Learn to Dance

I saw this pic the other day, and please forgive me, it hit me all wrong. Yes, I do understand the concept. I do understand that everyone wants to not feel broken. I do understand that being happy and free feels so much better than being heartsick and broken beyond repair. I get it.

I’ve had my share of brokenness. I’ve had my share of broken dreams, broken promises, broken images, and broken foundations in my life. I’ve had more than my share of tears shed through the years. I’ve experienced more than some and not as much as others. Brokenness is not comfortable, enjoyable, or even a bearable element of my soul.

But I cannot embrace the cultural trend that forgetting from where I came makes me more joyous, more loose, more free to live. I refuse to welcome the notion that to obliterate my past makes me a better, more balanced, human being. I will not accept the propaganda that tells me “a forgotten past brings a brighter tomorrow.” (*chosen words before seeing similar quote online. No correlation or reflection. Unaware of that author, quote or beliefs.)

When someone is hiking up a mountain, forgetting from whence you came will only cause you to lose your way back down the trail. When someone goes on a long extended trip, obliterating the road map will only cause you to never return to home.

When someone tries to erase history, history is never truly erased. What has been has been, and there is no way to live as if it never existed. That is just pretending, and pretending just makes you as a child.

Being a child is wonderful while you are of a physically young age, but once you have crossed the threshold of maturity, that immaturity only makes you look like an ignorant fool. (…and yes, those can mean two very different things.) So then, you have to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the hard questions…

How old am I? How old should I be acting? Will I live my life in immaturity, ignorance and foolishness, or will I live in maturity, knowledge and wisdom? The choice is truly yours.

I choose to walk in integrity, maturity, wisdom and truth. I choose to embrace my past, my pain and my brokenness, even the shattered pieces that may always carry a shards of irreparable moments. I will carry on, even if I walk with a limp, and even if my scars are evident for all to see.

I choose to be full of joy. I choose to have peace. I choose to love and be loved. I choose to have life and give life.

Is it hard? Heck, yeah! Is it uncomfortable? Always. Telling you that’s it’s not would be returning to those childhood days of pretend and make believe. Life is so much better than the fairytales. Not because it never rains and not because there is no pain, but rather, because through the rain, I learn to dance, through the pain, I learn to sing.

And this song and dance is better than any mythical enchantment I could ever dream. This song and dance gives birth to a beautiful melody called life created by an unimaginable symphony of experiences and awakenings. Without these notes on the pages of my soul, I could never leave the legacy of song for my children, my friends, my family, for one who is ready whom I may never know.

So, I will choose to dance even when it’s raining and even though the storm brews darker. I will dance and sing, and sing some more, to bring a little memory of sunshine through the pain; so, the legacy will live ever more brightly for my children and those who are to come.

**Listen to this.

*I do not own nor possess this song, video or photos. These are all from simple Google search.

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Queen or Slave?

How are you feeling today?

Do you live like a queen or a slave?

A queen has rights, responsibilities and rightful ownerships.

A slave has excuses, exemptions and evictions.

A queen has power, personality and principles.

A slave has pity, problems and polysemy.

A queen makes choices, has character and a conscience.

A slave has disdain, degradation and disrespect.

A queen is never a victim, but rather a product of the chosen one she has become.

A slave is always a victim, never realizing her justification for hate and sin destroys her potential, her dreams, and her future.

Fight to win the victory.

Stand with royalty and honor.

Walk in the queenship you’ve been given.

1 Peter 2:9. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Life: It’s a Process

I was walking down the back staircase of a hospital when I saw this mural. My husband chuckled when I stopped my descent to take a pic, but when told him it would be for a blog, he totally got it, because he’s amazing like that.

To every challenge, every improvement, every healing, every victory, there has to be a process of steps to bring you to that positive outcome. Courage, strength, endurance, recovery and accomplishing goals don’t just happen miraculously or overnight. There are always steps involved, and sometimes, those necessary steps have to be taken meticulously and can even be excruciating.

However, if you are willing to put forth the time, effort and tenacity to take them, you can reach your goal, and you can shout your victory!

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!! 💕

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.

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.*

Stand Tall

Remember…

You can do this hard thing that opposes you! You can persevere! So, stand a little taller. Hold your sword a little higher, and fight! Fight to win!

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Why wait?

So, what will you do in the new year of 2018?

Don’t wait for tomorrow, for none is guaranteed tomorrow. We are not guaranteed our next breath. Make your decision. Make you plan. Make your choice. Get moving, and start today. You can do this thing! Just believe!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Start Today

Happy New Year’s!

New Years Resolutions…

Almost everyone has an opinion on them or at least some thought toward them. Some get all geared up to make huge resolutions, change of habits, altering routines, plans to transform their health, appearance, attitude and lifestyles. Some get just as amped up at the declaration to NOT make resolutions, because (in their opinion) “those never really work anyway!” I’m not here to argue either point, but I am here to tell you, TODAY is the day to make a definitive decision and tomorrow may be too late. My pastor has this phrase, “You will never become tomorrow what you’re not doing today.” Whatever you put off till tomorrow, you will just as easily put it off again the next day and the next.

Let me bring this point home to our hearts by a question or two … what is a goal you set or maybe something you thought at the beginning of 2017 that you planned to accomplish? Did you accomplish it, and if so, how long did it take? What if your reality for tomorrow was only determined by what you did today? What if you were going to be blessed tomorrow by what you give today? Or better yet, What if you were guaranteed to get blessed in 2018, and that blessing was going to come in the form of a pay raise in the exact amount of the giving, blessings, or accomplished things you did in 2017? What would that blessing look like??

So, if you’re plan is to lose weight, stop smoking, start eating right or even go to bed at a better hour, don’t wait for the clock to strike midnight tonight to change your ways. Do it today! Do it NOW!! As the old adage goes, “There’s no better time than the present!”

Health.com

There’s no better time to start than right now, and if you’re one of those who are adamantly opposed to setting resolutions, there’s still something to be said about setting goals and doing a little self improvement. Start there for yourselves.

Set a goal.

Chase a dream.

Start TODAY!

Choose Well

I saw this post the other day, and I thought, “This describes exactly how I’m feeling and what I needed to hear today!” It was Christmas Eve morning. I had 2 church services to attend, songs to sing while on praise team, a devotion to share during offering, Christmas gifts to deliver, people to greet and names to remember, smiles to give and necks to hug. All that before 11:30 in the morning, and I’m not exactly a morning person… Really, it was no different than any other Sunday (except the gifts), and I really do love what I do; yet, that morning, I was feeling frazzled, stressed out and insecure.

Honestly, I had stayed up too late the night before, and I was feeling weary. I had been excited about Christmas coming, and I had gotten everything done about 11:00pm; yet, I just kind of piddled until I got sleepy, an hour after midnight, which doesn’t fare too well when you rise at 6:00am on Sunday!

I was, also, going through a bit of an emotional battle, feeling unworthy, insignificant and internally “bluesy.” All of this was adding up to make the day a very sour lemon! Then, I came across this pic that I had just saved the night before, thinking I might use it for a blog one day, (lol!) and it was as if everything came full circle right a that moment. I was reminded of my philosophy for living: Life is what you make it. It’s all in your perspective and the choices you make.

I didn’t need to let my circumstances rule my emotions. I didn’t need to allow my feelings to be my guide, and I could not permit my choice of lack of sleep and struggling thought patterns to dictate how I would worship my God, engage with people, and follow through with the commitments I had made.

I had a choice to make, and I decided to choose well. I chose to breathe it all in. I chose to slow down, be deliberate and be aware. I chose to have joy, to rejoice in our Savior, and to be thankful in my heart and my head. I chose to savor life and those around me. I chose to smile and allow the wonder and happiness of the moments to not only fill my smile but to fill my soul and my whole being.

It was Christmas Eve, and this one only comes once. More importantly, it was Sunday, and we live in a free country where we can still worship as a congregation. We serve a great God who is worthy of all our praise! I wasn’t going to miss that! It was, also, the day I get to see a lot of people who may or may not be there tomorrow, because after all, none of us are guaranteed the next breathe, and in this crazy world, you never know what might happen!

It was an amazing day, and I am so thankful I made the right choices. 😊

We all have choices to make everyday, every hour, and even minute to minute. What will you choose today?