My Promise Is Finally Here Because God Never Fails

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Today, my Sister taught a lesson entitled, “Dancing In Purple Stilettos” (Psalm 137:1-4). (It is a copyrightable piece-classic. By the way, you should invite her to teach it.) It is an eye-opening lesson about “sister-assisted transformation” taken from the characters and nuances of the book-adapted to film, “The Color Purple”. This is my second time hearing it and I have come away with something different each time.

Her key points, followed by my nuggets.
#1 Change your attitude about your life experiences.
Don’t be bound by your life experiences. Do not give your voice away and do not let anyone take your voice.
#2 Open your mouth.
When you’re wounded, you won’t care or give a second thought about wounding your sister. (Celie told Harpo to beat Sophia … What the world?! Because that was her frame of reference from her own life experiences.)
When there is an infraction or conflict, the way to respond to it is to go to the source …. Sophia went to Celie, spoke of the significance of what she had done and exclaimed her response to it (All my life I had to fight …) That forthright communication changed (transformed) and established a sister-assisted transformation, relationship and understanding. There was no speculation, just a straight-forward meeting of the minds.
#3 Have integrity and do what is right in whatever situation.
(Live out your God identity every day of your life, never compromise who you are) don’t let any life (past or present) experience, man, family, failure, nothing make you lose or devalue your personal worth or your Christ identity.
#4 Forgive unconditionally!
(Learn to accept the apology you never received).
Your sister is not your enemy. Forgiveness is a movement toward the point when offenses no longer have an affect on you.
Don’t let your situation name you or define you.
#5 Laugh out loud! … (I missed the rest)
Some things in life, the tricks and traps of the enemy are so ludicrous, you should just go into a hysterical insane LOL. Release the toxins in your spirit by opening your mouth in praise or a soul cry to God, a wail or unceasing knock that will command His attention and favor … He will answer.
#6 To get delivered, you have to get fed up with being bound up!
When you get delivered, your sister will get delivered too. Someone (maybe a whole ministry or community of people, your family or your household) may be tied to your deliverance. Get delivered! Stay delivered!

Then, ultimately! like Celie on the porch in the final scene, with all the characters with her or in view of her PROMISE, take that Frankenstein walk toward your promise, because what you see, you cannot believe it is finally here, in your view, in your grasp. See your promise!!! Take hold of it. Live in it!
(You’re FREE, do not be bound again!)
Then take your dance with God in your purple stilettos.

Shaving Mister …
My ultimate takeaway was that Shug was running (sacrificing herself for her sister) to save Celie, her sister, (not Mister). When we get to the point where it is more important to protect and love each other than it is to wound, outshine and dismiss each other, WE will be so much more empowered as a collective body to do damage to the kingdoms of this world and to be effective change agents in every setting of our lives.

Presenter: Jo-Ann Lipford Sanders, Ph.D.
Professor, Heidelberg University

Brand New Mercies

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(Linking up with http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/. The prompt is PAINT)

God gives us a brand new, clean slate, blank canvas on which to PAINT each day of our lives.

New Mercies, new opportunities to live the more abundant life He has already given to us. The paint palate has all the colors of the rainbow and the dark ones too. It is our choice which ones we will choose to highlight, which ones we will appropriately blend to make our lives fulfilling, well, joyful and promising. All the paint colors are necessary to create the most true canvas of our lives, the bright, the mellow, the brilliant, the subtle, the muted, the dark too. They are all elements of the beautiful masterpiece that we we are. Take your brushes and create the artistry of your life so that it is one that firstly pleases God and one that gives you fulfillment (which is not necessarily perfection) with the truth (your life reality) of what is on the canvas.

[We spend Fridays writing. One prompt, just 5 minutes, a community of nearly 300 writers.]
Five Minute Friday

The Ultimate Food Fight

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We’ve all seen the scenes on television or film of the campus or prison dining hall that erupts when someone yells, “food fight!” Then you see food flying and mayhem until the principal or warden comes in and wrestles someone to the floor or yells for order. No, I’m not talking about that kind of food fight.
I’m talking about the food fight that we don’t know we are fighting.
I can’t remember when I first heard or read, ‘I need to change my relationship with food’. That was an ah-ha moment for me. I had never thought of it like that before.
Many of us have this dependency, sugar-daddy like relationship with food. ‘It makes everything good, better, best. Everything good is somehow tied to eating, and unfortunately eating unhealthy, but oh so satiating, fat and sugar and salt and processed compositions, in a box, bag or from a window.
Particularly as African Americans many prevalent chronic illnesses in our ethnic community are linked to our diets. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation and obesity. These all present themselves in weight gain, fatigue, migraines, joint and muscle pain, toxicity and many ways that keep us asking ourselves, “What is wrong with me?” This is not a medical blog nor am I a medical expert or practitioner. So back to the fight.
Much of our life is tied to the lust of the cheeseburger, lust of the fried chicken, lust of the bacon, butter and deep fried, creamy, smothered, sweet, caffeinated whatever. Our senses tell us we have to have it, we can’t live without it. So even though our sugar-daddy is not good for us, we hold on to him, we stay in the fight and we keep losing. Why is that?
For so long (and still now) I was in the matrix of this food fight, this compulsive eating. It would pick me up, comfort me, then let me down, crash and cast me aside. Comfort my stress, anxiety, laden my happy times and occasions for celebration. I guess we all are dependent on something. Food seems to be the lesser of evils when you think about drugs, alcohol, nicotine, sex. However, the fight rages on.
How to stop the madness? When you have a poor relationship with food, always choosing the ‘bad boy’? You change your thinking. Ah, behavior modification, new input, thought change, education and information, but mostly desire and determination. Practice, discipline, PRAYER, more of that, and a whole new fight.
A fight for my life, my health, my well being. In the new fight, I (and you) WIN!

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

[This is lengthy and inconclusive, but pushed out of my sleep at 5 AM this morning. I pray it blesses and inspires someone in their fight.]

There’s A Writer In Me

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “WRITER”.
Although I’ve never considered myself a Writer, in the sense of an author, I’ve always been a Writer.
A notetaker, a recorder, a lover of words, thoughts and nuggets on paper. Often I look through drawers and tucked in places where I find notes I’ve written or received from eternities ago. One day, I squashed my fears and started a blog, then I quit. My godniece who blogs at http://www.myvicariouslyfe.com inspired me. When she noticed I had not written anything on the blog for nearly a year, she inquired, “Auntie, what are you doing about your blog?” That pulled me back. She is a real writer, a professional editor, but she encouraged me to write.
Now nearly 90 blog posts later, I’m still at it. It is not as regular or fluid from a place of confidence as I would like, but it holds true to my inspiration … to inspire, motivate and share sage wisdom. I continue to be inspired by lessons from Valorie Burton’s book that proposes one concept of how “Successful Women Think Differently” is to write. Inspired also by Karen L. Gilliam’s book, “Finding Your Voice In A World That Needs It”, that declares everyone has a story, so tell it or write it.
Writing gives me a voice, open expression, and a vehicle to share my heart with a community that I don’t even know. It pushes out what God is saying, share.
Linking to http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/

Quitting Before You Get Started

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Fear of failing held me hostage for an eternity. I finally realized it was just an excuse (filled with corruption). The battle is in our minds, right. That’s a lesson we know all too well. The voices and ‘stinking thinking’ that derail our efforts and successes shout so loudly that we shut down under the weight of contemptible excuses.
This writing is just a response to the voices and ‘stinking thinking’, SIT DOWN AND HUSH!
My sister-friend said she is withholding from beginning a healthy eating discipline because she fears failing. My Bishop Charles William Watkins (In Heaven) always taught us, “You’re never a failure until you stop trying.” But what if you never even TRY?!
I can only share my own experience of my still unyielding battle with healthy eating choices and weight loss. So many other things in life too, fearing I would not succeed so not even trying. Fortunately, though, I’ve enjoyed some successes just by taking the first step.
I finally went to the dentist after nearly half my life to rid my body of toxins that could kill me. That was a life-changing experience for me. Oral health and a never-before seen beautiful smile that increased my confidence and self-love. Then I applied to college at age 50, enrolled in my first course, pursued my undergraduate degree, completed my B.A. and walked across that stage at age 55 with all the memorable Pomp and Circumstance … a dream realized for myself.
But this weight! It seemed insurmountable. I read what to do. I knew what to do. I went to Zumba. I consutled with a Nutrition Coach. But mostly I kept eating poorly (cake and potatoes several times a day), exercising sporadically (not really) and drinking wonderul delicious lattes … because I feared failing. I’m convinced too that there are underlying constructs that feed into our food dependencies. (That’s a subject for another writing.)
My time came though, this year!
I decided at the beginning of the year, this would be my year. I asked what am I going to do this year, what am I going to focus on and the response was ‘Me’. The Daniel Fast was still a thought looming in my head from last year. I bought the book, read the book, but I didn’t do it. This time (timing is everything), I was fed up with how I felt, how I looked, the whole dilemma. January 5, 2014 was my day, the Lord has and continues to be my guide and strength and I haven’t looked back.
“Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
EVERY DAY, I’m taking first steps.
Do it with me, squash the fear.
Just by taking the first step, you already WIN!
#winning

Don’t Feed Your Emotions With Food

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My Son-in-Love said the most profound thing the other day …
We were driving home and his baby daughter, Astrid, was crying so her Mom offered her a potato chip.
Her Dad said to her, “Astrid, don’t feed your emotions with food.”
She’s only 16 mos old but that lesson, even now while she is young, is a critical one that I can relate to. He offered some alternative ways she should comfort her emotions but that statement was like a sonic boom to me. What a great lesson. I pray he keeps teaching her and she learns it well.
I know I’m an emotional eater. Eat when I’m happy, eat when I’m anxious, eat when I’m sad. The downfall is that it is usually unhealthy food that we choose to comfort us or that we choose to celebrate a happy time.
I’ve been on a healthy eating journey for 10 weeks and the same patterns persist. When my emotional equilibrium is off kilter, reach for something to satisfy. Fortunately, I now reach for a piece of fruit or some nuts. The point, however, is that behavior or mindset that has to be unlearned or never taught or developed. I remember teaching a Women’s Sunday School lesson many years ago about not letting our emotions control us but using them to our advantage. I wish I could find my notes from that now.
Generally though, we are slaves to our emotions, making bad decisions, being impulsive and irrational, not listening to what we know to be true and good, not listening to God. We are driven by them. We must reign them in. Like all binding, smothering strongholds of our lives, we must bring our emotions under subjection to more holistic thoughts of truth and faith. The battle is in the mind, our thought processes which act as a power surge to our emotions. So we have to constantly combat with God’s Word, His promises, positivity, healthy influences and environments, and learning. While learning, get understanding, apply wisdom, GROW. Constantly, consistently, persistently doing battle with perseverance and tenacity to not give up, but to WIN.
So Dominic is teaching Astrid well and his Mom-in-Love too.
Let your emotions work for you so that you will have VICTORY.
Philippians 4:7-9 ~
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

My Story Matters (Yours Too)

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I still haven’t gotten into a regular groove of WRITing here. I believe Lisa-Jo expressed it so well in “How to Write and Live Brave”. It is the ‘Fear Factor’.
A minister recently preached a sermon entitled, “Fear Factor”. One key point I took away from it was that fear is produced from our interpretation of what we see, not actually what we see. The point of writing and not having control of who and what is perceived or said is a little unsettling. “It takes courage to become what you really are.” I’m always seeking God’s inspiration for writing here and I want to trust the process. I know when He inspires me to WRITE, it will be a blessing, it will encourage, inspire and motivate my secret followers as well as those who leave a comment from time to time. I know WRITing is a therapeutic tool that enables me to get out what God has put inside of my heart and mind, to share my experiences, and to pour out my life-learned wisdom. That is part of my fear too, that even though my WRITing is not scholarly, it still matters, I still have something of value to say, I still have a voice. Even when I have no idea how small or great my community, I still have a story. Everyone has a story and the chapters and pages of our lives, when well lived, when God-breathed, can bless others. So we must tell our stories, we must WRITE.
“When God gives you a gift, it is an investment that He knows you are capable to work, to accomplish.” — “Fear Factor” (Matthew 25:14-30)
Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday, http://lisajobaker.com/2014/02/how-to-write-and-live-brave-when-youre-terrified/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thegypsymama+%28thegypsymama%29

Holiday

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When we arrived at our Resort, the bell staff asked, “Are you here on business or Holiday?” That was funny to me, but I responded, “on Holiday”. I know that is how other cultures refer to vacation.
We’re VISITing San Diego this week, well tomorrow is our last day. We’ve had the best time despite the weather not being as warm as we expected or hoped it would be.
I completed my 21-day Daniel Fast while here. It has been a journey of discovery and a true blessing. I prayed many times (often jokingly) for an intervention from my Starbucks indulgences and poor eating habits. This was it. I’ve enjoyed the experience, eating nutritiously, accomplishing a goal and developing a desire to eat better. Praying God will continue to help me as I move forward.
Tomorrow is our last day of Holiday. Praying God will grace it with sunshine and more good memories.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalms 103:1-5 KJV)

Linking up with Lisa Jo baker and community at http://lishttp://lisajobaker.com/2014/01/five-minuteajobaker.com/2014/01/five-minute-Friday-visit

Do Not Feed The Seagulls

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My Daughter-in-Love-to-Be bought me this beautiful book for Christmas, “Devotions for the Beach”. I love it. All of the devotions relate somehow to the beach which I love (Victoria knows that).
The devotion I read last night gripped me with its crystal clear analogy of seagulls and insecurities.
I could see the visual because it happened to me a couple summers ago at Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor.
I didn’t intentionally feed the seagulls, but I think a crumb dropped from my bag, I can’t recall.
Somehow though there was food, a speck, in front of me and then they started to descend from no where and squeal.
What the writer was saying in the devotion is that insecurities are like seagulls.
When you feed them they crowd you and follow you.
Specifically, she writes, “Insecurities are like seagulls. In a way, they identify where you are in your spiritual journey, and they reinforce your humanity.” When you entertain them, they grow and when you try to run from them, they follow … just like seagulls. Don’t feed them, the seagulls nor your insecurities.
I know this is true, I can relate so well because my insecurities bound me to my sofa for so many years of my adult life. How liberating it was to finally be free of all the craziness in my mind and emotions, to finally say this is it, I’m going to live. Thankful for that day and every Word that God sent to empower me and build me up to the place where I am now, not totally free from the seagulls of my emotions, but more aware. When my insecurities descend upon me, I have more fight in me now and I don’t blame it on someone else or some other thing, I take hold of it and give proper place to it so that those seagulls do not bind me.
The promises of the Lord are sure. We can trust Him to deliver us because He Is a Deliverer.
My friend, He can transform your life but it takes real desire and real surrender.
Don’t miss your God-moment with Him. *Q

See

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See, God can help you do anything.

This week I began the Daniel Fast and I’m seeing that I can do something I thought I never could do.
Breaking from some very gripping unhealthy eating habits and focusing on the strength of God to help me overcome them.
It is the sixth day and I know I have a ways to go and I wonder will I make it and if I do, what then.

My Pastor has been preaching about illumination and the DF Devotions have been teaching about revelation … it is all about seeing.
Seeing the Spirit of God, the capability of God, the revelation of God in every area of our lives, including this relationship I have with food.
I want this experience to be so transforming that I never see the old again, but only behold in my mind’s eye the new.
Seeing me, renewed in my mind with the will to choose the better way for my health and for my life.
I’m thankful for this opportunity to experience something very different, to see that I can change and that God’s grace is holding me and guiding me in a beautiful way.

Whatever you’re trusting God for, see His goodness and grace to carry you through.

Lyrics of a beautiful praise comes to my mind …
I believe on You Lord
I believe in Your Word
To see Your goodness in my life
In my life, I see Jesus

Five Minute Friday, where a community of bloggers write on the same topic … 1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back and invite others to join in, http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/. 3. Visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on: SEE

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