Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Learning Curve Over..

There have been days this year when simply getting out of bed has been the greatest task that I knew I would face. There have been loves worth talking about and ones I wish I could erase from my memory. There have been moments of extreme pride and lackluster showings full of intense disappointment. I have been pleased with the growth that I've begun yet still struggle with some basic developments that are sure to catapult me to the next level. I can not be afraid of my own potential. Sometimes I fear that I've become comfortably complacent which is much worse than the uncomfortable complacency that I fostered a few years back. How does one shake this complacent disease. I tell you this. I will learn today. This is my year of unparalleled growth. Somehow I feel in my spirit that I wont have a choice. Some things that have revealed themselves recently have foreshadowed exactly what I am to expect in the upcoming year. Some of which I was originally stoked to arrive upon and others that I thought I would approach with trepidation. This year I approach everything with stark enthusiasm. Caution just doesn't seem to be for me. Not really. I make cautious decisions and I am stunted. I am someone who is not afraid to take a risk. Someone who is encouraged by my own willingness to take the path less chosen. I am someone who leads by example that there is more than the most common way to get something done. And the challenges that we face do not have to be carried on our face.

I was someone who used to carry a high regard for my own well-being. I cared about my ability to wake up happy and to have others encouraged by my smile. And then somehow, someway I lost my way. I started to believe that smiling through my own difficulty somehow made me a fraud. As if I owed despondency to the world when my situation turned dire. The truth is, the only one that I owe anything to is myself. Do I deserve to see my own reflection lacking hope. Who cares what I show the world. Isn't it quite unfair of me to allow ME to see myself that way. Lacking in drive, succumbing to the pressures and difficulties that may be the present. I owe it to myself to push. I owe it to myself to LOOK like the conquerer that I know myself to be. I owe it to myself to realize my own potential, to welcome my own exuberance and celebrate my own persistence. If I can't show me that than I am quite sure no one else will be able to either. That's what self-motivated means. It is time to get back to life. Back to my life. Back to the reality of me. She who never gives up and ALWAYS eventually comes out on time. Now on to shortening that learning curve.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 In My Rearview..

2012 was an interesting year. It started out like most - promising, shiny and new. It's come to an end full of events that have brought both unparalleled joy and unexpected pain. With 2013 approaching I find myself revisiting the years happenings to determine what I conquered and learned from, should've done better and grown from, or simply miserably endured. I'm coming to understand that just because the ordeal is over, it doesn't mean I learned a lesson.

Although not one of my best years, 2012 may has been one of the most necessary for my personal growth. I'm not sure if I am fully signed on to the notion as some are that there is a higher degree of understanding that comes at the age of 33. I do believe however that it comes with higher expectation.

I've lived thus far embracing and maybe subconsciously taking advantage of the blessings that I continue to receive. My ability to survive and even thrive in some uncanny situations I attribute solely to the grace and mercy that God has repeatedly extended. Some could have (and a few times should have) come with greater and much more lasting consequences. I'm FINALLY coming to understand that being grateful for those gifts is simply NOT enough. It's time to do better at being a steward of all I'm given. Figured I'd share some things that stuck with me from this year.

1. Sporadic effort simply may not be effort at all. Interestingly enough, without finishing strong it simply becomes wasted effort.

2. The biggest investment that you can make in someone is TIME. And if in TIME it becomes evident that they don't appreciate it, then it may be TIME to move on.

3. Deciding to invest in ME has provided the greatest return.

4. Love is not an option. It is a human necessity that must be felt and given for optimal emotional well-being. We've adopted the concept that not communicating love somehow protects us from being hurt. I've found not saying I love you hurts much more.

5. Peace is typically not given. It is earned by responsibly living in a manner that creates space for it. If you've been granted peace without much effort, know that it is a gift from God.

6. My great-grandmother passed away in February and I think more about the lessons that she taught and the things that she stood for than ever before. When I had the opportunity to hear her with my ears I didn't make time. Now I'd give anything for more of those moments when I hear her with my heart.

7. My grandmothers health is fading, but she's still alive and I still have the opportunity to celebrate that life with her. I will give my attention to the moments of the life that she has left, not the illness.

8. Good health is a blessing, not a given and I have more control over it's status than I like to acknowledge. My body is only as invincible as I build it to be, not assume it to be.

9. I may have gradually become complacent with my definition of success based on what I believe myself currently capable. That has to be cheating. Time to redefine success.

10. MVA issues in Maryland creep up on you like that second glass of wine. They can, and most likely will cost money, time, and energy that you will NEVER get back. Avoid them at ALL costs. (The MVA issues, not the wine - so we're clear).

11. Checking the mail is not optional. (see #10)

12. Finally and most importantly - My life has been a soundtrack. Two songs seem to pop up on my iPhone repeatedly. Coincidence? I think not. They seem to go hand in hand. The words hold meaning and promise that I will take into 2013.

"Love me, love with your whole heart - He wants it all today.
Serve me, serve me with your life now - He want it all today.
Bow down, let go of your idols - He wants it all today.
He wants it all today .. He wants it all.
(Forever Jones)

It is time. And why wouldn't I give it all? It's a small sacrifice based on His investment in me and the blessings He showers despite my stunted growth. When I've foolishly attempted providing my own limited direction it's proven simply...

"Meaningless without You
It's meaningless, these treasures I possess
Only you can satisfy, Only You sustain my life
Without You...
I can breathe but I can't survive, I am living but not alive
Without You .. It's meaningless"
(Anthony Evans)

While I still fully believe that without risk there is little reward, exercising caution a little more frequently creates balance resulting in fewer life bruises and bail-out prayers.
I read a few months back that "Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional",
Embracing change rather than fighting it may facilitate making my own growth more intentional.
Think I'll try that.
Happy New Year.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

the girl with the painted smile...

today it's stoic, the line separating her full lips the center of attention
a smile simply put to maintain even cheekbones.. it's vagueness proving she's "fine"
it's a smile made for battle, ambiguously crafted to lure onlookers
practiced, calculated.. indifferent.

yesterday it was deep. dimpled and u-shaped. way too perfect to be altruistic.
that one frightened me
reminded me that i can only see what she shows. it made me helpless.
funny how fragile she becomes with that monstrous grin.
i have been in the company of the confidence and pride fueling this version
and i concur that they are large and present and functioning parts of her whole..
but still, she just appeared breakable under that heavy, shiny smile.
i couldn't remember the beauty of the fullness of her cheeks..
yesterday they debuted as overworked muscles.

i marvel at her ability - not to be or appear transparent, those tricks are for kids.
it's her ability to sell transparent that leaves me in awe.
whatever the color of the grin she posts, others sign-up, responding to only what she displays.
the ones close to her.. are they easily fooled
or are they simply more comfortable stifling the pain in her real smile.. but i've seen that too..

it only ever sneaks out and it lasts only until you blink
but the ease of it makes the others irrelevant..
it broadens her shoulders and shows the light in her perfectly lashed eyes..
i am reminded only with this smile that i have to look up to see it.
right, cause she's taller than me.
A smile that gives honor to melancholy, shows the most unwavering loyalty to even those stiflers.
it questions nothing, accepts it's own brief existence.

these and others are flashed over time to maintain consistency.
to be subconscious supporters of her stability.
strategically designed to remind us of her strength, i dare say an unnecessary strength
with most of the pressure resonating from her combustible self.
i wish she knew the one seen least of all bares the soul of a humble warrior.
it exposes a universe-granted sovereign beauty.. genetics incapable of reproducing this kind.
if only i knew how to tell her..
if only i thought she would listen..

Sunday, July 3, 2011

They vs. Those...

What they say supposedly doesn't matter until it becomes the trusted source of my reputation
My own actions become secondary to the chatter invented to give meaning to what I do
I hear they're made up meanings and I raise my glass to they're incredulous interest
Let's toast to what they believe:
When I give, it's solely to ensure I'm owed later on
When I love, it's to fill a void left open due to some past tragedy that eludes even me
When I hurt, I'm reaping the hurt that I caused someone else
When I cry, it's so the onlookers sight becomes so magically blurred that they see me in a completely different light
When I dance, it's to ensure that I own the spotlight
When I sing, I only mean to drown out the voices around me
I extend frienship only to escape my pending loneliness
I work hard because my ego needs the stroking and the accolades give me self-worth
Who am I to question the meaning they've determined for my actions
Who are they to determine when those meanings are real
I'm happy to say nothing, but I rarely do

All who have the ability to manipulate don't
And soft-spoken although often translated to introvert, sometimes just means sneaky
Just because you are good doesn't mean you've been good
Statements I know to be true, but bore myself stiff deciding who and what they define
I don't want to be a they, applying imageries to the actions around me
Intent is easy to judge, right they?

I've learned to give only when I absolutely want to, because when they don't appreciate, reciprocate or acknowledge - I don't regret
Perfection is not my claim, not even a consistent goal, yet it's the standard to which they hold me
I have a vague indifference to the hushed whispers of they
A joy that my growth has made they irrelevant

Then there are those
Those who appreciate my love with all it's faults
Those who know my name and give it a meaning of strength
Those who accept my idiocyncracies and faults as merely proof of my humanity
And take my kindness for kindness, and weakness for weakness
Those understand that I would never claim perfection, those know because those were there when I fell, those held my hand
And those see altruism in my tears, and victories in my laugh
Those don't label my mood or question my truths
Those know me, they never will...

So while still chuckling at some of the leaked chatter that they leave in my trail
I run toward those who have taught me acceptance no matter the years, distance or difference between us...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day of Thanks...

Sometimes when I close my eyes and space and time have decided to simultaneously grant me peace there is silence. Real silence. Not the kind where there is only a lack of noise. But also a silence where there are no thoughts. No decisions. No consclusions, confusions, missed activities, past regrets, unrequited loves, unappreciated works, unmatched efforts. Sometimes, there is true silence. And I am grateful for that silence.

Sometimes there is a breeze so subtle that only the most exterior layer of my skin catches it’s existence. And when I smile to acknowledge its presence, the Sun kisses my forehead with pride. Proud that I didn’t miss one of nature’s finest examples that it is indeed in tune with my contentment. I am grateful too for the ability to recognize that moment…

Sometimes you meet someone who means so much to you that you forget to categorize them. And times too when you remeet someone that you wish you hadn’t unmet, and I am cognizant of destiny’s grace. A chance to say I’m sorry or we could’ve done this better. I am aware that do-overs are only given to a select few. I am grateful to be among those granted second chances….

Sometimes I look up from work and the clock reminds me that it’s time for the Sun’s slumber and I have not once in that day enjoyed the kiss of warmth on my skin. I have concentrated and focused right through any opportunity of sunlight… But then when I emerge from the building full of ideas and structure I walk into an evening of glorious clarity. An evening that rewards me for my dedication to forwardness… I am grateful for nature’s kind acceptance of my omission. It still rewards me with it’s beauty…I am grateful for that patience.

For laughter. For love. For God’s Grace…. I am thankful.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stink Bug Blues

Today I survived invasion of the brown marmorated stink bugs. I spent the ENTIRE day fighting, swatting, jumping, shrieking and cleaning ferociously. I know..whose ever heard of a stink bug you ask? I'll tell you who, ME - that's who! I was getting ready to bust out an Insanity workout when I noticed some bugs around the ceiling molding. Low and behold...wouldn't you know - I pull out the sofa and they are behind there and along the baseboard in front of the patio! I had the patio door open and theres a hole in the screen... Apparently they saw a tiny welcome mat! I find out they are a "new" bug to North America indigenous to China and brought here to harass all agriculture and humans (not necessarily in that order either). After further online research, I discovered that they seek shelter when fall comes to hibernate during the cold winters. Except if it gets too warm in the house they can be awakened and travel to light. I was repulsed.

I found an article released by the department of agriculture on September 15th of this year confirming that the new bug has indeed become a huge problem for commercial growers and homeowners alike in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. These pesky crunchable foreigners eat leaves and plants and they devour fruit bearing trees leaving brown rings as proof of their destructive presence. Agricultural warfare! Makes one raise an eyebrow in stark suspicion... They are resistant to chemicals and apparently the only way to get rid of them is to weather strip and caulk the house so they don't get in to begin with. So if they make their way into your home, you are basically at war with a stink bug army. Lastly if scared, cornered or squashed they release a hugely offensive odor that can leave a room uninhabitable until cleared. Some people are even allergic to the odor. Needless to say - Increased Repulsion!

Landlord is on the way tomorrow! No sleep for me tonight... Instead I'll be standing guard at my patio door armed with my broom (aka long-handled swatter). We have enough pests, bugs and insects in this country... Now China is dropping off their unwanted legged creatures! What next...Sheesh!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sunday Afternoons

Today feels like Sunday afternoon. Quiet and empty of purpose but full of destiny. It’s funny how on the days that you intend to do nothing you begin to make sense of everything. The other days that you were desperate to accomplish and simply couldn’t, they begin to fade and you get to the root of your horrid unproductiveness.

Sunday afternoons have certainly been tell-tale of where I stand. What point I’ve arrived in life or where I need to go. It’s funny how Sunday really depicts your circle of life. When Sunday afternoons are spent in the same location as they were in the beginning, that’s usually where transformation happens. When the clock struck afternoon on the Sundays of my childhood I was in a wooden pew. And now years later having spent Sunday afternoons in an array of appropriate and completely dysfunctional situations I have returned to the pew. The prodigal daughter if you will. When completing the Sunday circle, life can really begin. You can finally press play on your plan to better yourself and those around you. You find yourself returned to a place of familiarity, the place where destiny fits.

I never once thought I’d spend Sunday afternoon in church again because in my mind spirituality happens at the core..not in a building. The idea of selling my relationship with God short to the building was demeaning. It lessened everything that I had grown to know of Him, everything that had defined our relationship up until that point when I determined to make a change. Now, I realize that I overthought what God meant to keep simple. The church is a building that holds meetings for believers and those full of hope. It is a venue for the inspired and those still intending to make a difference. The rest of us, the ones who had magnified our relationships with the higher power to a place where the word Christian didn’t even apply, well we felt justified but we were really just complacent in our decision to be selfish.

Church has become a place of judgment for us. A place where few FEEL able to come as they are, but fundamentally all ARE. Should this difficult truth keep those of us who really do believe in that scripture from being apart? If we are pure-hearted just headstrong or believers, just independent contractors of that belief…then I imagine church is the perfect place for us. A place where we are sculpted to be the spitting image of our Father. The image that He individually designed for us. Many believe church implies a place where upon arrival all are immediately brainwashed to become Stepford members. But the oneness really resides in arriving (the fundamental decision that we ALL made to go despite the many reasons we have not to show up) and then finding peace in focusing on THE ONE PURE LOVE that brought us together. From this oneness sprouts our own individual gifts and his true intentions for our lives. And once this recognition occurs we are presented with challenges to practice these gifts so that they begin to show evident.

We have no guidance beyond intuition without Him…and really how far has that gotten us. In Tuition…In School…Green…without experience or knowledge of what to do…a place of learning…a place where we are DEFINITELY going to make mistakes. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. He came to set us free from intuition…guessing…making a mockery of what life should really be. Maybe if I stop judging..creating my own translation to rebel against the translation that I believe the “church” intends and just allow him to speak my correct and individual translation to my spirt…well then, Im sure I’ll find my way somehow. That’s what he promised.
The church’s real purpose I believe is to harness the gifts and positive intentions of the believers in a worship setting to create mass good. To benefit the community, the poor, the young, the broken hearted and unbelievers so that they may learn hope. So that they may see that we..the church goers..the believers are just former poor and young and broken hearted who allowed church goers before us to exemplify and instill what power there is in faith. The substance (something real and tangible) of things (usually not materialistic, most often needed life supplements – ie family, love, laughter, stability) hoped for (our hearts most intimate desires) the evidence (proof, undeniable reason to believe) of things not seen. We come together to give thanks for realizing who we were (shadows of those that we are sent to help) and to worship him in spirit and in truth for offering us deliverance and teaching us how to accept that gift. We convene to keep each other grounded and centered to face a world of those not quite built like us. We’re no better no worse. We are not there to judge another man’s way. But to be uplifters of who has worked on our behalf.

I guess that’s why I came back. Why going to church doesn’t make me typical or a holy roller or someone who has “seen the light” Going to church THEN made me a child raised religiously. And true to his promise... teach them when they are young and when they are old they will not depart…no matter how far they wander. Going to church NOW has turned me into a woman “seeking that light”...a pure relationship between me and my Saviour…not always congruent with the one that the church members set out for me. One that will allow me to cultivate and share the gifts I know he intended me to, not the ones that I am comfortable sharing. Will it be easy? I imagine not because all are called but few are chosen...and wide is the gate but narrow is the way that leads straight to the throne room. Not the one where we receive our rewards, but the one where He resides, patient and smiling because we chose to be beyond morally good. We chose to be obedient.

Be ecstatic when you find yourself in the same place on Sunday afternoon that you were in the beginning. Great things will follow. Here, at 30 and a half, is where my journey begins.