Thursday, September 30, 2010

That Don't Impress Me Much

"At some point in life you have to decide if you want to impress people or influence people?...Our strengths create competition, our weaknesses create community." -Purpose Driven LIfe

This chapter ended with the question: "Am I limiting God's power in my life by trying to hide my weaknesses?" I thought this was an appropriate question for my life right now, even as I take this trip with my family. My relatives don't often get to see the real me, the flawed me. They often see the me that is in control, on top of all the family needs, doesn't worry about money and has an answer for everything. That "me" they see is so far from the truth. Part of it i know is that people see what they want to see and the bigger part i know is because i lead them to believe that is the real me. My baby sister has a very sensitive personality to say the least and she made a comment that stuck in my head. "I think we'll stop bumping heads if I just decide to let you have the last word everytime". Its not the fact that she thinks I need to have the last word that bothers me, anyone who knows me knows that i don't often back down from a challenge no matter how small. That's an issue to be discussed in a later I think what bothered me is that in all of my compulsive controlling habits and my need to appear that I'm on top of things, I've made my sister feel somewhat inferior to me. The whole "Golden Child" syndrome is not what i ever intended for my relationship with my sister to be, but i think it explains us. My constant correction of her errors or Nick-picks about her quirks that come from a place of love can often seem like judgment and comparison to myself in her eyes.

When i apply this thought to other relationships in my life i see how I've made some of my past friends and boyfriends feel inferior to me and also how some behaviors of current people in my life have made me feel inferior to them. All that does is bring negative feelings and a need to prove yourself to the person you feel inferior to which creates negative competition. As long as you are comparing yourself to another human being and not God, you'll never win. I realize that one could say I'm too hard on myself at times and isn't it the responsibility of the person that is comparing themselves to you to learn that they should compare themselves with God? Most people have the attitude of "Well all i can do is be me, its not my fault is they're jealous because of what i got or who I am?". Thats not a humbled mindset and also not a person that draws people closer to them. A humbled person understands that you have to step down off your "ladder of pride" and show others that look up to you that you have flaws just like they do. Show them that you hurt and feel pain just like they do and cry at night and have insecurities just as they do. You connect better with people when you're real not perfect. Sometimes that ladder of pride is really just denial because you probably don't have half as much going on as you lead others to believe anyway. The sooner you admit your weaknesses to yourself and to others the sooner you can turn them into strengths and build healthier relationships.

I choose to influence people versus impressing them and that's gonna take some honest work on myself. I've been flipping myself inside out and exposing my weaknesses, so they can be offered up and turned into strengths. That doesn't mean I'm opening myself up to scrutiny from the world or that every flaw i have needs fixing. But it feels good to embrace your quirks and no longer require the approval of people who stand in judgment and highlight each one of them. Day by day their voices get softer and softer in my head and i start to hear Peace get louder and louder. With that being said i also want to help the people who hear my voice as a loud judging horn in their lives by humbling myself and choosing my words wisely, becoming a voice of Peace to them.

Peace y'all!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Too Perfect to Plan

So it's Day 3 of the family cruise to Barbados and the Virgin Islands. It's been interesting to say the least. Let's recap... I came down with a bad cold as soon as we sailed and have been in the bed most of the first two days. My sis in law caught whatever i have and she spent the last day in bed and in pain. My brother's back gave out on him so he's in constant pain. My sister got a migraine from being in the sun all day in Barbados and she spent most of the day in bed. My baby sis is naturally a hypochondriac so she always has something going on. That leaves my dad who always has ankle pain and my nephew who is in heaven right now because he can drink and gamble on the ship at the age of 19. I realized at dinner that if anyone were watching us on camera these first few days they would definitely think we were a pill popping hypochondriac My teenage "hormone-enraged, all over the place, cant remember nothing but where da party at" nephew is as normal as we get right now.

Today was the day we spread my mothers ashes in Barbdaos and it was nothing like i expected it to be. I think i envisioned a very dramatic emotional moment and it was far from that. We got off the ship to be bombarded by taxi drivers encouraging us to take a trip to this beach and that beach for 100 bucks. Followed by my brother walking around to different drivers to see who he could hustle for a cab deal. He said if they're charging $100, Im gonna get it for $50. My baby sister decided she had to get her free gift they promised at 10am so she didnt want to go to the beach yet. Im thinking "Really??? Didnt we come here to place our mother to rest and you worried about a cheap gold charm gift". Had to take a deep breathe and just listen to the island music on that one. My dad is always the peace maker so he took her inside and she got her way and then we went to find my brother. We ended up paying $60 to go to a beach about 15 minutes from the pier for 2 hours. We get to the beach and it's not as secluded as we thought it would be for our intended purpose. Were immediately greeted again by the locales offering jet skis, beach chairs, and bottled water for purchase. We opt for two out of three, lounging in the chairs while we sip our water and watch others splash around in the ocean. Keeping in the back of my mind, that we only have two hours to find a location, spread the ashes and get back to the cab, im scoping out places while I kick around and take pictures with my sisters. I see something that looks like a pier to walk out on and decide to go check it out. My nephew follows behind me and joins for the walk. We bypass the pier and proceed to a set of rocks that run along the water that look like the perfect spot. We arrive, after taking the ten minute walk in the 100 degree sun in jeans for him and a long black dress for me. Although the rocks were covered with what i can only describe as "spider crabs" and hermit crabs it was the perfect location. There weren't any people on that end of the beach and the rocks provided the cliff-like atmosphere we desired. We took a few pics and, as sick as i was, i challenged my nephew to a jog back to our chair rentals. After a few frustrating comments from the family about the distance to the rocks in the heat, we gathered our stuff and started the long journey to our mothers final resting place. Sweated out and in need of more water we place our bags down and got ready to climb the rocks. One problem...neither my dad or brother could climb the rocks and my sis in law was like "yeah right". We settled for walking in the ocean right in front of the rocks then drifted out further then we planned. Instead of taking a peaceful moment to say words and strategically place the ashes, we rushed and laughed and screamed at one another to hurry up and release them. "These waves are getting too high" "I'm not trying to get my whole outfit wet" "Turn to the camera so she can see the ashes flying" "Look there's a big fish coming!". I quickly dumped the remainder of the ashes into the water while trying to hold my dress up so i didn't take any with me...lmao. It was the most unexpected, unplanned, non-strategic ceremony anyone could have ever done for their loved one, which made it the most sincere heart-filled perfect moment because that's my family at its best. I may try to plan every detail out and prepare for incidentals. But when it comes to life, love, and family you can plan these things, you have to let them be. My nephew kept chasing the fish as my sister yelled for him to stop because it turned out to be a baby shark. I lost my flip flops in the commotion and me and my sisters found them in separate locations of the water. Still cant believe i found them, but the water is so clear that you can see anything when the sand settles. We all walked away from the rocks completely soaked and sweaty, but laughing and happy. We finally, after almost two years, placed Tia Juana Clarke as she wished in the waters of her favorite vacation spot, Barbados.

I thank God again for making this trip possible and for giving us the strength to pull together as a family for moments like this. Also, for not allowing any of us to be thrown over board by any one of us... YET! 4 more days to go.

Peace y'all.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gifts of Life

We've all been given unique spiritual gifts. We sometimes become dissatisfied when others don't share our gifts or we weren't given the same gifts from God as others. God planned our individual gifts so that we may need each other. If we had all the gifts in life we wouldn't need for anything or anyone, then what would our Purpose be?

Peace yall

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Playing Hookie

I started by writing this in my journal but it'll be my blog entry for the day as well.

I'm so thinking about playing hookie from this casting today. I didn't respond to the agency until well after the office was closed last night to confirm that I'd be there. I awake this morning to feelings of regret because I don't really want to go. I'm not sure if its because I've convinced myself that this industry has been the tool to bring out my darkness and I'm using that as an excuse to be lazy. Or am I really truly done with the ups and downs of daily castings, grumpy New Yorkers, hustle and bustle and so on. Even after a few days of peace in my NJ apartment, I always return to the city for castings angry. Stomping the pavement in a hurry, even if I'm not in a rush, to get to this appointment, gotta make it here in five minutes, can't be late for this one its a BIGGY! I could be having a good day and I'd find myself walking with somewhat of a frown on my face for no good reason, not that there is a good reason to have a frown on your face. I heard some say that NYC is the Devil's playground ... hmmmmmm! I've been learning that my journey with God and my spiritual maturity will not come from seclusion. It is just as important to interact with other believers and non-believers as it is important to have alone time with God. You don't know how strong your Faith is until tested by others. I know I can't hide in my apartment forever but can't I get one more day, today...Pretty please? Lol

I probably won't go to the casting but I will make a promise to myself to seek answers to my questions about my current occupation. I return from my trip next Monday and that'll give me over a week to have talks with God and talks with myself and prayerfully take the next step towards my new or re-prioritize purpose.

Peace yall!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Measure of Success

One cannot measure their level of success by comparing it to another's. Your success is defined by you. Its easy and quite honestly lazy to put yourself side by side with anyone in life and think "well I have this but they have that" or "yeah they accomplished this but I did too and even better". We're all guilty of taking the easy road and jumping on the band wagon and doing what others are doing instead of using our own brains and truly finding our purpose. We get disappointed and frustrated when we don't accomplish the goals we set, but they perhaps weren't the right goals to set in the first place if you were basing them on what other people do. It takes much more faith and energy to trust in the Lord to create your success through the opportunities in front of you. Our life experiences make us who we are and even if two people appear to be on the same playing field they really are not. Their personal circumstances such as finances, beliefs, upbringings, environment, energy, actions, and more determine how their life will turn out. You can put two people through the same scenario and they will surely have different outcomes. Take my siblings and I for example. We were all raised in the same household with the same parents and the same beliefs. And as adults we couldn't be farther from similar. How we all took our experiences and analyzed them and made life decisions around them makes us different. Its one of the bayooteefull things about being God's creatures, no two of us are exactly alike. So understanding this should put us at peace with our own circumstances. Trusting that we all go through our trials for a purpose, the purpose that only applies to us as individuals. Not to be compared or judged against others and to be appreciated as stepping stones on our own paths to greatness.

I'm searching for my purpose. I can't expect to be successful or even define success without first understanding my purpose.

Peace yall!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Baking A Cake

"To bake a cake you must use flour, salt, raw eggs, sugar and oil. Eaten individually, each is pretty distasteful or even bitter. But bake them together and they become delicious. If you will God all your distasteful, unpleasant experiences, he will blend them together for good." - from Purpose Driven Life

This passage about baking a cake, spoke to me because I'm currently laying out my distasteful behaviors and facing them and sending them up to God to make me better. I'm witnessing so many dark thoughts and feelings I have inside and it is somewhat embarrassing to myself. Its like I'm living this life but I'm also stepping outside of myself and watching me. I've been beating myself up by some of what i see in me. I keep reminding myself that I deserve my own love and forgiveness first before i can offer it to anyone else. So every time i think a nasty thought, i apologize to myself and then forgive myself. I can say that I've been apologizing to myself a lot lately. It had me frustrated and ready to give up initially. Asking myself and God "If i believe in you more now than i ever have and you know my hearts intentions, why do you let me think this way, why do you not stop these feelings and make me happy and peaceful all the time?" I'm realizing that its not that easy and as a good friend said "he will surely break me down before he builds me up". I cant expect that now because my Faith is stronger that i will automatically change my ways. Matured spirituality takes time and diligence and is not promised to be perfect or sugar coated or easy. My Faith is in the infancy stage and I have to learn to crawl and fall down several times before i can walk.

The ingredients of my cake are jealousy, anger, gossip, promiscuity, cursing, alcohol, judgement, and then some. I know that none of these ingredients are Christ-like and at the same time i know that I'm human and will go through these things in life. I am learning to love me and forgive me for all my previous and future sins and trust that God is baking an amazing cake with these ingredients that are my life experiences.

Peace y'all!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Singing My Song

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face, And nobody's gonna bring me down, today. Been feeling like nothing's been going my way, lately but I decided right here right now, that my outlook's gonna change. That's why I'm gonna...

Say goodbye to all the tears I've cried everytime somebody hurt my pride.
Feelin like they won't let me live life and take the time to look at what is mine. I see every blessing so clearly,
And I thank God for what I got from above.

I believe they can take anything from me, but they can't succeed in taking my inner peace from me. They can say what they wanna say, about me but I'm gonna carry on, Imma keep on, Singin' my song!

I never wanna dwell on the pain, again, oooh no, no. It's no use in relivin' how I hurt back then, oh no, no. Rememberin' too well the hell I felt when I was running outta faith. Every step I'm 'bout to take, well it's towards a better day. Cause I'm about to...

Say farewell to every single lie and all the fears I've held too long inside. Every time I felt I couldn't try, all the negativity and strife.

I believe they can take anything from me, but they can't succeed in taking my inner peace from me. They can say what they wanna say, about me but I'm gonna carry on, Imma keep on, Singin' my song!

Every time I tried to be what they wanted from me, It never came naturally. So I ended up in misery was unable to see all the good around me.
Wasted so much energy on, what they thought of me than simply just rememberin to breathe. I'm humanly unable to please everyone at the same time, so now I find my peace of mind, livin' one day at a time.

In the end I answer to one God, comes down to one love till I get to heaven above. I have made the decision never to give in, till the day I die no matter what.

I'm gonna carry on, Imma keep on, Singin' my Song!

"Singing My Song" by Christina Aguilera

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Fellowship of Friends

Fellowship (n) - a. The condition of sharing similar interests, ideals, or experiences, as by reason of profession, religion, or nationality. b. The companionship of individuals in a congenial atmosphere and on equal terms.

I need love instead of lust, I need true friendship instead of superficial "perfect" friends and I need to be a true friend, I need spiritual guidance instead of doing things my way. I get it now or I'm "getting" it now (work in progress). Its amazing what you discover about yourself, your life, your friends, your beliefs, your everything when you just sit and talk with God and with yourself. I've realized so much over the past month or two through my readings, talks with God, attendance in church, and conversations with friends and family. Most of my reality has me longing for a more sincere, true relationship and commitment, whether it be family, friends, love, career, and religion. Learning about fellowship of all kinds made me realize that I don't or didn't have many true sincere fellowships (relationships with others to be honest with me, hold me accountable, and help guide me to do be a better person or vice versa). Yes I have friends that challenge me (mostly for their own benefit of being right), elders that give words of encouragement (but not aggressively nudging me down any particular path), and loves or lusts that appear to have my best interest at heart (but when things get serious, all you see is the dust they kicked up when leaving). I don't say these things to offend or blame anyone because it is and has always been my responsibility to demand sincere, healthy, progressive relationships.

My biggest challenge today is my fellowship with friends. I've been guilty, more than once, of letting anger build up inside me and then exploding on friends and telling them all the things they did to hurt me and how bad of a friend they are and blah blah blah. Taking very little responsibility for my part or dismissing my contribution to the situation as I'm human or I've done more for them so I have the right to point these sharp, piercing fingers. Definitely not the best way to have handled things. Even with those friends that haven't had major arguments with, I still judge them in my mind and observed their every move comparing myself to them.

The one thing I'm working so hard at is not placing blame anywhere but here with me. Taking accountability for my part of any wrong doings or even any part of half-ass good intentions. We all mean well but sometimes fall short of seeing things through especially when it isn't necessarily our concern. I want to be a true friend and get involved in my friend's lives and be someone that helps them for the better and I want that in return.

I put a challenge out to my closest female friends to help me be a better friend. When I say closest, I mean the females I interact with the most. Some of these were new friends, some old, and some are relatives. I challenged them to eliminate gossip, be open and honest even if it hurts, to encourage and motivate each other, to only speak words of love and not judgment. I also apologized for any judgment I've passed against them. I have heard back from a few and appreciate the candidness of some of the responses. I'm at peace with not hearing back from others and with the selection of words from those that did respond. I realize that while I have to focus on my spiritual journey, so do others. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, flaws, comments, habits, and such. It is not for me to gossip, compare, judge, or criticize anyone in life except for myself. And even with myself I need to have an attitude of love and forgiveness for the things I've done and will continue to do.

For now I keep my petty thoughts and comments not based from LOVE to myself and I pray that with each day, as I form better habits, that these thoughts will be no more. I'm striving for a true fellowship of friendship with the females in my world.

Peace yall!

"For all have sinned and fall short to the Glory of God". - Romans 3:23

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Lies Behind

"Disregard what lies behind and press forward... Trust God!" - from Joel Osteen

As part of my spiritual studies, I've been learning to live in the moment and Trust that God has my future planned out perfectly. After my daily email forward, I'm thinking in order to do that I also have to let go of the past. I can't press on and be open to God's love and lessons if I'm still bitter and holding onto past pains and even past accomplishments.

I can't say that I want true unconditional love if I still resent and hold anger to the men that I've allowed to hurt me . I certainly can't expect it if I'm not willing to let go of past loves (or lusts) that have far moved on from me. I can't desire to have a strong sisterhood with my female friends if I hold on to the past hurts. Not just the hurts they may have subjected me to, but the past hurt of not having any true friends for most of my adolescent life, not even a close sister to sister relationship. I can't say that I want to be successful and forever growing in my career if I allow the rejections to hold me back. Playing over in my mind what I could have done differently to seal the deal. Even in my spirituality, I can't say I truly want to know God and feel his Love if I constantly remind myself of the hypocrisy and disgust that I grew up around in the most "religious" people in my life.

I have to trust the Love, the Friends, the Opportunities, and above all the God that is in front of me today and allow that to drive me forward. So I'm learning to Let Go and Let God drive me forward and intentionally disregard what lies behind!

Peace yall!

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friend of God

Heavenly Father, thank You for being my friend today. Thank You for loving me and being faithful to me. Help me understand Your friendship today so that I can be a better friend to those around me. In Jesus' Name. Amen. -from Joel Osteen

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gut Punch Love

Like a boxer preparing themselves for the next blow. I hold my breath, tighten my abs, and guard myself from the punch I know I'm about to endure. Whether its an unanswered phone call, an unwanted response to a question, or even an unforeseen out of no where call from you. I brace myself for the next series of gut punch blows of love I'll get from this never ending love affair for you I seem to have with myself.

Everytime you step back into my world I think its a sign. Just when I'm almost at the line of letting you go, you come back. You call, you text, I see your picture somewhere and I think maybe I should turn back. I pray to think differently.

Everytime you step back into my world I know its a test. Just when I'm almost at the line of letting you go, you come back. You call, you text, I see your picture somewhere and I know I should cross that line and let go.

Just felt like sharing. Peace yall!

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hot Shower

Can't tell you how amazing it felt to come home and wash "today" off of me. From spiritual challenges with new friends, lessons from God with old friends, entertaining concerns from others that aren't my concern, a broken phone, drama at the bank with my rent check, sore feet from the streets of NYC, a hot sweaty body from the unexpected blazing sun, a bday party that I had to make it to in spite of wanted to run home and cry after a day like this, and a call from an old yet still mending love wound. Each beat of that water felt like warm arms embracing me. Pulling me in close and telling me that "it'll be ok, just let us wash away all your worries and failures of today and give you a refreshed assurance that tomorrow will be better". As the massage head kneaded into my stressed and tightened shoulder muscles, I felt relief with every stroke. As I stood with my eyes closed I drifted into a Paradise that sailed far far away from this day and onto a brighter, joyous tomorrow. Upon opening my eyes to realize I am only standing in my shower, I close them quickly to return to Paradise. Trusting and believing each drop of water which equaled the number of prayers I said silently today to get me through. Listening only to my voice and the splash of water on the shower curtain. Both reminding me that nothing worth having is easy, so if Peace is what I desire it will not come easy. However, this blissful hot shower was a little bit of Peace until the real deal comes. The only thing that could have made this shower better was hotter water and multiple massaging shower heads. One for my neck, two for each shoulder, one for my lower back, and one to pulsate up and down the lumbar of my back. I feel so refreshed and ready for pleasant dreams to take me into tomorrow. Ready to sleep peacefully and awake tomorrow with a better attitude and embrace the new day. Whew!!! Never will I underestimate the power of a hot shower! Peace yall!

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mind Renewal

Haven't felt like doing much blogging. Not because I don't want to share but because I've been so deep into these books that I'd rather read then write. As I mentioned in my last entry, I've been actively studying God and learning and answering many questions I've had for years. Putting an end to all my speculations and curiosities and letting go of my fear of religious hypocrisy in the world and in my family. It really has me evaluating lots of current habits and people in my life. It is so true that old habits just don't seem as entertaining once you seek a more God-like life. Gossip, cursing, money, sex, even drinking doesn't hold my interests too much these days. I'm not saying those desires are gone but they aren't the driving force in my daily thoughts and there are so many other desires that are capturing my interests these days. I'm resetting my mindset for the better and doing away with old worries, negative thoughts, negative or even stifling friendships and people.

"The only relationship I'm truly concerned about during my studies is my relationship with God." It took a while for me to be comfortable with that statement. As I began to commit to my current lesson plan, friends have made comments and that is a deterrent from staying focused. Fear of being judged because all of a sudden I'm talking all this holy talk. But then I thought, "I don't really care if people notice a change in me, its a change for the better". If people are talking then that means I'm doing something I didn't do before and that's a great thing from where I sit. And actually I'm learning that so much of what's in the Bible and in the other books to assist me in reading the Bible are right in line with what I've believed to be true all along. Its been challenging but in a natural way because these books are speaking the truth. I spent so much time running from the Bible and God and church and any conversation of any sort most of my life and now it comes so natural to me. So I'm focusing on strengthening my spirituality which will in return strengthen every aspect of my life and I can't tell you how joyful that makes me. I've had some unexpected people enter my life recently to assist me with my spiritual journey. I love them for helping me even if they don't know their intended purpose in my life.

I'm still ME, just a "work in progress, change for the better, mind renewed and refreshed" ME. I have a lot more to learn and a lot more to read but I'm humbled every day and every second that I think about my future mind and where I'm headed. Old habits die hard, but with spiritual diligence I know it'll happen. The way I see, I've spent the last 30 years of my life doing things my way and yes I've been happy and had accomplishments and am a good person with a good heart but I know there is much more to this life. I think I'll spend the next 30 years under someone else's guidelines and see if I'm not much more accomplished and happier and good with an even bigger heart. Peace yall!

"And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..." - Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Current Books: Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, All about Love by Susan L Taylor, and The Second Most Important Book You Will Ever Read by Dan Patrick.

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