Perspective

The majority of my employed life was spent working in the medical community receiving hourly wages.  I could work for my hospital, a staffing agency,  nursing strike or travel assignments, & Per Diem.  There were always ways to increase my income by trading my time for money. As a single parent,  I did it all.  It was exhausting, stressful & unpredictable.   I am now employed hourly, but there’s only one avenue of making money.  Granted I have zero stress compared to nursing, work only one job, & can pretty much predict my yearly schedule. This was a welcome change.

I work at the divisional level of a well known non-profit organization.  As you can guess, there have been decreases in government funding, donations, etc. which naturally creates challenges.  Each year we have performance reviews, but our raises aren’t based on this.  I used to get frustrated when we received a 4% raise. Then my friends began having their hours cut, placed on furlough, or even lost jobs. I’ve witnessed families suddenly have to learn how to live on one income — what every single parent has endured.  In a sense it’s heartbreaking & at the same time I must applaud my single friends who’ve continued to make tough choices.  This year we received a 2% raise. Funny how perspective changes & instead of frustration, I am thankful for a job.  I realize my faith is not in a J.O.B. & because of recent events, I know all too well I should never be 100% dependent on one.

It is sad that the majority of the people in our nation practices what our government just instituted. The splendid example of raising their debt ceiling by using credit. What was America about to do??? Default on debt? Yea, that makes perfect sense!!

I strongly encourage to do whatever it takes to act your wage, live within your means, get out debt, & develop alternate streams of income. Here are some simple examples to help:

  • For one month save & record every receipt from every purchase.  Yes EVERY one!  Regardless of how small or even if it’s a vending machine purchase, write them down or save them.  At the end of the month, have an open mind, review those purchases  & determine what areas can be cut out.  One of my fav scriptures says, it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine!  My paraphrase of course, but you get the drift!
  •  If you have single parent friends, schedule some time with them & observe what they practice to thrive while others can’t breathe.
  • Participate in a financial class & learn how to reduce monthly expenses, pay off current debt & prepare for unforeseen circumstances.  My church offers Dave Ramsey’s course, Financial Peace University as a Connect Group.  I love hearing the stories of how marriages are restored, debt is eliminated & lives are completely changed by simply obtaining different information.
  • Mentor with someone who is financially stable, allowing them to speak into your life concerning changes, & adhere to their advice.  Adhere is the key word!
  • Teach your children to do the same.  This cyclic behavior pattern of debt has to stop. Changing a nation begins with individual families!
  • Last, but most importantly, follow Biblical examples.  Prepare for a rainy day.  Joseph led the people to prepare in famine & minister to others.   The Hebrew children cast their bread (seeds) on the water that after many days it would come back to them.  What happened?  They wandered & when they came to a certain place there was grain waiting on them to harvest & make into bread.  Quite prophetic, but that happens when we prepare. Why shouldn’t we practice the same principles?

Perspective changes many things around us.   During one of the worst times in my life, I enrolled in a program offered by my workplace. I met bi-monthly with a case manager, attended monthly life skills classes & managed my financial affairs for the first time ever.  I had enrolled in computer school a few months earlier & during our career development course, I had to create a projected yearly budget. Until that time, I’d never created an actual budget.  I realize that can be embarrassing to admit, but I can because I’ve changed!  To date that program is still the most significant discipline I’ve practiced.  After that, I immersed myself in personal development & continued to make necessary changes in every area of my life.

What the enemy intends to destroy us, God will & does ultimately use for our good.  If you are frustrated, I pray you gain a different perspective.  When I changed my attitude, thinking, associations & expectations, things changed around me.

As everyone gears up for ritualistic New Years Resolutions, why not incorporate & practice slight edge principles that will actually resolve problems? Better yet, in doing so YOU can then mentor others!

Blessings,

g

Preparation time is never wasted time!

I have to share a recent experience that of course, reminded me of one of my favorite Bible stories.  It will revolve around the amazing subject of dating.  I’m no expert in this field as it took me ten years after my divorce to actually begin dating.  The move from Louisiana to Texas nine years ago was the catalyst that started my dating journey.   I had a pre-conceived philosophy that was so beyond marred in many, many areas.  In my defense, I will say my primary concern was introducing my children, primarily my son, to men who may or may not continue be in their lives.  I knew the pain of divorce & how broken it can make one feel.  My daughter, who was graduating from high school, clearly understood, approved & embraced the reasons for my divorce, but my son was in first grade.

After my divorce, dating wasn’t exactly talked about in our church, nor was a ministry for singles.  I’ll never forget how this made me feel when I found myself single…..again.  I am a huge activist in many areas & this was no exception.  We did establish a singles ministry, but the subject of dating or even re-marriage was swept under the rug.  It was especially difficult for those of us with children or “baggage.”  I was probably a dreamer even way back then, but I chose to believe there was someone who would accept my kids as their own.  I watched my daddy, who was my idol, do this & it was the greatest example I had.

Technology has provided some pretty amazing dating options. Dating websites are as vast as shoe choices.  Age, biblical preferences, career, gender, & regions are just a few of the menus one has to select from when setting up an online profile. I have friends who met online & are now extremely happily married.  I have high hopes right?

For this dating method, I carefully follow self-determined standards & precautious perimeters.  I was contacted by a handsome gentleman who lived in a nearby town.  My first point of contact is preferably coffee.  It’s innocent, very public & relatively safe.  We both agreed, but sometime between the first contact & confirming where to meet, he met someone & felt like he couldn’t meet me too.  This was a span of maybe 2-3 days!   I’m from a different mindset in that unless we are exclusively dating, it’s just coffee.  Nevertheless I obliged his feelings & simply forgot about it.  About two weeks passed & I was contacted by the same gentleman again saying he owed me coffee.  Not bringing up the past, I agreed to meet him.  We chose an evening meeting for a glass of wine at a familiar venue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe rest of the story is a test for you to count the number of red flags that I immediately recognized.  Ready???  Here goes!   We scheduled the meet up for 8:15 pm because he was spending time with his buds on the golf course.  This time was perfect for me.  I arrived & he had already ordered a bottle of wine.  I walked to where he was seated & extended my hand to greet him.  He remained seated, but shook my hand.  I believe in asking questions to make the person feel comfortable about our meeting & not talking about myself.  Please understand this is not an interview type process, because I’ve usually conversed with them enough to choose key subjects to discuss, such as kids, activity preferences, hobbies, pets, etc.  I soon learned that the day with the golf buds involved quite a bit of drinking.  I continued my inquiries & conversation was going well if you consider 100% of it was about him.  Yes, I realize I was asking the questions, but……… generally they’re reciprocated!  I’m always curious about their online dating stories, so I asked for him to share his worst.  After he answered, he offered the first question of the evening & wanted me to explain mine.  I shared & at this point I wanted to hide!  He obviously thought it was funnier than I remembered.  I think our beautiful server picked up on the cues & when he obnoxiously insisted on telling her my story, she added hers which got high fives from me all the way!  Oh….I forgot to mention he had spent quite a bit of time on his phone texting his “carpet man.”  This was a Saturday night & the carpet man was coming on Sunday?? Yea, I guess that bump on my head made me forget I just fell off the banana boat!

During our one-sided conversation he mentioned he worked 80-100 hours per week, had his son every other week &  this combination pretty much consumed his time.   I’ve learned to respond, not react to things that could rile me, so instead of asking, “So please tell me why you’re on a computer dating site & why’d you insist on meeting me again?”  I smiled & said nothing.  He then asked if I wanted to go outside to sit around the fire-pit.  It was a beautiful moon so of course I agreed!  This was his second & last question of the night!  There were others outside around the fire-pit & he began a repetitive conversation with them about his golfing day & how he works 80-100 hours per week & has little time for anything else.  Again, I refrained from saying anything.  At this time I was very thankful I learned how to exhibit emotional intelligence.  We talked some more & he concluded he was ready to go home.  It was the best thing I’d heard the entire night!   As we made our way outside to say our goodbyes, he thanked me for meeting him.  Smiling, I nicely suggested that the next time he scheduled to meet someone, maybe he should consider not making them the leftovers for his day.  He shockingly searched for words & mentioned he wanted to meet before he got his son next week.  I politely responded by saying we could have waited & I didn’t appreciate being the leftovers.  I then informed him that others may not mind, but I value myself much more than that & again……..I didn’t appreciate it.  He offered to walk me to my car, but I wasn’t even sure he could find his, so I explained I could get to mine just fine. I waited & watched him drive off.

I immediately felt this was a total waste of my time.  How could I have agreed to meet him?  Did I miss the warning signs? Typical self-evaluation & verbal beating!  Wait!  This, in fact, wasn’t a waste because I loved the venue & each experience that is less than perfect will make me appreciate the ones that are.  During my drive home, I turned my miffed attitude into gratitude.  I was suddenly reminded of the story of Esther & how they were prepared to meet the King in hopes to be chosen as his Queen.  The selection process itself was quite extensive.   The year-long preparation involved the girls being thoroughly groomed & mentored in every area of their lives.   It’s just like God to quickly help me realize preparation time is never wasted time.  Also the fact that Esther was very courageous to stand up for what she believed in & what truly mattered to her.  I will continue following my guidelines &  gladly accept the opportunity for coffee or venues I trust  allowing these teachable moments to prepare me for my “King.”  Most importantly, I’ll also use this time to grow & strengthen the areas I need improvement in.

So…..how’d you do?  How many red flags did you count?  If you say at least 10-11, you’re very perceptive!  I’ll hone in on dating skills, enjoy the opportunities & let you know when I’ve been successful.  Please share your experiences!!  Include what significant points were gleaned from them & how you used them for the next round!  Inquiring minds want to know!

You are valuable, beautiful/handsome, & will be a priceless asset to the one person who wins your heart.  Please, please, please don’t compromise for less than the best.

Blessings,

g

Excellent Advice Women Should Consider

I love to share posts from other sources.  This one is from The Huffington Post & I have to admit, following the advice would be an excellent place to start for many of us.  I also appreciate the supporting links confirming it  isn’t just opinion.

The school year has begun, holidays are steadily approaching & with trying to meet end of year goals, these would be slight edge disciplines to point us in the right direction.

Which ones stand out the most for you?  I work primarily with single adults & I would have to vote the ones dealing self judgement & overdoing EVERYTHING are top of the list!  We tend to self sabotage & over commit to compensate for areas we feel less confident.

life isn't about finding yourself. life is about creating yourselfOne of my favorite methods for instituting changes uses the PDCA {Plan, Do, Check, Adjust} approach.  Create a plan, because as the saying goes….if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Begin with short-term, easily attainable goals to prevent disappointment.  Do the thing required to meet the goals.  Starting is often the greatest enemy of our defeat!  Once you have implemented the necessary steps to accomplish the goal, check the results.  Are there ways to change or tweak the process?  When you begin with the end in mind, checking results can be done at any point during the process.  Once adjustments are determined, adjust the plan & continue.  Individuals, small businesses, or major corporations should practice these principles.

23 Things Every Woman Should Stop are listed in the link below!  Enjoy & journal what you are trying.  If you want to effectively change some things in your life, you have to change some things in your life!  Remember, experience is the best teacher is only a half truth.  Someone else’s experience is!  You could share your experience, help someone who’s struggling, & observe as they come to terms with themselves.  This is Friday the 13th. & I believe great things could happen to us!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/23-things-every-woman-should-stop-doing_n_3908151.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

Blessings,

g

The Reign Is Gone

This has been on my mind for the past couple of days & I know I have to get it on paper! I know it’s not paper, but you know what I mean!  LOL!    In 1999 I left a place of association I had been an integral part of for 13  years.  As I drove away toward home, this song immediately began playing in my mind:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way.Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.

It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day.

Oh yes, I can make it now the pain is gone. All of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for.

It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies.

Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies.-Jimmy Cliff

I didn’t understand it at first until I heard a small, still, voice clarifying the difference.  Reign, not rain was the reference.  The reign of man. Unrealistic dedications, impure motives, self-promotion, fear & even sin.  For years I had served selflessly & tirelessly, yet felt like something wasn’t right.  At that moment I realized I was finally free from the lordship / reign of man. The cloud that hindered my true judgement was blown away & over the next several years I respected Christianity as it should be.

ImageWhy is this memory surfacing lately?  In mentoring single adults, I recognize how easily our judgement is impaired / clouded when it comes to wanting to be accepted, affirmed, included & loved.  We allow a person or relationship to exercise an undeserving reign over our conscious decisions & actions.  One day we look in the mirror & suddenly realize we don’t even recognize ourselves, much less how we’ve gotten to this place.  Please understand, all relationships are not like this.  Healthy relationships nurture, protect, provide, serve, heal & constantly bring out the best in one another. I am referencing defiled, volatile, poisonous relationships where the victim is vividly aware things are awry. It’s as if they are looking through a glass as it’s pouring rain & only seeing a blur of  their former selves or what is possible for them to enjoy.

Hopeless? Never!  The steps back may not be the easiest path to take, but they can & will lead to the freedom you so desire. To date, the emotions I felt during that drive home are as real as me sitting in front of my computer blogging!  Once you discover a way out of the fog, you’ll be very discerning & cautious not to allow yourself in becoming ensnared again! Like one of my favorite scriptures, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery (bondage) on you.” – Galatians 5:1

If this resonates even slightly with you, I encourage you to perform a self-evaluation & talk to a mentor.  Necessary changes will probably involve choosing different associations.  Turn around, pack up & walk away as quickly as possible without looking back.  Surround yourself with forward thinking, like-minded individuals who will speak life & wholeness into your future. I promise……..before you know it, you will be that person bringing hope to others.  The only memory you will reflect upon will be the sweet sensationalism of freedom!

I’ll leave you with a scripture from Job. Most of us know what he endured for complete freedom & restoration!  Understand above all else, his restoration was worth the stand he took to attain it.

You’ll take delight in God, the Mighty One,
    and look to Him joyfully, boldly.
You’ll pray to Him and He’ll listen;
    He’ll help you do what you’ve promised.
You’ll decide what you want and it will happen;
    your life will be bathed in light.
To those who feel low you’ll say, ‘Chin up! Be brave!’
    and God will save them.- Job 22:28

Blessings,

g

it’s just a light bulb!

I am so beyond excited for the latest endeavor in the area of ministry involving single adults.  I have started a Divorce Care Program though my amazing church as a Connect Group & community-wide outreach.  When I divorced 19 years ago this type of support group was probably not unheard of, but just not available in my area.  Falling in love with reading & being hungry to learn as much as possible about relationships, dating, etc., has helped me tremendously.  The #1 asset has been counseling other singles.  I learned to minister through my own pain, rejection, & inferiority.  You’ve probably heard the statement that if we wrote our problems on a piece of paper, put them in a stack to trade with others, we would happily take ours back.  Each story I hear reminds me of the redemptive grace of God & makes me realize just how far I’ve come in the season of singleness!  I’ve branded the name of the group journE³y focusing on the goals to encourage, empower & equip single parents.

Recently I sat with a friend who’s in the process of divorce.  It’s fresh, painful, overwhelming & just downright not fair. I am a well-adjusted, single woman, yet I have a personal vendetta against divorce.  While listening (key factor here!), I realized it doesn’t matter how educated, christianated (yes, I know that isn’t a word, but….you get the gist), successful or strong-willed someone is, when the heart & soul (mind, will, emotions) are involved we become vulnerable.

We daily live our lives unconsciously.  There are actions we do & never realize they’re being done until it’s totally our responsibility to perform them all.  Trash, clogged drains, yard maintenance, pool upkeep, & the simplest thing of all, replacing light bulbs.  When a parent has to factor everything that was done as a team to now being done solely by them, the slightest infraction can be the straw that breaks the camels back.  I picture a child afraid of the dark who is lying in their bed envisioning each bedroom accessory coming to life with monstrous teeth & claws hovering to consume the frightened child.  The fear of the unknown is gripping & can paralyze.  One day everything is manageable & the next it brings a flood of tears to our eyes imagining how we will fit this into our schedule.

The maintenance issues can’t even begin to compare to the psychological impairment divorce brings to a child.  Rejection, confusion, insecurity, separation anxiety, uncertainty, &  more. Children are resilient, yet these emotions can scar a child & affect future relationships.

If you’re a single parent, I applaud you with tremendous respect & affirmation.  If you’re a married couple who have single parent friends, step up & offer assistance.  A note of warning, don’t let their stubborn facade of “everything’s fine” stop you.  Our church practices & encourages performing ARK’s.  Acts of Random Kindness have secured new, tremendous friends for me since we’ve promoted it.  Examples could be from something small like changing light bulbs to making sure you invite them to dinner with your family.  I will not regress at the numbers of times I prayed someone, anyone would just invite my son & I to dinner after church that never happened.  I finally stopped praying & began inviting other singles to join me.  While this is awesome to form community, it also creates isolation.  A single parent was once a family unit & sometimes, it just feels good being surrounded by family.  One of our connect groups is family game night.  This was the one I chose to attend last semester & I can’t tell you how much I gained from those amazing weeks of association.  Besides becoming obsessed over the game, Taboo, the relationships are priceless.

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Life isn’t merely a destination, but who you become in the….

Blessings,

g

Maintenance

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Remember my beloved Volvo – Jean?

I’ve recently been performing some required maintenance on my car. You know, the battery dies & you replace it. Shoes (tires) wear out & I have to get new ones.  I live in Texas, in June & looking at 100+ degree heat waves.  My AC goes HOT &  I prefer not to arrive at my destinations looking (& smelling) like I just left the gym. Then…it’s the tune up required after 100k+ miles & probably brakes.  Because I’ve learned & teach sound financial principles, I purchased a used car that had all these points checked & approved prior to my purchase.  Of course, I’ve doubled the miles on it within the past 4 years, so…..it’s time.

I am frugal, economical, & even tight when it comes to these type things (OK…. most things!).  I shop around securing the best prices, request price matches, & order online as opposed to local parts places.

A friend asked a very normal question during a casual conversation discussing my maintenance investments.  “Why don’t you just trade your car in & get a new one?”  I say normal in the eyes of a society ridden with debt, stressed to the max & overwhelmed from one day to the next. I choose not to live that way!

ImageHer question was posed to my car, yet I couldn’t help but think how sad it is applied in relationships.  Being single for the past 20 years I’ve seen my share of disappointments in marriages, engagements & even friendships.  The “new car smell” has worn off & the “check engine light” is on requiring necessary, routine maintenance.  Wait!! Why pay for maintenance when you can trade in for a newer model!  Zero money down, free financing for a year, low-interest rates!    Newer models doesn’t necessarily refer to being age specific, but newer in experiences.  I immediately grieved for the marriages that are hanging in the balance right now.  Engagements being called off because he/she loved her/him, but doesn’t like her/him at all.  How many times do we see couples invest in their weddings without one fraction of investment afterwards in their marriage??  You see them too!  Many times a divorce is in process & the couple is mediating about who will pay for the credit card debt acquired because of an elaborate wedding.  Don’t get me wrong…..I love weddings, but have learned  I would now beg couples to invest in personal development, financial management & accountability instead.

There are many, many great *books available which will aid in answering questions & scenarios that are guaranteed to surface.  My ultimate reference is the Bible as it offers wisdom of the ages, timeless council & advice.  Invest in your relationships regardless of the stage & consider it the pre-loved inspection!  When maintenance is required, the resources are mapped out, emergency deposits were made &  you’ll never be left stranded!

Blessings,

g

*Not an exhaustive book list, but several of my absolute relationship favorites!–>>> Bible – God; 5 Love Languages, 5 Love Languages of Apology, & many other books by Gary Chapman; Wild At Heart – John Eldredge;  Men Are Like Waffles & Women Are Like Spaghetti Books – Bill & Pam Farrell;  His Needs/Her Needs- Willard Harley; Love & Respect and many other books by  Emerson Eggerichs; Intended For Pleasure – Wheat, Wheat & Rainey; The Anatomy of Peace – Arbinger Institute; Walking With God On A Road You Never Wanted To Travel and many other books by Pastor Mark Atteberry; Sexperiment – Ed & Lisa Young.

Buried–Parable of the Talents

There’s some things going on that I’d like to touch base with you about.  Have you ever gotten to a place in life where you’re not really bored, but feel a change is stirring?  I’ve learned to pay attention to these stirrings & entertain what they may entail.  During my years as a nurse, this generally meant I had to learn something involving new skills, areas of expertise or simply a change with the floor I worked on.  Each step brought me increase, not only financially, but in self-confidence & self-esteem.  However, these changes often required being uncomfortable or stepping outside of my comfort zone.  Later on I would mentor, precept & train others through the same processes with great intrinsic satisfaction.  I have a life motto– Never simply learn something for yourself, learn something well enough to teach it!!  Whether it takes devoting 10,000 hours or daily slight edge adjustments, do it!

Within the past few weeks I’m finding myself at the threshold of the familiar feelings.  Restless, indecisive, contemplative.  I admire John Maxwell & his wisdom & I’ve quoted him for years with this:

“People change when they hurt enough that they have to, learn enough that they want to, or receive enough that they are able to.” ~John Maxwell

I’m not sure what it takes for you to change, but any of those examples are amazing catalysts.  I’ve had a particular scripture resonate within my being to the point that I’m afraid I’ll miss the will of God if I miss changing.  Here it is:

Parable of the Talents

14“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.15“To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.16“Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.17“In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.18“But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19“Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.20“The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’21“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

22“Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’23“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

24“And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.25‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26“But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.27‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.28‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.30“Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Worthless! Yikes!  I never want to be referred to as this! He admitted to being afraid & there are probably many more explanations as to why he buried the one talent.   I don’t want to bury what God has carefully orchestrated for me to gain knowledge of!  At this juncture I feel like example #2 in having learned enough to want change. This doesn’t mean I’ve arrived by any stretch of the imagination!  I’m ready to stretch my faith, stack new knowledge on wisdom & embrace the new.  Better still…….multiply the talents entrusted to me!

ImageWhat’s going on in your life?  Are you stuck?  Which of the catalysts for change is screaming your name? YOU  possess more talent than you probably care to admit.  Others could benefit by you exhibiting courage enough to step out & change!   One of my favorite men recently said, “I don’t mind getting stuck in traffic; don’t get stuck in life. – Bob Goff”

Bury the things worthy of forgetting & utterly leaving behind– excuses, self-sabotage, insecurities, fear, doubt, unbelief & others opinions.

Blessings,

g

Trigger Points

A few months back my pastor quoted a very familiar scripture.  We know it well when used in the context of turning our backs on God.  Rejection of who God is in our life can be defined at various stages, situations or conditions.  Let’s look…….

Jesus replied to Peter, “I can guarantee this truth: Before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you don’t know me.- Matthew 26:34

ImageThe story goes that Peter actually fulfilled that truth.  What isn’t revealed was the different take on this scripture.  It’s unlike anything I had ever heard taught before.  Why did Jesus reference a rooster?  Why didn’t he reference daylight or a specific person or event?  There are amazing lessons in each word spoken by the divine Savior.  Applicable lessons used  thousands of years later!  The sound of roosters crowing was an everyday occurrence in the life & times of Peter.  Each time Peter heard a rooster crow, he immediately realized his denial.  It goes even further than this.  Peter was reconciled to Christ & became one of the most profound leaders in the revival of the New Testament church.

There is something even deeper than his reconciliation.  As I pondered this teaching, I realized we all resonate with this.  How do you think Peter felt when he heard the roosters crow thereafter?  This was a daily reminder to Peter & would have been the perfect opportunity for guilt to eat away at his character & stand to serve Jesus.  How many times have we been out of the will of God, reconciled back to Him & yet……something would immediately cause guilt, remorse, or shame?  Those “somethings” are triggers & the enemy has recorded each & every one that  pushes our buttons!  I grew up on a small farm & had vicious roosters! The crowing was tolerable, but they had long, sharp spurs (talons) that could wreak terror!!  Think about it!  Does a certain smell, or lyrics to a song take you back to a time gone by?  I know it can with me!  I can hear the music from the late 70’s or early 80’s & suddenly transport to a dance floor!  I can even remember conversations!   I finally forgave Willie Nelson for being the typical male!  Seriously!  Can a phrase create a sudden lack of trust even though the phrase was spoken in a past life (divorce, past relationship, etc.) by someone long forgotten?  I constantly & continually struggle with releasing a fear of commitment because of this. I said it!  It’s out here in cyberspace now right?  Triggers, like the mechanism of a gun, in a split second, can be vicious & change the very atmosphere in our minds becoming a catalyst spiraling to sway our decisions.

How do we counter these triggers?  The best advice I can offer is to, first of all, know who Imageyou are RIGHT NOW.  I am not the same person I was 20 years ago or even last week. I seek to grow, change & develop into who God wants me to be.  This realization is empowering on many levels. Reminders of our past are perfect for triggers to arise & attempt to destroy us!   You are not the same person you used to be & hopefully don’t live there anymore!  But wait…..we can’t blame the enemy for some things, because we refuse to move on, let go, & refuse to live in the present.  Do you know someone who has the same hairstyle they’ve had for years because they used to get complimented on it then?  For the record…..Bald is beautiful guys!  LOLOLOL!  There are classic hairstyles ladies,  but let’s face it……some have to go! Another person may refuse to become technologically advanced because of intimidation or lack of self-confidence?  How about wearing the same perfume / cologne?   We set up the perfect battlefield –our mind– & the fight becomes self-inflicted. It’s a comfort zone that can literally be a prison.  I can’t imagine the constant state of turmoil many have by living this way. Please understand I’m not attacking / judging to be mean or degrading.  This is a different dispensation of time & one slight adjustment could make all the difference in how we view ourselves. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Corinthians 5:17.  If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Old things are passed away & behold all things have become new!!  Learn from the past, but please don’t dwell there!  Many, many years ago I had to look in the mirror & quote a mantra that, I must admit, was very painful to quote.  I continued & to date, it is the easiest, most uplifting thing I do.  YOU are amazing & once you take the time to know the real you, no one will ever be able to convince you otherwise.

The second & most vital piece of advice is to learn who you are in Christ.  You are fearfully & wonderfully made, the apple of His eye, made in His image, His handiwork, His friend & the person He surrendered His life for.  Each of those descriptions have scriptures attached  & committing them to memory will be your greatest shield of defense when a trigger happens.  Instead of reacting to the trigger, respond with the living word.  Anything spoken to you that is contrary to what the word of God says about you will soon dissipate.  Don’t misinterpret that there will never be triggers, instead…..you will be more discerning & equipped to face them.

On another note, sometimes things are said that convict us of something we need to seriously work on. Know the difference & I believe we are strengthened when we put forth the effort to change the things we can.

You are beautiful, yet not defenseless   When your “rooster” crows, pull the trigger back with confidence, conviction & clarity!

Blessings,

g

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Lessons Learned

Wow!  I’m so far behind in posts!  I have some notes saved to write, but I chose this to be the first!  In a world of best practices, advice, personal development, & etc., this pretty much sums up what I believe!  I respect this lady immensely!!

We could read & meditate on one daily & start over through the rest of the year!

Always remember lessons are invaluable, but your life is beyond even more that to someone!  YOU make a difference!

Blessings,

g

 

45 Life Lessons & 5 to Grow On by Regina Brett , a columnist for The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift..

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Mirror-mirror…….

As we enter a wonderful New Year, please consider the quote in the pic below.  Take time to let go of things that don’t serve you & embrace unseen possibilities!  Unpack the emotional, self sabotaging, traps you’ve allowed to ensnare you.

Past failures should never be allowed to hold you captive, but should be considered teachable moments.  Failures have been one of my greatest tools for strengthening & course correction.  Past successes, regardless of how stellar they are, should be a memory.  What awaits each & every one of us in 2013 should be met with such anticipation, we may even lose some sleep!  Seriously!

Try this exercise for me!  It’s not strenuous, so don’t panic!  🙂  Go find a mirror & tell the person staring back how amazing they are!  I know this may be awkward at first because that person is you, but trust me…….once you love & respect yourself, things change!  Instead of telling that person how stupid they are for some of the crazy things they’ve done, validate their life & encourage them to push on toward becoming who God desires them to be.  Pick out some qualities you admire & affirm that person.   Tell that person what God says about them!  They are fearfully & wonderfully made & are the apple of His eye!   Let’s face it…..there are moments in time when you need to hear something positive.  Why wait on someone else to give that to  you?  They’re dealing with their own issues & may not be able to recognize you need their words. You want to know something awesome?  Once you begin validating who you are, you quickly recognize the look on others faces & can quickly validate them!  You become a mirror for them!

Many years ago I was beyond distraught & everything around me was crumbling.  Yes…..everything!  I quickly realized, as a single parent, my kids were my first priority.  Regardless of the depth of tragedy I faced, it wasn’t about me, so letting these things get the best of me wasn’t an option.  Not only was my reaction going to be an example for the present moment, but  I knew they would one day face challenges & hopefully could draw from this example for themselves.  Instead of allowing circumstances dictate my emotions, I focused the energy that could  have easily been anxiety into prayer & chose to walk in peace.  Now peace didn’t consume me immediately, but daily as I refused to allow my reactions to rule.  I learned I had a choice & peace was my choice. As I responded to this, things were easier to bear.  I tried this mirror-mirror exercise & while it was extremely painful at first, it quickly become an instant pick-me-upper! Now, years later, I love that person staring back at me.  I encourage & challenge her on a daily basis toward change.  YOU can do the same & I strongly suggest  it become a regular practice for you in the new year.

Blessings & happy, happy 2013!

One is a whole number!

g

better ahead