wanted because I just wanted him out of my every day space. It's funny that you don't realize the importance of peace and how much it means until you mature. You just cannot put a price on peace. I therefore lived without furniture for close to two years, with the exception of my bedroom, which is furnished. Initially, it didn't bother me because I had peace, safety, and comfort of going to a home where there wouldn't be any conflict or contention.

After a while, however, my feelings started to change. I started to feel a certain way because I didn't feel right having anyone over; or if someone wanted to meet at my house to "catch up", I knew there wasn't really anywhere to do so.

My boyfriend, from the time that I met him, has never had a problem with the state of my house. He was aware of what I've been through, what I was going through, and he looked beyond that. We would often have little picnics in my living room and enjoy each other's company without any material items. After a while, not having any furniture really didn't affect me. I knew it was temporary and that troubles certainly don’t last always.

Well, three weeks ago, my beau, “S.A.” said that he wanted us to paint the living room. I primed and he did all of the painting while I was working my second job. (Sorry, he doesn’t have a twin!) There were a couple of setbacks (time constraints, unforeseen meetings, getting paint on the ceiling, etc.) but he continued with his vision, one that I wasn’t fully privy to. This past Friday, guess who walks into a beautifully furnished home? Moi? I know that may not mean a lot to many but it meant the world to me. It meant the absolute world to me. Not because of the furniture, but the time and care that someone took to make my life brighter, the time and care that someone took to illustrate that my needs matter, that I matter.

I walked into a furnished living room – sculptures, candles, and, all. To see a space that has been bare (T.V./cable only) for so long, now full with furniture (in the living room), all arranged perfectly,……..I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and joy.

On Sunday, interestingly enough, the Pastor talked about one of my favorite scriptures on love (1 Corinthians….and I just thought about everything that scripture states and I couldn’t help but think about the man sitting next to me (S.A.) who possesses all of these qualities. He focused on Love is Kind in this sermon and talked a lot about compassion. He said compassion comes with a cost. People can have 3 reactions when they see someone “in a ditch”. They can either be removed (too focused on their own problems), moved (feel sorry for the person but don’t do anything but say, wow…that’s unfortunate), or moved to action ..to be compassionate and do something for that person who is actually “in a ditch”. Compassion costs, he said, but it costs more not to be compassionate. Compassion may cost you some time, some money, etc. but not being compassionate costs more. He said the smallest thing, you could do for someone can make them want to hang in there longer (some people are ready to give up, give in, commit suicide, on the brink of depression, etc.), encourage them that things will get better, help to heal the emotionally and psychologically wounded,etc.….

Tears came to my face because I know that it cost S.A. a lot (paint, movers, tools, etc. but it meant more to him for me to have comfort than the cost.) The Pastor said most of us know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. I just wanted to cry. He talked about the man that was robbed and beaten and left in a ditch in the bible. The Priest saw him , looked and kept walking by…..the Levite saw him, looked, and walked by. The Samaritan is the one that stopped. He put wine (as an antiseptic on his wounds) and oil on his wounds to heal him and gave an innkeeper 2 days wages for the man's stay…I just thought about how many times, people walked by my ditch………….but sitting next to me, someone didn’t pass me by. I just cried.

I cried because that act of kindness actually gave me the encouragement to move forward in spite of other setbacks. It also gave me comfort that everything will be okay. I am also inspired to move forward with certain changes that aren’t going to be easy but I know everything is okay. Every time I walk in to my house, a sense of love, hope, joy overcomes me. I am assured that everything will be okay.

Today, I challenge you to meet someone at their place in need. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture but I assure you that you can do the smallest thing that will mean so much to someone. Please don’t walk by the person in their ditch. Someone stopped for me and I beseech you to stop for someone else.

Blessings!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My struggle............

So, I have to be honest with you. For the past couple of months, I've seen a change in myself. It's a change that I don't quite like. For some reason, I've become extremely sensitive. At times, that can mean being easily offended and/or quick to anger even if I don't exhibit it in my actions. There have been times when someone says something or does something that I take to heart and interpret it the wrong way. I have to ask myself what is going on? I know it's a result of the culmination of negative events in the past that have caused me to always be "on guard", "on the defense", on the lookout for possible abuse, manipulation, condescending/judgmental conversations, etc. I know I don’t want to be this way. I also know it is counter-productive and counter-intuitive. Before I take things too seriously, I want to really examine the root of my feelings and the intent of the person. I came across a quote today that spoke volumes in my ears, “We tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. So we condemn others and excuse ourselves.” (A. R. Bernard) Isn't that powerful???????? I know I don’t excuse my behavior (I tend to be harder on myself) but I need to let things go. I want to be the best person that I can be and I want to set a better example to all around me. Lord, come into my heart. Help me to treat others as I would want to be treated, cherish the ones that celebrate me, pray for the ones who have hurt me, and continue to live life as it ought to be lived. I can conquer this!!!!!

What is your struggle? I will pray for you as well!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Let your smile change the world!

In life, it is inevitable that we will face trials and tribulations. There will be times where you feel as if you are going to lose your mind, you may feel as if things won’t change, you may even be at your wit’s end. Don’t allow your circumstances to change you, the person you are, the person you were destined to be, as you go through these trials. I came across a quote today that said "Let your smile change the world, but don't let the world change your smile." As difficult as life can sometimes be, there are so many things to celebrate. When we focus on what isn’t going right, we lose sight of all that is going right. We have our ups and downs but truthfully, there is more good in our life than bad. As Oprah once said, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” We all have suffered a loss, pain, betrayal, overwhelming suffering, etc. It’s easy to walk around with all this baggage but baggage weighs you down.

Today, as I try to lighten my load, I encourage you to do the same. I want to be that same wonderful person I was when I was “younger”, not hardened by life, not living life on the defense. I have a lot to be thankful for and I pray that you know you do, too.

Let your smile change the world!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Love – look at me now!

They say that sometimes love knocks you down. It's true. Not all of your relationships will work out or end on amicable terms. When I was younger, I was knocked down a couple of times. It hurt! I truly believe that was because I didn't set boundaries, know my worth, and gave my all when it was not meant to be. When you give so much of yourself and it's not reciprocated, you are setting yourself up for pain if you remain in a relationship like that. I am proud today to say that I can look back and realize that I made a lot of mistakes in the past as it pertains to relationships. Why am I proud? Even though, those endings or failed relationships didn't work out, I learned so much. I can now see beyond the facade of what people present to me and I know what I'm worth. I am now with someone who would give me his last dime, go out of his way in every sense for me, has my best interest at heart, the list goes on. It’s such a wonderful feeling!

It is very apparent that he loves me. I don’t have to question it! I shake my head as I think back on those relationships where I did question things. If you have to question your relationship, chances are something isn’t right! You live and you learn, however.

 I love that I can speak to him about ANYTHING and everything – truly a NO judgment zone. He would never manipulate or throw information back in my face. We have a BLAST together, a BLAST anywhere. We have laughed so hard at each other’s jokes that we have fallen and stopped breathing. I more than enjoy his company. This is not lust and it’s not a warped sense of anything. I see his flaws and he sees mine but we still see the beauty in each other. It’s great. He accepts all of me and I accept all of him. Together, we have a grand time!

The relationship is definitely satisfying and it is more than comforting to know someone has my back to the 100th degree, wipes my tears, and will do anything for me- anything. With any relationship, I need more than love and with “S.A.”, it is definitely a love+. I know no other man who is as self-less, generous, always thinking of others, etc. He truly is the best man I know. He is…He’s passed up extremely lucrative jobs for the sake of family and he is always giving. My only concern is that sometimes he reminds me of the old me – constantly giving but I love that he isn’t jaded about life. He always has hope, is always encouraged, and encourages others. I think I have met my twin star. I think he is the male me – just a southern, male form of me. Most important, he treats me like a queen and he makes sure I know I am a queen!!!

Love – look at me now!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

IT MATTERS

On Sunday, I asked my sixteen year old sister what she would want to watch ( a show, a game, a movie, etc.). She shrugged her shoulders and said, "It doesn't matter." I said to her, "No, actually it does." My Mom looked over and said, "It really doesn't matter." I decided to table that conversation for when my sister and I were by ourselves. When "Kiki" and I were by ourselves, I asked her if she knew or recognized the importance of saying how she feels? She said yes, but it didn't really matter what we watched on T.V. I decided to share something with her.

You see, when I was younger and anyone would ask me what I wanted to do, what I wanted to eat, what I wanted to watch, etc.....my response was "It doesn't matter. Whatever YOU decide is fine." In my mind, it was insignificant so I always would just go with the flow. One day (at the age of 14), we were out and about and my grandmother asked what I would like to eat. I said, as usual, "It doesn't matter." My grandmother said, "Pooh, it does. You have to have some idea as to what you want to eat. You have to know that you would prefer something over the other. My attitude was it really doesn't matter, then.
The thing is "It doesn't matter" can become problematic. It doesn't matter can quickly turn into "I don't matter."

I always went with the flow or with what others wanted because I didn't want to be an imposition. Subconsciously, I didn't believe that what I said mattered, and I just wanted to stay in the background. Over the years of saying, "It doesn't matter", my voice became softer and softer. I lost my voice. I lost my say. I had been giving up the right for so long that matters that once were trivial, soon became larger matters.

I left my sister with this. IT DOES MATTER. IT MATTERS BECAUSE YOU MATTER. I'm not saying that you can't ever compromise but don't be this silent participant in life. If someone asks you what you want, what you prefer, why wouldn't it matter? You matter. You have a voice. Your opinion counts. What you have to say is valuable. I care because YOU matter.

To all of my sister-friends out there, please realize that YOU MATTER. I want to hear you because you are important. All that you say and do is important. Realize how significant you are.
I hope my beautiful sister does.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's only temporary

I hadn't heard from a friend of mine in two weeks. I was becoming a bit concerned as I know the last time we spoke, she was going through a very, very rough patch. I saw her on Saturday and apparently, things had taken a turn for the worse. She said to me, with her head bowed down, "I'm embarrassed to say this, but things got so bad, I had to apply for food stamps. I haven't eaten in three days." Her embarrassment was palpable. I could almost feel it as she stared at the floor.

I didn't have cash or food that she could eat but I gave her my banana and she was extremely thankful, so thankful that I kept saying, "I have to find a way to assist her." I asked her if she received the job postings that I sent her and she wanted to tell me more about her situation but we were interrupted by a co-worker who didn't pick up on the cue that we were having a serious, private conversation. "Maria" said she would call me later, but again, she thanked me for the banana.

I know Maria's pride was the reason she held off on applying for assistance for so long. No, no one WANTS to be in a position where they HAVE to do it. However, these programs are in place for the times when people may need it, not as a clutch, but something to keep you fed and with other programs, to assist you until your situation turns around. I know that Maria is extremely gifted, talented, and intelligent. Our economy isn't on its best footing and she, like many others, are bearing the brunt of it. I am convinced that things will turn around soon for her.

I know this is only temporary. She has been very depressed and that's why I haven't heard from her but I reminded her today via email that the world needs her. As tough as it gets, as rough as it gets, I beseech her not to give up. I told her for herself, for her daughter, for life, she had to continue fighting the good fight, knowing that these seasons aren't permanent. I can't even begin to tell you the amount of times just seeing or speaking with her has put a smile on my face. She just has such a bright spirit and I would hate for her circumstances to dampen it. I said a lot more but I just wanted her to know that she is loved....

She texted me thanking me profusely for the message I sent and she told me that I had no idea how much she needed to hear what I wrote.

God works in mysterious ways because an angel of mine gave me $20 to give her. I will be giving it to her tomorrow. It will be addressed to her and it will say From: One of God's  angels. I know Maria will be surprised but we're all in this together. Don't just talk the good talk. See what you can do to assist someone when they are in need, no matter how small.

It's temporary but to the person going through it, anything you do, will make their burden a lot easier to carry...

Stay blessed and bless others when you can!

Don't allow pride to block your blessings

My Mother lives in Queens, NY and I live here, in Albany, NY. The distance is sometimes heartbreaking because sometimes, you just need your Mother's pearls of wisdom, a mother's encouragement, a mother's prayer, a mother's embrace. In addition, most of my family is downstate and I am upstate, New York. I've been here since I left home to attend college in 1998...

For the past two years (or close to), I would always try to dissuade her from visiting because my ex-boyfriend took a lot of my belongings when he returned to the house to collect his things close to two years ago when my prayers had been answered and he was removed from the house. Unbeknownst to me, he was coming to clean house and took all of the furniture in addtion to other miscellaneous items that didn't belong to him. The house was left bare with the exception of my bedroom furniture, the T.V. in the living room, and a futon. Everytime, my Mom would say, "We're coming up there". I always say, "No, not yet...I still don't have any furniture."

This week, she wouldn't take no for an answer. I was sick and took my my first dosage of the Z-pack, when she confirmed that she was defnitely coming the following day. Neither sickness nor my silly references to the furniture would stop her. She and my sister were determined to come here.

They came and I had such a lovely weekend. I had the opportunity to rest, to pray with my mother, to talk to my sister, for us to have a little "slumber party". We went to church together, we ate together, we went shopping together. We just had a good time. It was nourishment for my soul, my mind, and my spirit. I got just what I needed without realizing I needed it.

My Mom could have visited so many times but because I was embarrassed that I hadn't replaced the furniture yet, I continued to tell her no. Guess what? We had so much fun, the furniture didn't make a difference. I can't wait for them to visit again. In addition, I know that we all had fun. She actually said she felt as if she was on vacation and she felt so comfortable in my house. How sweet! My sister also felt as if this was the first time, she and my Mother got to spend quality time together as my Mom has three sons as well.

When people want to meet you in your time of need, let them. You don't realize how much you need it but also how much they may need it.

Be blessed!!!! Don't block your own blessings!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Garbage trucks

A couple of weeks ago, a co-worker of mine came into my work space looking for an argument. The issue at hand was the behavior of a work student of ours. Anyone who interacted with this student with regards to a request had an unfavorable experience with him. It was obvious that he felt the work that you asked him to do was beneath him. He felt as if he was smarter than everyone else so he wouldn't check his work (of course, resulting in errors). He would not show up to work (nor would he call), he simply wanted to surf the net and chat while he was in our Office,  etc. His behavior was bizarre and unacceptable for any work study student. I mentioned it to his Supervisor, a close friend of mine and she said that he definitely would not be hired the following year, and that she, too, had noticed how arrogant and irresponsible he was. All was well or so I thought.

 "Shaylah", another co-worker of mine felt the need to follow-up with me as to what was going on and what she should do. I gave her a brief summary of what was going on and told her not to worry about it as his Supervisor was going to speak with him and handle the situation. We spoke for a while but then the students entered and we thought it would be best not to have that conversation in front of them. In addition, I thought the conversation was pointless. It was already being addressed and if she wanted to find out exactly how, it would have been in everyone's interest for her to speak to the student's Supervisor. Our cubicles are in open space. It wasn't the time to have that conversation in that place.

Instead, she comes back into my workspace (as if the students aren't in the area) and says that she has identified the issue. The issue in her mind was that the students went on Spring Break.

I don't know why she felt the need to continue this conversation especially when I said it was being taken care of. The issue was not a Spring Break issue. I then bit her bait and explained to her that the project had not been worked on for 2.5-3 weeks. It had nothing to do with Spring Break. She then takes it upon herself to go back and forth with me and then tells me that I shouldn't expect the students to do my work. What work? Work study students and student assistants don't do MY work. They are here to assist us with certain things that are helpful to us but in no way are they shouldering the burden of anyone's job description.

She felt the need to go on and on about this moot topic in front of these students. Not only was it an issue that was already being handled, but it was a conversation that she and I did not need to have. I continued to say, "I will take this up with "Corinna", our Supervisor. Was I going to speak to Corrina? No! I just wanted this possessed person away from me.

She finally got the hint and went to her desk. Now, Shaylah considers herself a people pleaser. She often describes herself as “sweet as pie”. I believe that she is sweet but she is sweet for the sake of pleasing people, not necessarily intrinsically motivated to help others. She more so cares about what others think and wants everyone to be her friend. She is a nice person but for her own reasons.

The issue I have is that I am the only person that she takes her frustrations out on. Like a garbage truck, she picks up frustration on top of frustration and somehow, someway, dumps it all on me. This has happened before and this is why I try to maintain a strict working relationship with her. I feel as if I need to protect myself from her. The baffling thing is that she will extend apologies to everyone else when she has done something questionable except me. It always leaves me feeling hurt.

I have been very cordial to her but I avoid communication if it isn't necessary because I don't see why she feels the need to unload on me. This poses a conflict to me because I am a forgiving, “don’t sweat the small stuff” type of person but I feel as if she is a repeat offender and I don’t want to be her punching bag. (What am I to do??)

I spoke to the student's Supervisor about what happened and she said that she would deal with the student and to let it go with Shaylah. She felt as if Shaylah was having an off day. That day she went to the doctor and the doctor gave her a poor medical report. Yes, I empathize with Shaylah but guess what? We all have our bad days. We all get a bad report from the doctor from time to time. I don't walk around looking for an argument because of what takes place in my day. Do you???

Unfortunately, it's gotten to a point where I feel extremely uncomfortable around Shaylah. I don't know what to do. I can't address the situation as it happened close to a month ago yet we are still working in the same Office.

All, I can do is try my best not to dump my garbage on anyone else's lap. Life happens. It isn't fair to others around you to dump your garbage on them!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Accept it!


Accept It!!

I tend to buy the C.D.'s of sermons that I miss if I am unable to make it to church on a given Sunday. I then ask my significant other to make a copy for a co-worker of mine. That way, we both have the sermon and can discuss it at length. In my mind, when I enter the courts of praise and the gates of thanksgiving, it is not for myself. Although people find this peculiar, I tend to share my sermon notes with my co-workers. It's called the good news, isn't it? Guess who isn't afraid to share it???? Me!!!! I know it seems a bit odd but if you saw the looks of encouragement and the expressions of gratitude, you too would realize the magnitude of sharing an encouraging word, speaking of God's works, HIS many blessings, the multitude of things we have to be thankful for, etc. Today, a co-worker of mine said to me, "You can't keep doing this. I have to pay for the C.D.'s." I politely declined. Why? Yes, it costs money to purchase the sermons but I know what it does for me and I see what it does for others. You can't put a price on that. It's simply priceless. I refuse to take her money and yes, she will continue to get the sermons (like anyone else who wants it). Her money isn't any good here.

Something about her wanting to re-pay me reminds me of the old me. The young lady who wouldn't allow anyone to buy anything for her, the one who wouldn't like to be celebrated, the one who wouldn't allow anyone to pay for something for her...but that young lady has learned that it is okay to accept gifts. I would always give and continue to give so why wasn't I able to accept from others?

If I reflect, I KNOW that it was subconsciously rooted in not feeling as if I deserve to be treated, complimented, showered with gifts, etc. I’m not sure where that came from but I’m glad that I am no longer that way. I am God’s masterpiece, the apple of his eye. Maybe I didn’t realize this or my worth when I was younger. As a matter of fact, I know I didn’t.

Women, Please know that it is indeed okay to receive. You shouldn’t always have your hands out. No, no, no! You ought to give as well. However, when someone would like to do something kind for you, if it is appropriate, let them. You give a lot and you have to learn to receive also. Sometimes, you’re even making someone feel great about doing something for you because they want to……… so why cheat them out of blessing you?

Learn to accept, just as you’ve learned to give.

I love blessing others and I have learned over the years, that it is okay for others to bless me as well.

Friday, April 8, 2011

...and you think you have it bad

At times, we may feel as if we are backed into a corner. When it rains, they say it pours and as far as adversity is concerned, often times we certainly feel that way. Last week, a co-worker of mine said she really needed some encouragement. She truly felt as if she was at an impasse. Nothing seemed to be working. Her job wasn't in her field, her money was funny, her rent was past due, the bills were piling up, her credit seemed beyond repair, etc. What made my stomach drop was when she said, it was so bad, that she didn't have anything to eat. Upon hearing that, my heart went out to her. I offered all of the money I had in my purse, which happened to only be $2.00 but that's all I had at the time and we were at work. I know I should have been working but my thoughts were preoccupied on "Maria" and what she was going through.

It just confirmed how blessed I am even though I'm going through my own storm as well. You may think you have it bad, but there's always someone who has it worse. My significant other and I spoke about it and the next day, he delivered food at my job for her. I won't reveal this person's identity to anyone but I ask that we all lift "Maria" in our prayers. Before you get in a funk about what isn't going right in your life, see what you can do to to help someone in their situation. I've been praying for her, sending her job postings, and will try to do whatever I can to help her in her time of need.

My struggle may not be your struggle and your struggle may not be my struggle...but we are all struggling with something.


"I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." -Anonymous

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Love Is You

Love Is You
R. Rowe  3/31/10
 
Love Is You
 
I wasn’t looking
You weren’t seeking
Somehow we connected. Talk about the unexpected

We both had no idea and were totally caught off guard
Isn’t life funny? Think about this long and hard……
Our entire experience has been something that one reads about in a beautiful card
Not even the stares from outsiders could ever mar……

What I see in you and what you see in me
We see pass the obstacles and we embrace the bountiful beauty…

Of you and I and where we shall go
We met for a reason. This you must know

Finally, someone where I can speak without inhibition
Love is you. Love is me. No need for encryption

The thought alone brings a huge smile to my face
Remember that day, I said, “Don’t I deserved to be chased?”

You responded, “Of course” but you didn’t realize how magnificent I am.
Well, honey, sugar, ice tea – You are certainly more than a man.

Swimmingly doesn’t begin to capture our time together
I pray that you’ll be here for years, if God wills it, I want this forever
If God ordains it, we'll make it, despite the weather

Everything takes works but promise me this
Never deny me that sweet kiss

If you can give me your word, I promise we’ll dance in the rain
Just take my hand and together we can

Move forward into whatever is supposed to be
I don’t know what that is so don’t ask me
But……………………………………………….
I find myself doing things that I thought I would never do
Again, I must say Love is love, love is me but lastly, Love is You…..

Holding yourself Back

You were uniquely crafted, wonderfully made, and designed with a purpose. There isn't another YOU walking around. You truly are irreplaceable and special. More than amazing, that is you! Knowing that, don't allow anything to stop you from doing anything that your heart desires. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Wouldn't you rather be happy, doing the things you always wanted to do? Or would you rather a miserable life doing only the things "your mind" tells you that you are limited to do? Most of our battles are in the mind. When those negative thoughts creep in, do not allow them to take root. At these times, think of how far you’ve come, and know that your future is even brighter than your past. 
Too often, we are our worst enemies and biggest critics. Inside of each of us are dreams, talents, and gifts. Today, let us commit to dreaming big and then actually acting on it. Join me on this journey!

The only person stopping you is YOU!

Many blessings,

XOXO

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mistakes

When I penned the blog titled, Advice to my younger self, a friend of mine responded that she loved the quotes. She didn't realize that I was writing to myself. She then marveled that I really should write a book because she gives her daughter similar advice. I don’t know if I will have children but life has taught me a lot. It has been my biggest teacher, if nothing else. My mistakes have taught me so much and actually my wisdom is a result of mistakes that I’ve made or mistakes that I’ve seen others make.

I clearly remember one day when I felt extremely sad and I called my mother’s house to speak to her. My mother wasn’t there but my sister was. Initially, we just had small talk but I was so despondent,  I had to get something off my chest, even if I wasn’t going to give her details. I said to my sister, who is 14 years younger than me, “I’ve made so many mistakes.” I just kept crying on the phone as she listened and then she said, “We all make mistakes.” Simple words but they mean so much.

Of course, I know we all make mistakes but when your little sister or any child shares their pearls of wisdom, you can’t help but smile as they’ve affirmed what you truly know.

Today, know that I am imperfect. I make a lot of mistakes. Please know that I fall at times but I promise you this, I will try my best to keep standing and to always get up. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes and know that no matter how big the mistake is, you will recover. Know that YOU are not a mistake and use your mistakes to guide you as to what you ought not to do in the future.

You are smarter than you realize and your mistakes don’t define you. Learn from them and keep moving!

Be blessed!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Advice to my younger self

If you could have a conversation with the person you used to be, your younger self, what would you say?

I would tell that little girl how beautiful she is. The world is her oyster and she can do and be anything that her mind conceives. I would also tell her that people will let her down, unintentionally and intentionally. No matter what, she shouldn't take it personally but learn from it. I would remind her of her strengths and tell her not to place as much emphasis on her shortcomings. I would tell her to be her biggest cheerleader because some days, it may not feel like there's anyone standing in the stadium of life.

I would tell her to be extremely kind and generous but to recognize when someone is trying to take advantage of her.

Know your worth, stand for something and never ignore your inner voice.

You are not to be used by anyone nor or you to use someone else. Know that you don't always have to win or be right.......because that's not life.

You won't always succeed and you'll make mistakes but learn to forgive yourself. Everyone fails at some point and makes mistakes along the way. Don't dwell on the failure(s) but keep the lessons near to your heart and never repeat it. Everyone makes mistakes. You won't be different. Move on and never get stuck in a mental rut.

A broken heart and a bruised knee will mend even though it seems as if it never will. 

Be there for others as you would want others to be there for you. Remember the Golden rule and do onto others....

Don’t be so hard on yourself! No one else is!

It's okay to say goodbye to people. Some people are meant to be in your life for just a reason, some a season, some a lifetime. Once that is determined, it is okay to say goodbye.

Don't remain upset for too long. Life is just too short. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Honey, not everyone is like you so don't get mad when someone does something you would NEVER do to you. You are the only you.

Love yourself, treat yourself, and most of all enjoy your own company.

Life won't be easy but make your life count for something.

Some days will seem tough but don't worry, it always gets better.

If you have to question, "Is this really life??", you're not truly living. Make the appropriate changes.

You actually deserve to be happy. You do!!!!!!

Laugh heartily, wear that special dress that's in the closet, and love with all of your heart.

Trust your instincts. You're smarter and more knowledgeable than you give yourself credit.

You matter. You count and guess what, you rock!!


What advice would you give to the younger you?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Keep on moving

I know I tend to write about letting go a lot. No matter what I am talking about, the topic of letting go or the question of letting go tends to come up. When I encourage you to let go, I am not promoting stagnation nor am I recommending inaction. Please, let’s not get it twisted. I am simply asking that we raise our awareness of when something is working and when something is not. If there is a problem, rather WHEN there is a problem, you indisputably should try to develop a solution. Don't just sit there, thinking that the Lord and/or the universe is going to step in if you aren't doing anything. You might be waiting on a higher power when the higher power may be waiting on you to do something about your circumstances. When I say to let go, it is of those things that we've tried to change and like a bus stuck in a rut, the wheels keep turning yet the bus isn't going anywhere. When I say let go, it may be of someone who you want to be in your life but they have proven over and over again that they don't want to be there. When I say let go, it's of things or people that cause you nothing but confusion and unhappiness at times.
Letting go doesn't mean as soon as a problem arises, you throw your hands up in the air. No, no, no, no! You do all that you can but recognize when you cannot do anything else. You will be surprised at how serene you can be once you have the discernment to know when to continue, when to pause, and when to let go.
No matter what, keep on moving knowing that you truly are stronger than you believe you are. Most important, you are more than a conqueror.

Have a blessed day!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Simply Surrendering

I've come to a point in my life where I realize that you cannot put a price on peace. Peace of mind is a heaven of a thing! Peace is actually something that we all seek. Not being at peace can keep one up at night. It can be a reason for you to take your stress out on someone unintentionally. It can make you be extremely reactive, defensive, and in an emotional state where you feel extremely vulnerable.  Not being at peace simply can rob you of being you - the person that you were created to be. I have made the conscious decision to choose peace in all that I do. When facing tough decisions, I will let peace be the determining factor. When put to the test in any way, shape or form, I will let peace be the deciding factor. Colossians 3:15 states "And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful." Within the past two months, I've simply surrendered. Surrendered in the sense that I've tried to live by the serenity prayer. Most important, asking God to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference, as the prayer starts off. Letting go has not been easy for me as you can imagine. Is it easy for anyone? I've learned to accept that when I am frustrated, it is because I am not achieving the results that I strived for. The more I tried to change my circumstances and nothing moved, the more frustrated I would become. I would often ask myself, “Am I to continue trying different ways to change something or is what I am pursuing simply not for me?”. It's not an easy answer to derive at but I find that the more you push something that yields absolutely no results, the more it compromises your well being and state of mind. As human beings, it is natural to simply be frustrated when we think we are doing all that we can and then....NOTHING! However, I am at the point where if I enter this mental frustration, it's time to let go. Letting go for me means to continue to pray without ceasing, pressing the pause button on whatever I am doing that is clearly not working, and also to try to put it out of my mind and let go.


Last November, I encountered my first car accident. Someone rear ended me out of nowhere, damaging the back and left side of the car. As it was my first car accident, I was very unnerved and the damages were extensive. It wasn’t my fault but I was still shaken up. Once I got over that, I said a prayer for the person who hit me. Although, we both weren’t hurt, the police report indicated that she was 21 and was driving her mother’s car (uh-oh!) . Interestingly enough, the police report also indicated that she lived on the same block as me.


Anywhoo….


The following month, as I was driving to my second job, my car was catapulted from the right side of the street all the way to the left side of the street. I was not in control and everything happened so quickly that I was in a state of shock. The car finally came to a stop once it ran into four metal poles, with all of my glass and driver’s side car parts crashing into me. I just sat there. When I called 911, they asked if I was hurt and I had no idea. I was numb. I said, I don’t know. The police came and the car had to be towed away. I sat in his car and bawled. He tried to calm me down. Based on his assessment, the mall grounds were not maintained and my car lost control on the black ice on what is known as “Butterfly Hill.” As I was in his car, three other accidents were reported on the same grounds but all I could do was cry. I called my Mother and for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Both she and the Officer were telling me that I was lucky to make it out of that accident alive. The damages exceeded $11, 000. It took the Auto Shop one month to fix it and it took my mind to places it had nowhere going. I would ask myself, “What am I doing wrong????” How could it be that I never was in a car accident in my life and now find myself in a second one within a time span of 40 days??????????????? It blew my mind. What was I doing wrong? What was life trying to tell me? WHY???


In addition to asking the question of “the why”, I also was disappointed in the way my Managers reacted once I got to work. They seemed quite apathetic. To add to my state of confusion and disappointment, my insurance company refused to pursue the Mall for damages. They kept giving me the handbook response of, “In times of inclement weather, we expect our consumers to use their judgment and exercise discretion if and when driving. We, as your insurance company would be more than happy to accept full responsibility.”


It didn’t sit right with me because I almost lost my life. It may sound melodramatic but if you saw that car, you wouldn’t understand how I made it out without a scratch. I tried to tell the Office that maintains the mall grounds that I would be fighting this because they were negligent. If three accidents took place on the grounds while I was in the police man’s car for twenty minutes, I could only imagine the amount of accidents that took place that day. I went to the Police Department and to the Office that maintains the County records and obtained my police report and the number of incident reports that were filed within a certain time span on the same grounds. I would call my insurance company every day, provide any and every documentation that I could and I would still get the answer………., “In times of inclement weather, we expect our consumers to use their judgment and exercise discretion if and when driving. We, as your insurance company would be more than happy to accept full responsibility.” I kept calling and explaining, calling and explaining, calling and explaining. Did I mention that I called and I EXPLAINED????????? The last representative that I spoke to was clearly frustrated with my incessant pleas to look further into the situation. He told me and I quote, “No one told you to drive to the mall that day. It’s not as if you HAD to go to the mall.” I told him that I pray he never has to work a second job where he finds himself in an accident where his job neglected to maintain the same grounds one would travel. He got silent and then told me he “didn’t want to get into semantics.” After that response, I realized that battle was no longer mine. I had to let go. I was only frustrating myself because I perceived that I was wronged. In fact, my focus was in the wrong place. Yes, yes, I got into two car accidents but HELLO, did I not walk away twice untouched??? Shouldn’t I be in constant prayer thanking God for sparing me??? I mean I thanked God but I was so focused on “justice”, that I was driving myself crazy.


A month ago, I received an email from my insurance provider informing me that my insurance rate was increasing by $212 approximately. I submitted an email and inquired as to why it was increasing by that much. Someone responded and told me that it was due to my accident in December. I sighed upon reading it and then I said to myself, this increase comes to no surprise to God. HE will provide. I responded, telling the adjuster thank you but that I wanted him to know that I fought diligently for my insurance carrier to simply advocate on my behalf and I felt as if they failed me. I concluded that I would just pay what was being asked of me.


That was a month ago. Today, I received a phone call, telling me that the case was reviewed again and based on the number of accidents that took place on the grounds in that short period of time, I was not going to be found at fault. The Underwriter would be notified immediately. What an awesome GOD we serve??????? On, the bright said, I just saved some money on my car insurance.


SMILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It’s amazing what God can do when you stop meddling in HIS battles!!!!  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Making Changes

The other day, I came across this quote "Instead of wallowing in my misery, I just made some changes." The quote came from Stephanie Mills.

It automatically resonated with me because I know there are times when I want to give up, feel frustrated, or feel as if I'm at my wit's end. Ironically, I can quote a scripture and encourage the next person in their time of need very easily, almost too easily. Most times, I can tap into my faith and hope, knowing that everything will work out and there will be brighter days. I truly believe that no matter how dark it looks or how boisterous the storms, dawn will break and storms will cease in due time.

Romans 8:28 says "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. It doesn't say that everything that takes place in your life is supposed to be grand and great. No, no, no, but it does assure you that things, whether good or bad, collectively will come together to work in your favor. Today is one of those days where I have to encourage myself. I want to make certain changes but I truly want to make the right changes. I’ve been feeling this way for a while and as a result, I’ve been sitting still, “waiting.” Waiting for what one may ask? I would say I was waiting on the Lord as I want his direction. “But those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isn’t that what Isaiah 40 says?  I’ve been waiting a while so maybe, just maybe, God is waiting on me to do something because clearly just waiting isn’t working anymore. HELLO! In the meantime, I know he will give me the strength (the strength to run when I want to sit, the strength to walk when I want to faint, just the strength to make it through!!!!)  to endure until He feels that it’s time to step in.

The problem here is that I am human and imperfect. I, therefore, have no idea what the outcome will be, what my action(s) will result in, or if it is the right decision. I ultimately want to feel at peace with the change(s) that I make and trust that no matter the outcome, it'll be okay. Today, I'm thankful for those who are lifting me up in prayer. I also want to lift the discouraged, the confused, and those waiting on a breakthrough in prayer. I don't have all of the answers but I trust that whatever decision I make, God will be with me all the way. I will pray that if my change isn't in HIS will or for me, to shut the door(s) that I am trying to open. I boldly ask that doors be open that I may not realize are in my best interest. Most important, I trust that God, who knew me from my mother’s womb and predestined me, knew when I was going to make certain detours. I smile at the thought that HE holds the master plan and everything will work out just fine.

As I gaze out the window, I see the sun shining brightly. That in itself warms my heart as I know there is a season for everything. God’s willing, we will officially say goodbye to the winter, hello to Spring, and I cannot wait for Summer! I find solace in the fact that the “winter” in my mind is coming to an end. I say the winter in my mind because every battle I face only affects me if I allow it to affect me mentally. The bible says to guard your mind and I need to guard it carefully. Duly noted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you!"
* I repeat this as I mentally let go of what's been weighing on my heart and mind.*
I promise not to pick any of it back up!!! Promise me that you will do the same.

Peace and blessings to you all!!!!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Life is Not Picking on You

Within the past couple of months, at least five people have stated to me that they are depressed. No, that's not a large number but it's not typical that people just walk up to you and admit depression, either. It seems like a pervasive epidemic and I don't belive it's a silent one. We all hear the staggering statistics on the dependency on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills to cope through life. I have experienced depression before as I am sure everyone has. It's when you stay in that place, that it can become problematic. I truly believe that we weren't placed here to merely get by or survive. I don't know about you but I am here to thrive. I know life can knock the wind out of you sometimes. Trust, me. I can bear witness *raises hand*. But as I think about the times where I've felt as if I was in a negative or unhealthy mental space, the only conclusion that I can draw is that I enter that space when either things don't go the way I expected them to (often in an unfavorable manner) or I'm disappointed. I have to deduce that expectations play a very important role in the way we sometimes feel. Who promised you or me a rose garden? No one! Life has its ups and it certainly has its downs. As I was reflecting on life today, I realize that I shouldn't pray for a certain problem to go away, I shouldn't expect things to go as I would want them all of the time, and I certainly have to take the bad since clearly I want the good out of life. Instead of asking for my problems to go away, I will ask for the wisdom to take the necessary steps to develop a solution. Instead of expecting everything to go my way (yes, that's realistic *sarcastic voice), I have to learn to expect the unexpected. When things don't go my way, I have to learn to deal with it and also trust that whatever is happening in my life is ultimately for my benefit. Instead of wondering why me, why not ask myself, why not me? Would I rather my problem be served on the plate of someone else who could not carry that burden???? We have to go through trials. We have to experience pain and tribulations. It's not easy but without these unfavorable mountains in our lives, how can we ever grow? Some of my most burdensome trials taught me the most invaluable lessons. It strengthened me, it increased my faith, it gave me wisdom. It brought me closer to my purpose and loved ones. Today, I take the stance that if I don't like something about my life, I won't complain. Complaining won't rid me of my problem or issue. In fact, it will simply magnify my problem. I remember complaining about something two months ago and my boyfriend said to me, "Stop it. Life is not picking on you. Do you think life is out to get you?" It sounded so ridiculous that life was being personified as my bully that I laughed. I laughed but guess what comes to mind when I want to complain now. "STOP IT. WHAT? DO YOU THINK LIFE IS PICKING ON YOU? LIFE DIDN'T DECIDE TO JUST GO TO YOUR HOUSE AND GIVE YOU ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS. "

Everyone has problems but I also know that everyone has blessings. Which one will you focus on today?

Be blessed!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The guidance that I seek

As I mentioned previously, I was adversely affected by the economic downturn and the housing bubble. To date, I live in my own home and own a property in Queens, NY. To say that the last two years have been difficult would be an understatement. My tenants were extremely uncooperative (They were living there when I purchased the house). It was apparent that one had a great heart but simply mismanaged her finances and I would never receive the rent on time or the full amount. I saw that she was struggling and sickly so I tried my best to work with her. There came a point where I felt that enough was enough and an eviction seemed to be the best course of action.
The other tenant can be described as unreasonable, vindictive, and a person who truly believes that she is "getting over". I say this because she hasn't paid rent for approximately a year, yet she works and you see the fruits of her labor in her apartment as her clothes, shoes, and furniture scream ostentatious. It must be nice…………Initially, she claimed that she wasn't paying rent because I had to repair something. That was repaired and then she complained about something else. I told her I would get it fixed but when I called her back to make arrangements with her, she never picked up the phone. After a while, she stopped picking up her phone. I continued to call and one day was told that I shouldn't call anymore as the phone no longer belonged to "Simona".
One can rightfully deduce that I've been working two jobs to keep that house afloat.  Whatever I earn is handed over to the bank.
The obvious question is why isn't she evicted? The laws of NYC are such where the tenant is protected most of the time. In addition, this is clearly a person without a conscience who uses every excuse under the book as to why she doesn't have to move.  Although, I have tried my best to do so and have a lawyer to represent me, my case has been left unresolved for the past four months. I pray that I can make it to the next court appearance and justice will be served. So, "Simona" is living rent-free at someone's expense. I could be upset but why waste energy? It won't change anything. I have lost sleep about this in the past because it is extremely draining but I try to cast my cares onto the Lord. "The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked; but He blesses the home of the just." {Proverbs 3:33}"Simona" may be living the life now as she doesn't have to pay living expenses but I truly believe that one reaps what they sew. I also have not been able to rent the other space (which is now vacant) because when the workers are there to make the necessary repairs, "Simona" turns off the circuit breaker so no work can go on. The police have been called but because I am not in the area, she simply returns to her antics upon their departure. I now have a limited power of attorney to make sure that this doesn't happen but I've been told that she's tried to run over his foot, has cursed at him, and it simply hasn't been pretty. This woman is simply unreasonable but I try, try being the operative word, to not let her get to me. I also know that even though life isn't fair, God is.
 What am I to do? I pray for wisdom and wisdom liberally. I pray for strength, a forgiving heart, the ability to keep on moving in spite of how people's actions affect me. It's still been a treacherous road. I see my family three times a year, if I am that lucky. I see friends on such limited occasions that most neglect to invite me anywhere because the assumption is that I am busy. At times, I am simply exhausted, weary, and wonder if I can go on.
I’ve tried to sell the house via the traditional means, do a short sale, and modify the loan. To date, I haven’t been able to sell the house and in order to do anything else, I’ve been told that I have to default on the mortgage at least for four months. That is something that I struggle with. Am I living the life of my dreams? No, but wouldn’t it be dishonorable to not pay the bank when I have an agreement with them even though they don’t want to work with me when I am clearly doing my best and don’t want to compromise my credit?
This brings me to my dilemma.  What am I to do? Again, I ask, what am I to do??????????? I’ve mulled over my options, I’ve reflected on my motives when purchasing the house, I’ve simply done a lot of soul searching. I have learned a lot on this journey. I made a mistake and I am paying for it. I am thankful that grace and mercy renews each day.
Does God want me to walk away as it’s been mentally distressing and at times, has compromised my quality of life? God isn’t the author of confusion so if I walk away, am I not choosing peace and the ability to live life and such abundantly? If I stay, am I choosing to remain in a state of disarray and unrest?
Does God want me to endure like a good soldier, trusting in HIM, that he can change things around in the blink of an eye? As I have the faith of a mustard seed, can I not say move to this “mountain” in my life and it be moved?
The sad thing is I don’t know the answer. I pray and I ask that I receive a word that shows me what path I should take. If I am to walk away, I will walk away. If I am to endure, I will endure. I know that God is a faithful God and I humbly and patiently wait for him to direct my path. 

Praying as we speak,

R. Rowe


Friday, March 4, 2011

The past

As I've stated before, I've become better at saying goodbye to people who no longer need to be present in my life. I know when someone's season has expired. Although, I am at this place mentally, it seems as if the past continues to knock on my door. I truly believe I make it clear to those who no longer serve a purpose in my life but a few tend to not seem to get it or don't want to get it. A part of me wonders if it's because they don't recognize that I am mature and stand strong in my convictions or if they feel like they need to make peace with me. Interestingly enough, I harbor no ill feelings towards any of these people. I don't want to rob them of peace (if that is the goal). I simply don't want my past to rob me of my future. Do I think of any of these people from time to time? Sure, not often but I would say yes. Would I want to invite them back into my life? Definitely not! Who wants to invite trouble, confusion, unrest,  and whatever drama was present prior to me closing that chapter? Moving forward, when I don't know if someone is meant to be in my life, I evaluate the relationship and how it makes me feel. If I don't feel love, at peace, clear-headed, then I know it's time for them to go. If peace, love, and joy, isn't apart of my relationship or friendship, I say goodbye. Today, let peace, joy, and love determine who you keep around you. Don't keep people in your life who drain you and keep you in a negative mental space. You don't want to allow people to weigh you down when God is trying to lift you up!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Job dissatisfaction

Everyone that I speak to of late is extremely dissatisfied with their job or how things are evolving on the job. To many, it is apparent that many Managers have adopted this attitude that employees should be happy with the fact that they still have a job. Many employees find themselves doing the work that used to be the workload that three people would assume. To many, the working environment has become demoralizing, leaving them discontented, dissatisfied, and unfulfilled. I believe that the state of the economy is temporary. My advice to anyone who finds that they feel a sense of unrest and unhappiness on the job is to continue to be the best you that you can be. Produce your best work even though you don’t feel like it. Give it your all, for you. You will find that you will gain more by doing so than doing the bare minimum even though your work environment promotes otherwise. Do your best and I believe from the bottom of my heart that you will be in awe of all that you can and will accomplish. Whatever you learn, change, or implement as a result will enhance your resume and may prepare you for the job that you really want but you may not be adequately prepared for that “dream job” now. So, if you are dissatisfied on the job today, rest assured that you are “in training” for the best job tomorrow. Continue to look for other jobs, develop a portfolio showcasing your accomplishments, and again, put forth your best foot in all that you do. Your Manager may not have your best interest at heart nor take your concerns into consideration. Life is not fair but I know God is. Be your best and leave the rest to God.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Being able to say goodbye

A couple of years ago, I dated a very charming young man. In the beginning, things seem to be surreal. Everything was wonderful. We seemed to be really into each other. His family loved me, and I was surprised that I found someone with such wonderful qualities. I must interrupt by stating that time truly reveals a lot. In my case, it revealed who this person truly was. In what seemed like a span of a month, this person changed dramatically, and was nothing like the person I met and was beginning to fall for. Now, did this person really change or did time slowly unravel the facade? I would like to assert here that it is definitely the latter. People can only put up a facade but for so long. They often show you who they are or tell you, in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. When they do so, it is up to you to believe them. When we "broke up", I truly felt broken. I was hurt by the sequence of events that took place, none of which I saw coming. As I look back, I really should not have been that surprised. Signs of who he truly was and what was to come were there all along. For multiple reasons, I ignored them. Why? 1. I tend to see the best in people. Is that a bad quality? Not necessarily but when you ignore what can hurt you, it is to your detriment. 2. I wanted to believe that he was a great guy. I really liked him and wanted to believe in the facade. I was deeply “in like” with the fa├žade. 3. I don't believe at that time, I truly knew my worth. I thought I did at the time, of course, but looking back, I did not.

We agreed to be friends but apparently, he wanted to be more than friends. Are you confused? Well, so was I. He wanted the benefits of being in a relationship but he didn't want to be with me. He didn’t state this (he’s not that crazy) but his actions said it all. I was extremely upset. To me, that was a slap in the face. I know for a fact I never gave him any reason to believe that that would be okay with me. Clearly, he has dated females who don't value who they are. I also was disappointed that I totally missed the mark on who I thought this guy was.

One thing, I've never been truly good at is saying goodbye to people when I need to. I must have grown up a lot during the time that we were together because it was obvious that I could no longer be a part of his life. It was a chapter in my life that would come to an end but I learned a lot from him and the relationship. Although, I don't see a reason for us to speak, I will forever be thankful to him for those lessons.

When someone wants to leave, let them. When someone's actions show you that they don't want to be with you, let them go. It will hurt but trust me, the pain will be temporary. I now know what I am willing to accept and not accept from a man. I know that I don’t need anyone’s approval. I know my value and know that I don’t have to settle for less. I know when to say goodbye. Today, I encourage you to let go of the past or anything that is not contributing to your happiness. One thing you must do is to keep the lessons that you’ve learnt close to you at all times. Be blessed and know that some people are in your life for a reason. Some, for a season, and some, for a lifetime. Know when to say goodbye. Not everyone is supposed to stay in your life even when you want them to be there.

A season

by R. Rowe

Give me this pen so I can speak my mind
I haven’t written in a while. Yes, it’s been some time

A couple of things have taken place from the last we spoke
My life has changed, for the better of course

I’m closer to God. He is the man
I know I am his. I am in the palm of his hands

Remember that abusive situation that I was in?
Yes, the one that seemed it would never end!

It's over and done with, to God be the Glory
I don't even know where to begin with this story

God brought an angel of mine into my life
He replaced joy where there seemed to be strife

This angel enriched my life in many ways
The memories we had, will be with me always

Angel, let’s call him, helped me to enlarge my vision
He supported me in everything. He was there when I needed him

He lifted me up when I was down
He always encouraged me. He didn't like to see me frown.

He opened my eyes to the bigger picture
He highlighted my value and pushed me further

This angel came into my life for a season
He made my world better.
God placed him there for a reason.

Our time expired and I had to bid goodbye
But my appreciation will never die

One day in the future, we may meet again
To this angel, I will call my friend

He served a purpose and now he is gone
Now it’s time for me to move on

The world’s my oyster. I have my wings.
God removed the angel because I was too dependent on him

I have my own wings and God knows it’s my time to soar
Now I know that. I am woman. Hear me ROAR!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Humbled but grateful

I don't know about you but I was adversely affected when the economy took a turn for the worse. It had an effect on my finances, health, and overall well-being. In an effort to fight the good fight and make lemonade out of lemons, I got a second job. At times, I am very exhausted and sometimes feel as if I don't have much time to do anything but I am extremely hopeful that things can change in the blink of an eye in my favor. The past two years have been very trying but the lessons that I've learned have been invaluable. I can honestly say that I am wiser and stronger. The things I did yesterday, I wouldn't do today. I am a different me and had to go through a few storms to get here. Despite how my circumstances may look from the outside, not only am I hopeful, but I am extremely grateful. I have to tell you that what I may have taken for granted in the past, I certainly don't take for granted anymore. There is a season for everything and the past two years have been everything but a harvest....but it's on its way.

In spite of this “planting and waiting” season, my needs were always supplied and they continue to be. People have unexpectedly done kind things to move and touch me without realizing it. I see that during my storm, I have become extremely empathetic, sympathetic, caring, and thankful for the smallest things. It's not to say that I didn't have these attributes before but I definitely see it more than I did before. Something else I've taken from this period of my life is how important people are to me and they should be treated as such. I feel immensely blessed to have the people in my life that I do, especially my family. Prior to "the storm", I would visit my family often, treat my siblings to dinner, give my family gifts here and there, etc...I was Ms. Independent and wanted my family to know how much I loved them but then the tables turned..Initially, it made me cry. The first time my brother said, "I'll treat you to IHOP for lunch," I broke down. In my mind, I am the eldest. When did things get to the point that my brother would be in the position to treat me when I was always doing the treating? I cried because it reminded me of my circumstances but once I was able to get pass that, as other similar scenarios presented themselves, I just thanked God for how blessed I was (and am). I thought I was the rock of strength, assistance,  and encouragement for everyone else so it was a period of adjustment. I must tell you a couple of things that are different today. 1. I realize that I truly cannot lean on my own understanding. I may not comprehend fully why unfavorable things take place in my life but I trust that GOD has the master plan and although things may be difficult, I need to just trust HIM. At the very least, weekly, something touches me, reminding me of God's greatness and I know that I am not alone. 2. I realize that I have to praise and give thanks. I don't have to wake up in the morning but I do. I wake up, clad in my right mind. All of my blessings, no matter how small, I count and I say thank you. 3. Being through what I've gone through has helped me to encourage others as well during their time of need, whatever it is. 4. I've learned that I don't always have to be on the giving end. It is okay to receive as well. 5. I have such a strong relationship with my Mother, better than it's ever been. She has been a rock, an encourager, and one of my biggest cheerleaders. I was so busy being Ms. Independent before, that I never looked at her from that view point. During my times of need, both my sister and mother have shared scriptures to get me through and been extremely encouraging and inspiring. I feel closer to my family more now than ever before. For all of my blessings, I say, "Thank You."

To those who are going through a storm, keep your head up. I already know that I have the victory, no matter how things may seem now. What may look like a setback, God can use as my comeback. Be blessed and remain encouraged!! Count your blessings, cherish your family and friends, and trust God. Let Go and Let God….