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Friday, March 28, 2014

Blogging Sporadically Through March a/k/a I Like Me! - 3/28/14

To start off, I have been a bad blogger. I was doing so good with the daily posting, but these past couple of weeks have just been crazy busy and I gave up :-/ Oh well, perhaps I’ll try again in April. Today, I just had to blog. I needed to get back in my Word, but I also wanted to verbally express my birthday joy. I also needed to vent a little bit. So, here it goes:

 Yesterday was just chock full of awesome! Celebrating the day of my birth throughout the course of my regular day totally worked for me. While I kinda wanted to go do something fun, I was just as happy to head home at 9pm. If I counted up the birthday love via call, text, email, Instagram, and Facebook, and in person, I would say about 200 people wished me some form of happy birthday and that made me really happy. A lot of people also noticed my cute outfit and curves yesterday and gave me compliments on my appearance and/or my recent weight loss…. Like most folks, I love compliments and it was nice to get them from so many people.


Some of those compliments were not so complimentary. Some of those compliments had hidden daggers inside them and they stung a little bit. One dagger is “keep up the good work”… “Keep up the good work” is a cliché generally used as a word of encouragement. How is that a dagger? Because a word of encouragement implies that I need encouraging. If I was on social media asking others for prayer or talking about how hard this journey has been, I could see the need for it. But the only things I have posted about have been reaching 10lb goals and comparison pictures. See, I’m in a weight loss challenge for my sorority and I think winning the prize money would be awesome, but that’s not what my journey is about. I changed my diet for 1 week of the challenge and quickly realized how much better my digestion became. If you know me, you know that I have acid reflux and IBS, and that I have a naturopathic doctor who I see for that. All these years he’s been recommending these food changes, but I never did it. Now that I have, I feel so much better. I have the challenge to thank for that! And while I spent the month of December and January walking from bus to bus, I’ve only worked out 3-4 times since I got my car. So, this 25+ lbs that I’ve lost is really more of my body’s response to the changes in my diet, not from some great effort to lose weight. My gut is not bloated with undigested crap, so my waistline is shrinking. I’ve started taking more selfies lately, because I can feel the difference, but I wanted to see the difference. I’m also ecstatic that I’m fitting pants I haven’t fit in 4 years. Who wants to buy more clothes when you can fit the ones you already have?!

I think a lot of people assume that being overweight is a sign of poor self-esteem. They just assume that because you’re big, you don’t care about yourself. In my case, that’s far from the truth. I think I’m amazing all the time. Perhaps I’m deluded, but I think I’m beautiful 24-7, 365. Whether I weigh 260 lbs or 180; Whether my clothes are wrinkled or pressed; Whether my hair was straight, nappy, or somewhere in between. Overall, I think I’m amazing and people who really know me have gotten used to that (LOL).

Complimenting someone about their weight loss can be tricky. Because so many people struggle with their weight (and their perceptions of their own body image), I think it’s very easy for them to get caught up in their own stuff when paying a compliment. I also think you have to be careful because you don’t know why someone has lost the weight. Someone could be fighting a disease or going through something stressful. When I lost 60 lbs in 2006, I enjoyed being smaller, but I was so sick. I lost that weight because I couldn’t eat. I used to get upset when people would compliment me on my weight loss because I just wanted to be able to eat food again. When my doctor helped my body to get back on track and helped the issues to heal, I was actually okay with putting the weight back on because I was happy to be able to eat without feeling sick.

In my opinion, if you can see a person losing weight and feeling good (which my selfie-thon is surely proof of), perhaps just compliment their appearance and keep it moving. “Girl, you look amazing!” is always safe. Regardless of how or why they have lost weight, you are acknowledging that you can see it and confirming what they already know. I actually had someone tell me yesterday that I look good now, but just wait until I lose even more weight…. I was a good girl because it was a national holiday (i.e. my birthday) so I just said thank you. But I really wanted to go in! First of all, I looked just as good in January as I do now. Second of all, who says I want to lose more weight? Are you saying that I need to? Are you saying that I’m not good enough yet? Chile… mmmph. Some people... Woooo-sah! I had to quickly put myself back in check! I had to remember that some people tend to project their own issues with weight onto others. Smh, I’m just thankful to God for holding my tongue. And while I’m fussing about it now, the purpose of this post is really to just enlighten some folks, but also to help some others. I think about the people who really do struggle with their weight and all that comes along with it, the shame and the depression that some people deal with. I’m praying that they come to recognize their worth and beauty too. Regardless of what we look like and how much we individually weigh, our confidence should really come from knowing who we are and whom we belong to.

The Word:   
Jeremiah 1:4-5a
“ The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;’…”

Psalm 139:1-6;13-16; 23-24
“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain… For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secrete place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be… Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Proverbs 31:30
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

The Video:
I Like Me (Kirk Franklin)  

Have a blessed day everyone!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 19

This morning, in spite of my tiredness and my biology trying to come for me,  I woke up with a praise song in my heart! It's a song we sing in the choir...

"I will praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord. For He alone is worthy of all my praise. I will praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord. For He alone is worthy. For He alone is worthy. For He alone is worthy. Worthy of all praise!"

As I began to contemplate that age old battle, should I hit snooze or end on my alarm, I realized that I was sleepy, my brain is awake. So, I am laying in my bed this a.m. as I blog...

This morning, I opened my Bible and re-read that verse that's been carrying me through this recent trial. I started thinking about my most recent conversation with my pastor. We were talking about my dilemma in wanting to go to grad school, but not being sure where I was supposed to go and what I'm supposed to do.  she was curious why seminary was on the list of possibilities for me and I told her I honestly didn't know, part of me just felt like I was supposed to and the more we talked about it, the less I could identify what made me request info from them. Pondering that conversation this morning, I think I've arrived at the why of it all...

I've blogged previously about how God has always had to have a hard hand with me because I always want to choose my path, then ask the Lord to bless it after I've already chosen it. There are so many instances in my life where God has had to literally step in and intervene, if only to steer me in the direction that I was supposed to go. There are 3 major incidents in my life that come to mind immediately. 1.) the lime vodka incident of 1996 - which traumatized me for years by proxy, but lead me to stop playing around with alcohol and wait until I was old enough to legally drink it. 2.) The time I got an F in Cross-Cultural Psychology. I never turned in the take-home final, bc I had made the ridiculous decision to sell my books back before the semester was over. Being prideful, I didn't want to admit what I had done to my professor and Failure to participate in the final is an automatic F. 3.) The time that God clearly wanted me to work at CYF, but I didn't want to, so I chose to work in behavioral health until I got fired for being honest and ended up at CYF anyway...

My hardheadedness is epic, but look what God has done in my life, despite my failings?? I have grown and flourished in so many ways because has God has kept me on HIS path.

So, I've finally come to trust God, even when I don't necessarily hear what He's saying. When the word Seminary was uttered as a possible possibility for me, some years ago, I immediately began to backpedal. Noooooooo! So this year, when the word returned, I actually started to consider it because I was so adamant against it. Does that make sense? Because of my past experiences, I started to think that maybe my loud and fervent NOs were just the precursor to God getting what He wants anyway, so I might as well  just start giving in now. Meanwhile, I hadn't received God's call, I just assumed that's what was going on. I asked God to tell me which school to pick and didn't hear anything. A friend suggested that I stop trying to limit God and just ask Him to direct my path. Here, in this season of Lenten preparation, that is exactly what I'm doing. I'm praying for clear direction on Easter Sunday.

Today, I read the book of Jonah and chuckled to myself. He is so me! God tells him what to do and he runs away from it. God intervenes in the awol directly and Jonah ends up exactly the place he didn't want to be. Jonah gives in and begins to prophesy that Ninevah is going to be destroyed by God. The city and its ruler begin to repent to God and they are not destroyed. Good ending right? Sure, but not in Jonah's eyes. Instead of being happy that the people changed their ways and have been saved from God's wrath, Jonah gets an attitude. And I bet it had less to do with Nineveh deserving the punishment and more to do with Jonah's pride. He has gone around the city for 3 days straight, warning them of God's wrath, only for it not to happen. I can only imagine that he felt stupid and like everyone else agreed! Then he got angry. How dare God make him look stupid?  Forget that grace and mercy that saved him from drowning in the ocean three days ago, Jonah doesn't think that grace and mercy should apply to Nineveh. So Jonah is mad and has the audacity to tell God he has the right to be mad. God shows him continuing grace and mercy and doesn't smite him on the spot. Instead, he gently reminds him of who He is as God the creator, God our Father and its awesome. God the Father puts up with sulky "teenage" Me all the time and I wonder why lol.  Then the book of Jonah abruptly comes to an end... I wonder what happened next in Jonah's life?

Time to get ready for work.
Have a lovely day!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 18 - Emboldened by Biology

Do you know in real life? If you do, you probably know me as someone who is always talking and usually joking. You may know me as someone who is friends with everyone.  You may even know me as someone who speaks up on things that matter and continues to push them until I get my way.
But I didn’t start out that way…

I was not always so talkative. Growing up, I actually wavered somewhere between shy and quiet. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! While my family and close friends knew me to be the motormouth I really am, I did not really let that show in public. I did not cut jokes.  I did not speak my mind. I did not raise my voice. In middle school, I started to come out of my shell, though. The point I remember best happened in 7th grade. I had come down with strep throat during the Blizzard of ’93. I distinctly remember coming back to school and being a little wild and crazy. I blamed it on the antibiotics (and the Tylenol with codeine), but that was when I started to become me.

I was never really a fighter, and to be honest, I’m still not. But, when I was younger, I avoided confrontation like the plague. I would much rather have a friend than an enemy any day, but there were definitely people who I did not get along with. They were people from my school, from church, from my neighborhood…  Most of the time, if I had problems with someone, I just vented about it later. (This is probably why I have only been in 4 physical altercations over the course of my life.) In college, I learned how to deal with conflict head-on. No, I did not become a fighter, but I became a person who was able to deal with confrontation. I learned to be truthful about the negative feelings I was experiencing, even if revealing that information was upsetting.

Now that I’m an adult (and getting older by the minute!), it has become very important to me that my voice and my opinion are heard. When my voice is squelched, when I feel powerless in a situation, I will become confrontational. This is on a regular basis. In a time of turmoil and/or stress and anytime my biology becomes me, there’s a metamorphosis that occurs and mild-mannered, easy-going Me turns into a super hero (or maybe even a villain). Able to be set off with one lonely text message, flying into storms of rage against the machine,  leaping into personal conflicts left and right… All of a sudden, I’m wrapped up in conflict left and right and I wonder how what I said and did led to that point.

My biology emboldens me, but it’s only temporary. There is a lasting boldness, an assuredness that doesn’t go away. This holy confidence comes from God. I want to be bold for the Lord, using my spiritual gifts as He sees fit. I want to be able to speak up anytime it’s important, not just when I get riled up and agitated.

The Word
1 Corinthians 16:13
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”

The Prayer:
Dear Lord,

Help me through these trying times. Help me to stand for what is right, even if I’m the only one who seems to be standing. God help me to persevere; embolden my tongue, but only to say what you want me to say. Shut my mouth if I’m speaking out of my own selfish desires and wants. I’m your servant, Lord. Lead me, direct me, guide my feet. Thank you Lord for always listening to my prayers. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.  

The Video:
Richard Smallwood (He Won't Leave You)
I woke up this morning with this song on my heart. Thank you Lord!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 17

Blogging did not happen today.... :-( but sometimes you just have to push through and trust that God has got it. So allow me to praise Him for what He's already done and in advance for what He's about to do! Walter Hawkins - Thank You Lord (for all you've d…:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 15 - Beware The Ides of March

Every holiday in March is important to me, probably due to the fact that they're each like a mini-countdown to my birthday. Today, I realized that it was the Ides of March and I immediately thought to myself, "Beware the ides of March!". The day carried on, however, and my mind began to wander over the different stressors in my life. I found myself replaying an interaction and then crafting a response, over and over again... I realized that I was doing it again, making my mountains more important than God. A verse/song came to mind... Cast all your cares on Jesus, for He cares for you! I went to the Word to get it from the source and reading it in context, found some more Word that spoke directly to the situation. (It's attached to this post btw).

As I named this post, I decided to research the ides of March and what do you know, it had an application to the Scripture I found! Here's the story:

So, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was that dude. Plutarch predicted that he would be assassinated by the Ides of March. That day came, and Caesar pretty much laughed in Plutarch's face because he was still alive that day ... only to go inside the Senate gathering where he would be killed by his fellow senators, who had secretly been conspiring against him. 

So, beware the ides of March, to me, now means Pay Attention and Watch Your Back (and your front, and your sides lol). Factions and political parties will rise and fall, but I don't have to spend time and energy getting involved in it. God is able to handle it, but I just need to hand it to Him!

Dear Lord, please take these burdens away. They are heavy, they are taxing, and I'm sick of them. Help me to leave them with You and not pick them back up again. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Enjoy your day everyone!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 14

Just a quick post about God's faithfulness.

I'm just so thankful for what He has done for me, in this week alone, that I gotta praise Him.

Of course such a good week has to have some drama stirring, but whatever devil, God is in control!

Lord help me to continue to keep my priorities in check. You first!,

Lamentations 3:21-26 NKJV
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord ’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They  are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord  is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord  is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It  is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord .

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 13 - Priorities and My Name

(Caution: This post is all over the place! I have managed to piece it together in a semblance of order. But know that I wrote the first paragraph in my bed, then typed the first 2 scriptures at the computer/TV because that's where my Bible with the mini-concordance is, then embedded the 1st video, then reread the entire thing, then went back and added the 2nd paragraph, 3rd scripture, and 2nd video. SMH LOL)

I can't do it.... I cannot physically leave my bed this morning! Not yet, anyway. Just sat here and scrolled through Facebook for 45 minutes... just procrastinating and putting off the inevitable. Started to play a game, but then remembered my commitment. God first, everything else second! So I'm blogging from my bed this morning... I'm just thankful this morning because He has truly blessed me. I've been worrying about money all week and aside from the regular bills that I can barely afford, I was extremely worried about the conference that I had to register for by Friday. God blessed me with an early travel voucher so I could register. Thank you Lord!!! Back to these priorities, it's become clearer and clearer this week, how wrong I have been with the things that I have been prioritizing. Even though I kept changing them out loud, I wasn't making the actual change with my thoughts or actions. This is the struggle, the very crux of the problem. In order for me to truly re-prioritize, there are some steps I have to take. One of which was changing my Facebook name. My organization continues to be important in my life, but it cannot continue to have top priority in my life. The moment a couple of weeks ago when I realized I was studying the manual more than The Bible was a huge wake up call to me! I added the middle name on Facebook a long minute ago... either 2011 or 2012 as an inside thing then began to use it as a marketing tool for one of our events. After that, I just stuck with it... I've actually wanted to change it for awhile now, bc its time had passed, but I didn't want anyone to assume anything so I left it. Yesterday, I felt compelled to change it. I pushed back and said naw, but it continued to bother me until I did it. I thought about what to change it to, I thought about how Pastor said that this Lenten season is a time of preparation for the new level we're about to walk into; hence InPreparation became my new middle moniker. Though, I feel like that one is only temporary. Who knows? Maybe God will reveal a new name to me. 

Speaking of my name, if you know me in real life, you know that I am borderline ridiculous when it comes to my name. I do not tolerate mispronunciation or misspelling and people who mispronounce my name on purpose, well they're clearly loved or they would be suffering from wounds related to looks that can kill (LOL). My love for my name even overflows to other people with unique names. So much so, that I get upset with them when they don't insist that their name is pronounced correctly. So, why do I care so much about my name? First of all, because it wasn't the original name picked out for me. My mother, Madelyn, was going to continue the trend that she started with my sister, naming me a concoction between her name and my father's name (Elbert). This would have resulted in me being named Ellyneace Christilyn... (*crickets*) When my mom told me that, I gasped and said that sounded like the name of a cabbage patch doll! The only possibly cool thing about that name is that my nickname would have been Ella. But other than that, thank God for the intervention of my godmother, Aunt Kathy, who used her best friend powers of veto. She suggested splicing my mom's name with her name - taking the MA from Madelyn and the RYN from Kathryn, and thus my name and its' CORRECT pronunciation were born! Shoutout to everyone who tells me my name is spelled like it should be pronounced MAR-IN. Nope, I know my name and I know who I belong to! 

The Word 
Proverbs 22:1
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” 

Jeremiah 1:4-5a
"The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;...'"

John 10:2-4 
“…’the man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.’…”

John 15:19
"...'If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you'..."

The Videos
Daryl Coley (What's In Your Name) - this song is about the names of our Savior, not any of our names, but I think it's a wonderful praise/worship song!)

Louisiana 1st Jurisdictional Mass Choir (I Belong to God)


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 12 - My word is my bond, except when it comes to $$

My word is my bond…. Is it really?
One of the most difficult situations to deal with, for me, is when someone doesn’t follow through on what they say they’re going to do. But if I have to be honest, I do this too.
For me, the main culprit is almost always the lack of wherewithal (as Mommy used to say).

This pay period is going to be a little rough for me. I knew it was coming, and I tried to be more prepared, but alas, that didn’t work. Double rent and my first car note are both due on Friday. :-o

One of the things that I would like to see reborn on Resurrection Sunday is a brand new sense of financial responsibility. Not throwing money away on fast food has certainly helped, but I’m still eating healthy stuff out and sometimes that costs more. I have to be more consistent with packing lunch and snacks. I also have to get better at chunking bills down. Oftentimes, I want to pay a bill, end up not having enough for it, so I don’t pay it at all and say that I’ll pay it next time, but inevitably, next time is a repeat of the situation. I need to start paying a little bit rather than paying none of it…

Dear Lord, there is none like You. You alone are my refuge in times of trouble and for this, I say thank you. Thank you for putting up with me, day after day, sin after sin. Help me to be a person of my word. Help me to honor the verbal commitments I have made. Help me to improve my spending habits so that I can honor those verbal commitments. Help me to stop purchasing unnecessary items, especially when those items are food. Thank you Lord! In the name of the Risen Savior, I pray. Amen.

The Word:
Psalm 119:57-64
“You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law. At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws. I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts. The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees.”

Romans 13:7-8
“Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5; 10; 19-20
“When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.” “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift from God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.”

The Videos:
His Eye is On The Sparrow (Tanya Blount and Lauryn Hill – Sister Act 2)
Movie Clip (Still gives me chills! Come back Lauryn!)
 Full Song
For Every Mountain (Kurt Carr)

That's enough for today. These videos just gave me life! Game over

LOL! That's totally how I would drop the mic! I really wanted to put in a gif today! 

I must get to getting. Gotta put my beans on and get ready for work. Toodles!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 11 - Eureka Pt. 2 - 3/11/14

So I’m 90 minutes behind schedule.. . but the important part is I made it!
Out of my bed and to the computer. Woohoo! Even though one of my eyes is trying to stay closed, it is time to awaken. My downfall is two-fold. One, I got home at 11pm and had to eat dinner, albeit a very late dinner. It was a can of peas and a tangerine and it was every bit of awesome! (Clearly, I was too hungry to care). Two, I had a retreatment of one of my root canals so I woke up in pain this morning. This made it even easier to continue to lay in the bed with my face on a cold gel pack. (Yes, I keep these at my bedside. My bedroom windows are so cold, it makes the gel cold.)  

So, yesterday, God revealed to me my wrongdoing, in putting top priority on everything but Him. As the day went on, I continued to marinate on this, and I realized that this wasn’t just my thoughts. It has also been evident in how I have prioritized my time, my energy, and even my money.  Let the church say “Ouch!”. Putting God first has been super hard and I have to admit one of the things that has set me up for failure in this regard has been my own selfish desire. Too often, I have said to myself, You never do anything just for you. You’re always working for everyone else. When are you going to have fun just for yourself? Remember that church, work,  sorority combo from one of my previous posts? Matter of fact, in that post, I thought I had successfully re prioritized myself because my thoughts and my actions lined up to put God first. But I didn’t realize that I had to take it deeper. Another thing that has set me up for failure is my tendency to agree to do stuff, but not really have the extra time to do it. I am a committed and loyal person, so if I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it and finish the task. Even if I no longer want to do it. I like to feel needed. Another thing that gets my caught up is my gifts – I believe I have the gift of teaching. It’s a gift I have run away from for a very long time, but one of my greatest joys is to share information with someone who might not otherwise get it or understand it. Now does this mean I want to be a teacher? Umm, I hope not. LOL. But I love to use my gifts within the realms of the areas of my life (church, work, sorority)….

So, what does the Word say? Hmmm, not sure yet. I’m honestly too sleepy to read anything without falling back asleep again. To be continued!  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Eureka - Pt 1....

Have you ever woke up feeling some type of way?  Just irritated for no reason and you know that it has nothing to do with biology?

After I finished my post this morning and worked out, my mind started to rehash all of the stuff from this weekend that bothered me. Most of it was very minor but that didn't stop my brain from replaying all of it today...

Before you know it, I was out of my peaceful place and back in the thick of negativity. And while I wrestled with it, I realized the problem.

The problem is that I let other things, other people take top priority in my life and when those things disappointed me (as everything besides God will eventually do), I lost some of my joy. This wouldn't have happened if I had my priorities straight. God has to be first because He will never fail me.  He will uphold me and sustain me so that life's disappointments will not break me down.

Now I get it!
Thank you Lord for the revelation!


Blogging My Way Through March - Day 10 - The Next Steps

Good morning Lord!It’s early. I’m sleepy. And my back hurts. But regardless of all that, I wake up with a spirit of gratefulness. Thank you so much for waking me up this morning! Thank you for the 8 hours of sleep that I just woke up from! Thank you for brand new mercies and the opportunity to act right today. God, forgive me for any impure thoughts that I may have had yesterday and/or last night and help me to always be a light for you. Thank you Lord for loving me, though I don’t deserve it. As I continue this Lenten journey, help me to focus on You and Your ultimate sacrifice rather than me and the miniscule, temporary fasting that I plan to do. Thank you Lord for everything! You are amazing! Amen

So yesterday, I briefly posted about negativity, but the bottom line of the post was that I was asking God to direct my path. Sometimes, heck maybe a lot of times, I end up in situations that I have no business being in. So, I am doing my best to be open to God’s will in regards to this and every situation. Along with that, I am also trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing, educationally and/or professionally. One of my friends from church enlightened me that I was limiting God by asking Him “Which school should I go to? This one or that one?” instead I need to ask God what He wants me to do and where He wants me to go. It’s really about allowing Him to lead me, instead of heading in one direction and then asking for confirmation.

If you’ve been reading any of my posts, you know that standing still is a whole issue for me! It’s not even just my mind, but my muscles and bones actually ache if I lay down for too long. If I sleep for over 8 hours, I wake up sore in some regard. Hence, my backache. During this Lenten season, I have promised to fast and my prayer is for answers to all these things that are a concern to me. I need God to make my next steps crystal clear.

Bible Time:
So, the way that I normally start my personal bible study is by thinking of a concept, then using the mini-concordance in the back of my Bible, I look for the references that use that word. I weed out the references that are clearly a different definition than I want to use. Then I read all of the remaining verses in the context of the entire chapter (most times) that they are found in. I pull out the verses that speak to me and type them out. Today, I looked at Paths….

Psalm 23:1-3
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Psalm 25:1-5
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your trust and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my home is in you all day long.”

Psalm 27:4-6
“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze up on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble, he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle.

Proverbs 3:3-6; 11-12
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

Isaiah 26:7-9
“The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desires of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come up on the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.”

2 Corinthians 6:16b-17a
“…As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ ‘Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord… ‘”

Videos: I missed posting these! These are the songs that came to me while I studied!

Marvin Sapp (One Thing)

Richard Smallwood (I Will Sing Praises)

Daryl Coley (He’s Preparing Me) - yup that's my church's mime group! This song was choreographed by Rev. John Davidson, my original mime leader when I was in Creative Expressions as a teenager. We did this song back then. I brought it to our mime group in 2011. This was the first time we did it.

Gasp - just remembered the song that fits the most!

GMWA Women of Worship (Order My Steps)

I've tarried here long enough this morning. It's time to workout!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 9 - Blogging My Way Through March - a brief note on negativity


Thoughts from today....
In times of stress, we often seek God, but we  need to seek Him first, all the time, in everything, before we even get stressed.

People often try to throw negativity on you, but you don't have to accept it...

Asking God to direct my paths, hence where this scripture came from...

Today is Ash Sunday and we have officially entered the Lenten season.

Starting tomorrow, scripture/reading  time will be an hour, exercise for 30 minutes. I'll also be fasting from fiction. Lord, help!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 8 - Post 7

Whoops. Totally forgot to blog yesterday! I was so excited to get in my bed and go to sleep and that is exactly what I did! And it was awesome. Of course, I dreamed about crazy stuff.

The biggest part I remember is that my co-workers and I and our boss had just finished up at Lexington. We found out that they were looking for additional on-call teams and that we could earn overtime. So we paired up, but then had to wait awhile until we got one. The on-site we got was about some guy out in the sticks who was mistreating pigs.... not children, pigs! There were no children mentioned in the report and I asked the sup why we had to go out (as he was dressed in all his Que colors lol) and he said somebody knew there were children in the home. We went through waterways to get there, which was odd. Then the dream switched up. I think I woke myself up and checked the time. When I fell back asleep, I was responding to KIDS problems via e-mail ....  boring! LOL.
My earlier dreams definitely featured my mom and we were still living together. She wasn't sick yet, and my dad brought  us several bottles of alcohol.... brandy and stuff. Neither of us is/was a big drinker so we were thinking about how to sell everything but a couple of bottles of brandy - bc it's good for you when you're sick. *shrug* Not sure what my subconscious was trying to tell me but that was a lot.

My schedule is packed today. Attending a  Birthday breakfast party, then chapter mtg, then youth auxiliary mtg, then a birthday dinner party. ..

Have a wonderful Saturday everyone. I am looking forward to the better weather today!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day6 - Born to be Busy

Oh no! It's quarter to midnight and I didn't blog today..... smh.

This whole time period is just doing the most. I'm way too busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I'm constantly on the go and sitting still only lasts for so long....
One of my BFFs told me yesterday how, at my mom's funeral, she remembers reading the obituary and just being amazed at all my mom did and how that explained everything about me.

It's like I was born to be busy.

Some food for thought....

John 5:17 NIV
"In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”"

Colossians 3:23 NIV
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters"


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 5 - Video

It's Wednesday and I realize I've been remiss in my video posting. I had 8 hrs of sleep last night so I woke up ready to tackle my to do list today!
On my grind (in the most legal way!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 4 - 3/4/ 14

1 Timothy 6:8-10 NIV

"But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

Today, it occurred to me that I have a problem with money. And while I don't think I overspend per se, I allow money to have too much control over me, my thoughts and actions.

This week, while I prepare for the Daniel Fast, I will also reflect on God's goodness and how He can and will make a way out of now way. That He will help me with this money addiction

Fighting sleep. But I got a post done. G'night!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 3.... - 3/3/14 - Tired/Busy whine

so one thing I didn't take into account is that I'm way too busy to blog. I mean here I am again 11 o'clock at night driving home, and still think I'm going to get home in time to blog. and actually right now I'm voice texting because I want to make sure that I meet my deadline of posting before midnight. on tomorrow's agenda, is that I need to go to the gym and then go to work.
I definitely don't want to post just to post, but I want to meet the requirements of the challenge.
so here we go...
today was just ridiculously cold! and the lack of salt situation and McKeesport was just phenomenal. I heard it made national news. actually tried to go to work but then couldn't get down the hill without sliding. tomorrow school is closed in McKeesport and it  makes me wonder how bad is it going to be.
well regardless of the situation I will be at the gym tomorrow and I'm just so grateful to God for giving me a car to get to all of the places I need to go...

Now that I'm home, I can actually type... smh. Sitting here yawning. All kinds of exhausted. If I'm going to make it through this blogging challenge, I definitely have to get into a rhytym. rhythym Jesus be a spellcheck LOL. I never could spell that doggone word, you know the R in R&B :-D

Tomorrow will be better right?

Hugs, Kisses, and Stuff


Blogging My Way Through March - Day 2 - 3/2/14 Part Deux

Matthew 14:28
“’Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.

As I undertake this blogging challenge, I have already started to wonder, what the heck will I write about 31 days straight?? Turns out, I have tons of materials – devotionals and self-help books etc. that can help inspire me if I’m lacking a topic.

Today, I pulled out a devotional that my coworker/friend, the late great Calvin H., gave me as my Secret Pal a couple of years ago. He admitted that his sisters bought it for me, but it was appreciated nonetheless. It is called “The Confident Woman” by Joyce Meyer. So, today I cracked it open. And today’s devotion was about not having fear and came from the scripture listed above.  (sidenote – I believe this was one of the texts that Lenell preached from last week too, but I’m not 100% certain).
I too have a lot in common with Peter!  Peter had no tact and always said what was on his mind. In this passage, he seems to be saying, okay Lord, I think I trust you, but I won’t know it’s real unless you tell me what to do. This is almost exactly how I’m approaching this seminary/grad school stuff. God, I want you to speak to me and maybe you have spoken to me, but I’m not sure if you were really telling me that, so can you tell me again just so I’m sure.
God, I know that you can do everything, but this is me we’re talking about here. I know you can do amazing things and have equipped others to do amazing things, but there’s no way that I can do that stuff….

Have to leave it there, because I’m out of time and it’s already March 3rd! Oh well, this has definitely given me food for thought and I pray for enough time and focus to do a real post tomorrow/today.



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blogging My Way Through March - Day 2 - 3/2/14

So my awesome friend Penda (check out her blog at Girl, Pray For Me) invited me to do the 31-day blogging challenge with her. Me, being too busy as usual, totally forgot about it until early this morning after midnight. I didn't even register for the website that is hosting the challenge... smh! Pray for me

So to make up for it, here's the post I wrote this morning while preparing to go to church...
Then I'll post another one tonight as soon as I write it! 
All kinds of exhausted and I’m entering the busy time of the year…
As the snow starts to fade away (current forecast aside), everything picks back up. In church, for example, Lent Season is almost upon us and the task of giving up something or a whole lot of things will certainly be presented today. At work, we’re training new hires and old hires (LOL) . In my sorority, well, let’s just say that springtime is a really fun time for an advisor….

I’m so thankful for this car that will allow me to get where I need to get and do what I need to do.

As God continues to show me His way, I’m praying that my grad school discipline will be revealed.... 

Until Later,