To Ponder

To me, pondering is like a rolling tide, swirling in loads and loads of seashells and sand. It’s like falling back into the deep, fresh fallen snow, sinking lower and lower till you almost have to dig yourself out. It’s the billowing clouds above shifting and turning with the wind, the jet streams drawing one near while sending another away. It’s the swirling of autumn leaves as they gently fall off the oak tree and spin and twirl toward the dirt in a waltzing dancelike motion.

You see, I ponder things. I wonder. I analyze. I muse. I imagine. I postulate and theorize until all facts and thoughts are gathered and brought to conclusion, and resolution, yet, attempting to not assume, surmise or conjecture. I meditate on scriptures, contemplating their meanings for my life and the course I might take. I cherish memories and reminisce of days gone by, how things were, how they might have been, and, sometimes, even how they should have been if the outcome was less than desirable.

It makes me think of the scripture spoken of the mother of Jesus, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) I am by no means aligning myself with Mary, as she was much more meek, humble and chosen. Yet, I think of how she might have pondered all the wonderful things about Christ, even from his birth, and I aspire to be like that. She seems to be a woman who pondered and mused the things that happened to her, to her family and to her children. She seemed to be a woman of deep thought, possibly even, a woman of few words. Taking things as they come, adjusting as she must, and living life with faith and strength through the good and the bad.

Yeah, I think I’d like to be like that, a person of that same character. And so, I ponder. I treasure. I cherish. I reflect. I nurture and cultivate the thoughts and happenings around me. I study, deliberate and reason why His Word tells me what it does. I pray these wonderings lead me deeper and deeper in my walk with Him.

So, I will ponder.

Will you?

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Authenticity Encircles Authenticity

As you become authentic, you will begin to see and be drawn to others who are authentic. As you begin to walk this road, you may also realize some people in your life seem to walk away or even fade away. Realize this for what it is, and embrace it; be okay with it.

Don’t judge them for not continuing in your journey. Don’t slander them for not being loyal and true. Don’t even worry about asking too many questions of why? Or why not?

Some weren’t meant to travel this same road with you. Some don’t wish for the changes you’ve chosen to indulge like a sweet dessert. Others just aren’t where you are and will never understand the transformation until they themselves come to that crossroad in their own lives…and that is okay!

Be you. Be authentic. Encircle others who are authentic. Let go of that and who you must.

Live! … And don’t just survive in living…

THRIVE in your authentic self!! 💕

Knowing you and Embracing you

Becoming a person of authenticity and purpose isn’t easy to do, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work, deliberate effort and patience…lots of patience. To become a person of purpose, it’s almost like you’re training for the run of your life or for the fight of a lifetime.

Purpose follows persistence and persistence follows passion.

PASSION –> PERSISTENCE –> PURPOSE

Sometime, you will walk along life’s path and not really have a clue as to what your purpose is, and if you’re seeking that answer, this season of unknowing can be incredibly frustrating!! But, just as I’ve heard Pastor T.D. Jakes preach,

You’ve got to figure out what your passions are. When you figure that out, you’re half way there to finding your purpose! Just continue in that passion. Fine tune your strengths. Figure out your weaknesses and work to improve those areas needed. Get a coach who can challenge you and “get in your grill,” someone who will cheer you and not take “No” or “I quit” as answers. Keep pushing forward until you realize you’re working in your purpose.

Just as a boxer finally knocks out his opponent when he stays persistent in the fight, always looking for the weakness of his foe, and just as a runner finally crosses the finish line when she stays persistent even when her legs scream “just quit,” you will become an authentic person of purpose when you keep on keepin’ on!! 😉

Find You. Know YOU. Embrace you. Become who you were meant to be! You can do this! I believe in you!! 💕

Knowing You and Letting Go

When you’ve gotten to know you, only then, can you let go of who you are not. Because this is such a simple statement, this may sound silly or even a little cliche; yet, it is so very true. When you don’t truly know who you are, you can’t rightly let go of who you might have been pretending to be.

Often, when we start pretending to be something, or someone, we’re not, we lose our true identity. We get lost in the fantasy, the struggle and the desire to be that other person, and that facade will become a false reality for as long as we will live it. It becomes a place of comfort and security while, in reality, the fallacy eats away at our very being.

Everyone around us can see it. Anyone who gets close and is tuned into reality will recognize the fake for what it truly is, and more often than not, those people will eventually remove themselves from our orbit without us ever realizing why they left. To me, this is one of the saddest places to be in life, because that person is so wrapped up in their own lies that he/she can’t even recognize reality until the painful truth slaps them in the face either by tragedy, self-harm or broken relationships that bring about a sense of desperation for truth.

So, tune into the real you. Stare hard into that mirror in the morning and be that the little boy on Hook, who wiped Peter’s face until he could find Peter Pan. Find YOU. Embrace YOU, and learn to love YOU. Then, you will become authentic, and others will be drawn to that new you. 💕

Knowing YOU

I’ve been sharing for the last few days on the subject of authenticity. This is such a great word, and everybody is better off when we all embrace it to it’s fullest. Yet, as I posted those blogs, I started thinking how maybe some people resist authenticity, not necessarily, because they like to be fake, but rather, because they don’t really know themselves.

It made me think of the movie, Runaway Bride, when Julia Roberts’ character has to go “find herself” before she can commit to what she’s purposed to do. (Trying not to give any spoilers here! 😜) Now, I’m not a big advocate of dropping all your commitments to go “find yourself,” because I think, too often, this is used as a cop-out to simply be lazy or rebellious toward the commitments you’ve made. However, my point is this…

You can never be authentic until you truly know and embrace who you are!*

So, get to know that person staring back at you in the mirror every morning. Stare hard. Stare long. Ask questions and answer them, even when they’re hard ones that scream for honesty.

What are my likes? What are my dislikes? Why do I laugh? Why do I cry? What do I believe? For what, in what, or in whom, do I hope? In whom, or what, do I put my trust? When am I the most scared? When am I the most lonely? When am I the most confident and why?

There are a gazillion questions to ask and answer. This may take awhile. Even if it takes the rest of your life, don’t stop asking and never stop answering.

That’s the only way you can truly realize who you are. Draw out that heart within. Reach down deep and find the depths of your soul. Is it shallow, or are the measures endless and complex? True self-evaluation and self-analyzation helps to recognize, acknowledge, challenge and change those things that need alteration and improve those things which are just needing tweaking or strengthening.

Having a mentor, a life coach or just a truth speaking friend will also help you to find yourself and be the “true you,” but these thoughts will be held for another day.

Now, get out there and get to know YOU; so, you can let that authenticity blossom!! 😉

*Note to the wise: the real truth in who you are can, actually, only be found when you come to know the Creator of who you are, and that, my friend, will be a full post for another day very soon; however, you can start on that path of discovery today: Proverbs 9:10; John 1:1; John 3:16

Give Yourself Permission: Authenticity

Too many of us grow up believing we must conform to society, or be molded after our family’s traditions, or conform to our friends’ desires, or even be completely yielded to our parents’ or spouses wishes. When we’ve been constantly conditioned to surrender and submit all willpower, all defiance, all choice to the determination of another, authenticity can escape us, and we might not even realize it.

It really takes hard work to be authentic, because not everyone is going to agree with you on everything. It takes a dogged mindset to remain real when the world around us is full of so much fake that is sold to the highest bidder. It even takes a mental stubbornness to remain grounded in your own beliefs, standards and choices for life, especially if you have someone close to you whom you seek to have their approval, affection or admiration.

The coveting of another’s love can wreak havoc on one’s conviction to be authentic. At times, it will even take some self-denial to preserve true genuineness of soul, because our natural tendency toward selfishness can, often, override authenticity to the point of creating a self-righteous, self-approved, self-promoted state of being, which is never truly authentic in the matters of the heart.

A true authentic being is one who knows herself, the good, the bad and the ugly, and is fully aware of what needs improvement, and is willing to make the, sometimes, hard adjustments to bring the kind of change that will not simply “turn over a new leaf,” but change that will also be magnetic to cause others to desire this same type of transformation to become authentic.

Authenticity comes with a price. Those willing to pay it will reap it’s amazing benefits. Those who refuse will grow stagnant in the mundane, duplicity and hypocrisy of life, until they eventual die a slow, cruel death of fake relationships, dual personalities and a foul, unreliable character.

So, it is up to you, and it up to me.

What will you choose?

I will strive to choose authenticity.

Be Brave. Be Authentic.

Authenticity takes courage and boldness to obtain. This is not because it’s hard to achieve, but rather, because it takes effort and a deliberate decision to be real, not only with others, but with ourselves. It also takes a true appreciation of ourselves, a sort of self-love.

I say, “sort of,” because I’d like to clarify this word I chose. The kind of “self love” I’m talking about isn’t this cultural self love where everyone has to agree with you, appreciate you and understand to for you to be able to “carry on” in your daily routines of living. That kind of attitude has been misrepresented as self love, when all that is is pure SELFISHNESS. No, true self love is when you can appreciate who you are AND who you are not. It is an understanding of your strengths AND your weakness and having the ability to love yourself through all of them. It is even the ability to be able to ask for help when needed, realizing that you’re not made perfect, and there are other people in this world who are better than you, more capable than you and even, sometimes, who aren’t even going to like you.

But you can be ok with that, because you’ve come to grips with who you are and who you are not. You love yourself for it; you’re wearily working on the improvements you need, and you’re okay with those who don’t like who you are, because you’re not living for them anyway! THAT’S authenticity, and that’s “the bravest and most adventurous way to live!”😉💗

Authenticity is Magnetic

Not to steal someone else’s quote, but to requote Daniellelaporte.com, “Authenticity IS magnetic! When you are your true self, people will be drawn to you. Uniqueness is intriguing. Genuiness is both compelling and appealing. Try it. You might just find you like it, and others do, too! 😉

*Note: if your “true self” is just simply a jerk, you may be a bit more repelling than compelling; so, please, do self evaluate. If you’re more of a total jerk than a friendly person, this might not work so well. You might actually have to “Fake it till ya make it, baby!” 😉😂

Authenticity is Attractive

Have you met someone who acted one way in front of a crowd and was totally different behind the scenes? I’ve heard and read this a lot about certain actors in Hollywood and various TV celebrities. They might be amazing actors on the screen, full of love, class and debonair, but get them out of the spotlights, and they are complete jerks!

It’s a lot like this iceberg above. It looks small, unimposing and practically a tiny island unto itself. Yet, the underside is dangerous, imposing and all together vicious to any ships that may sail within its grasp. There are plenty of stories to be found of heartbreak and tragedy when even the largest of vessels have encountered these mammoths of the frozen world.

When you are not authentic, you can leave a path of destruction and death behind. Authenticity can be quirky, against the mainstream or status quo, and definitely not trendy or cliquish. Yet, authenticity is the most attractive thing you can wear, because even if you are different, your honesty of self is refreshing and a thing to comfort to all who meet you.

Authenticity draws people to want more. Uniqueness causes people to take a second look. Genuineness pulls people close like the warmth of a fire.

Be your authentic self. Embrace your uniqueness. Be genuine. Don’t paint a mask for anyone, because when you do, one day, you’ll be caught in a thunderstorm, and everything you’ve painted will be washed away. Then, no one will even recognize you for the reality of who you’ve become.

17 Years … Have We Forgotten?

Written yesterday, on the 17th Anniversary of 9/11…

Consumed with memories today…

I will never forget the feelings as I sat on the bed in a hotel room in Cleveland, Tn, on this day 17 years ago. We were in town for a funeral, and I was holding JGrizz in my arms. He was only one month old. My mother knocked on my door to tell me what happened, and I didn’t believe her until I turned on the news. I sat in disbelief, shock, fear and grief as I watched all of the events play out. It felt like a nightmare, a terrible, never-ending bad dream.

How could this be happening in our nation, America, the home of the free and the brave? It was so overwhelming; it was almost hard to breathe. We went to The Blue Hole (a beautiful rock filled area on the Ocoee River) later that day just to try to collect our thoughts and the gravity of what this horror meant for our country.

Then, just days later, I watched with pride, honor and respect as men and women began pulling together as communities, people of all races, backgrounds and walks of life began looking past themselves to something bigger: the rebuilding, the protection, and the defense of a beautiful nation. Firefighters, police officers, welders, construction workers and so many others would come in droves from all over the country, on the backs of big rigs, stop at red lights in NY and be cheered on by the business men and women who were waiting to cross the streets to try to carry on a “new normal” workday. The builders rebuilt and mended the broken walls while the New Yorkers tried to make some semblance of understanding of their, now, broken city. Hope was slowly seeping into every crevice, chasing away the shadows, as love ones were pulled from the ruble, as small miracles were found along the way.

Everyone went the extra mile, wanting to leave no one behind. Everyone worked hand in hand, side by side, to restore the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness upon which this nation was founded. Bravery, chivalry and just sheer, raw, unapologetic guts and strength were applauded that day and each day thereafter.

It was a horrific tragedy, an unimaginable crisis that brought this nation together that year, because the pain, destruction and new purpose for healing was bigger than any trivial opinion, any mindless political jargon, and any petty argument brought about by boredom and self-exhalation. Let us NEVER FORGET what happened that day and the days, months, and years that followed. Let us never be so consumed with the frivolous manic speeches of today’s media and the inessential accusations and fallacies that it takes this kind of world shaking for God to once again get our attention as a nation.

Pray now, church.

Let us NEVER FORGET.

*I do my own not possess either of these pics. Found in a simple google search.*