Good Old Freedom

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23)

In a world where everything is accepted, personal gain is a dominant driving force, and the goal is stuff, one of the best things you can do on a regular basis is #CheckYourHeart. Whew, that’s a mouth full, but it’s true and for our good. Have you watched or read the news lately? We deal with isms and schisms daily along with our personal challenges. Take all that and then go to work, school or even the grocery store where we encounter other people who are dealing with their own stuff. Our responses are a reflection of what’s in our heart, right?

#CheckYourHeart means precisely what it says. Our feelings/flesh can lead us down a dark path. We have to examine our hearts to make sure God is on the throne. If He is, our actions and reactions will fall in line with His word. If not, well, you know. 🙂

As I mentioned in the previous post, 2018 was one of the most fulfilling years of my life. Most people equate fulfillment with attaining something tangible like a promotion, a raise, a degree, accomplishing a childhood dream, or a championship. Those things are great, and I’ve achieved quite a few throughout my life. But nothing really compares to what I gained throughout last year.

We had the pleasure of seeing a couple we haven’t seen in over two years. They noticed a difference in me in which the husband summed it up as Good Old FREEDOM. freedom

I have to agree with him. Examining my heart led me to that freedom. (#CheckYourHeart) I’m extremely grateful to our Lord, Jesus Christ for freedom in Him!

Confession time! One of the most significant heart issues I had was loving God’s people. Before you gasp, hear me out. 🙂 I loved, but I allowed certain behaviors to hinder that love, and I was comfortable with it. I said things like, “I can’t stand people,” and other variations. I allowed the behavior of people to influence my feelings. I think one of the biggest tricks of the enemy is that he uses valid situations to keep us bound. What do I mean? I’ll tell ya.

Have you ever gone out of your way to help someone in need? Maybe you made a considerable sacrifice to make sure that person had what they needed. Then, POW! That very person intentionally does something hurtful to you. The operative word here is intentional. Maybe what you did for them wasn’t enough in their eyes. Or perhaps someone lied on you or betrayed you. Those are valid situations of hurt in which the enemy can use to keep you bound if you’re not careful. 

The enemy will use ANY opportunity to steal your joy and to change your focus. That’s why you have to #CheckYourHeart even more than you check your phone. HA!! (I’m included.)

Since I’m honest, I’ll tell you this too. I had a terrible habit of venting to other creations. LOL I know that doesn’t make sense yet. Let me explain. One of the reasons it took so long for my heart to heal is that I discussed my situations with people (creations) more than I did with the Lord (Creator). God is the one who made us. He knows us inside and outside. God knew us before we were formed in our mother’s wombs. He is our source and our lifeline. If we’re connecting more with people than we are with God, we will lose our focus. Just about everyone I knew gave me a valid reason to not trust them. I WAS SPENT!! I really don’t know what that means exactly, it’s just something I say about the empty feeling I experienced. 🙂 I was done!! Exhausted! I no longer wanted to interact with people and began to be comfortable in my loveless state of mind. But the word of God says, But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8) 

But I did love God so, I finally asked Him to help me have a heart for ALL people, not just the ones who didn’t get on my nerves. LOL Just keeping it real. It’s tough sometimes, but the ultimate goal is to be obedient.

I love this part!!

About eight months post healing while I was walking Scout, our dog, I began to ask the Lord what He wanted me to tell His people about what I learned during my experience. The answer was clear! Love even when it’s hard for you to love. 

Genuine love. Not that bad thoughts and actions covered by smilingsmiley clap stuff. That’s phony and is a product of our strength. We’re not going to be able to love like Christ through our own strength or with our friends and families. We have to rely solely on the Lord’s divine, infinite power.

I no longer say any variation of “I can’t stand people.” It’s not acceptable in my life anymore and doesn’t reflect Christ. I take my issues straight to my Source. Do I talk to people (creations) about what I’m going through? Yes, of course. The Bible makes it clear that we need each other. My connection with God (Creator) is my priority and is the only way to freedom.

I have so much more to say, but I’ll save it for the next post. 🙂 I’ll leave you with a couple of Bible verses.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6) 

I look forward to reading your comments. That’s my subtle way of asking you to please tell me about a recent #CheckYourHeart experience. We can help each other. 😉

I pray you’re walking in His love, strength, peace and GOOD OLD FREEDOM. Don’t forget to #CheckYourHeart.

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .

Blogging it out!!

 

#CheckYourHeart

Let the countdown begin!! In less than 100 hours we’ll bid adieu to 2018 and say “happy new year” to everyone we come in contact with for the next couple of months. You know it’s true. Never could figure out the expiration date on the phrase. I usually stop greeting people with it after about a week, but I continue to reciprocate for as long as people say it to me. LOL

How long do you say it?

Anyway, reflection time! Overall, this year has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life. So much so that I’m starting a new blog series called #CheckYourHeart. I thought long and hard about what I should write in this blog. I’ll begin with a confession. One that I pray will help whoever takes the time to read this post. Here goes!

I’ve been a Christian for over two decades and was the biggest sucker-upper.

Sucker-upper: one who sucks up hurt and denies the feeling of pain rather than dealing with it and allowing the Lord to heal his/her heart. 

Not always, but quite often. Sucker-uppers are usually pretty strong people and can take a lot of crap without missing a beat. They disregard their feelings to get the job done and are not big complainers. When they do speak up, aww man!! They usually wish they hadn’t, and so the next time something goes down, THEY SUCK IT UP instead of speaking up to AVOID drama.

That’s not good for the heart, folks. I’m not talking about the hunk of muscle that’s pumping blood throughout the body. I’m talking about the mind or the subconscious. That place where we feel emotions, make decisions, make choices, reason. Know what I mean? I didn’t have a problem with dealing with the big things because they made sense to me. Dealing with people was hands down the most challenging. And since I’m honest, I spent a good 2-3 months being a people pleaser in 2017. If you know me at all, you know I am not a people pleaser by nature. LOL In the whirlwind of sucking it up and people pleasing I lost myself. Something (s) HAD TO CHANGE!!!

I made several necessary changes, but the most important was surrendering to the Lord. Yeah, yeah I thought I had surrendered before, and I did. Don’t forget what the Bible says about dying to self daily, renewing our minds, guarding our hearts, etc. It’s a constant thing. If you think where you are is enough to get you through the rest of your life, think again.

Carnal Justification (I think I just made that up. LOL) blinded me. Everything that pissed me off or caused me pain, I could always find someone who could relate. You know, validating my feelings. Afterward, I would suck it up and carry on as if nothing happened. As for the people who would try to come at me with Christianese or with correction, it went in one ear and out the other. Ever heard of the expression, “Pot calling the kettle black”? My heart wasn’t open to receiving. I’m talking rock solid!! I had a heart condition, but I didn’t see it until I looked harder.

One day in all my fed-up-ness (LOL), I told the Lord, “Okay, okay I give up!! I’m tired of me!!” And the transformation began. What happened, you say?

I realized there were areas in my life where I was comfortable with leaving Jesus out. I DIDN’T SEE IT, THOUGH. Before you start gasping at my ungodly behavior, you may be doing the same thing so get off Seabiscuit. (Your high horse.) LOL

We call them pet-peeves or preferences. I guess they can be harmless, but if they’re keeping you from showing love to others, you may need to #CheckYourHeart. But hey, I’m writing about my experience. I made changes immediately such as:

  • No longer confess pet-peeves like, “I don’t do women because they are messy.” Started going to Women’s fellowship to shock the enemy.
  • Absorb more Jesus than anything. Turned off the TV & shut down social media (Read, study, pray, meditate on the word, etc.)
  • Choose the Word! Character over my feelings no matter the foolishness I faced or heard.
  • Walk in love and offer grace (Grace doesn’t give us a license to sin.)
  • Go to the Creator (God) rather than to other creations (people) for validation.
  • And many, many more!! Daily!!

Two thousand eighteen has been an excellent year for me. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences in the 2019 blog series, #CheckYourHeart. I’m also looking forward to your comments sharing your experiences too. Remember, we are all made in His image, and we all need Him because we are all damaged even if you won’t admit it. I’m not exempt.

I’m just blogging it out, Oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Check out this funny quote. “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.” ~Joey Adams

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

May you continue to find hope in our Lord, Jesus Christ. And may His peace be with you and your family as you celebrate His arrival.

JESUS IS LORD!!

POOP WARS pt. 1

I have three questions for you. What irked you today? What was your initial reaction? How did you handle it?

My day started off great and on schedule. I even had time to walk the dog.  I used that time to have a long chat with the Lord. Sang some praise songs and then . . .

WHO LET THEIR DOG POOP IN OUR YARD, AGAIN?!? That was the question that popped into my mind as I looked up and down our street trying to find a medium size dog (according to the size of the doodies) walking with the human being who allowed such a tragedy. Now mind you, I noticed the pile of dog doodie right after I tossed my dog’s doodie into our trash can. (Today is trash day, so our trash can is sitting in front of our house.) I’m not going to lie, seeing that doodie in our grass stirred up a little some anger.

As I reached for the extra poop bags in my pocket, I mumbled to Scout all of my feelings about the person who so rudely left that doodie. Seriously, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to pick up after your dog. But, I get it. Picking up dog doodie is pretty gross, but it comes with the territory, right?

Why do some people think it’s okay to:

  1. Let their dog walk in someone’s yard?
  2. Poop in someone’s yard?
  3. Not pick up after their dog?

I’m not ashamed to tell you that I wasted a little time looking out of my window hoping to see the doodie leaver walk by with their doodie maker. I remembered seeing a guy walking two dogs while I walked Scout and thought I would politely ask him if he was the doodie leaver. THAT’S A LIE!! I wanted to say, “Yo, I caught you, foo. Don’t be letting your dog doodie in our yard!!!!!” LOL

I considered making a “do not leave doodie in my yard” sign. Then I thought I should check with our HOA (Home Owners Association) to see if I could actually put the doodie sign in our yard. Then I thought about posting something on our neighborhood community page about my recent doodie incident. So many things came to mind. Then I realized 30 minutes had gone by.

I had to laugh at myself because I let something minor distract me. The doodie had been done, and there was ABSOLUTELY nothing I could do about it except what I did. I picked up the doodie. LOL I picked up someone else’s mess because I didn’t want it there. I can still try to find a solution but allowing it to distract me from what I needed to do and allowing it to annoy me is something that didn’t have to happen.

So what am I really saying?

Whether they’re planted by the enemy or a test from the Lord, distractions are inevitable. The only thing we can control is our reaction. Don’t get me wrong!! We ain’t called to be punks!! LOL There are times when we will have to deal with stuff, but BEWARE of our desire for instant gratification.

Okay, I’m going to share a funny story that someone told us as an example of instant gratification.

One of the young pastors (not the senior pastor), let’s just call him Pastor N, at our church, told us a hilarious story about how he reacted to someone, let’s call him Dude, who taunted him while he pumped gas one day. After enduring many insults including “big boy,” Pastor N offered Dude a few choice words which included profanity. BOOM, INSTANT GRATIFICATION! Later, when Pastor N told a trusted friend about the incident, although the friend empathized, he said Pastor N was wrong.

adam sandler

Pastor N knew he was wrong. As he told the story, he confessed that he’s sensitive about his weight and a few things had happened that day that left him distracted and not focused on the Lord. I love his transparency, though. I have great respect for a pastor who’s willing to tell a recent story of transgression. That takes a lot of guts. And it was one of his better sermons if I say so myself. By the way, Dude rolled up his window in fear and drove away.

The commonality in these two stories is disrespect. Pastor N and I felt disrespected, and we both desired to handle the situation to feel better. Here’s the part where people may disagree. As followers of Christ, we should choose character/integrity over our feelings. Again, we’re not called to be punks. But if our actions cause more conflict to feel instantly gratified, then we need to dig a liiiiiiittttlllle deepa (deeper). In other words, we need to check our hearts.

I guess my point is, love even when it’s hard for you to love. We can handle a difficult situation without causing irreparable harm to our character.

Will there be a POOP WARS pt. 2? I sure hope not, but I have a feeling I’ll be scooping poop out of our front yard for as long as we live here. I can’t control what people do, but I can definitely control my actions.

I’m not exempt, I’m just  . . .

Blogging it out. Oh, and don’t forget to tell me what irked you today. By the way, that sign can be purchased at www.dogpoopsigns.com. LOL

I just may buy this, or maybe they’ll send me one for free for promoting their website.

#checkyourheart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Thankful!!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. (Psalm 100:4,5)

<In my Michael Bublé voice> It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go. LOL 33 days until Christmas, folks. Thanksgiving is just about over, and the shopping has begun. Well, not for us. Toine is watching football, of course, trying not to fall into a food-induced nap, and Scout is right here. scout thanksgiving 2018 🙂 I’m sitting here in front of my laptop thinking about what I’m most thankful for.

It’s simple. I’m thankful that Jesus loves me. Yeah, I know He loves you too, but I’m talking about me right now. LOL No, seriously, there was a time when I didn’t understand how much He loves me like somehow I had to earn His love. Hmmm, maybe I’ll tell you the whole story one day.

For now, I’ll say I’M THANKFUL!!

Just Blogging It Out . . . Oh, and Have a Blessed Weekend!

P.S. I hope you’re still praying for the world.  

 

 

We’re Living It

 Marrying the right person makes it harder for me to socialize with others. LOL ~Tanya M. Saldana

The above quote is funny and absolutely TRUE!!

Antoine and I just celebrated our nineteenth wedding anniversary on October 16th. That’s right, folks. NINETEEN YEARS!! We thank God every day for blessing us with each other. 🙂 To celebrate, we went camping, one of our favorite activities. RV style, of course, along with our pooch, Scout. scout camping Besides getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we enjoyed hiking, eating, playing games, and listening to hungry coyotes howling right outside our camp. Okay, the howling coyotes part was a bit eerie, but it comes with the territory. 🙂

Toine and I also like to reflect on the previous year and set goals for the next. I think one of the biggest things we noticed about our 18th year of marriage is that we took a lot of time to enjoy our lives. More time than usual I guess because I’m writing about it. LOL We slowed down and made lots of necessary changes. God has truly blessed us for it! You have to get rid of the old to make room for the new. #focuscheck

On another note, my nephew, Brian, called me a few weeks ago to tell me he’s getting married next year. I’m not sure when it happened, but my nephew is a grown man. <sigh> He’s currently in the Navy and living in Honolulu which is where his wedding is going to be. I’m looking forward to it! Anyway, like most married people, I asked if I could give him some unsolicited advice. He quickly said yes, and so I offered him the following three tips:

  • Don’t ever lie to each other and if either of you has lied, come clean now. If you can’t be 100% with the person you’re planning to be with forever, then you shouldn’t get married.
  • And speaking of lies–It isn’t your spouse’s responsibility to make you happy and vice versa. That’s a lie straight out of the pit Hell. (I can say Hell in this context because it’s a place. :)) Going into a marriage with that expectation will land you in a vicious cycle of misery. If you please the Lord and seek Him, your spouse will reap the benefits. Of course, you should love your spouse, be kind, grow closer, etc. But your happiness should not depend on whether or not your spouse is giving gifts or stroking your ego. They’re not God, and neither are you. I know some people may have an issue with this one. Lol
  • Get comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations. I know this is a bit of an oxymoron and may cause you to clench your cheeks, but hear me out. Ha! Things happen that aren’t so pleasant, and we make mistakes. We’re human. Ignoring issues don’t make them disappear. No one likes the tough times, but they sure make us stronger if we stay focused on the Lord. Remember, it’s just a season, not permanent.

Welp, that was it. Yes, I could’ve gone on and on, but the above is what popped into my mind. He’s got a whole lot of married folks in his life who will offer advice. I’m proud of him and will continue to pray for him and his fiancee.

Get a load of this picture of him. It’s part of my refrigerator decor.

 

lil brian
I wonder what he was thinking. LOL

 

Now back to our anniversary. We thank God for our life together and look forward to every minute He gives us. I’m so grateful for the bond we have that is locked solid with Jesus. People often wonder if true love exists. We say, of course. We’re Living It!

 

sunset lake jennings 10-18
Antoine took this picture with his cell phone. Can you believe I forgot my camera? LOL

 

 

Just blogging it out!

P.S. I hope you’re still praying for the world.

 

 

Custom-Made

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1)

Nothing beats hanging with my hubby and pooch. No frills. Just us, a pooper scooper, and good conversation.

Be thankful and enjoy the blessings God has given you. They were Custom-Made and precisely what you need. Have a wonderful weekend!

Blogging It Out!

P.S.

Continue to pray for the world.