Lunchtime Lessons

Lunchtime Lessons

Today, at lunch, I needed a stamp and a greeting card, so I decided to spend most of my hour walking through midtown (the post office is a bit of a trek, but I need the exercise so why not?). On the way to the post office, I passed a guy who yelled out, “Hey! What are you reading?” Because he caught me off guard, I actually had to look at my book before I replied “Hurricane.” The guy didn’t look homeless necessarily, maybe sick, maybe a little lost in life, so I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask me for money so I had “no cash” idly waiting on the tip of my tongue (which was true, but it definitely has become a bit of a stock phrase over my years of working downtown and midtown, although I try to make it a complete sentence “I don’t have any cash, sorry”, because I don’t like being rude to strangers*). But he didn’t. The light changed and he crossed the street.

Fast forward, I ran all my little errands and was headed in the direction of my office to get some grub, and I passed him again sitting on the steps of a little apartment building. I kept walking, but I was thinking, wow, how interesting to pass someone twice within an hour. He had the same idea, and he said to me, “Hey! I’ve seen you twice today. My name is Randall.” I slowed down, still a little worried, but I had no real reason not to. I spoke to him, and he said “Will you pray for me? There’s some reason I’ve seen you twice today. I’d really like you to pray for me.” So I asked him if he had any specific prayer requests, and he thought about it. Then he told me “my strongholds and my decisions.” By now, of course the sap that I am was really moved, so I said “I will definitely pray for you, Randall. Take care.” He smiled then went into what seemed like deep thought.

I spent the rest of my walk thinking about and praying for Randall, and I hope he’s okay. It just goes to show that you never know who you will encounter, and you never know if all someone needs is for you to stop walking and just engage them for a couple of minutes. Happy Friday, folks.

(And in case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been–I’ve been on tumblr and twitter pretty regularly, but I’m definitely gearing up to start¬† back carving out time to give you more than one thought at a time, so please stay tuned!)

*Disclaimer: I will totally be rude to mean people and people who are rude to me, whether I know them or not. Work in progress here.

Feature Friday: 10-10-10

Feature Friday: 10-10-10

I had several things in mind to feature today, but this special day was on my heart, so here goes. ūüôā

I want to explain why 10-10-10 is an important day to me. ¬†Y’all may think I’m crazy, but you wouldn’t be the first, lol.

If you didn’t know by now, I love numbers. ¬†I love what they represent, I love what you can do with them, I love that they are simple yet so complex. ¬†So what does 10 mean? ¬†Biblically, it means divine perfection or completion. ¬†But just numerically, it marks the end of a cycle–our decades and centuries are built on the number 10. ¬†While it’s the end, it’s also the beginning–the first 2-digit number.

So enough of the math geek stuff, lol. ¬†Let’s talk some Bible highlights. Of course you know there are ten commandments and that tithes are 10%. ¬†But did you know:

  • There are ten clauses in the Lord’s Prayer,
  • Abraham endured ten trials to prove his faith,
  • Israel was represented by ten virgins,
  • There are ten I AM’s in the Book of John,
  • There are ten parables about the Kingdom,
  • There were ten righteous people found in Sodom and Gomorrah,
  • There were ten plagues,
  • Fire came down from heaven ten times, and
  • It is after the tenth recorded Passover that Jesus is crucified, the perfect sacrifice to save us.

And that’s not even almost the extent of “ten” in the Bible. ¬†And I won’t even get into the fact that there are 3 10‘s involved. ¬†Three represents divine perfection as well. ¬†But I’m dedicating this one to 10. ūüôā

After I realized I would not be getting married in a storybook tale right after graduate school (I never wanted to get married right after undergrad), I started hoping that I would get married on 10-10-10. ¬†Such a symbolic way to start a union, yanno. ¬†Clearly, that’s not happening Sunday, lol (oh yeah, and I don’t think it a coincidence that 10-10-10 landed on the Sabbath).

But y’all know me, I do plan to make myself feel special on the day. ¬†It’ll be a great time to start a new topic of personal study, and I will start back on my hot yoga regimen, which I’ve been neglecting lately. ¬†I also will go see this production, which will likely be a Feature one of these ole days.

But most of all, even though I may not be becoming one with anyone right now, that’s ok because I am celebrating the fact that I am living happily ever after anyway. ¬†I’m about to embark on the first volunteer trip I’ve ever organized myself, and there are so many other things I have my hands in. ¬†I can make myself feel special–and sometimes I forget that. ¬†I want to take the day to remind myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)–I’m perfectly imperfect, and everything will work together for good as long as I’m walking my purpose. Because that’s how God designed it. ¬†Just like He designed the number system and its involvement in all the symbolism and nature patterns and so much other stuff we don’t even always notice.

What, if anything, are you doing Sunday? ¬†ūüôā ¬†Happy Friday, lovelies!

From the Archives: Sandcastles

From the Archives: Sandcastles

I published this on 6/6/2007.  Hope it speaks to someone today.

“All the things I had toiled for… I must leave… to the one who comes after me.” Ecclesiastes 2:18 NIV

Max Lucado writes: “A little boy is on the beach. He packs the sand with plastic shovels into a bright red bucket. Then he upends the bucket, and a sandcastle is created.

“A man is in the office. He shoves papers into stacks and delegates assignments. Numbers are juggled, contracts are signed, and a profit is made.

“Two builders–two castles. They see nothing and make something. And for both the tide will rise, and the end will come. Yet that’s where the similarities cease. For the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as dusk approaches. As the waves near, the wise child begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great breaker finally crashes upon his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father’s hand and goes home. The grown-up, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle, he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument he protected. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering, he scowls at the incoming tide. ‘It’s my castle,’ he defies. The ocean need not resond. Both know to whom the sand belongs… and I don’t know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn.¬†Go ahead and build, but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take–applaud. Salute the process of life, then take your Father’s hand and go home.”

What He said to me:
1. It’s so funny how the Lord speaks to me sometimes. I would have thought he would use something like this to talk about my goals and career dreams, but for me, it was all about my dreams of having my own family one day. Crazy, huh? One thing I do when I’ve experienced pain is close myself off for long periods of time, scared to try again. But oh my, I can’t do that. I have to go ahead and build relationships with the people (men and women) the Lord puts in my path, and I have to be ready for tide. And if a tide comes, I need to appreciate all the good times and the lessons learned and let go and say bye. There’s always a war going on inside me as far as relationships go. I KNOW the Lord puts people in my path sometimes to teach me something in particular and sometimes I’m supposed to teach them something or get them through or lead them to some situation. But that doesn’t mean I like it that way. I’m such an extreme person, and I don’t know (it’s something I pray about) if that’s something I need to work on not being. When I think something–a relationship, a project, whatever–is worth it, I throw myself into it. I guess that could be a good thing if I just learned how to manage saying bye at the end.

So just like with the message last night–I need to help people achieve their dreams as I’m on the road to achieving mine. And I need to stay connected to God so that I will be able to get ready for tides. Especially with my hardheaded butt. I think half the reason I experience pain like I do is that I get so head- or heart-strong and I won’t let go when it’s time so the Lord has to eject them. But the Lord knows my dreams, especially that one, and he’ll give me what I want and need in his time, which is the perfect time.

<<::update::7/28/2010::>> So when I read the allegory this time, 3 years later, I did think about my career and where I’m headed. ¬†I wonder about the revolution that I start in my dreams–will I ever fulfill all my dreams? ¬†Will I actually make a substantial impact on the black community? ¬†Lucky me, I know I will trust my instinct when I’m led to make my next moves. ¬†I still wonder if as I get older, will I ever be like the man, holding on to something that’s out of my reach and out of my control. ¬†And of course, I read my response from 2007, and funny how we grow over time. ¬†I still don’t give any ole Joe Blow a chance, but I step out there and try, even knowing that if it doesn’t work out my poor lil feelings may be pummeled. ¬†Right now, I’m in limbo, and not really trying but I’m not not trying either. ¬†I’m just being. ¬†And I’m cool with that. ¬†ūüôā

2. I was led to share this with a bunch of people. Some I talk to regularly, some I never talk to, some I don’t want to talk to, some I probably need to talk to in order to resolve something even if I don’t know what the something is, some that an issue has recently been “resolved” but I haven’t necessarily strived to rebuild, and some who I guess maybe just needed to read this? I dunno. But as each person popped in my head, I entered their address. Who knows what kinda responses I get? I’ll definitely have to stay prayed up before I respond to anything that I get. Heck, I may not get anything. ūüôā And that would be cool too!

<<::update::7/28/2010::>> I guess this still applies because when I read this post, my first thought was to share!

And just because the name has “Sandcastle” in it and because I like this song, I’m including a lil music!

Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After

Last night a friend of mine posed the question:

What happens after happily ever after?

I replied that there is no after after the after. Got that?
“Happily ever after” is the rest of time. After the story ends, no matter what else happens during “happily ever after,” the main characters will be okay. ¬†They will overcome obstacles, and life will continue to be worth living.

So why have I been searching for “happily ever after”? ¬†I’m already in it! My life is definitely worth living, and I already know through the blood of Christ, that I’ve already overcome all of my obstacles. ¬†Every minute of every day won’t be “happy,” but I know that through my pain, I find greater appreciation for joy. ¬†Because of all the goodness in my life, I can find joy in my life despite hardships and disappointments.

You have to find “ever after” with the Most High. ¬†It really is all about perspective. ¬†What do we choose to focus on? ¬†Would you rather worry or meditate? ¬†Both require focus–the only difference is the object of that focus. ¬†For instance, I have had some romantic failures. ¬†I am lonely. ¬†Long term companionship seems to evade me. ¬†BUT should I focus on that? Or should I focus on my family, my friends, all my wonderful accomplishments and triumphs, all the projects I have going, all the dreams that I know will one day come to fruition… ¬†Umm, my life is kinda awesome. ¬†No really… It is.

As a dear friend told me during a crying spell, if the only thing wrong is my loneliness and I have everything else pretty much going well, why am I spending my energy on the loneliness? ¬†As I continue to move forward in life, I have to trust that “one day my prince will come” (and stay). ¬†And positivity comes from focusing on all the great stuff. ¬†It’s like the serenity prayer says:

Romance is not the only piece to that “happily ever after” thing. ¬†But having a relationship with Christ is.

It’ll take a whole other post to discuss it, but once we as human beings submit to Christ and reflect his light, we are then able to submit to one another. ¬†I look forward to the day I will reflect the light of some great man who will cherish and adore me. ¬†But until then, I’ll be patient. I am okay with rolling solo, being who I was made to be.

Erykah Badu, as y’all know, is one of my favorite artists. ¬†And she captured what’s in my heart very well in this song. ¬†Enjoy.

I’m an orange moon, reflecting the light of the Son (sun)…

I’m an orange moon, and I shine so bright cuz¬†I reflect the light of my Sun
I praise the day He turned my way and smiled at me
He gets to smile and I get to be orange

Love and Randomness

Love and Randomness

Love is in the air. ¬†While it seems to be darting every which-a-way when it enters a 5 yard radius of me, it’s so great to see my friends swooning and being wooed. Black love exists!! (Despite the media alarms that it’s endangered–it still exists.) It’s something special to see your friends giddy and grinning. ¬†What’s more uplifting than the aura of love infused in the atmosphere? ¬†Positivity is contagious! ¬†Let it infect you!

There’s nothing like the feeling of a new connection. ¬†The stolen glances at the guy across the room whose good looks caught your eye. The charming smile sent your way to acknowledge that the interest is mutual. ¬†The instant spark you feel as soon as he enters your energy field to introduce himself and find out who you are. ¬†The natural flirting that neither of you can help. ¬†It feels great when you go out on your first (and second and third) date and your heart flutters as he dotes on you and stares into you, learning you, allowing himself to be learned. ¬†And it’s astounding when you could talk to him until daylight or when you can sit with him without a word spoken.

It’s really only supposed to work out once–which means it won’t work out who knows how many times before that. ¬†Although I sometimes kick myself for being (maybe too) open and vulnerable, I wouldn’t trade those immensely charged feelings of being connected to someone, desire, anticipation, hope, inspiration, promise for the hope of never feeling disappointed, rejected, abandoned. ¬†You won’t know if it’s meant to be unless you step out on faith and see.

Love is in the air.  Jump up and grab some.

Be true to you.

Be true to you.

I got an extremely random set of text messages today, and it got me thinking. I want to share with you my conclusion from the exchange.

Lesson of the Day: ¬†Be true to yourself. Consider advice from others, but make your own decisions. Follow your own heart and conscience. ¬†At the end of the day, no one will live with ur regrets but you. So why be bound by other people’s opinions?

I was blessed to have parents who believed in letting me be me. ¬†When I was faced with the decision of whether or not to skip my senior year of high school and start college at 16, my mom said, “This one is on you. ¬†I’m not going to make this decision for you and have you resenting me one day if you don’t do what you really want.” ¬†I will always remember those words.

I truly believe everything happens as they are supposed to–but how we feel about all of everything depends on several factors. ¬†Attitude and perspective (during and after the fact) are part of it, but our regrets play a major role as well.

Listen up. ¬†You only have one life. ¬†Live it the way you’re led to live it. ¬†Don’t depend on anyone else to bestow upon you the dreams they have. ¬†Accept the ones God puts inside of you, and pursue those. ¬†Don’t wait for anyone’s permission. ¬†DO YOU.

Much Ado with a Jumbled Mind

Much Ado with a Jumbled Mind

Ever so often, I’m bogged down with a bunch o’ thoughts swirling around nonstop in my head. ¬†Last night despite aromatherapy, I just could not go to sleep. ¬†What to do?? ¬†After lying awake for an hour or more with no promise of drowsiness, I got up, grabbed my journal, which has been heavily neglected lately, and wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And got all those haphazard thoughts out. ¬†Then I meditated. ¬†And I followed my heart.

Then I put my head on my pillow and got some rest.

Brain Dump

Brain Dump

Whoa nah! ¬†I have tons of stuff on my mind, and I don’t even really know where to start or what I want to get off of it.

So this post may end up being total stream of consciousness. ¬†And I’m random like that, so that’s a-ok with me.

I’ve said on multiple occasions that I tend to have a grudge-holding problem, but I’ve been actively trying to combat that because as we know acknowledgement is the first step, but there are still other steps. ¬†So after prayer and meditation, I made some steps toward reconciling with an old friend. ¬†The convo started off kinda tough because expressing pinned up emotion and listening to other people tell you want they think is wrong with you usually are, but I was able to put the right amount of compassion into my responses to her, and I think we’re on our way to being friends again one day. ¬†BUT the good news is that I have let go of my lingering frustrations and bad vibes over that situation. ¬†I was able to release it, and all it took was allowing myself to express my feelings in a constructive way–despite what she said to me. ¬†No yelling, no blowing up. ¬†Stay cooool. ūüôā *Progress!*

Speaking of old friends, one of my childhood friends emailed me yesterday morning and let me know that her nephew is having brain surgery. ¬†You know, the stuff you kinda just think happens on TV. ¬†So she, her nephew, and their family have been at the top of my prayer list. ¬†She sent me an update this morning and he made it through the surgery fine, and now we’re waiting to hear what the new test results are. ¬†I really hope he makes it through, ready to enjoy a full, happy, inspired life.

Inspiration… What inspires you? ¬†What inspires me? ¬†Feeling like I’m making a difference inspires me. ¬†I had a hectic week at work last week, but it was all to the good because I really feel like my job is setting me up to make some real impacts. ¬† Even seeing a reference in a newspaper article to a research document I created set my spirits on fire. ¬†I’m not just working everyday to earn a paycheck (although that is oh so necessary lol)–my work is being prodded and probed and considered and acted on. ¬†It’s because of my long hours that somebody somewhere made a decision that will have far-stretching impacts in a city, a county, or even a region or state. ¬†That matters to me. ¬†I’ve come to learn that I put in my hardest work when I feel like I or it matters. ¬†If I don’t see the significance, it’s hard for me to buckle down and get er done. ¬†Knowing that is helping me to prioritize and better use my time (and say a much needed no more often).

And a certain something has me daydreaming and grinning. ¬†Buuuuuuut I’ll let that stay in my head for awhile. Just for superstition’s sake. ¬†No jinxes please. ¬†Just fun times ahead. ¬†Hmmmmm…

Speaking of fun, softball has been kicking my lazy, out-of-shape butt, but being around black folks in a ball park has done something to me. ¬†It makes me feel more at home. ¬†I can remember going to the ballpark with my mom to watch my dad play. ¬†It’s a really vague memory, lol, but I remember, nonetheless. ¬†My aunt would be keeping score or somewhere near us. ¬†And it was just fun times with laughter and sometimes the smell of food on the grill filling the air. ¬†It took me 8 years to find that in Atlanta!! ¬†And right in time for the summer. ¬†Yippie ya!

I don’t even know what else is swirling around in this complicated mind o’ mine. ¬†Besides that something I don’t want to deliberate on. ūüôā ¬†lol you want to know, don’t you? Too bad, so sad! ¬†haha ¬†Anyway, there have been lots in the news I could talk about, but most of it is negative and I’m in too good of a mood to get on my soap box today. ¬†So maybe tomorrow. ¬†In the meantime, get your groove on with one of my newest jams. ¬†I know you want to…

P.S. If you don’t have one–get a mantra or two. ¬†Mine are “Positivity prevails” and “Focus on the miracle.” ¬†They come in handy!! ¬†You gotta align your perspective up with your circumstance to make it through tough times. ¬†Remember that your attitude is often your testimony. ¬†Ok, I’m done for real this time. ¬†Tootleloo!

My New Thing

My New Thing

Well, as I’ve chronicled many times, I live a life of busyness. ¬†It’s getting better as I say no more often, but still busy nonetheless. ¬†At any given moment, there is a wide range of thoughts flowing haphazardly through my mind. ¬†During Lent, I have been more intentional with my reading and praying, but meditating is still a difficult task because there are so many thoughts I have to rein in. ¬†So I started doing hot yoga, and I. love. it.

What in the world is hot yoga, you say? ¬†It’s a form of yoga done in a 105 degree room. ¬†It’s not a steamy room–it’s simply hot. ¬† Like walking outside on a hot Mississippi summer day (which I can’t wait to do!! Go away snow and below 60 degree weather!). ¬†I thought that would be the dealbreaker just because how often do we volunteer to do anything in that kind of heat, but nope… ¬†I think the heat kept me focused on what I was doing and on clearing my mind. ¬†I was even able to pray while holding poses. ¬†The physical side of things is a challenge as well. ¬†Of course, my flexibility is pretty much non-existent so I look forward to increasing that. What’s funny, though, is that because I grew up pretty clumsy, catching myself from falling at least once a day, my balance is pretty impressive. ūüôā

The classes I take are 90 minutes each, and it doesn’t feel like that much time lapses at all. ¬†And I’ve been able to channel the experience into moments where I’ve needed peace, for my thoughts to be still. ¬†I still have a long way to go, though, lol. ¬†Just Sunday night I had to just work for a couple of hours because I couldn’t get my mind to stop racing in order to go to sleep. ¬†I was up until 4 am, but at least I was being productive until I could rest.

I’m reading The Purpose Driven Life over these 40 days of Lent (I’m determined to complete it this go round!), and this was written specifically for me:

When you think about a problem over and over in your mind, that’s called worry. ¬†When you think about God’s Word over and over in your mind, that’s meditation. ¬†If you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate! ¬†You just need to switch your attention from your problems to Bible verses. ¬†The more you meditate on God’s Word, the less you will have to worry about.

And here’s a verse for you:

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, BELIEVE that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11: 22-24