Sunday, April 25, 2010

Whoa! Too Long!

Whoa, been way too long since my last post and I do apologize! Quick break down of the last few weeks:
1. Drama/complications with hubby and family...God's gonna deal with it and get glory from it. Not my battle any longer.
2. Hit the 2 month mark for being smoke free. If it weren't for me having to think about the quit date, wouldn't even cross my mind.
3. Hallelujah!!! I survived and completed my first (and probably only) half marathon! Right about 3 hours to finish. Good note, my lovely ladies and I are thinking about getting a group to do the Turkey Trot 5k this Thanksgiving.
4. I got a job!!!!!

Yes, you read that correctly. I was blessed with employment this past Friday! How very exciting and amazing. Here's the story:

Laura Oliver has been helping me with submitting, writing, tweaking, etc. my resume since August 2009 (yes, that long) and finally it paid off. I was unaware that her father knew I needed a position and was blown away when my name came to his mind when a friend of his needed a position filled. Within a few days, I was shuffled through applications, an interview, a test (BTW, it reminded me how much I hate Algebra, logic, etc ;-) ), and a few more emails and finally corporate approval/paperwork. And within a week, I was given details on pay and benefits and offered the position.

Here are some things that are stellar and details I would never had thought about:

1. I get to set my own hours; therefore the immediate need for childcare has been lifted and is being addressed by prayer, petition, and God's will. (Please keep this aspect of life in your prayers as well)
2. The company (Advanced Technology Institute) is growing rapidly in this starving economy and that, by itself, speaks volumes!
3. During the interview, I had been informed that the goal of the position for which I was being hired was that said individual, me, within a year would be training people for the position I would be assuming upon hiring. Um, nothing but moving up in sight!
4. It's a quick commute.
5. It's a predictive job. I will be working in the Financial Aid Office helping students get money affairs in order. (Nothing but black and white)
6. No weekends required and I'm done by 4 on Fridays!

I am sure there are many more that I am overlooking or failing to mention, but it doesn't matter...I have a job! With "career potential" written all over it!

I will never be able to say this enough, but THANK YOU. For your prayers, kind words, love, support, encouragement, etc. You will never know how much it means to me to know that I have a support system that is extremely strong and I have a family numbering in the 100's. Thank you!

I start, please pray that Brooklyn and I adjust well and that I am mentally prepared for this new journey I will be embarking on!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Haha, yeah....

Irony at its finest:
Chinese fortune tonight:

Avert misunderstanding by calm, poise, and balance...

With that said, I've almost busted my behind TWICE in front of our talented artist, Kevin Mac. All I can do is chuckle at myself and appreciate the humor.

On to the update part...this evening I was lucky enough to see this gentleman perform his first single live.  I caught "Ready to Be Your Man" on 97.3 The Eagle earlier today and was instantly delighted. He is so very blessed with the abilities to not only sing and play, but to write lyrics as well. Even with the joy it was to hear it on the radio, nothing beats watching someone perform a piece they've put their heart and soul into. This is the first step of many that he will take on this path he has now ventured down.

I urge you, seek out this single that has now hit the music waves in Hampton Roads. And, I encourage you, invest some time to watch Kevin Mac use his skills in a venue live. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Who is Gonna Go With Me!?

Soul Mate?

"...Your problem is you don't understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it..."

How profound and elegantly revisited by Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. At this moment of her story, she's sharing an intimate conversation she was having with a fellow companion in an Ashram in India. Pouring her heart out over a lost love, it triggered a whirlwind of emotions regarding a dear friend of mine. Prior to reading this book, our friendship had finally reached the point of no-return for reasons still unclear to either of us--until I began reading this book. I have numerous friends who are also reading and we giggle at the similarities throughout her story (even down to the names of those in her life--including her own) to that of my own story. It is a fantastic parallel between our lives, one that I am grateful for since, had it not been a gift, I would not have picked up, or purchased, said book.

This segment though...this "soul mate" conversation is one that rings loud and clear in my own mind. It's the nickname my friend and I shared; one that summed up the intimacy and delicacy that our friendship contained--the coexisting in the moment that I didn't even share with my husband. She was my soul mate. And I don't even like using the past tense because I know that she will always hold that place in my heart and be that person to me. But, what Elizabeth's dear friend had said was entirely true. She was my mirror and I, hers. And even though it was never our intent to hurt one another--our friendship was painful. Not merely because of things that we did to one another (mostly unintentional and non-malicious), but because the paths God had taken us down were ones that were difficult. The choices we made also lead to consequences that were less that "pleasing."

With that said, I do "thank God" for every moment she and I shared together. More often than not, she was the sister that I didn't have. More often than not, she was the ear that I needed to "yell in" at all hours of the day. More often than not, she was the one who held me to standards higher than I was holding myself to.

Even still, more often than not, it was "too painful" because we could damage one another beyond repair. And sometimes...we did. Regardless, God placed us together that day we met and allowed us to cultivate a relationship for an eternity (we are sisters-in-Christ after all) because He was/is going to get the glory out of our friendship.

I believe He has.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wednesday Night

For those who don't know, I have started helping with the middle school ministry. I'm very excited, but I did feel a little sad when I realized I wouldn't be at the church prayer meetings on Wednesday nights. With that said, I was so swept away by the moving of the Holy Spirit last night as I watched the hearts of those children cry out for Christ.

Watching outstretched arms, closed eyes, and the sounds of their lips was an experience that I wouldn't trade for the world. I felt privileged to be in the presence of God working in the lives of such precious little ones. I cannot wait to see what God is going to do as I become more involved in the ministry.

I now know what others have meant when they claimed I would get so much more from it than I would ever anticipate; that my involvement is as much for me as it is for them.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How'd You Make it Through?

This was the last week in the Beatitudes, and it was executed well by Pastor Ira. The Scripture discussed was Matthew 5:10. Short of the long, good for you if you're getting beat up spiritually and physically because you're doing the right thing--you got some big stuff coming your way! Yippy!!! (you better be feeling that sarcasm because it's thick)

I get it, we're all gonna go through hard times. It's part of life. My question is, do you wanna be the one who survived whatever hardships by "the hair of your chiny-chin-chin?" I don't. The things I'm currently living through can be liken to that of my training for my 1/2 marathon. First of all, it's a journey--something I decided to embark upon because of careful consideration and an education choice or the results of foolishness and poor living. Either way, I am on a path that I must complete. I decided at the beginning of my training that I was going to do my best, push what my body could take, and understand that I couldn't "break" myself before the big day because then all would be lost. My goal on the day of the big run is to finish. That's it. I wanna finish big and strong and under my own huffing -n- puffing, passing out, collapsing across the line...a finish that is evidence of me being in control of myself.

Now, let's look at the ironic parallel to my personal/spiritual life. Each day is a new day of "training"--wake up, do some confession, ask for some wisdom and direction, armor up, breakfast, gym/beach/zoo/aquarium/etc, back home, and finish out the day. Some days are so much easier than others. Then there are days where I am so beat up from the day before that I just skip my basics and wear myself thin. Just like the days my knees hurt, my heart aches. Similar to the days I feel strong because I did my strength training, I feel like my spirit could kick some major devil butt.

As I write this, I'm amazed at the correlation God is showing me--boy can I be blonde at times! I digress. Anyway, Pastor Ira said it bluntly, "It's a matter of how you go through your hard times and persecution." Who cares if you make it to the end if you're dragging yourself, bludgeoned and bloody? What kind of testimony is that to the power that God has in all circumstances? Yeah, there are going to be those days where you'll have to seclude yourself and submerge yourself totally into God's Word and His loving arms; other days will come where your support system will be more crucial than ever to help you fight the bandits and robbers--even still other days where you'll walk tall, singing songs of praise, and shinning with the love of God and the brightness of the Holy Spirit. We're given more than the ability to endure such things with a spirit of grace, compassion, and most importantly, love.

Struggles and persecutions aren't what we seek out. No one wants to get beat up, but God's gonna get good out of it. If Christ went through it, so will we. We're gonna do it knowing that there is a light waiting for us at the end of the tunnel. Knowing that as long as we remain righteous in our walk, humble in our spirit, kind in our words, and loving in our hearts there are riches there for us beyond whatever we could imagine or fathom.

My question to you: how are you making it through?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Waiting Is The Hardest

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord.

Let me paint you a picture-

Construction worker is on location, a site that he has been working at his entire life. The project is supposedly coming along smoothly, but it is very apparent that it is nowhere complete. He gets frustrated at times but steps back on occasion and looks over the parts that are finished. A sense of accomplishment and joy fills his heart. It's these moments that get him through the next daunting task.

Today is no different from yesterday. He woke up, drank some coffee, bowed his head and was out the door. Upon arriving on site, he gets word that upper-upper management is walking the grounds and chatting with employees. He gets himself looking good, ya know-slicks the hair, straightens the beard, pops a mint or two, and washes what will come off his hands, off...and begins to think about what he'll say. Should he mention some minor offenses or tiny complaints? Dare he brag about his talents and abilities and skills? Maybe hint at the fact that he could use a raise? All these thoughts rush back and forth through his mind as he strolls toward his station.

It's not long after he begins his daily task he finds himself needing help. Somehow he has contorted into a highly uncomfortable position, bearing an awfully heavy load. Fearful of the mockery or discipline that may befall him, he resists the urge to cry out for help. Moans and groans and pleas quietly slip out of his mouth as he tries to undo the mess he's gotten himself into. What seems like an eternity passes and soon...he hears footsteps.

"I heard someone asking for help," are the first words the construction worker hears.

"Yes, yes, please, I need some help," he manages to utter.

"Don't be alarmed, but I am going to wedge myself down here with you to help carry this weight," and whomever spoke, did just as he said he would. "And, it's gonna be okay, my partners are headed this way."

Almost instantaneously, another has arrived and is singing songs, soothing the construction worker. It seems as though he's there to help the construction worker remain in a place where he has peace in his mind, comfort in his heart that help is there, and the assurance that these two will not leave him. Even though he's still uncomfortable, things are bearable. Before he knows it, he's singing along with the second voice and enjoying himself. It's then that the second remarks, "Hang in there. It's tough, that's understood, but you're just waiting on our last partner to get things to finish up the job. There are some crucial pieces that weren't given to you but we've got them. Just give him a moment and he'll be here."

Before he realizes it, the worker has gone through a range of emotions, all feeding off his impatience. He's mad that he wasn't given what he needed. He feels foolish that he couldn't see what he hadn't been given. He's frustrated that the two with him are just as content as could be waiting on the third. He begins to fight his load and tries to get out from underneath it. This goes on and on and on, but he soon tires and stops.

As he begins to converse with the two with him and get to know them like they wanted to know him, he relaxes and falls into a place of contentment as well. It is then, that he hears the footsteps of the third partner. Equipment begins to run, tools are making noise, there are grunts released in expression of hard work but not a single word is spoken to the worker. It's soon that he figures out...he is in the presence of upper-upper management. "Uh-oh" is the only thought rushing through his brain now.

It's not long before the worker is freed from his "mess." It isn't long before he sees the projected completed and the great things his immediate boss had in store for him the whole time. It isn't long before he realizes he had the support of upper-upper management from his first day of work on this project. And it wasn't long before he knew he had never been alone...all he had to was ask, refocus, and wait.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whose Life Do You Belong In?

This week has been so amazing. First, thank God for the awesome weather we've been having--great start to the spring season. Secondly, I love rekindling friendships that fizzled out for a short while. Sometimes life gets going and we lose track of people. I don't know how it happens, but there are times when we reach the point where we wonder if things can ever get back to where they once were. It takes nothing more than picking up the phone and initiating contact. Once done, you learn that the time apart was just what the doctor ordered so that both of you could grow and wake up. These friends are the ones we look back on and wonder where the time went...leading to building fond memories on the beach on days like today.

Then there is the deepening of relationships that are still "new." A few months ago I was blessed with a group of women, who don't even know the half of their impact, who love me unconditionally and are such a joy to be with! Each one, in their own way, causes me to challenge myself and grow in my relationship with Christ. Three show me how to worship in song and dance, two by having pure hearts, two in living righteous lives, and one by being a prayer warrior. What women of grace!

Then there are those new developments. Each one bringing something to the table and not sucking you dry. And I think that's the key when you start praying for friends. It's not so much what they can do for you, but what it is you can do for them. This goes beyond being a servant; it goes to the heart of being a fellow brother/sister in Christ. What do you do for the spiritually? Do you pray, weep, mentor, celebrate, etc? Because when you get to that point, the point where it's them, not you, you get some of the best people in your life. You get the people who love you for you and want you to become the best "you" you can. It's when you let go of the others, no longer of God, that He can put the ones He wants in your life.