Category Archives: Love & Life

Matters of the heart, relationships and life in general

#WCW

broken heart

photo courtesy of Trent Shelton Facebook and Rehab Time Organization

On this #WomanCrushWednesday I am channeling the vibes of Trent Shelton and charging women (including myself) to love yourself.

It has been difficult for me to learn how to love me; love the woman God created, and the path that He wants me to travel.  It took a long time of trial and error (more errors than anything) to learn how to protect my heart…I always looked for love from others, expecting that their love would be enough.  It never was and never will be.

Remember that God’s love is sufficient; but we will never experience even the fullness of God’s love if we don’t learn how to love ourselves the way God loves us.  And that’s not selfish…at all.

Chasing After You

Photo courtesy of Heaven’s Harvest on Facebook

The last few weeks have been a real struggle for me. Truth be told, the past few years haven’t been my best.  When I write or speak to anyone, I don’t profess to have all the answers.  I try to only speak on things that I have experienced in the hopes that my friends and family won’t make the same mistakes that I have.  But lately it seems with every good word that comes out of my mouth, a mile of strife follows.

It’s hard to keep the focus and remember whose I am.  I realize I have been writing about this a lot, as I am trying to learn and walk my way through it.  Every day I am faced with a new challenge, a new battle, and it ‘feels’ as if it’s wearing me down.  My friend jokingly told me the other day that I am all over the place, though I am sure it was concern masked behind a smile.  Some days I am up, and some days I am way down.  And that’s NOT God’s will for our life.

I don’t want to write on this blog in a manner that would suggest that I have it all figured out… God knows I don’t! But I want to share how good He is to me, even when I feel like I don’t deserve it.  His grace is sufficient and He is so forgiving.  Honestly, that is the only thing that keeps me smiling sometimes.  Noticing the little things He does for me during the day like changing the light to green as I am approaching when I’m running late, a butterfly in a tree that I noticed just by chance, the spark in my son’s eyes when I’m having a bad day.  I’m not ashamed to say that God talks to me everyday in the smallest ways, and those little messages mean so much to me.

I came into work today feeling good despite the fatigue that is resting on my shoulders.  When I opened up my email, my daily scripture was there waiting for me as usual.  And the verse just brought everything back to me full circle…..

Luke 10:41-42 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

How good is God that He sends us little messages to let us know He is still here, still loving us, despite our mistakes and worries. No matter how many times I fall, my  ‘good part…will not be taken away’ and I am still chasing after you Father.

Now it’s your turn:  What ‘good part’ do you hold close to your heart to get you through the day?  Your method may be a revelation and blessing to someone else, so please feel free to share!

Calling all Shopaholics!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some amazing revelations were made during a recent lunch break conversation amongst a few of my closest fashion-forward co-workers.  Discussing where we bought our latest pair of shoes or which department store had the best sale last weekend are always par for the course.  But this conversation revealed a secret that in hindsight we all probably assumed yet never vocalized.

Being intelligent, successful and hard-working women, we often get swept up in the dizzying rat-race that we call life.  And before we realize, hours of sweat, tears and frustration, with the occasional ‘at-a-boy’ reward have passed by and now a release is needed.  The gym should be the go-to for comfort, especially after consuming a half dozen donuts after your lunch presentation bombed.  Yet the mere thought of sweat and hard work make you want to cry even more, so you avoid it at all costs; including that monthly membership fee that’s being paid to never even walk through the front door.  Lest I digress…

As we discuss our shopping ventures, one of the ladies sheepishly begins a story about how she snuck two bags of shoe purchases into her house and past her husband without being caught.  The entire room became a captive audience with everyone gazing at her in awe.  I found myself enraptured with her suspenseful story of how she crept light-foot around her home, stashing a bag here and a bag there, while her husband was fully distracted by the Giants game and his Budweiser.

The women burst into infectious giggles at the end of the story, and each is chomping at the bit to share their own best kept secrets about their shopping addictions, or shall we say habits.  We are all sidelined when our boss came into the room, curious about all of the laughing going on.  Knowing how down to earth he is, I began to explain the gist of the conversation to him.  He cackles and adds his own little antidote, ending with, “If my wife knew about all the bullshit I buy, she’d have a heart attack!”

That’s when I realize, to my chagrin, that I am not alone! It is not uncommon for women, and sometimes men (like my boss), to have to hide purchases that their significant other may question to no end.  In fact, I learned so much from that conversation that I left the room feeling like a novice!

Having obtained all of these useful and life-altering strategies, I felt it only right to share the jewels of that conversation to help others maintain their own secret shopping addiction. We are a group of many and we must stick together.  So get out your highlighters and read carefully!

  1.  Maintain a separate bank account; preferably a pre-paid debit card. – So you’re thinking, are you asking me to hide money? Yes!  Having a pre-paid debit card allows you to place as much money as you would like into an account that is hard for your significant other to trace.  Pre-paid cards often don’t mail statements.  They also do not affect your credit report or rating; something your spouse could potentially have access to.  The downside to this is that you may have to stash money away in small increments to accomplish this undetected.  Don’t worry.  If you are a true shopaholic, you’re up for the task.
  2. Know the landscape of your home and everyone’s schedules. – This sounds silly at first glance, but this is a key to the majority of your strategies. Sneaking things in the home will require careful plotting, scheduling and stealth skills.  A slight change in someone’s schedule could completely ruin your plans and reveal your secret.  It is important to remember that in this circumstance, children are not your friends.  They will not help you, even if you bribe them.  They will ask you a thousand questions and then rat you out when the bribe is gone and laugh right in your face.
  3. Establish safe spots. – Once you have step 2 etched into your memory, you need to find or create spots in your home where you can stash items without being detected. Think of places that involve responsibility, like the back of the kitchen sink cabinet.  Full of cleaning supplies and noisy pipes, no one goes into that cabinet unless it is an absolute emergency.  Areas like this are essential to your strategy, and you should have access to at least 5 such spaces.
  4. Know the dynamics of the storage space in your car. – There will inevitably be a few occasions where your plan is foiled for one reason or another. Hiding your purchases within the storage compartments of your vehicle can give you extra added comfort if you don’t know what to expect when you get home.  Also remember that you always need to be prepared to make a dash back to the car in case you get busted.
  5. Learn the mail system at your job, then ask permission. – Ironically, this was the biggest take home tip from my boss. Having worked for him for almost 10 years, I have noticed that his fishing addiction runs a very close second to his shopping addiction, so he has everything delivered to work.  He unpacks the items, and discards the boxes, packing slips and tags.  Then he takes them home and leaves it in his car, as if it was something he already had.  Genius!  Fortunately, when he joined our conversation, he commented, “Why don’t you just have the stuff delivered here? What do I care?”  For you, however, a formal request may be needed, or just strike up a conversation and jokingly mention about having deliveries sent to work.  Granted, this would be a last ditch effort, so only ask if you have a laid-back boss that you are on good terms with.  Getting fired is a swift way to end your shopping addiction, leaving all of this knowledge to just whittle away along with your life savings.

If you work hard, you should be able to spend hard, without being questioned by anyone. But that just isn’t reality for most of us.  You have to be careful and thrifty with your spending, and just as careful and cunning to hide it all away.

Your turn:  Now that I have shared my secrets, you all have to share yours! It’s only fair! 😉  What tips and techniques have you learned to hide your shopping habits over the years? I look forward to hearing your responses!!!

 

 

 

 

Just Hold On

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Photo reposted from Joel Osteen Ministries via Facebook

                                                                                                          Photo courtesy of Joel Osteen Ministries via Facebook

Making the choice to devote your life to God is one of the best and easiest choices you will ever make.  Following through with that decision is the hard part. 

Follow through has always been difficult for me.  I like to think of an idea, pass it on, then move on.  Or…I’ll start the project, then start another one, and then another one.  Weeks later, I’m swimming in deadlines and guilt.

In the past few weeks, I’ve learned that it all requires one step at a time.  No matter what you do, you can’t rush God’s plan; so you might as well take your time, enjoy the lesson and the test.  The key is truly knowing that every test can turn into a testimony if you grind you heels in and be determined to not give up or give in.

In all reality, my electric should be cut off right now; I barely have food in the fridge to get through the weekend.  But I refuse to worry about my needs… God already told me He would supply all my needs (Phil 4:19), and He has.  My electric is still on; my neighbor, who happens to be a chef, came by yesterday to see if we needed anything, because we were on his heart…

I can promise you, that if you make the committment to God, He will reward you with an enjoyable life, even in the midst of the trials.  Since I’ve committed – truly committed myself, opportunites are opening for me left and right!!  I have been invited to seminars and trainings that I normally would not have access to.  I’ve put down bad habits that used to feel like my lifeline and I no longer even have a remote yearning to indulge in that lifestyle anymore.  God took all that away, to provide me a better way.  Life has been challenging, but it is now far from dull and boring. 

I continue to “press toward the mark” (Phil 3:14), because I have no doubt that the best is yet to come.  Not just for me, but for all that choose to believe and recieve!

Stay blessed friends! 😉

A mission to serve

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Alicia Keys is always at the hem of social issues that continue to plague our youth; issues that stifle the fight of the dreamer; issues that are destroying our education and political system.

As one of her biggest fans, I enjoy following her causes and finding any way that I can help. So last week when she released her latest song, “We are here”, I was immediately captured again.

I’ll be posting more details tomorrow about the campaign, but I saw the quote above and just had to share it.  This quote made me think of Alicia’s question to the world…”Why are you here?” 

My posting question to you tonight friends, is…Why are you here? My initial, knee-jerk response is – to serve God.

Leave a quick comment as to why you think you are here.  I’d love to see what you are thinking and feeling! And I’ll add some of your comments on my next post…and somehow I’m sure we can get the comments to Alicia Keys to let her know that, We are here too!!

Doing good for others never gets old; and it’s an amazing feeling!

Are you a Boss?

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        Photo courtesy of OshoMentors      http://bit.ly/OshoMentors

Last week I wrote about weariness, and having faith in your future. I saw this quote on Facebook, and it was mind blowing to me personally.

We are a generation that truly lives in the moment. And in that moment, we are maximizing our potential by multitasking as much as our hands and minds can possibly handle. That lifestyle lends us to easily forget blessings of our past.

We become fixated on this moment in time and all the problems and stressors of this moment. But stopping to think (and mediate) about how we got through last week’s dilemma, can truly remind us of how good God is, and encourage us that we can and will prevail through these current problems as well.

Thinking of how I felt last week, and the fact that I made it through, through my Lord, truly makes me feel like a Boss.

What have you conquered this past week? Share and be encouraged that your blessing could bless so many others.

Take care and stay faithful friends!

Don’t break down, break THROUGH

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About a month ago, I told myself I was taking a vacation.  No matter what, I was taking time off and going somewhere, to do something with someone to force myself to take a break.  Every possible thing was weighing on me so heavily.  I was weary and completely done and over all of it.

Fast forward to last week, and my stay-cation was anything but fun and relaxing.  Every day presented a new issue or problem, and the whole point of the time off was to be released from stress, not to take on more.

Upon my return to work, it wasn’t long before the old and tattered stress robe was flung over my shoulders.  As I was speaking with another coworker, one of my team members stopped and asked me to come see her when I had a moment.  In the hollows of my mind, I immediately began to run the list of issues… did I enter data in the system wrong?  Did something happen while I was out?  

Why does our mind go straight to the negative before we even remotely hear the full story?

Turns out, my coworker blessed me with an amazing gift.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have a special place in my heart for pretty baubles and cute shoes!  Having this knowledge, my coworker saw these handmade Kenyan bracelets and thought of me.  She shared with me that she had been thinking of a way to thank me for helping her on prior occasions with her workload, and thought this would be the perfect gift.  

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To say I was blown away was an understatement.  Here I am complaining about all the stuff that has been thrust on my plate for the last few weeks.  Her gift wiped all that stress away and humbled me in a way that I can barely describe in words.

It is so quick and easy to take the ‘road most traveled’ and be negative and grumpy about what life has decided to serve us.  BUT BUT BUT… that’s why the Word reminds us in Galatians that “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

We can not fathom how our well doing may be abundantly blessing someone else’s life.  But by reading and meditating on this word, we can stay uplifted and focused.  

Isaiah 40:29 – 31 breaks down weariness.  It also reminds us that we can be victorious because ‘He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak’ (40:29).  You know you can make it because ‘Even youths grow tired and weary’ (40:30).   You know for sure you can because…

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Doesn’t that sound beautifully peaceful and encouraging?  

Interestingly, this happened on Tuesday afternoon, and I thought of the verses above thatt night, which became the springboard for this post.  I open my email Wednesday morning, and see the daily devotional from Joel and Victoria Osteen, entitled ‘Wait on the Lord’.  This devotional also referenced Isaiah 40:31. Talk about confirmation!!  

I’ve included a link to the devotional so you can read it for yourself.  I am truly blessed by the Osteens, each and every day!  I am sure you will be as well. http://www.joelosteen.com/Pages/MessageViewer.aspx?date=2014-08-06

~As for these bracelets…

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These are hand-crafted by Kenyan artisans and the proceeds go back to the artisans. Each bead is uniquely crafted from recycled glass, paper, clay and natural materials like ostrich eggshell and amber.  Their website is http://acacia-creations.com. Please go checkout their website and make a purchase. The proceeds provide income for Kenyan artisans, and I’m all about supporting each other, near and far.

Stay strong friends and be encouraged. You’ll be mounting your wings before you know it!