Becoming

I’ve been reading First Lady Michelle Obama’s memoir, “Becoming”, with delight and intrigue. She shares a portrait of who she really is and all that has shaped her life and person. I find it so boss that she was all that we admire of her even before she became the FLOTUS. Even through experiences of self-doubt and frailties, she was never one to back down, cave in or give up. She always sought answers and ways to become better, to become her best.

It is such a powerful lesson in a day and time when I constantly question my belonging, how I look to much at my lack instead of what I possess. Comparison does that. Scrolling social media and measuring myself by the highlight reel of others.

In all honesty, at this threshhold of a new year I feel the burnout of the pursuit. The influx and bombardment of images and voices, I just want to squash it all.  Let the noise give way to the silence and clarity of God’s peace, beauty and wellness.

To become the whole of His thoughts toward me because they are good, filled with hope and promise, lacking nothing.

Becoming.

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” ~ 2 Peter 1:3

 

Six Days Off Of Facebook

There I sat, the selfie queen, FB-social media evangelist being prompted to take a selfie to share the presenting charitable organization being featured at the S.H.I.N.E. meeting (www.shine-now.org). It was awkward. I deactivated my FB account a few days ago, a radical step toward a more disciplined use of my time in the New Year. Not sure how long my sabbatical would be, but just to take the first step.  I deactivated my account and uninstalled the apps from my phone to ensure my success.  To actually say to someone who invited me to take a selfie with them, “I have stepped away from social media so I will refrain from a photo.” Wow!  Who is that person?

I had not however uninstalled the Instagram and Twitter apps. I found myself checking in under radar.  One of the presenters at the meeting suggested we follow her updates on Instagram, so I searched for her and found myself scrolling IG and checking tweets.  Sadly, it was just more of the same. The same exact noise I was stepping away from on FB.  The same exact stir of emotions I felt on the ‘book, instantly rolled over my spirit. There is a toxicity (at least for me) that slithers through the otherwise façade of connectedness that social media purports.

Uninstall.
Uninstall.

It has only been six days! Initially I felt the pull of it, not checking in, ‘feeling’ present; not seeing what my FB friends were posting, not posting my selfies, quotes and thoughts of inspiration; nor feeling a part of the interactive convo, as bogus as it may be. I was missing it. I felt the disconnect. But then, after a few more days, it felt surprisingly liberating.

Yesterday, I really noticed. My disposition was not fastened to what other people were posting, doing or perpetuating.  I was turning a corner, literally.

​A Prayer for My Grandchildren

“Today, we pray for our children. We want good children – not just smart children…

We pray that [parents and families along with] our schools will teach knowledge and virtue.”

My children are all adults who have children, so my prayer is for my grandchildren and for children everywhere.

My children though are educators and mentors who have chosen the life path of developing greatness in young people. I’m so proud of each of them and the individual contributions they make every day. Perhaps the impact is not readily seen,
but I know without a doubt it will flourish.  Even now, as I am at the threshold of my 60th Birthday, I still reflect on teachers who made an indelible impact on my life from grade school through college as well as my mentor and spiritual mothers
who have influenced my life learning. That is why I’m confident that the youth that learn from and experience the educational and social values that my children emulate to their students, they will remember and benefit from throughout their lives.

My grandchildren, however, are living and growing in such a different time than myself and my children.  My prayer is that the values and standards that our family believe and model will shape their lives and that of their children as well. 
So often when I think about all that is happening in the world, I wonder with great concern what society will be like for them.  Who will be the strong compassionate leaders that the world needs for their future? Will family and God-fearing values reemerge
over entertainment and social norms, as the foundation for building a society that offers hope and goodness?

Today, I pray a simple prayer.  Thank you, God, for Who You are … God of the universe. No darkness can eclipse Your Light.

Thank you, God, for my grandchildren, Jordyn, Astrid, Noah, Alaia and Baby. Bless, keep, protect and prosper them with favor and good success.  Bless them with a bright future filled with hope and promise, not fear and dismay.  Bless their parents with the LOVE, wisdom, resources,
virtue and knowledge to raise them to be God-fearing and honorable.  Bless them with competent and compassionate educators, mentors and spiritual leaders to teach them and develop their greatness which You have already destined in them.  I pray (like their
parents) they will grow up in obedience, with high standards and confidence, and to be leaders and examples of excellence.  Moreover, as they grow, I pray they will come to know You, love You, honor You, trust and depend upon You, realizing You are the ultimate
source and Giver of life and every good gift. Until Your return, I pray that the foundation that we have modeled before them will be the faith and truth they stand upon and that will guide their lives.

Even when so much of the world seems dark and gleam, You God, remain the Light of the world, the Hope of humanity and it is You, You are our God from everlasting to everlasting.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

I’m Worthy

“Patience is one of the clearest manifestations of God’s grace.” – from the Web

This week our GirlTrek (www.girltrek.org) #PrayerTrek Challenge is to walk and pray, worship and praise focusing on the fruit of the Spirit. Today is Day 4 and the virtue is Patience.  When we think of Patience, we often think of the grace and tolerance we extend outside of ourselves to others. 

All morning, in considering this fruit of the Spirit, I have been thinking about my need to be more patient with myself.

I recently heard a minister speak about how what we develop in ourselves is what we are able to extend to others.  Love, grace, forgiveness, Patience … they must first be developed within us.

I am so hard on myself, literally 24/7, hardly ever letting up, from my waking moment until I fall asleep. Do this, do that; why this, why that; why not this, why not that; why me, why not me?

My prayer today is Lord, mature within me Patience with myself, with the journey You have purposed for me. Help me to see, understand, align with and accept Your will for me and my life.

In everything I give You great thanks.

It is You that makes my way perfect in You.

“Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself.” – St Francis de Sales

​There Is Beauty In My Brokenness …

There Is Beauty In My Brokenness … I love this lyric from Vashawn Mitchell’s “JOY”! https://youtu.be/Yl5lKSTtPR8

My Sister-in-Christ, Tiffany L. Warren, who is a prolific novelist and published author (www.tiffanylwarren.com) has challenged me to get back to writing.

I have stepped away from it because I never want to write from a broken place.  I have been encouraged by several people actually to put the pen to paper or tap out the keystrokes of what is in my heart.  I have heard the whole spiel about
the power of ‘transparency’ and being more relatable through one’s flaws.  I know I need to give myself a break, but someone said, ‘average sucks’, and I agree.

I’ve been on my fitness journey for several years now and although I’ve made great strides, I’m still a contender, not yet a champion. I know there is no real finish line in fitness, it is really about a lifestyle.  So therein lies the
truth of my position in the race, my lifestyle has changed, so maybe I am a champion (conference or divisional
J).

Change is about learning.  My mentor always taught, “Evidence of learning is changed behavior” – Charleyse S. Pratt, Ph.D., and life is certainly about perpetual learning. So as long as I keep striving, continue to learn, make good/better
choices most of the time, I will eventually be content in this journey.

God takes our brokenness and makes us beautiful.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway

I Will Get There

My positive energy this morning is heightened by my view of

the clouds, high and billowy with a strand of sunlight peeking through,

The Lake, a medium blue with wave caps dancing on the surface and

Although it is summer, the wind has a caress of Autumn

Welcome to a new week, always filled with promise right up there with uncertainty

The strong inner me says take the reins, seize the day … be awesome, you’ve got this

The not so strong, also inner me, wavers in the backdraft of repetitive missteps

Either way, perseverance, though postured on the gas and the brake

Reels me forward

Whatever the dream, task or goal, it is attainable when you never give up

Accepting that I’m on a journey to a destination

And the only way to get there is to keep trusting the process

Stay the course whether choppy or calm

I will get there

 

Input, Output

“Wherever I am,

Whatever I do,

Everything about me

Is an asset.”

I cannot remember where I heard or read that affirmation, but it has been one (for many years) that I affirm often.

The phrase is so true, ‘you are what you eat’.

It is usually a reference to natural food, however, it applies equally to what is ingested into our spirits and thoughts.

I’ve been listening to Tedx Talks this morning, receiving a flow of positivity, knowledge and inspiration.

Listening to empowering words, uplifting experiences and the possibility of a new reality.

It felt like every cell and organ of my being was being nourished, like inhaling refreshing oxygen into the lungs of my thought processes. It was stimulating. What I heard was nothing new. So much of it: my faith, mentorship, study, and relationships have conferred over the nearly 60 years of my life.

It is funny (in a sad way) how what we know can be buried under the acidity of negative self-perception, the idea of who we are.

Such a state of mind is usually based on comparisons we make of ourselves to others, who we perceive them to be without really having a clue. I look at people, especially strong, successful women I admire, and ask myself do they ever feel like I feel? Because ‘my’ unfounded perception of them is, no.

Emergency brake. This writing isn’t really going in the way I intended.

(Listen to Mel Robbins’ “How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over” TEDx Talk on YouTube)

My inspiration for this wordfest is to #1 get back to blogging (activation energy-just do it) and #2 focus on the importance of ingesting good, nourishing inspiration to deactivate viruses that infect our thoughts, conversations and behaviors.

Ingesting good stuff, naturally, mentally, and spiritually will ensure we are well nourished and thriving in our perception of ourselves and of others. The positivity, inspiration and light floods the darkness with the brilliance of hope and possibility.

God has created each of us with value.

What is it that you do well? What are you passionate about? How are you making a difference?

It does not have to be on a grand stage. Whether it is in your home with the family God has blessed you to have, with your circle of friends, in the social sector of your community, or as a philanthropic world leader, it and YOU have value.

Input what nourishes your life and reaffirm it within yourself repeatedly. Let no one despise it, not even you.

Then, at every opportunity, reinforce it by doing, becoming, being the output that adds value to this world.

 

A Call to Mentorship

I am forever thankful for the incredible woman I adopted as my mentor. Mentors are persons you know who are doing what you want to do, so you engage them in a relationship that will allow you to glean from their experience and skills that you may learn and grow from them. Usually such a relationship is consensual in an ask and accept manner but I feel ours was a God-bond that has enriched my life in an unforgettable way. I wrote about it a few years ago – here, https://simplyphenomenal.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/reflections-of-a-mentor/.

Recently, I have committed to participate as a mentor in a start-up mentoring program. I believe strongly in the premise of mentoring. I learned early in my adult life that you cannot grow from lateral relationships – people who act, think and communicate like you. You must seek out those who know more, do more and can help you to be more than what you are.

“It is so essential to surround yourself with individuals

who are ALREADY where you want to be.

Iron sharpens iron.” — Unknown

empower

I must say I’m a little nervous about this new undertaking but I’m looking forward to the possibilities of impacting the life of a young woman as the Bible instructs sage women to do. I pray that the values and example she observes of me will be those that she desires to emulate in her own life.

Considering an analogy, I think about the spiritual mothers and sisters who have exemplified holy living, modesty, godliness, and Christian leadership in my life. What they have given me was mostly modeled, some taught. What was exceptional about the relationship with my mentor is that she took me along side of her, gave me opportunities to use the skills I had and to develop new ones. She added value to my life and made me feel like I was an asset … she enforced that belief in me.

“Tell me and I forget,

Teach me and I may remember,

INVOLVE me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Even after so many years of different paths, we are still connected and I’m still so greatly blessed by her intrinsic, God-inspired nature to empower others to their highest potential.

It has been said God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

I am answering the call.

empowerme

Pearls of Wisdom

Time, patience and the creative properties of nature create pearls. Pearls represent the best in us.”

Pearls of wisdom must be the value and strength we gain from experiences of life, whether good or not so good.
One of my favorite Oprah Winfrey quotes says, “No experience is ever wasted. Everything has meaning.”
What matters is how we respond and grow from every experience.
When I think of a time of struggle for me, it was a time of transition. A time, I felt of exclusion, non-acceptance, displacement. It was so heavy for me, I felt I could not breathe, I felt a condition of emotional and spiritual atrophy. Prayer and the redeeming love of God restored the life I felt I had lost.  From that experience and others in life, I have grown stronger, wiser, more fulfilled.
Whatever the experience or circumstances, if it is a stumbling block, we must use it as a stepping stone. If it is a hurdle, we must use it as a trajectory. If it is a victory, we must use it as a catapult to blast us to even greater. Learning is a perpetual state of being. Every single day, every single moment must be a teachable one for ourselves and for others. We must teach not only in word or verse but most significantly by model and example. It is true what one does speaks louder than what one says.
If you love me, show me … Love is what love does.
Life lessons become pearls of wisdom that can be spoken but also must be lived out. These gems are personality traits and the values of character that enable an individual to be their best self, it represents the best of who they are.
The representation of one’s truest self always speaks louder than anything they say.
The wisdom we gain through life shapes who we are, “wisdom indeed is the principal thing”. When wisdom is not exercised, it brings about chaos. Therefore we must seek to apply wisdom in all things.
Wisdom does not consider a small measure of anything but it examines all angles and variables to be certain of the best action or response.
Pearls, whether linked or pooled together represent the illustrious rich beauty of who we are and what we are able to give, the best in us.

The Power to Become

It has been over thirty years since our Bishop Charles William Watkins (he’s in Heaven now) preached a powerful life-changing series of sermons entitled, The Power to Become”. As I pondered what to write for a breakthrough today, the words of the companion song he wrote came rushing back …

He has given us power to become something more than we are

He has given us power to become something more than we are

He has given us power, He has given us power

To become something more than we are

If you’ve ever been there, you know feeling rejected is hard to overcome.

When time and time again, you feel the same sense of ‘you’re not the one’.

Mustering up the ability to jump in the game again, to try again, to overcome can be like climbing a mountainous terrain.

It is hard. Even when you know you are capable, when you know you’re prepared, when you know you have something to offer.

The vulnerability of being wanted, needed, loved, accepted, valued.

The vulnerability of wanting to do more, be more.

The vulnerability of being crushed pushes you further away, down and out.

You look here, there, everywhere for answers.

Sometimes from others, but mostly from yourself, from within.

But the recognition of rejection seeps through like hot oil over your heart.

     Tears well up in your being, you fight them back,

     Shake it off to survive the moments,

Only to find, the cycle is still spinning and spinning, wringing your esteem so tight and lifeless.

Our Bishop also taught us, you’re not a failure until you stop trying.

So you keep moving, searching, trusting … to become.