HAPPY JUBILEE BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!

Birthdays (July 12th) to me, are always a time of reflection. And since this year is a big one, I thought I’d make a list of things I’d tell my younger twenty-year-old self. Almost thirty years ago (September), I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Well, my Savior, definitely. The Lord part is questionable, if you know what I mean. But that’s a different blog post. Anyway, here’s what I’d tell my twenty-year-old new Christian self.

  1. Lock your hair. Ms. Goldberg got it right. LOL I decided to lock (Microlocs: two-strand twists.) my hair a few months ago. No more detangling, no more blow drying, straightening, twisting, etc. etc. etc. The shampooing process is only 7-10 minutes instead of two days. LOL Free yourself, foo! 🙂 Warning: Your long hair will shrink like crazy, but that’s all part of the locking process.
  2. Your body is perfect just the way it is. You’re not too skinny. FYI, the women who keep commenting on your body are actually insecure about theirs. Stop trying to gain weight. You’ll regret it later. LOL I have ten pounds that I’d love to get rid of, but it just won’t leave. It just won’t!! Seriously though, LOVE YOURSELF!
  3. Yeah, you don’t like meat no matter how much ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, hot sauce you put on it. It’s perfectly normal. It’s gross to you. You’re going to be a vegetarian real soon.
  4. You really don’t want to be a Psychologist. Drop out now, girl!!
  5. Family is important. You will have a great relationship with your siblings one day. I’m living it now. 🙂
  6. You’re a writer and your stories will be seen and read.
  7. You’ll never blend in and that’s fine. You are different.
  8. Your identity is in Christ. That lady you thought was strange who told you to study Ephesians wasn’t strange at all. She’s trying to help you. Knowing who you are in Christ is a game changer. Don’t internalize what others say about you, and don’t say negative things about yourself or others.
  9. Receive God’s love, grace, and mercy so that you can give it to others. The reason you’re so hard on yourself is that you really don’t understand the depths of God’s love for you. Receive it!! You really really need it. Ask God to show you how to love His people. You need His strength.
  10. Surrender to the Lord. All of you! It’s a mindset and a daily activity. There’s true freedom in Christ Jesus!
  11. Spend MORE time with the Lord. The more you know Him, the more you’ll recognize His voice. Admit everything and let Him heal you. Admitting you’re hurt isn’t a sign of weakness.
  12. Be led by the Holy Spirit. Most of the time, He’ll tell you to be quiet. 🙂
  13. Set healthy boundaries. The people who are supposed to be in your life will accept them.
  14. Be who God says you are. He’s the one who created you, so believe what He says!
  15. You’re right about Antoine. He’s a keeper. 🙂

What would you tell your younger self?

There’s so much more I could tell my twenty-year-old self. I’m grateful for what I’ve learned over the years and looking forward to learning more. I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned and put into practice is #10. There’s true freedom in Christ Jesus if we surrender all to Him. I would take the time to include Bible verses, but since I mentioned Ephesians, I thought I’d elaborate on the lady who I thought was strange. Here goes!

So yeah, I met this lady who firmly told me that I needed to study Ephesians. Her response to my weak, “Okay,” was an intense, “I’m serious. You need to study Ephesians.” Um, that lady didn’t know me from Eve. LOL See what I did there? 🙂 I took her suggestion about a quarter serious. I did attempt to study what she strongly suggested, but it didn’t last long at all. Over the years, I’ve read/studied Ephesians; however, in 2017, the Holy Spirit reminded me of that conversation I had with that lady. Some people have life verses. I have a life book–Ephesians. LOL It took decades for me to finally understand that encounter with that lady. Better late than never.

Anyway, I’m so grateful to God for allowing me to still be here. I’m a blessed woman indeed! Is my life perfect? Nope, and He never promised us a life of perfection. I know that no matter what happens, God is in control, and I know Romans 8:28 is the absolute truth like the rest of the Bible.

Well, I guess that’s all I have to say. My prayer is that you will receive all that God has for you and that you trust Him completely. He knows exactly what we need.

I’m not exempt, I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out!

Real Rest

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

I’m not a frequent reader of the Message Bible, but I like the translation of these verses. Have a great weekend! May you take a real rest in Jesus.

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out!

Grateful!

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

Yes, we have a long way to go, but we can’t deny what we have. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for all the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country. I pray for strength, comfort, and peace for their family members. And that their needs will be met. In Jesus’ mighty and matchless name, I pray. Amen!

Just blogging it out!

Straight from My Heart

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

During my bout with COVID-19 this past January, a short story that I had written a few years ago popped into my mind. I decided to read it, not knowing what to expect because I hadn’t looked at it since 2017 and had no intentions of looking at it again. I may have even had a funeral for it. LOL After I finished reading it, I thought, “I really like this story.”

Initially, it was supposed to be included in a collection with other authors, but it didn’t make the cut. From what I remember, that manuscript came back marked up in red with all the reasons it didn’t fit the project. My name was literally on the book cover and then deleted, like–

LOL In hindsight, I can confidently say that she was correct in that the story didn’t belong. It definitely wasn’t the right time for me to release anything that I had written.

Fast forward to today, I see no reason to change the story. It just didn’t fit in that collection. It’s precisely the way it’s supposed to be. No, it doesn’t fit tradition, and that’s completely fine with me because it’s a story Straight from My Heart. I hope that whoever reads it will be inspired and entertained. I designed the cover and published Season of Love on Amazon–$1.99 Kindle/$6.99 Paperback. It would be great if you read it. And please post a review if you do. 🙂

I knew I’d start releasing my stories this year. I never imagined Season of Love would be the first, but I’m glad it is. That whole experience is part of what God used to bring me to this point in my life–in His peace. I’m amazed at what God has done since 2017.

I don’t have a website, Instagram, Twitter, or all the other things I was suppose have before releasing Season of Love. All of that will come in time. I do have an author page on Facebook that I started a few days ago. Click the link to follow. Well, that’s about it.

May the Lord bless you beyond your imagination as you seek His will.

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out

He’s Our Living Hope!!

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9 NASB)

JESUS IS OUR HOPE! Trust Him!!

Just blogging it out!!

Ahhh, The Little Things!

Earlier today, I yelled downstairs to my husband, “I can smell the black bean soup up here.” To which he replied, “Ohhh, cool.” The ability to smell the aroma of something cooking in the kitchen may not seem like a big deal, and a month ago, it wasn’t.

Okay, so this whole COVID-19 pandemic thing is real. Prayerfully, you won’t get it, and hopefully, you’re not one of those people who refuses to follow the CDC safety recommendations. I NEVER expected or wanted to see a positive COVID-19 result on my life resume. Know what I mean? As a matter of fact, I questioned the validity of my test results until Saturday, January 16th, at around 1:30 pm. Let me back up a little.

My husband and I received our positive results on Tuesday morning, January 12th. I was shocked for a split second, then I asked myself, “Why not me (us)?” Yes, we’re cautious, stay home (as much as possible) and away from folks, cook at home, have groceries delivered (wipe down items), etc.

The truth is, we have a good idea of what led to our bout with COVID-19 through contact tracing, but that’s not the topic of this blog.

Now back to Saturday, January 16th.

Yeah, so I thought I was asymptomatic because the only reason why I knew I had COVID-19 was because Kaiser told me I did via email. Either asymptomatic, or they sent me someone else’s results by mistake. I didn’t have a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pains, fatigue, etc. I exercised (at home) as usual and everything else. UNTIL Saturday, January 16th, at around 1:30 pm.

I had just eaten lunch, which I tasted and smelled, by the way. I decided to have a Cara Cara orange for a snack. That orange looked like it had a lot of flavor. I bit into it after peeling it and tasted nothing. Zilch! Nada! I was like,

That orange was void of all citrus goodness! I got up from the table, stood over our diffuser with lemon oil in it, and inhaled as hard as possible. Nothing!! I sniffed eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil. I could feel the stimulating sensation of the oils but couldn’t smell a thing.

And that’s when I said, “Okay, Lord. I’m still trusting You, completely no matter what.” I said that and meant it upon the diagnosis. But I didn’t have a reason to be concerned. Okay, yes. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the world, but at that point, I had no symptoms. My thoughts: What’s next? Is this lack of taste and smell thing permanent? Is it the start of more severe symptoms?

Of course, I prayed against all that. Thank you, Jesus! My ability to taste and smell is back. Hence, the reason why I yelled to my husband that I could smell our dinner, black bean soup. 🙂 Ahhh, The Little Things! By the grace of God, my husband and I had mild cases of COVID-19. The only thing that followed the loss of senses was a little nasal congestion.

We don’t know when this COVID-19 thing will be over, but there are ways we can lower our risk of contracting and spreading it. No one is exempt. I know quite a few people who’ve had it who experienced mild symptoms like us to people having to go to the emergency room. There’s no way of knowing how the virus will affect us, so following the CDC guidelines and recommendations are extremely important.

As Christians, my husband and I take the guidelines and recommendations as a way of showing love for God’s creation. That may seem silly to some, but this walk isn’t about us. We wear our mask, the correct way, for you, not just for us. Social/Physical distancing, disinfecting, washing hands, and other precautions can be a matter of life or death. Why risk it?

I’m so grateful that our experience wasn’t life-threatening. Our prayer is for the eradication of all variants of COVID-19. And for mercy for us all. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Obedience is better than sacrifice. Stay safe and well.

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out

Happy 21st Anniversary, TAntoine!!

It was breezy and rainy on October 16, 1999, but it didn’t bother me one bit. The familiar musky, fresh scent from the moist ground lingered in the air, an indication of an extended downpour. I welcomed the rain even if it was my wedding day. If I’m not mistaken, I still had a few errands to run that morning, including getting my hair pinned into a French twist, a popular formal hairstyle back then. The stylist arrived an hour late, but I was getting married, so I didn’t let it bother me. Besides, she didn’t charge me, “It’s my wedding gift to you.” She said. Who could argue with that? LOL

Our wedding wasn’t fancy at all, and we didn’t go on an extravagant honeymoon. We drove to Wisconsin for a quiet honeymoon in a cabin in the woods. We just wanted to get married and start our lives together. For me, a diamond engagement ring was out of the question. Instead, I wanted matching wedding bands. Someone told me that people would think we didn’t have any money if we wore simple wedding bands. My response, “So! We don’t.” LOL Antoine and I have never been into putting on airs to impress people, even today. We’re just us.

God has blessed us tremendously, and I am in awe of His love for us every day. We lived a lot of life during the last twenty-one years. Through it all, we’ve grown closer to Jesus and each other. I wouldn’t change a thing, and I look forward to every minute that the Lord allows us to be together. Happy 21st Anniversary, TAntoine!!

If you haven’t made Jesus first in your life, stop playing. Do it!

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .
Blogging It Out!!

Sighs and Shrugs

An opportunist is a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans. (Oxford Dictionary)

The difference between protesters and looters/rioters is simple–motive. Plain and simple. <Sighs and Shrugs.> 

My heart aches for George Floyd, his family, and all the people who knew him. I’m praying because I know Jesus is bigger than what’s going on, no matter what it looks like now. God help us all.

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out.