Inspiration

By The Grace of God

This past week stories rocked the trending world.  One of my Facebook friends suggested that the reason that Nepal had such a catastrophic earthquake is because a few random ignorant people killed a man in public.  My Facebook friend believes that God is punishing the entire region of Nepal in retribution for this act.  I read the post and I hung my head.  The God that man knows is not the loving God that I know. I know the man who saved lives. Who held those accountable without hurting innocent people to do it.  I wasn’t angry, I was saddened.  Moreover, I was heartbroken that he does know the loving God I do.

With that said, I wonder if the woman who violently and in a fit of fearful rage slapped and shouted many an explicative at her young son would have done so if Jesus was standing directly behind her. Further if you saw Jesus would you put that woman’s actions on a pedestal for her rage? Or would you define the fact that maybe he feels justified to act that way is because he was taught that in response to pain or fear; physical violence is the answer?  Would you claim that should be “Mother of the Year?” Or would you rather just say she was a woman who lost her temper in the moment and handled a situation wrong? What will it take for you, and me to stop reacting to the outrage of what those boys were doing so that we may see the young man was hurting. He felt his people were being brutally mistreated.  The mother, although violent and raged filled was in fear for his life.  Were either wrong or right? Certainly not. Nor should either be hailed as anything but a moment of two wrongs not making a right.

My opinion opposes that of the masses.  I suppose I am looking at this from love. A mother’s love and a concern for mother’s everywhere who may feel it’s appropriate to act this way when they fear.  It only takes one moment of acceptance to alter the way a society thinks.

The floods in Kenya, the shootings throughout my city and yours. Killing our officers who are sworn to protect us. Making all men pay for the audacity of few? When did that become acceptable?

I hear your cry for injustice. I hear the screams from the pain of suppression. I see the tears that fall because your loved ones are harmed at the hands of the ignorant. I listen with shock and awe as you speak of the unimaginable treatment you had to endure. I walk next to you and I too am rejected. I hear you, man. I am listening. We are all listening… Some of us are committed to action. Keep going… have hope… your day of resolution is upon us.

For the rest of us, let’s stay calm. Let’s discuss options. Let’s view this from love, not rage, nor condemnation of our unjust intolerance.  Let’s all simmer a bit in the magic of grace and hug one another. Let’s spread some love and not rage. Let’s help these boys and girls who riot understand violence, by the few or by the protesters is still violence.  That won’t end the problem. Let’s all work to an end that will.

Inspiration

You Own the Power!

Do you ever just wake up and ask yourself, “what’s my purpose?” Then what usually follows is an onslaught of lies that we tell ourselves. “I’m not where I want to be!” Or-“I don’t have the life I dreamt for myself!”

There’s an old saying by someone unknown to me. “There are three sides to the truth. There’s my side, your side and then there’s the real truth.” At my age, what I’ve learned is that it takes tremendous courage to allow attitudes with retrospective actions to redirect our choices to the benefit of ourselves.

Sounds a little wordy, doesn’t it? The point is that your truth, what you tell yourself and what you allow people to tell you may be a lie.

Chances are you have the exact life you thought you wanted. You made your choices and designed you attitudes for the exact life your living. No one came up to you and said, “Poof! Here’s your life!”

You created it, just you, no one else. Which is the good news! If you created one life; even if you hate it, you have the power within you to create the life you want!

Chances are, by now, you’ve made all the important mistakes. Chances are you’ve identified what doesn’t work for you? If that’s the case you can outline what does! Once you do that you’ve identified what will make you happy; and that my friend is powerful!

You will now subconsciously begin putting your attitude in check and motivating others to assist you in your journey to the powerful motivators that begin to give you hope…Little tiny pieces of joy will return.

Inspiration, Uncategorized

Changing Your Perspective to Joy

A long time ago, a woman very harshly told me that joy was my choice. She said that if I could just see it, I could certainly possess it. She was rather insistent that I get out of my bad mood and what is tantamount to an attitude of just “get over it.”

People who are so maliciously impatient with those who are suffering often truly bother me. They say or act in inappropriate ways. If I wasn’t who I was and I didn’t understand that was more about her inabilities than it was about her worry for me I don’t think I would have come to the same conclusions, which was that she was correct.

I was losing my home, I was fighting for my life because doctors could not figure out why my immune system was attacking me, and for the most part I was becoming increasingly frail and thin. I was in a state of shock, despair and I was stuck there.

Here’s the deal, you and me and everyone on this planet has to process through the things that hurt in a healthy way. When we get stuck in one of those four or five stages of grief it hurts us in a more deeply affected way. That hurt lasts a lifetime. That’s where I was. I was stuck, and I blamed. I resented. I hurt.

When I stopped focusing on the pain, and began to focus on the things that made me smile, I began to realize I was capable of joy. That felt like a revelation to me. When I saw the innocence of children playing. When the sun shined. All of the little things that I took for granted seemed to magnify themselves just for my mental health. When I would get dizzy I began to make jokes about it and people felt more at ease. All of the sudden my world opened up to laughter which is the first step toward finding that joy.

Today might be the day that you feel is worse than the last, but Sweetheart, the only person who can turn this day around is you. No one is going to come and take your hand and force you to smile. You have to believe that you are worth it. You have to believe that you have options. You have to believe in the hope that in the huge span of your existence, this is a blimp of a moment that will soon pass. You’re going to be okay. You got this. It’s hard, and it hurts, but find something, anything that will make you smile. Latch onto it. Don’t let it go. Ride it out as long as that feeling lasts and get yourself healthier.

Do it for you. Find that joy. Good luck to you.

Inspiration

You should have passion!

I wonder, at what point in someone’s life when they were either successful or not what it took to push them over the edge? When does a musician know he’s not going to be a national rock star? When does a chef know that he’s not going to be on TV? When do people with life-long dreams realize when they were going to push forward and not stop? What makes one person stop and give up their dream and another keep going and if they keep going what if they never get there? What if they never become a success? What if they fail and then there’s a new dream? What if….

As a writer this question is the fundamental question we all ask ourselves. What if my work isn’t good enough. Will I have to self publish and what if that work isn’t worth publishing? What if it’s not even good enough to be self published? ACK!?

Whether or not it is there is the basic concept that I wholeheartedly believe and that is that everyone has a story in them. They may not be able to tell it the way that it needs to be grammatically introduced, but they have their story. Every story is worth listening to. Everyones.

With that said, find whatever passion that lies within you and feed that. If you don’t believe that passion is worth fighting for? That’s not your passion. The thing you have to remember is that as we age, many of us grow in ways we couldn’t imagine. What may be your passion today may not be your passion tomorrow. The key is to know when to pursue and when to give up and try another passion.

Here’s the skinny. If you still get that adrenaline rush when you think about, the passion burns in you and it’s not time to quit. If you could care less anymore….you’re burnt. Take a moment, think, pause and reflect on whether or not that was ever your passion, if it can ever be again and if not what can replace it.

Good luck to you because everyone should have passion in their lives!

Inspiration

Need Help? Seek Help!

I was 21 and I was failing miserably at trying to take care of myself. I had no real education. On my own since 14, I barely managed to squeeze a high school diploma and college wasn’t affordable or obtainable. I was desperately trying to pay the rent but the jobs I got weren’t more than $4 bucks an hour. It was slim picking too. In the 1980’s America suffered the worst depression since the 1930’s. Many don’t remember walking in and finding entire neighborhoods with boarded up homes. Houston’s “addicks” had just that. People were getting rid of Cadillacs and buying Volkswagen Rabbits to conserve the gas. CNN brought the rest of the world to us and it was scary. I just needed food. With one can of “Chicken and Stars” in my cupboard I realized I was a few days from being homeless, and then I was. There’s really nothing like the pain of hunger. If our basic need is security and food then one of mine was missing. The ache is do deep it’s in your bones. Your head gets foggy, your mouth stops watering and a sense of nothing comes over. The only thought, concept, goal, is food and shelter…but food first. I wanted to live, to be alive, to survive, but I wasn’t making it. I was hungry and after cleaning up in public restrooms and using what money I did have to scrounge enough together for meals, I was flat broke, skinny, tired and angry because I couldn’t figure out how to get where I wanted. It was then I met someone who offered to teach me how to be independent. This is the lesson….when you’re hungry, and starving for whatever it is that you need, values, morals, and a real sense of right and wrong no longer become your focus. When you’re at your lowest and the pain is so powerful it’s hard to think of anything other than exactly what you need because human survival is such a powerful drive. Intellect, and it’s rationalization is a non factor. People make choices that determine their whole life because the moment they are in is so bad the piercing reality is to harsh to bear. Pause. If you live to be 80 then the moment you are in right now will soon be a blimp on the radar of your life. Taking time to really let someone know you need help can save you and your whole life. Get help. Get fed, even if it’s just your soul. If you’re hungry there are people out there like me who give a crap. Seek them.

I’m always available for a phone call or an email or comment if you’re really in trouble and need immediate help.

Inspiration

Who Your Man is Supposed to Be…

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19

Ladies, I want to talk about the role that men have in your life. My daughter asks me a lot of questions about what kind of man she should be searching for. Throughout her relationships she asks me about the behavior along the journey and my advice seems to be failing her. Do you ever have a moment when you think that you know the information but are just incapable of passing it on effectively? Well, that’s how I feel too.

First I think it’s very important for women to understand what to look for in a friendship with a man as much as she wants to understand the characteristics she should look for in a husband. Second, it’s important to understand how his roles and her roles can create a union that no man can tear apart. Lastly I believe a woman needs to take responsibility for her behavior and the way in which she reacts or encourages her husband.

God is not asking you as a woman to respond to all men equally. It is very important to understand that intimacy is or should only be reserved for the covenant of a mutual understanding. Passages such as “submitting to men” in the bible are not talking about every man. Those passages are talking about the covenant relationship. There are many men who take advantage of a woman’s lack of understanding those bible passages and use that information as a means to control women. It’s not the truth and every woman needs to fully understand that.

I read this passage today from the site below. If you would like to learn more about this topic click this link:
http://www.virtuousreality.com/questions/2011/02/what_is_the_bible_saying_about_1.html

“God designed marriage to function differently than all other relationships. Within marriage the man is supposed to sacrificially, gently and humbly serve his wife, even to point of laying down his life for her, and the woman is supposed to respectfully submit to that kind of servant leadership. He’s supposed to use Christ as his example instead of bossing his wife around and forcing his will on everyone in the house. That’s not leadership – it’s just being a jerk.

Part of the reason for this is the current cultural confusion about what men are supposed to be. In times past, society held that certain characteristics were to be expected in men and the culture itself sought to develop those traits in their sons. Men were expected to be courageous and strong, have high ethics and act with integrity. They were expected to be courteous, kind, respectful to others. They were to be gentlemen. A real man was expected to be able to act with a certain decorum of good manners. While knowing the fine details of proper etiquette at a high society banquet was not mandatory, men were to know how to treat a lady, and if invited to a banquet, they were to find out how to act and then do so.

In the past few decades, there have arose several anti-cultural movements that have sought to redefine the role and desired characteristics of men. There has been an increase in the emphasis of individual rights and a promotion of amorality. Children in the public schools are encouraged to question the authority of their parents. The family has been breaking down. This is seen in both the rate of divorce and illegitimacy. In some segments of our society, seventy plus percent of infants are born to single mothers resulting in boys growing up without fathers. They are confused as to what they are supposed to be. Young men simply follow their own selfish impulses and so “what is right in his own eyes.” They act like animals because they are treated as such. Free condoms are available in the High Schools because the basis for expecting teens to make moral, self controlled decisions has been removed.

For the rest of this morning I want to point out certain characteristics that the Bible sets forth as the marks of a real man. We are going to be challenged by the list that is generated, but the encouraging thing about Scripture is that any Christian can develop these characteristics. In fact, God wants you to develop them. Any Christian male, that includes you and me, can be real man!

HUMILITY – humility demands that you know your weaknesses and that you are modest about strengths. Popular culturally celebrates the man that is proud, arrogant and boastful, but being that way is no big deal. Men are naturally that way because of their sin nature. If you doubt that, ask your wife. She will tell you the truth about yourself! Pride is one of man’s greatest pitfalls. It always gets him into trouble.

The Bible says much about the importance of humility. Jesus says that being “poor in spirit” (Mt. 5:3), which is recognizing that you have nothing to offer, nothing to bargain with and can only come begging for God’s mercy, was the key to entering into God’s kingdom. Man will not come to God if he thinks he can do it on his own, and God will not accept a man that tries to come to Him on his own merit. 1 Peter 3:6 says that we need to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.” Why? because (vs. 5) “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

A humble man recognizes the truth that there are others more powerful than he. He recognizes his own weakness and failings. Instead of fighting against those powers, he welcomes their aid and gives praise where praise is due and not to himself.

Moses was a real man without a doubt. He certainly displayed all the attributes even modern culture values. He withstood the greatest military power on the earth at that time – Egypt. He boldly challenged Pharaoh face to face and held the power that devastated that land. He led two million people across the wilderness. Strength, leadership, courage were all his. But Moses was also characterized as being “the meekest man in all the earth” (Numb. 12:13). It is when he became proud that he got into serious trouble. In Numbers 20:10 Moses did not do what God commanded in providing water for the people, but instead took it upon himself to provide the miracle saying, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” Moses then hit the rock rather than speaking to the rock as God commanded. The result? the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

Pride only gets man into trouble. A real man has the maturity to be humble. Rising out of humility is the next characteristic. A real man is meek.

MEEKNESS – SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY
Meekness is not weakness. It is submission to authority. It is the combination of humility and trust. The meek man understands his own limitations and relies upon the one that is more powerful, God. As already mentioned, Moses was a meek man. He was not weak. He was strong, bold, and courageous, but those aspects of his character were true because he trusted God. Moses’ pride and sense of doing things by his own wisdom and might were broken by 40 years in the desert tending sheep after fleeing Egypt because he had taken the law into his own hands and had killed a cruel Egyptian taskmaster. Moses was in submission to God’s authority and willing obeyed God’s commandments. Moses recognized that God wanted him to be part of a plan much bigger than himself. God had given Moses a mission and because He trusted God to keep His promises, God was able to use Moses mightily. No wonder God so often referred to Moses as “My servant.”

A real man is meek. He in submission to a higher authority from which he can draw strength and courage. Want to know how to gain victory over a superior enemy? Rely on an ally that is even stronger. That is why that even in spiritual battles when we face the devil and his minions who are more powerful than us the key to our victory is in meekness. James 4:7 puts it plainly, “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Victory begins with submission to God.

Out of meekness arise two more characteristics of real men –
STRENGTH and COURAGE.
By strength I am not talking about the physical so much as the mental & emotional state of the person. A person of relatively small stature can be very strong in this sense. The apostle Paul was not a man of great physical strength. Paul’s detractors saw him as “weak,” “a spectacle,” “poor & without honor.” Yet Paul was the powerhouse in taking the gospel throughout the Roman world.

William Wilberforce was cut from the same cloth as Paul. He small in stature and his appearance was “uncommanding,” yet, to hear him speak, it is said that his stature would grow to that of a whale. Wilberforce was committed to the cause God had set before him, and with diligence and perseverance over several decades eliminated slavery from the English empire. Wilberforce was a real man.

But notice in both of these men that strength of mind and emotion was accompanied by fearless courage. They were willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause God had given to them, and sacrifice they did. Both men spent their lives pursuing their cause. They lost their standing in society and were held with contempt. Both suffered physically, and Paul eventually became a martyr.

Strength and courage mark real men. It is there because they know they are part of a mission much bigger than themselves and in meekness they submit and follow their Lord’s commands. To be honest I think this is one of the areas most lacking in men today. Who is willing to stand up and be counted? Who has the courage to face the scorn of this society by standing up against its debauchery? Who is willing to rise above the mundane things of life to see the bigger picture and get involved in that? Praise the Lord that there are a few. But there are even fewer that have the next characteristic.

* LEADERSHIP –
A real man knows where he is going and brings others along. A leader has convictions and he inspires others to hold those same convictions, join with him and do something. This is a commodity sadly lacking in America today. That is especially true on the national level. Too many politicians have convictions that change with the opinion polls. They do not lead, the simply assess where the crowd is going and then try to get in front of it. Leaders state where they are going and why we all should go there. Ideology is important.

As important as this is in the political realm, is there is another area where the lack of leadership has been even more devastating. That is in the home. How many men are not just letting, but forcing their wives to wear the pants in the family because of their complacency and refusal to lead? Guys who father a child outside of marriage are males, but they are not men. Guys who live with a woman but do not marry her are males, but they are not men. Guys who let and/or force their wives to set the direction for the family are males, but they are not men. Guys who do not lead their family in the worship of the Lord, including taking them to church and making sure there are family devotions, are males, but they are not men.

Leadership is the mark of a real man, but leadership is not becoming a little dictator. There are males that do that, but they are not men. Real men lead by example and persuasion, not raw power. No wonder the apostle Paul made leadership in the home a qualification for leadership in the church (1 Tim. 3:5; Titus 1). If you are not doing it in the home, you will not be doing it somewhere else.

This type of leadership also demands another characteristic in the man. A real man is a mentor/teacher.

MENTOR/TEACHER.
Mentoring is the process of passing on the characteristics of a man to someone else. It is much more than the teaching of facts. It is the impartation of convictions and a lifestyle. Real men sharpen each other (Prov. 27:17). In the church we call it discipleship. Men find another man and train him so that he can train a another person so he can train another person, etc. etc. (2 Tim 2:2).

The primary people for a man to train are his children. That is the importance of Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:3,4; Col. 4:21; 1 Tim. 3:4,5; etc. A father is to train his children in a such a way that they will know God and be obedient to Him. That is no easy task. It will take all the characteristics I have already mentioned – humility, meekness, strength, courage, leadership. It will also take integrity – the next characteristic of a true man.

INTEGRITY.
What is integrity? It is moral soundness, wholeness. A man with integrity is honest, he keeps his word, he holds fast to his principles regardless of personal cost. There is no question about this is scripture. Col. 3:9 – “Do not lie to one another…”. Prov. 10:9 He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Integrity is lacking in our society. Long and detailed contracts are written to try to keep businesses honest enough so trade can continue. At one time a man’s word was enough. How many of you actually believe the claims made in advertisements or by most politicians? Our highest institutions have shown their own lack of integrity including the Supreme Court which has cast aside the rule of law in favor of political whim in many of their decisions. Church scandals abound. Even denominations turn away from the Bible in order to be accepted by society. Men who are supposed to be godly disregard what the Scriptures teach and what they preach to follow the lust of their flesh, eyes and pride.

Integrity is important in institutions. It is even more important in a man. Your employer, your friends, your wife, your children all need to know that you can be trusted. They need to know how you will act and what you will do in a given situation. If you cannot be counted on, then you can have little positive impact in their lives. You will not be trusted with greater responsibilities. You will not be able to teach or lead others to godliness.

Real men keep their promises. Dads, don’t tell your children you will do something and then don’t follow through. Be up front and honest with them. Continued disappointment goes deep into the heart of a child. Dads, be consistent in front of your children. Practice what you preach. If you don’t want them to lie, then they had better not see you lie, even if it is something so simple as asking your wife to tell someone on the phone that you are not there.

What are some other characteristics of a real man?

PROVIDER – He looks out for those entrusted to his care. 1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. A real man is not lazy. He does not look for a handout. He takes the admonition of 2 Thess. 3:10-13 seriously that those do not work should not eat. He has a disciplined life in providing for his own family and for others as Eph. 4:28 directs “. . . let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.”

FRIEND – By this I mean a friend in the truest sense, not just someone with a lot of acquaintances. A real man is friend to his wife following the Lord’s command to love her in the same way that Christ loved the church (Eph. 5), giving Himself up for her. That is sacrificial love. He puts the needs of his wife ahead of himself. He willingly does the same for his friends even as Jesus has done for us.

The bottom line of it all is that a real man is godly. In the Old Testament the Psalmist described a real man in Psalm 15:1 (A Psalm of David.) O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill? 2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. 3 He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the Lord; He swears to his own hurt, and does not change; 5 He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.

In the New Testament the real man is seen in Jesus Christ – the second Adam, the perfect man. Every characteristic is perfectly displayed in Him: humility, meekness, strength, courage, leadership, mentoring, integrity, provider, friend.

If you want to be a real man, then you need to be like Christ. The good news for Christians is that is the very thing that God has been doing in your life since He saved you because He has predestined you to be conformed to the image of His son (Rom. 8:29b). Set your eyes on Him and continue to follow. You will become like Him in the process.

For those of you without Jesus Christ, you may be able to develop a lot of these qualities to some degree, but you will never be a real man according to how God describes it in the Bible. Isn’t it about time you started the process and humble yourself before Him. The Lord will take it from there.”

I pasted this because honestly, I couldn’t have written it better myself and I had to share it with you.

Inspiration

Be the Light No Matter What!

Please, don’t prove them right.

The other day my friend came to me. A very concerned conversation had taken place, and that dialog included non-flattering comments about me. My friend warned me many times that I needed to guard myself because the things that I was saying were being twisted and turned; and not in my favor. When I left that conversation, I was reserved to continue (based on my extensive life experience) to act in the greatest behavior I know.

I have learned that through the deed of transparency, bridges are formed between adversaries, and trust is built among enemies. If one is completely honest there is nothing to hide. It is the greatest proclamation of unconditional love I can offer my fellow human, despite the injustice I see all around me. I believe to the depth of my being that kindness, and that vulnerability is what my God commands of me regardless if my actions are not perceived as they are intended.

The aforementioned declaration is a conversation I have had with the people who commented many times prior. I decreed at that time that the naysayers, the untrusting, the sarcastic, the weary, the forlorn, the judging, the prideful, and mostly the skeptic people were, in my estimation, always proven wrong. I believe to the core of everything I know, that people want to do good things. I believe it is in our nature to promote wealth, prosperity and freedom for all. I believe given any situation a person will choose the side of decency. I’ve been brutally and savagely beaten by others who have viciously commanded me to hate as much as they do. I refused. To me, I have to believe the acts of humans are ultimately intended for the betterment of themselves and others otherwise I am not sure I could exist in a world void of love for one another.

I have had moments in my life when my hope for mankind, and the hurt or pain that goes along with our life lessons was too much to bear. In those moments, I have almost taken the life that God gave so mercifully to me. I have been witness to the worst of behavior that any human could endure. I’ve been repeatedly beaten, verbally assaulted, tortured, raped, violated, and abandoned. If one human could hurt another I have experienced every angle of the violence, and therefore I understand completely the capability that humans have to act irresponsibly, and without empathy for another. I know it exists, but I have instructed my mind not to dwell on the minority and to embrace the majority of people who do not act that way, and who genuinely want to do great works.

This is the formula in which I address, accept, forgive, and move on. It’s the rules in which I live my life by. I don’t get upset unless I see a great injustice. I don’t get angry unless someone shows me the evil in them. I don’t accuse and I don’t condemn because I have undoubtedly inadvertently hurt people along my journey. I’m fair, and amiable. I am transparent.

I think the hardest thing for me, is that I will tell people, “Don’t prove them right.” (Speaking of them as the cynics) Then I am surprised when the people closest to me do exactly that. I asked my friend, “Why can’t I compartmentalize this and move on?” My friend responded, “You cannot put feelings in a box. It’s just how you feel.” It’s true.

I suppose I want to cry. I suppose I want to ask the commenter, “Why?” I suppose that I hurt more deeply than I could admit and that none of those things will happen. I understand people are just people and sometimes we all do dumb things, so I will forgive. I will move on, but my relationships will be forever altered. There will be an element of hesitation before I speak. There will be un-comfortableness where they sit, and if I need to be in that same space. There is an element of disinclination. I hate that with every fiber of my being because it blocks the love that I want to share. It blocks God’s light through me. It blocks my transparency and ultimately it proves the pessimist’s right. That’s the most heartbreaking thing of all.

The pundits have been made aware, and there has been no resolution other than a separation of space. I miss my friend. I miss what I thought we had. I miss having an environment of peace and tranquility. I can forgive, sure and I will. But I suppose that an affirmation of the act, and a subsequent understanding apology would go a long way to ease us all back to a common gracefulness. However, I do not really need it to forgive.

Before you sit and begin to converse today about the dislikes you have with one of the people very close to you, remember that they too have the deepest of needs to be accepted as well. They have every feeling you have. They believe in the fundamentals that you and I do and they want to be a better person. People are just people, some are more broken, some are sensible, and some not so much. We’re all different because God made us our own unique selves and through our triumphs and struggles we’ve formed our own personalities. We form what we believe because God has allowed us the freedom to embrace our own choices. You can choose today to lift another up, be a little more transparent and put your heart on the line for the sake of another as Jesus has done for you. Or you can simply ignore, you can bask in the glory that something you’ve done has hurt another and have peace with that. You can talk about your fellow man without regard or empathy. It’s your choice. You choose every single day how to affect those around you.

For me, today as much as it’s painful I choose transparency. My convictions tell me that despite I’ve been hurt by what was said, I am not broken by it. It’s a moment, a blimp, a dot in history that shall be long forgotten in a short while. To base my future relationships on such a notion would be childish and immature. That’s not who I choose to be. That’s not what I want for my actions to represent. I choose love. I choose to prove the skeptics wrong. That’s my choice.

Inspiration

Glorious Lives!

I can remember when I was a young girl thinking that the worst thing that could happen to me would be to have a child that I couldn’t support, because I was really worried that I would end up as resentful as my mother was. I couldn’t imagine my body growing, I couldn’t imagine having to feed myself let alone be responsible for another human being.

Went my younger brother was born I love him so dearly that I would have nightmares about his safety. He is nine years younger than I am. I remember my youth being spent worrying about his choices in life and I couldn’t imagine how much more magnified that would be if I had a child of my very own.

At the age of 22 I became involved with a man who didn’t want me because he was Jewish and I wasn’t. I was really in love with the man. After a year or two dating this Jewish man we decided to call it and ended our relationship. I began to date another man who I didn’t really care about because I had lack of confidence, but i developed an intimate relationship with him. Unfortunately about a month later I realized that I was pregnant. Not knowing who the father was my fears were magnified.

I contacted both men and I told them what I had done. Both of the men thought that I should have an abortion. At that time I suppose if I was honest with myself, it would admit that I too wanted a way out of the situation I have got myself into. I was alone, I had no money and I had no transportation. How in the world was I going to raise a child?

About six weeks later when I was trying to decide and make up my mind, I was stopped at a stoplight a block from my home. I was crying pretty hard about the pain that I had caused everybody. I wasn’t paying much attention and a renegade truck with an uninsured drunk driver hit me from the back going approximately 95 mph. Needless to say, when I ended up in the hospital it was explained to me that an abortion was my only option for my own survival.

I remained single for almost a decade after that accident. Every single day of every single year I thought about that unborn child. When I met a man that I would date I would never let them know about my shameful secret. I lived with the guilt silently and painfully for very long time.

I met a wonderful man when I was almost 30 and within the first three months of our relationship I had gotten pregnant again. I was determined not to even think about the word abortion! I was in a better place because I was confident that I could take care of myself. I was sure that the man that I had chose to be intimate with was a good choice in character. I wasn’t in the same emotional, physical or intellectual state of mind that I was the first time I had gotten pregnant.

A month later the man I was in love with proposed and we got married. Just a short while later my daughter was born. I looked into her face and realized what a blessing she was, and for the first time that fear rushed in. I was terrified that I wouldnt be enough for her. She was so tiny and so delicate and I instantly became protective! I’ve vowed nobody would hurt her. And I knew that I had taken on a responsibility far greater than my own worthiness. I had been given a gift by God and it was my responsibility to bring this child up in such a way that she could be independent and happy as an adult. I was up to the challenge and ready to move forward.

In the toddler and baby years of my daughters life; I spent the entire time in all of the miracle that the innocence of a child can show a person. I learned very quickly that if my life became tough, all I had to do was put myself around a small child and a smile would soon appear on my face. There is something so remarkable about the investigation and the questions of the innocent approach to life the child brings to the family.

The age of five she was a people pleaser. At the age of eight she was anxious and trying to find her place in our family. If the age of 12 she wanted to put on makeup. But the age of 14 she wanted to know what it would be like to have a boyfriend. All through high school she struggled with inter personal relationships. Every single day was a lesson. It was an adventure!

Raising her was different than my son who was born a year after her. She is like me. I knew how to handle every piece of advice. I knew what to expect. I knew what she was going to go through. And I was ready for it. And it was an exceptional experience that improved with her age. Even now as she matures into an adulthood and leaves the nest she is absolutely adored.

When I had my son I knew what a treasure he was going to be. I had more confidence that I could manage his welfare. I was sure that I would teach him to play sports and I would teach him how to treat a woman. And I was up to the task again.

Nine months after my son was born I knew that there was a problem. I knew that he was different than any other child because he had regressed into his own mind. I thought something tragic had happened in daycare, or that something had happened when I had left them in another’s care. But that wasn’t the case. It took almost 12 years of struggling and testing and encouragement and therapy to get a diagnosis of autism. When everybody said that I was a terrible mom because he acted the way he did because of who I was. I cried a lot. But every time he would come into the room he would shine his uniqueness and I knew that I was destined to be his mother! I would be the fighter, the challenger and the ultimate cheerleader.

That boy is 17 now and he is fully functional. When the doctor finally diagnosed him, he said that he had never seen an autistic boy who is so far gone so mainstreamed without professional assistance. I had to smile because to me it was not a chore it was not an obligation… it was an honor!

I look at my life over the last 20 years and I realize that my greatest gifts come from the greatest moments I had in my life. Those moments have been with my husband and my two children. I cannot tell you what it’s like to have a child. But I can tell you that there is absolutely no love greater than the love and adoration a mother feels for her children. It’s an unconditional love. It’s a realization that in the past 20 years I have been so extremely blessed with remarkably individual and unique kids.

I may not have a stellar career in writing. I may not have friends that have stood by my side all these years. I may not have the houses that I once lived in or the cash that I used to have. But as I look forward into the next century of my life, I realize that the value of my life was in the little moments of joy and laughter and hope and encouragement and sharing of experiences with the people in my life who mean the world to me.

I guess what I wish is that all mothers get a moment to feel exactly the way that I do at this time in my very own moment. Because there’s no greater feeling in the world than knowing that you did your best. That you’re best made a life for the next-generation. That generation is the direct reflect on the positive influence that you had. Your kids are grown. They are safe. They are self-sufficient individuals who are capable of being independent happy people. They believe in God. They believe in love. They believe in justice. They believe in opportunity! I did my job and I’m proud of the work I’ve done. Moreover I’m blessed to have been given the opportunity to have such a tremendous life with two beautifully exceptional children!

Inspiration

Be a Woman’s Best Friend

What makes a woman so unbelievably anxious around other women? What makes one woman leer at another as though they’ve stepped out of civilization and into some third world wasteland where they must fight to survive? Why are women so competitive?

If you put an average woman in a room filled with woman we don’t know and sit back to watch. The fireworks are about to spark. No one can read her mind…but if we could? What exactly would she be thinking? (There are stereotypes for a reason.) I am discussing generalizations and not specific circumstances. I’m going to try and identify for you what it’s like to feel like the wallflower, the outsider, and the shunned. Maybe the next time the body language of the woman you’re looking at seems a little off you will know that she’s probably in the precise scenario I’m about to portray for you.

In my experience there are several outcomes of conclusion that women are. A woman might be the type who judges based on choices of attire weighing heavily their ability to care for themselves financially. Another might look at the body language and find some of the behaviors offensive. Some look at a woman and instantly think of something harsh. They don’t say it but it’s written all over their face just as though they’ve eaten something horrible. They cannot hide their thoughts.

One woman might look at another and see only a loving creature. I promise you that this type of woman is rare. I consider myself honored to know many of this type of woman. In fact, I try and surround my life with them. If you know her…please understand how blessed you truly are!

Most of the reactions from woman to woman that I have seen are fraught with tight pursed lips of judgment waiting for that other woman who is speaking to show any sign of weakness. Then and only then can the judger feel as though she has elevated herself and she can feel superior. This deduction is self-evident and what I find is the most pronounced goal for many women. It’s the one endeavor that gives the judging-woman in question absolute acceptance without the benefit of giving it. It’s something I perceive everywhere and an attitude that I toil with every single day.

One little girl hides in the closet because mommy’s been drinking and she’s afraid she’ll be beaten again. There’s a little girl who sat on her bed and cried because daddy never came home. There’s a little girl who wants to earn her place in her family and diligently fights for respect. There’s a little girl who hides in the back of a classroom, because her intense shyness causes her to alienate herself from other children. There’s a teenager who is so modest that the simple attention from a boy causes her cheeks to flourish red. She could be that awkward skinny girl with no shape that never got asked to the Prom or the braces that she had to wear when she should have been in her dating years. Consider a fearful young woman unable to care for herself when she leaves home. There’s a girl who’s been rejected by the worst kind of man who she allowed to bruise her heart. There’s a woman who just lost a position to another woman with less skills. There’s a woman who got married and thought it was forever but found out it wasn’t. There’s that woman who walks into a bar and everyone notices but no one notices that she looks that great because she’s empty inside. There’s a woman struggling with her weight and one who cannot gain weight. There are women who have lost fortunes and women who have fortunes who lose themselves. There are women who struggle to stay positive and women who are positive despite their struggles. There are those who do not understand transparency because their fear of being hurt, and women who hurt because no one sees them. There’s sickness and pain and loss and grief that a woman cannot escape because all wrapped up in one tight bow is an element that if you spend any time on this planet you will be all these women.

I have been all these women. I have been beaten and tortured and loved and sick and healthy and big and small and happy and filled with despair. I have not been every one of these women at the exact same time. Life changes and with all those changes is the human condition of hope that in the next day something incredibly magical will happen. Even when times are not bad, that hope that joy is just around the horizon keeps most women moving toward whatever goal that they’re currently undertaking. This movement is measurable; it is without a doubt worthy and should absolutely be praised by other women. It takes insurmountable courage to want something and act upon it. The choice for some to enter the workforce every single day is tantamount to exacting that courage to face whatever insecurities and fears she has. While it may seem easy for some, the realization is that we as women all know that judgment and condemnation await us at some point throughout the day and that sword of injustice will probably come from a woman.

Why is it that American’s had such a hard time with Sarah Palin? Its prime example that a woman can make errors but she will expect any other woman who stands against the imperfect society that man made to be flawless. Women who choose a position of authority require a further element of commitment to your courage. You must invoke a thick skin and be tolerant of those who will judge you if you falter one moment. Leadership for a man is much easier because men realize the imperfection of each other. Leadership of a woman from a woman is so much more harshly judged. Why is that?

Again, I have an amazing boss. She’s a woman. I have amazing co-workers who are women. I have an amazing daughter. I have an amazing sister and maybe I’m just blessed, but I have a whole bunch of amazing women that I call my friends. I love them without judgment or condition and remind them of that when they begin to divulge what they think are my faults. I don’t judge. I won’t do it. I won’t for one minute begin to imagine that I don’t live in a house with glass walls, ceilings and tile or for that matter, one moment that glass wouldn’t break if I threw a stone. I’ve been every woman, and I am here to tell you that unless we all begin to realize that each of us are not the enemy we will truly begin to see each other with the love and consideration let alone tolerance that each of us should be entitled to. Before you judge today or come to that conclusion in your mind based on what you know…pause. Rethink where she is, in perspective of where you are and be a little nicer, more tolerant and look at her through the eyes of our Lord as he loves you.

Inspiration

To be Happy – Be Thankful

The other day I heard a phrase that caught my attention. It said, “the only way to be happy is to be thankful.” I found that to be poignant because I continuously struggle at to see positive things rather than negative things. Moreover, the actions of others have more power over my emotions then sometimes I’m willing to admit.

The people around me tell me that this is the common denomination of women everywhere. I don’t know if that’s true, but what I do know is that most women that I know are mom’s, wives, and colleagues. And what that says to me is that their lives are full. With an abundant life comes the responsibility of introspection. You cannot have a husband or children and not learn valuable experience based on both pain and joy along your way. It’s been said that to be my age is to graduate from the “University of Life.” However, rules and application always are subject to approval or acceptance.

This past week I have been introspective. I’ve seen the attitudes of my children and my frustration levels with their choices begin to build in a very negative way. Whenever this happens to me, I sit down and think about what I can do to fix it, because ultimately I am the peacemaker. I try and ask myself if the offenses that I feel are due to my own interpretation or are they actual offending actions because in my past when I have confronted someone I have been so wrong. Experience has taught me to pause.

The problem is that just when I think that I am clear on what the issues are and clear on exactly what injustice trigger has just been pushed; it’s then when I decide to talk to whomever it is who has offended me. Usually my gut instincts are right on track. But this week they weren’t.

What I forgot to do is to take into consideration all the factors involved. I don’t have a mind that deduces a problem based on facts. I have a creative mind that is based on emotion and by human interaction. It’s the old saying, “feeling versus thinking.” I am the feeler and for the most part the people who I love who are closest to me and my life are the thinkers. So much so that the concrete approach to a problem can be quite disarming. What this does is cause massive miscommunication for all parties involved.

It takes a great sense of intellectual responsibility to look at oneself and realize that the problem lies within. In life, when we look at our own actions or we look at the offense that we feel; we not only need to remind ourselves to really look at whether or not this is our interpretation, but we really need to understand that person has their own set of injustice buttons as well. You would think that at my age not only would I comprehend this beyond a reasonable sense, but that upon need of it I could certainly reference at a moment’s notice. This past week that was certainly not the case. Admitting that could be the first foundation of solidifying a better approach upon the next surge of teen attitude.

This past week I was wrong. I was incorrect about the motivation behind the attitude. I withdrew my affections instead of engaging. It took me a long time to process through my own thinking because it’s not a natural thing for me to do. I have to remember that while I’m pressing my pause button, the people that depend on me will view my absence as abandonment. It’s certainly not! I need to understand how my reaction to their behavior can sometimes cause more of a disturbance in our communication rather than healing the hurt feelings.

Life is about change, and nothing ever stays the same. I think there’s a song about that? I believe the key to a successful relationship is to communicate whether that language is defective or whether it is productive. You cannot fix a problem or a broken dialogue without first starting to talk. If my approach is with love the outcome should be in a relationship that all those prior behaviors count when matters like this come up. I feel that if we can remind ourselves that we are loved and respected, we can remind ourselves to love and respect the people who have feelings of regret or pain. We can move on to a better dialogue. Ultimately we can solve the problem.

Everyone knows what right and wrong is. The power doesn’t rest in the inability to find the truth. Our success will be based on whether or not we can do the right thing despite our impulsive feelings and negative emotions.

I’m learning to be thankful for the blessings in my life. That attitude is teaching me that the joy I desperately seek is in direct correlation to my perception. It’s certainly not easy and takes a great deal of focus on my part but it’s certainly doable…

I’d really like to know what you think. How do you handle situations where you either are the person who is confronted or you are the confronting person? How do you get through the miscommunication to effective rich dialogue for the betterment of both parties? If you’re so inclined, I would love to know?