Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Get Off Of The Sidelines

 
 
 
Looking back over 2014 I realize that I have been living life on the sidelines. Even though 2014 started out with gusto. I failed. I was going to do this and yes I was going to do that. I started out dragging life by the nose and running. I slowly lost momentum. I stopped in my own tracks and fell on my face. I became hostage to the health issues. I became hostage to the financial issues. I became stand offish to dating or even the idea of dating. I did not do anything I set out to do. I did not write like I promised myself that I would. I did not do a quarter of what I said I would do. I put myself on the sidelines. I hear it again what a friend of mine said, denial is not delay. I also hear that just because you did not finish does not mean that you cannot finish. I no longer cheered for those who were making power moves and shaking off dead leaves.
I no longer had the momentum to run let alone lace up by tennis shoes. I stood in my own sand box and played with my own toys silently daring anyone to cross the edge. I watched from the sidelines at everyone else making power moves. My mouth moved with honest congratulations but in my heart, I was seething. My eyes celebrated and I had participated in the excitement but in my heart, I was angry. Angry at the fact that I was living opposite of what I wanted, needed or desired.  Oh yes I waited for the right time, it never came. I waited for the right amount of money to magically show up out of the blue, bankrupted. I kept telling myself that I am ok and that I will do it. I kept telling myself that I have the passion and the vision, the dream, lies. I was mentally and emotionally lying to myself. I was saying I can but my actions said I can’t.  I failed myself and those looking up to me from their own sideline. Isn’t it funny how many of us can encourage and motivate others but we cannot do the same for ourselves? But we can. We can be our greatest critic or we can be our own greatest cheerleader.

I failed to grab hold of the fact that some things are not meant for me, that God has His own plan for me and until I lined up to His will, I will fail. I failed to seek out those who are doing the same things that I dream of. Oh I said hello and how are you? I said good job and I am proud of you. I played around with some dots and yet I failed to even connect those dots. Fear will do that to you. Fear will sideline you and have you watching and kicking yourself. Does this sound familiar to you?  Sure it does. You have made your lists and ran the race so fast and hard only to end up on the sidelines with no cheering squad clutching your chest gasping for air. You have looked in the mirror and said to yourself you missed the mark. It is ok to realize that somewhere and somehow you lost it. It is ok to say oops I did it again. Yes it is ok to tell yourself the truth. Here is why.  Nothing is hidden from God and yes all things do work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. There is nothing wrong with making plans and keeping a list unless, you fail to petition God for direction and wisdom. There is nothing wrong with mapping out your course of action and setting the wheels in motion unless, you fail to seek God and His infinite and absolute wisdom. Wisdom will carry you far.

You are not alone in your year in review. You are not sitting on the sidelines all alone, look around. There are many who silently asked themselves what happened. Well here is some sugar for your red kool aid. It is called life and not everything is going to happen according to your plan. Not everyone is going to understand your life’s purpose and not everyone is will to cheer you on. But the one thing you can rest assured in is that you can make it happen with God on your side. You can take baby steps to accomplish all that you set out to do. It only takes tenacity and grit. You have to put your nose to the grind and in doing so you will have to step back from all that has the potential to block your blessings. No dream killers allowed. There is nothing wrong with knowing without a shadow of doubt what works and what does not. You only have to accept who you are and what you stand for. You only have to set boundaries and place limits on yourself and others. Remember when you were in school and you knew that a test was coming?  Preparation. That is the only way you will succeed, with Gods help that is. You can do nothing without the Almighty Gods help. Oh yes you might win some things but you will not win them all. There is only victory in the Lord. I cannot express this enough.

Today take action. Go ahead and review. Go ahead and make those plans and while you are doing so, seek God. Seek Him in spirit and in truth. Be honest with Him because He already knows. As I write this blog, I am telling myself the same thing. I am telling myself I did not miss the mark, I just failed to honestly and fully add that one key ingredient and that is the master plan of God.  His word tells us to lean not on our own understanding but in all of our getting get wisdom. Don’t get me wrong. I am a believer in Gods truth. I pray and seek Him, I still missed it. I study His word and I apply it to my life on a daily basis, I still failed.  Even as I write this blog I am not so sure that I really know what I am doing but the key here is that I am aware of that and that I must do something different. I must be in the game to win the game. Sideline players never win. I must reevaluate the play book and practice. I must cross the line of mediocrity and excuses. I must submit to Gods will completely. The prayer of Jabez comes to my mind. 1 Chronicles 4:10 (NIV) Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

God orders our steps my friends not our sitting. We must be active in doing the things of God. God blesses those who are obedient to Him. God can and will give us the desires of our hearts if we are in line to Him. No journey ever taken was easy. God told Abraham to leave what he has known and go into a land unknown. What?  God told Noah to build an Ark and add everything two by two. Job was tested and lost everything. Abraham, Noah, and Job obeyed and God showed up and showed out. If God can do it for them why can’t he do it for you? He will because that is His desire.

Here are a few things that you can do to get you started:

Pray and give thanks to God for all that He has done for you, give Him praise.

Read your Bible a scripture or a chapter at a time along with motivational books that will help you in your craft.

Take a class on your craft. Polish up.

Clear out the clutter and organize your space. If you don’t have a space where you can do your craft, create one.

Exercise. Take a walk, run or like my son says, go lift some weights if you can.

Get a physical and make sure your health is on a positive track.

Drink 64 ounces of water a day.

Attend events that will give you joy and encouragement.

Find a mentor or an accountability partner. Someone you trust.

Work on your craft daily. Start with 30 minutes and increase as you go along.

And last, get plenty of rest. You must be alert and present.

Go ahead and look back, just don’t stay there. What is in the past is just that, in the past. Nothing back there has anything to do with what is ahead of you. Pick yourself up, dust off your shoulders and press. Press forward and know this, there are great things in you and ahead of you.

Get off of the sidelines. 

Happy New Year 2015

Friday, December 26, 2014

Kwanzaa




Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, author and scholar-activist who stresses the indispensable need to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African American culture.    Finally, it is important to note Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a religious one, thus available to and practiced by Africans of all religious faiths who come together based on the rich, ancient and varied common ground of their Africanness.

*Summarized from -- Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, 2008, Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press (
www.sankorepress.com).

http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/origins1.shtml

Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.
 
The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, Thonga and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa. Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African "first fruit" celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration. Kwanzaa, then, is:
The Origins of Kwanzaa the First-Fruits Celebration
  • a time of ingathering of the people to reaffirm the bonds between them;
  • a time of special reverence for the creator and creation in thanks and respect for the blessings, bountifulness and beauty of creation;
  • a time for commemoration of the past in pursuit of its lessons and in honor of its models of human excellence, our ancestors;
  • a time of recommitment to our highest cultural ideals in our ongoing effort to always bring forth the best of African cultural thought and practice; and
  • a time for celebration of the Good, the good of life and of existence itself, the good of family, community and culture, the good of the awesome and the ordinary, in a word the good of the divine, natural and social.

The Foundation of the Holiday is built upon the following seven principles.

1. Umoja (Unity) (00-MOE-Jah) – To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. 
 
2. Kujichagalia (Self-Determination) -To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) – To build and maintain our community together and to make our brothers and sisters problems our problem s and to solve them together.

4. Ujammaa (Cooperative Economics) – To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other business and to profit together from them.

5. Nia (Purpose) – To make as our collective vocation the building and developing our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

6. Kuumba (creativity) - To do always as much as we can  in the way that we can , in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial then when we inherited it.

7. Imani ( Faith) - To believe with all our hearts in our parents, our teachers, our leaders, people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Happy Kwanzaa 2014


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Meet Sheryl Lister Renowned Author


 
 
 
 
 
I had the wonderful pleasure of talking with Sheryl Lister. Author of, Just To Be With You published in August 2014. Her new novel, All Of Me will be out early 2015. The warmth and grace exudes in her conversation. Her passion for writing evident.  Talking for over 2 hours, I learned much and feel as though we are kindred spirits.  What I learned also is that you can not let life sideline you from reaching your goal and pursuing your passions. I am pleased to introduce her to you.

Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. After putting writing on the back burner for several years, she became serious about her craft in 2009. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. When she’s not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three and pediatric occupational therapist. 

Book Blurb: All Of Me coming in January 2015 

Declaring a “dating hiatus” was an easy decision for teacher Karen Morris. She intends to unwind and enjoy a luxurious Caribbean cruise without the presence of her cheating ex-boyfriend. But surprisingly all it takes is the deliciously sculpted form of chivalrous businessman Damian Bradshaw to turn Karen’s head and change her mind....

Damian’s friends are determined to save him from his widowerhood—and self-imposed celibacy. But no one is more shocked than Damian when Karen catches his attention and awakens his desire. Something about her ignites an insatiable need that neither of them can deny. The chemistry is inexplicable. But once back on dry land, real life awaits—along with their pasts. Will the promise of a bright future be enough to rehabilitate their reluctant hearts?

I asked Sheryl a few questions and here is what she shared.

1.     Why did you want to be a writer?

I’ve always loved reading and writing and could always be found with a pencil and paper. As I grew up, my love for the written word increased and I dreamed of penning my own stories and letting my imagination run free. So, I guess the reason I wanted to be a writer is because I love to write.

2.     Tell us a little bit about what you’re currently writing?

Currently, I’m multi-tasking with several projects.  I have a holiday novella to finish, edits on my third Kimani Romance novel, and edits on a romantic suspense novel.

3.     What do you enjoy most about connect with your readers?

By far, what I enjoy most about connecting with readers is developing relationships born out of our mutual love of books. Hopefully, some of those relationships will turn into life-long friendships.

Thank you for having me, Sheryl.
 
You will find Sheryl at www.Amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. You can also visit her website at www.sheryllister.com and at Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheryllisterauthor
 
Happy Ready

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Almost Over

2014 is almost over. Have you kept the many resolutions that you made in 2013? I stopped making New Year resolutions long ago. I prefer to call them goals because a goal is more attainable. One of the goals I have already initiated is to no longer entertain anyone or anything that is not a positive and consistent spiritual influence in my growing life. There are some weak links.

For many many years I have stretched and snapped back as an empty vessel. My own self fault.  I understand that we chose what is important, or maybe not. I understand the power that many give to excuses while being afraid of the solutions because that means actually doing the unfamiliar or unthinkable. Worried about what others may think. No one is exempt from doing their part in relation to showing and proving to thine own self because there is nothing to ever be proven to another. Becoming a vapor, a breeze, a thought, I am evolving. God said, He is the Potter and I am the clay. I am on the Potters wheel being molded and remolded. Stretched and squeezed. Stretched and flattened. Stretched. My vision is way too vast for me to be a little tea cup, short and stout.

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest and on purpose. Checking and balancing. Becoming an asset and deleting the liabilities and as we value ourselves as an asset we will not attract liabilities. Ya think?  Gone should be the days of living in the pit of self entitlement, self pity, demands, and fault finding. Living in unforgiveness of self and others. Gone should be the days of doing the same things expecting different results and getting angry or devastated about it. Gone should be the days of looking for others to fill a void that only God can fill, have you tried Him? No really, have your really tried Him?  Now is the time to live in the here and now. To fully appreciate this life without constraint. You only get one. Many are content in the nothingness and the unnecessary while avoiding reality. Wasted conversations and actions that lack fertilizer for mature growth. Living in delusion, or is it denial?

We should never become so content that we stop evolving personally, educationally, and spiritually. Until we become united on this front, the attack of the enemy will continue to divide and conquer allowing stagnation and emotional death among the living to continue.

Count me OUT, are you coming?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Think And Take Action


It goes without saying that we are our own enemy. Oh yes. We castrate every good thing that comes our way. Why? Mental and emotional bondage. Generational curses. Instead of looking forward with excitement and action we look back afraid to let go of the mess, paralyzed.  We have been operating in survival mode. Barely making it. Robing Peter, Jack, Jane, and Paul to make ends meet but, those ends never meet do they? The cycle continues. Are we paying attention?

There is no time like the present to turn it around.  There is no time like the present to clean up our slate. Right now each of us can say to ourselves that we ain’t about that life. Yes I said that. Oh you know what life I am talking about. That blame life. That it’s not my fault life. That the party don’t start until we get there life. That spin cycle that ultimately stops and then starts again. We are not the life of the party. But wait. We are valuable. We are priceless. We are authentic. But we fail to see that because of the rope around our necks that someone else or something else is pulling and using to choke every bit of who we are, out of us.

For the past few years I have been in that cycle. Up and down. Strong and weak. Happy and sad. I have allowed circumstances and situations to sideline me. I have allowed outside forces to control my every thought, action and sometimes words because I get drawn into this thing called life. The media beckons me to react. To emulate the chaos. I want to raise my voice and fists in protest to the wrongs and injustices I see. Wait, I get it. I understand it. But I am not in control of it. I vote to make my written voice heard. I don’t participate in that which goes against my core beliefs. I don’t involve myself with those who have no tangible and proven cause but only a mere existence. Oh yes. I allowed myself to become the silent partner all the while not taking full advantage of my gift, my ability, my vision. That vision that God placed in my spirit for His purpose and not mine.  So you see, it again starts with us.

Motherless and fatherless children will be our leaders and if we do not step up and show them the right side the cycle will continue. The media will continue to show footage of men, woman and children being victimized past, present, and if not changed the future. Oh you know the right side. That side that shows the importance of quality education and positive statistics of high school and college graduations. That side that teaches to save for our future by teaching sound financial planning. That side that teaches our young boys and girls to not be a part of the pandemic of unwanted pregnancies by not allowing them to be a pawn, a victim. That their no does in fact mean no, always. We fail because it’s not familiar. It’s not the in thing because everyone is not doing it. Because we need a man or woman to be known as the Boo. Get out my face with it. We need the latest fashion to be a participant of the in crowd. Will they die for us? Will they give us one of their kidneys to save our life? Will they raise our children when we take our last breath? Think. If we die today, will we have done all we were capable of doing with passion, with hunger and in order? Think.

My message is clear and uncut. I don’t have that ability to sugar coat and be politically correct of the fact that we are failing to teach abstinence and ethic. We are failing to teach that respect of self is more powerful than validation or even vindication. I am just not the warm and fuzzy type to say oh ok, it is ok. Walk over me, use me up and when you are done just toss me back. If you only knew. My message is clear and uncut because I am not exempt from not doing my part. But guess what. I am not afraid of change. I am not afraid of accountability. I am not concerned with who likes me or does not. I am not afraid to be the talk of the town because I stand for something other than that which serves no purpose and value. I am not concerned with those who choose to believe the lies instead learning the truth. I am not afraid to be single because I would rather have peace of mind. I have the same thoughts, ideas and suggestions as the next but get this, I take in to account the one thing that we all have and that is a voice and a choice.
You should do the same. Think and take action.

 

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Don't Quit

For many months I have been pushing myself. Pushing mentality, physically, and emotionally. Just a pushin and not going anywhere. I have long since been sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I have allowed and again I say, I have allowed some things to take form in my life and by doing so I have failed God, myself and others.  I have stepped out of the will of God for my life. No, not gave up on God but stepped out of obedience of His word. No, not the obedience of what man says I should or should not do.  Because I am trying to be a fixer and being unable to fix the it, I shut down. I am trying to fleshly solve situations and emotions only God can fix. Oh don't get me wrong, I love and continue to give God praise. I just realized I am in that spit again. That place where you jump out of the box and look back and say, what the Charlie Brown am I doing? Why am I doing that? STOP!

No worries though because see this. No weapons formed against me will prosper because God is my source and protector. God is my provider. He is my all and all. God is no respecter of people but He is a respecter of faith and faith, you know that faith that is the size of a mustard seed? Yeah that faith that passes all understanding. Yes that faith. I am standing boldly and upright at the mountains and brick walls and screaming MOVE OUT OF MY WAY IN THE NAME OF JESUS and BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS I REBUKE you SATAN from my life and my families lives and my friends lives. I speak boldly and with confidence.

So get up if you can and if you can't raise your hands and say it with me, MY God IS stronger than ANY obstical, stronger than sickness, stronger than the no's you may get. Stronger than the many who have and  those who will turn their backs on you. Stronger than those small voices in your head that say that you can't do it. Give it all over to God and leave it. Now, forget what just happened and step into your newness.  Praise Him in advance. Don't quit.

Be Blessed.