Thankful

What an incredible life we get to lead.  We live during a pivotial time in history where God is doing amazing things.  In a time full of darkness, I have seen things that give me hope.

The thing that makes me giggle, and I am very grateful for is that God does not forget our prayers even when we forget. This year I was reminded of how I prayed to be surrounded by people who pray big prayers and believe God more than a decade ago.  This year I was surrounded by a church standing up to do that exact thing. It is exciting and scary at the same time. It is exciting to watch God work, yet it is scary as you step on that limb and walk toward the edge.

This has been a transition year for me as I teach my daughter to adult and begin my own personal journey. I am thankful for the blessing God has given me in both areas.  Again, I was surprised at what I could do when I surrendered to God’s leading.

I am so grateful for phenomal the people God placed in my life this year. They have been His Hands, His Feet, His Voice, His Encouragement, His Strength and much more.  My favorite moment was when I couldn’t hear. I didn’t have insurance. I didn’t have cash.  Some folks I love stepped in the gap.

If you never need anything, and no one ever helps you, you will miss the mightiest blessing of all. It provides for a need, but what it does for the heart is more powerful.

But the thing that gives me hope is that people are seeking God.  They are not seeking a church or a minister, but the One who Created the Universe. I sit in BSF and wonder where did all these women come from.  There are so many new women, I seldom see the people I have known for years. This gives me hope.

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Twitter gives me hope. Unlike the rest of the world that puts up with nonsense,  twitter will take a stupid idea and beat it with a baseball bat. Like the word of God, it is a sword that separates joints and marrow, soul and spirit.  In 140 characters, it reveals the heart of the writer. I met some amazing hopefilled hearts on there.

My prayer this year has been, if I ask for bread, the Lord will not give me a stone.  He has been faithful. I am thankful. I praise Him for the journey..

I wish you and yours the best of Thanksgiving,

Peace and Hair Grease

 

The Pages Talk Back

Over the last couple of days I have had to thank God for my work friends. Y’all, they are a hoot. Four of these ladies give me the best set of giggles. They inspire me. They encourage me. They remind me what it’s all about.

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One of my friends is deaf. Over the last year, I have become the person who interprets and lets her know what is going on. (Did I mention I do not sign?) When I started, I would write everything down. But I soon learned that people say a lot of stuff that is unimportant. So now I focus on the important things that people say. Yes, I edit. She doesn’t mind. Recently I have gotten enough courage to sign using the alphabet when she and I have private conversations.

She is amazing in that she remembers everyone we work with, even though she doesn’t know their name.  She will ask about the girl with the blonde hair. The other day, she asked about our friend Jesus’ friend.  At first I was a little throwed off because when I see the word Jesus and Friend, I think “we are all his friend.” But she meant the young man who worked with us.  She has some limited speech so when she vocalized it, she pronounced the J. I had a quiet giggle and answered her question.

I admire the fact that she works in hearing situation. She lives her life like everyone else only she can’t hear. The other day she walked passed me and I had ear plugs in to help cancel out some of the noise. She cracked up at the sight of them. She couldn’t believe I was trying to keep sound out.

Another woman I look for every work day is Ms. Positive. She is not the bubbly happy for no reason person. She is a woman with a deep seed of joy. She will tell you that she is 98 percent positive. The other 2 percent is not negative, it is just something else.  This sister has an amazing perspective on life and our purpose here. She spends her time encouraging others.

I used to sit a table over and listen to her talk to others. My favorite conversation was “poor was a state of mind. You are not poor.” But sometimes the conversation got so good, I had to join in.  She knows what she is here for and has goals. I love that.

My friend SK would be the one who makes me belly laugh. She has two daughters that started college this year, so everything I am going through, she is getting double. Let me tell you, that don’t phase her at all.  Somedays when she starts talking I hear Helen Reddy in the background singing, “I am strong! I am invincible! I am woman!” No matter what she encounters she says, “I am going to handle this.” And I see the same thing lived out in her daughters.

And finally, my girl T-Rae. She deserves to punch me in the mouth, but instead gives me a smile and says that is okay.  She is very sweet and forgiving. This morning, on our overtime day, our boss asked her “Do you know how to do XYZ?” She said “No.” I said, “Yes you do.” Because of that everyone else got to go home, and we had to stay and work.  She should have socked me in the mouth. I would have. (I really wanted to leave. I could have socked myself in the mouth.)

She is the mother of a boy and pours into his life. She is not afraid to voice views that are different than other peopel. She introduces me to stuff I have never thought about, like eating SPAM. (IKR) We have the liveliest discussions around child raising and pretty much anything on television. We often sit like Homey the Clown, reminding people that “We don’t play that.” Yet under the gruff exterior are two women who crack up laughing all the time.

Each one of these women have their own views on life and I have the privilege right now to hear it. I wish I could bring them over and we all have a conversation. It is like reading a living breathing book. And the best part is that I get to participate.

 

Here are my harsh words

This is a letter to my Facebook Friends,

For all the folks who thought my FB posts were harsh. Here is harsh. Only three of you left, and I really thought more should go. You can follow me and not be my friend if you just want to keep up with what I am doing. After all you haven’t been my friend in a long time.

I know you applaud the people who say we all share in the responsibilities for racism. But you are white people. You run the world. You own most of the stuff in it. You messed it up. Put your big girl panties on and take some responsibility for it.  Stop trying to make black people take responsibility for being shot by cops.

We see black people being shot on video by the ones who is supposed to protect them and then hear, “Let’s wait for the investigation.”

Here is the investigation many of you will be experiencing.

You will be standing in heaven before our one and only. You are saved from damnation, but He will say, lets look at your “love” life.

And you will be “Well I needed the IRA for retirement, the vacations for my family, a new car every two years, my wardrobe needed updating, and but I did go on some church retreats.”

He will say “It’s okay. women and children in your neighborhood died of starvation, without shelter and simple medical procedures. But that just let them get to me sooner, right? You were working for the gospel.”

“Lord, I made donations.”

“You mean the stuff you didn’t want, like you gave me.” I think the Lord is going to belly laugh on that one.

I don’t care if you don’t like me, I am going to always hit you between your eyes with the truth. When I was hungry you did not feed me, when I was thirsty, you did not offer me a drink. I have gone through probably two of the hardest years of my life and not one of you called. So take all of your talk about Jesus teaching love and go somewhere. When you start living the love Jesus talked about, then I will listen.

You become like the people you surround yourself with. I don’t want to be like you. I thank God for that revelation. Even though I love you all, I don’t want your faith and definitely don’t want your love because there is so little to it.

Recently I have been working with people who are poor but have faith to move mountains. I love hearing them encourage each other on what Jesus will do.  I love being a part of them because they believe God for much even if it is just a meal or a place to live. My favorite homegirl tells everyone poor is a state of mind.

I know God is calling you to do something else, but you are waiting for all the circumstances to be right. They aren’t ever going to be right. That is what faith is all about. Stop being an idiot and go do what God called you to do. It is not going to be easy. Everyone is going to talk about you. But Baby, let me tell you the only one who counts is the one who is sending you.

There will be a check by my name in heaven because I will have said everything He told me to say!

I used to be afraid of failure. But now, I just let it go. As long as I am here, God will continue to use me. God continues to pour people into my life who really love him and live like it.

Go find a Lifegroup. Find a group of people and really live life together.  Make an investment in each other.

When God prunes, it is so that growth can occur, so I am not offended by you leaving my Facebook page. I know for everyone that leaves, God is sending two back.  Go find yourself a new black friend. (And be nicer to them than you were to me.)

Peace

End of a Chapter

I love it when a story end well.

This week started out stormy. It rained and flooded. I read countless jokes about building an ark. My theory is that our lives are so dirty, God is washing away the filth.

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I remembered worrying about how I would navigate through the storms. All of my morning drive times was supposed to be filled with storms. Yet, every time I thought I would have a battle, God stepped in and handled it. Not one storm during my drive time. Although I did get soaked a time or two this week. Yet there is something about the water that falls from heaven. It makes things grow. It will destroy man made things, but it will make things of God grow.

I found that one of the benefits of this wet spring is flowers. I have been able to smell the fragrance of flowers before I am ever close enough to see them. That is some powerful fragrance.

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When something out of the ordinary happens, it causes a ripple effect. All of this rain also keeps birds on the ground because one of their main sources of food come up for air. I just get a kick out of a bird standing under a shade tree. They have the ability to soar through the sky, but they stay on the ground.

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The sun came out, the skies were blue with white puffy clouds. I was able to get many steps in frustrating my friends in our Fitibit challenge. (If you need to lose weight, get your competitive friends fitbits. My friends and I almost kill ourselves trying to stay ahead of one another.) Yet sometimes during the most common moments of our lives, the greatest moments come.

During this dreary rainy week, my daughter graduated from high school completing something she had been working towards for 12 years.  In the few minutes walk from the car to the staging place for the graduates, life fell apart.  The shoes she bought didn’t fit like they did in the store and began to come off with each step. We left the umbrella in the car and it began to pour rain which would make her beautifully straight hair into a nice sized afro. We were getting wet. (But I was getting my steps in)

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She didn’t fall walking across the stage. She graduated. We made it. Even though storm struck in the final hours, God held it all together. This is what life is like.

Today, I officially offered her my blessing as she entered adulthood. I had good friends write blessings to her reminding her of His faithfulness in the past. And I prayed for her. An old chapter ended and a new one began. God is faithful.

 

You can’t follow if you are in front of me

When my kid was little I would constantly tell her that. She was always in a hurry to get to wherever we were going. To be honest, we were probably running late. She would be out in front of me, but going the wrong way. We finally got to a point where I would just look at her, and she would say, “I know, I can’t follow you in front of you.”

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She was a pushy little kid who would have talks with me asking if we could leave early because she didn’t want to be late. She was always in a hurry and talked constantly until she passed out sleep.  She hated naps and sleep. She loved going and doing.

She has matured since then and this week we will celebrate a major milestone. The time for her to follow has come to an end and it is time for her to blaze her own path.  I am so excited!!! (I am so tired of bumping into this child because she is trying to slow down for me)

Even though I am a single parent, I cannot say that I did it by myself. I truthfully have to say, God did it and used me and an awesome community of Family and Friends.  I could not have done it alone. But let me tell you the secret: You let your child know up front Joshua 24:15 is your motto and stick to it. (No you don’t get to choose when you go to church and you don’t get to choose when you go to bible study.) It was my duty to teach her God’s ways (and you can’t teach His ways without His Word.) Then surround that child with people who will pray for them daily. (Pick people who actually know God and have a relationship with Him)

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Our lives have been filled with storms and sunshine, but the fragrance of prayer to Jesus has always been present. He has been faithful through the cloudy days, torrential rains, high winds, lightning and thunder. He has outlasted jobs, homes, churches, people.

He taught us to join a group of believers and serve. We were members at several churches and served there. We participated in bible study. I taught her to put feet to your beliefs. Don’t listen to what people say. Look at what they do. Many will say they are Christians, but will live like the devil. Live like Jesus told the truth.

Your children will do what they see you do. If you are a whore, they will be whores. If you are a drunkard, they will be drunkards. If you are a Trekkie…

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I am excited because this is not my work. It is God’s work. I am reading C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory. He explained we like to talk about what we sacrifice, and not so much the love God has lavished on us. The Lord has lavished amazing love on us through this journey. I have met some amazing men and women of God who have prayed us to this point. Thank You, Lord.

He has begun a good work in my daughter’s life and will see it through.(Philippians 1:6) His plans are higher than my plans because He doesn’t think like me. (Isaiah 55:8-9)  She is about to start a new path where there will be sunshine and storms. She knows prayer will lead her safely through.

What A Day

It was amusing for me to have a type of day that started at 7am and will end well after midnight. The sad thing is that I did not get all of my 10,000 steps in. (And I was too busy to take extra steps.) And true to my personality type, there were lots of tasks to be done and they were done.

Duck

As I waited for my photo client in the park this morning, I saw this duck. unlike all of the other ducks at the pond, he stayed in this position. The birds around him walked, swam, flew and interacted with one another. This one flipped around occasionally, but this is what he did the couple of hours I was there.

I assumed something was wrong with it and could not help but feel sorry for it. It had the power to fly, swim and walk but did not use it. It is like people and their gifts. They have the power to do amazing things, but stay cloistered in their little worlds and never spread their wings to do the things they were designed to do.

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Had an awesome photo shoot with this lovely young lady who is about to graduate high school. It was a good time capturing the moment of her life when she is about to take off in flight. I can’t help but think that if God gives wonderful gifts to birds, what amazing things He places in us.

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I also got to meet new people at church and spend fun time with my daughter. One of the things that I love about my daughter is that she is concerned about my growth as a Christian as I am hers. She challenges me and I will miss it as she moves off to college.

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Yet here is a lesson I caught. (LOL) Even though this pond was titled around ducks, full of ducks and that is who the people came to see, this little turtle didn’t let it stop him from enjoying the duck habitat. Sometimes we can’t enjoy a place because we are all caught up in what it is called.

This turtle swam in the water, sat on wet concrete sides and probably ate the food intended for the ducks.He did not let not being a duck stop him from enjoying the world he was in. A lesson well taught little turtle.

It’s A New Season

I am on the verge of a new season. It is exciting. I look forward to what God is going to do in and with my life.  There are some people who get sad and lost at this time in their life. But as I was listening to Beth Moore with Priscilla and Lisa last week, it reinforced the idea that if God is the center of your of life, everything else will fall into place. It is not a good thing to make your children your idols because when they leave you are lost.

Some women fall apart when their kids move off to college. But God has been planting seeds in me that are waiting to burst forth at the proper time, when I have finished this task. I am helping her pack and praying that my next mission has a beach involved.

God has a plan for all of our lives and I want to open all of the treasure boxes. I am spending this month with Isaiah 42 and reading chapters from Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. The verse I am embracing is Isaiah 42: 16. I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. I believe it and receive it.

Rose garden

Like this rose beginning to bud, there is something beautiful coming. It is surrounded by lots of sticky stuff now, but it is coming. I told my daughter, even though it looks rough, you have to trust God’s plan. He said he would make it smooth.

I love it when God starts a new thing. It is like a brand new day dawning.

 

Merry Christmas

This journey toward Christmas has been very different than past journeys. I had the opportunity to reflect on this year and some really fun times with my family and friends. I got to revisit doing some things I had never done before. I got to celebrate life with the people I love.

The Lord has used my 49th year of life to stretch me in ways I have never been stretched before. I made a feature length motion picture. I have led an awesome small group of women in bible study. I got to take care of my mom and spoil her before she went to meet Jesus.

I have a lot to be thankful for.  The Lord really helped me put things in perspective.  If I could take all of the love the Lord has showered on me and turn it into coins I would be a billionaire. I am loved. And that is a successful life.