Can’s Open, Worm’s Everywhere!

Ever have one of those moments when you stop, breathe in, realize that it is all going to be okay, and smile? Well, I had one today.  I’m loving life and life is loving me back.  No, I didn’t hit the lotto and no all the stuff that had me in a funk isn’t gone, but I realized something today… I broke my previous record of consecutive days I’ve stayed alive, so I must still have destiny to walk out.

Haven’t been here in a loooong time and it feels good.  I can complete a thought in more than a 140 characters. There’s so much I want to say but I am choosing my digital words and thoughts a little more carefully lately. So, I’ll probably be real random, lol. I just had to take some time and write, clear the cobwebs, and vocalize my thoughts to someone besides me. So, welcome to this WILD ride.

I have a new philosophy for 2012, “Life isn’t always perfect, but when you wake up breathing that’s a great start to ANY day! ” I’ve lived too long waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me “You’ve Been Punk’d!!” The last few years have felt like my whole life was one big tornado warning: Should I run to safety, just in case? Or should I open the window and see where this twister takes me? There is no life if you don’t live it and you can’t live life if you don’t love it. So love life, live life. Look at life like coloring, sometimes it’s okay to go outside the lines.  It’s the experience of no boundaries that counts.  Live life to the fullest!!!

I am learning that life is as random as the weather. You can’t change what’s headed your way, but you can prepare and survive whatever comes your way. Life is a gift, no matter what you are doing, enjoy it you control that. It’s your life and you need to love it, live it, and most importantly… ENJOY it! We walk around pretending to be happy, hoping people believe it so we stay within the norms. Somebody gave me some great advice one day, “Your not really living if you have to pretend to be happy. So kiss slowly, love deeply, and don’t let your past rob you of your future.”  Thanks, Shannon glad you picked up the phone that night, your words ring in my head often.

If you don’t remember anything else from this post remember this, “Whatever you want in life, start today. Not tomorrow-TODAY. Let it be a small beginning or a big one, just take a step. Your happiness depends on starting today- every day!” People quote this a lot but I am living it out, “laugh until you can’t breath, smile as wide as you can, dance like no one is looking, sing like no one can hear, and live like there’s no tomorrow!”

So, let’s face facts, you’ve been misled. Life is not a box of chocolates. It’s a tin of mixed nuts at best. So, why not step out on the edge and choose to jump in with both feet taking life by the handlebars and ride it ’till the wheels fall off. Y’all stand back…It’s about to be amazing!

Inspired by the FUTURE… Guided by the PAST…

LIVING the present the BEST way I can…

Out With the Old, in With the New

Food guidelines recommend 2-4 servings of fruit per day. We are taught that fruits are rich in vitamins and nutrients and daily consumption of fruit is considered necessary for a good health.  But, there is a difference between eating moldy (old) fruit and eating fresh fruit.  Nobody I know likes rotten fruit. There is nothing appealing about it. It stinks and is slimy, and it attracts flies and other unsightly insects and mold. A couple of weeks ago as I sat in our Friday Nite Live service the words of the message hit home.  It made me think about my current spiritual place. It was a call to stop and take a look at my spiritual growth. Am I personally overcoming sin in my life? Could I sense a forward motion in my Christian walk? Or did I seem to be stuck in a rut, stagnate, going nowhere. Was my fruit growing old and moldy? I was going to church, but I felt disconnected.  I was saying the same prayers I always had…God thanks for this, God I need this, God help me in this area, God I need some money, Thanks God, amen. I said my prayers and attended bible classes and church like a good lil solider, but I found myself going through the motions. Eventually, I just stopped going, stopped reading, and stopped praying.

We all go through it, but have you ever stopped to think why that is?  For my spiritual life to become stagnant meant that something had taken my attention away from the spiritual practices that made my spiritual life possible.  Many times our lives become unfruitful because of stress, worries, wrong priorities, and the cares of this world.  Through the message on that Friday night Bishop reminded me of things that keep my fruit fresh and when I continually miss one it begins to effect the others.  Prayer, reading the Word, church fellowship and giving/tithing are essential to keeping my fruit fresh.  “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”  John 15:4.

You could say my spiritual rut came about by being lazy and complacent when it came to my spiritual life. Or I stopped growing because the routine of my life began to consume me. Maybe I fell into a rut because of a false sense of guilt and shame for not living up to the ideal I had of what it means to be a Christian. It could be one or all but I was trying to live off moldy rotten fruit and something had to change. To get out of a rut takes change, strength and perseverance. I was living in brokenness. I had to face facts and admit to God that no matter how long it takes, God, I am committed to the process. So, I had to make some changes, I needed to grow, I needed fresh fruit.

I heard a guy say once that he wished our spiritual lives could be in a step by step manual. That it would be nice if we had a manual that told us how often we need to go to church, how long we should pray, what we should read in the Bible and for how long, etc. But we all know that book doesn’t exist (and no, the Bible is not that book). Even if that book did exist, our faith would be more about following a schedule and routine than living out authentic faith.  Since that handbook doesn’t exist, what do we do when we get into a spiritual rut? What do we do when our fruit seems a lil moldy?

As I listened to that Friday night message again today I realized this, we have to remember what it was that made you feel so alive when you first met Christ.  That feeling came from relationship with Him. To get back to that feeling, you must get back to that relationship. Stay spiritually disciplined, but don’t make that just a practice, make it a daily passion. God wants us to be passionate in our pursuit of Him. He wants us to be hungry, thirsty and desperate for Him.  Getting out of a rut and getting back on track is a continual process. God’s will is going to be done in your life, but He never said it was going to be easy.  Each one of us will experience failure and setbacks in life. But, we shouldn’t allow our failures to become excuses for giving up on God’s plans or living on old fruit. So if your fruit bowl needs a pick me up, seek God’s forgiveness for your doubts or indifference or fears that keep you from following His plan for your life. Pray for God’s strength to help you overcome those hurdles so that you can continue your faith journey.


Fly Above…

Yesterday my character was attacked in a very public way.  Everything in me wanted to retaliate, but the words of some very special friends and family reminded me of who I was.  They reminded me that every Christian has experienced or will experience some type of personal attack. It could be an attack on character, conduct, motives, decisions or abilities, it all can be very hurtful, but we must rise above those attacks in order to survive and remain faithful to His calling. My response to those words on the screen could reflect who I am or who I was, the choice was totally up to me. I chose to just let it go, to not even respond and then I prayed about it. I asked God to show me the lesson in this, because there had to be one. As I got up from the altar I felt a relief because I knew if He would take me to it, He would get me through it.

As I sit here and type this I lean on the strength of great leaders who’ve been in the same situations.  Through their ability to let the matter end there, to just let it go and rest in the fact that an unmerited response might simply make matters worse I was able to gain perspective and move forward.  I have to admit that I was ANGRY but after the anger subsided, I remembered something I had read somewhere that when attacks come your way, consider these ideas:

  • View attacks as a call to prayer

I remembered that God invites me to cast all my cares on Him and to present my worries to Him in prayer, then I come to Him as one who is weary and burdened and find rest in His presence. I had to remember that this fight wasn’t mine, that God had my back and in the end He would still get ALL the glory. He was working this thing out, that this attack was actually building my character and not tearing it down. My response to it all either proved those mean, hateful words true or not.

  • Look for any truth in what was said

In my prayer I asked the Lord to show me how to be honest with myself and to consider the possibility that they may be right somewhere in their bitter, violent attack against me. While I was preparing a rebuttal, the Lord slowed me down long enough to search out some truth in those words He did not want me to miss.

  • Refuse to consider anyone your enemy

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The Lord leaves no room for us to accumulate enemies. Even if those who intentionally try to cause trouble regard us as their enemy, we must refuse to reciprocate.

  • Resist taking the matter into the public eye

I could have retaliated and blasted the perpetrator from here to kingdom come, but I didn’t, what would that prove. All eyes were/are on me to see if I was going to walk out all the changes I have claimed to be going through. I had the opportunity to be a walking, talking bible for someone last night.  So, I sit here today hoping that this post helps someone going through the same thing. Be the light, I did and I feel better for it.

  • Maintain a balanced perspective on the size of the problem

There will be times when the problem is bigger than we think. Until you know that to be true, treat the criticisms and attacks as isolated incidents that need to addressing. Don’t treat them as major crises that demand the suspension of everything else you are doing until you can resolve them. Its not about me, I had to let the light shine to ensure that my actions didn’t taint the lesson. God got the GLORY any how.

When all was said and done I learned that people needed to see that it is possible to take direct hits and still maintain a positive testimony for Christ. The way I responded reflected the way I am growing in Christ. The way I handled this attack on my character demonstrated how much I am conforming to the image of Christ. Now that is growth because there have been times I did respond badly when attacks seem unrelenting, merciless, and unjustified, just like this one. But getting knocked off balance didn’t mean that I should or would repeat those mistakes every time I came under fire. Paul tells us to rejoice always. When hard times come, let nothing steal your joy as you devote yourself to “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1, NASB).

I want to leave you with the words of Kandi Burress, she has a song called Fly Above and one verse really stuck with me last night… “I’m like a jet airplane, way too high to hear you throwing salt on my name. I know I’m not the only one if people love to hate you, go and throw your hands up, go ahead and spread your wings cuz you gotta fly above.” Fly above all the drama because its beneath you. Life is richer because of what we learn through our trials. There are many benefits gained after we open ourselves up to the things God wants to teach us when we are humble enough to listen and learn.

What the caterpillar perceives is the end….

…to the butterfly is just the beginning


“therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

The butterfly is a symbol of the amazing transformation that takes place in the life of a Christian through the power of Jesus Christ.  The Word replaces the old self with the new self, it is a complete metamorphosis, as with the butterfly.  The life-cycle of a butterfly  is a fascinating series of changes, we tend to overlook that the butterfly is the result of a  journey. A journey that is quite different from that of many creatures on this planet. Before it reaches maturity it must undergo a series of remarkable transformations.

Starting as an egg, the butterfly-to-be grows inside the egg for several days before it reaches the larval stage, then it begins a time as a caterpillar. Caterpillars do not stay in this stage for very long and mostly, in this stage all they do is eat.  As believers we must do the same, we must eat the Word. To eat the word speaks of the believer reading, meditating, and applying it to our daily life and experience. In this stage the caterpillar repeatedly molts, adding a new skin and shedding the old so it can continue to grow. We must take the Word of God into our hearts and lives, let it change us, and with our lives being changed by the Word we just like the caterpillar molt and grow.

The caterpillar is then ready for the next stage of its life as a chrysalis, or pupa, it enters it cocoon. Sometimes as we are moving from one season in life to another we experience a time where we feel like we are alone, isolated, and in the dark. Because it seems like no one and nothing is available to us, our worlds seem to become confined…we are in a tight place.  This is what happens to a caterpillar when it enters its cocoon.  It enters into a tight space,  I am pretty sure it is dark, and maybe even uncomfortable.   In this space, the caterpillar can’t move and may feel constricted, frustrated, and stagnant. It is in this place that we must rest in the fact that God has it all under control.  He is protecting you here, hiding you while you are in the vulnerable phase of transformation.   In this place, He is restoring you, fortifying you and strengthening you to be able to handle your next season and He is changing you, transforming you, and manifesting destiny within you.

In this stage the caterpillar hangs upside down, usually from a twig or branch, and encases itself in a protective cocoon. Upside down, wow that can be a scary place. You are disoriented, you’re scared and this is place most of us give up. We think its too hard but we don’t realize that we are at the brink.  We are almost at our destination, if we abort here we emerge incomplete. Here, over about 10 to 14 days, the caterpillar undergoes the most  amazing transformation. At the end of this stage its protective shell becomes transparent, and a adult butterfly emerges.

Its metamorphosis complete, the butterfly starts its new life. This new creature is nothing like what we saw before. As it matured it changed in many ways. It transformed into something far different. Its end result is far from its beginning.   The caterpillar liquefies inside the chrysalis and reforms into a butterfly.  I read this morning that even after years of research, all the details of this journey, are not completely understood.  God does the same thing with us.  He transforms us into totally different creatures.  It is a transformation from the inside out.  Who but God could transform us from the filthy rags we are into vessels of honor fit for the Master’s use.

The caterpillar was never designed to remain just a caterpillar.  It was created to eventually spread its wings and take flight! So don’t fight the process.  Rest in His embrace; enjoy the peace of His protective silence; and prepare for the beauty of change.

Resolution

When faced with challenges most people will look to change the circumstances in order to change the result. It has been my experience that the cycle seems to  repeat until I’ve truly understood the situation and its origins. I’ve come to that conclusion because usually that situation repeats itself in my life. This was a massive clue. I’m not perfect and things are repeating in my life and it’s because of that “situation”, the result that has led me to this place, this time, this blog post.

What do I mean by situation? Ok, let’s say falling for the wrong guy… repeatedly. That’s a cycle. This is your third job this year (fired for absenteeism). That’s a cycle. The truth of the matter is, that not many people ask “why?”. We never get to the bottom of the reasons for the repeated results.  Well, a light went on for me. I asked why. I’m seeking solution for my situation. I choose to come out of the loop and take this head on.

A word was spoken to me the other day and it continues to ring in my ears right now… RESOLUTION.  I searched this word hoping to figure out what was it’s significance in my question “why” and one definition really stuck out…

Resolution : the point in a literary work at which the chief dramatic complication is worked out.

The resolution is the end of the story. It occurs after the CLIMAX. It is when you learn what happens to the characters after the CONFLICT is resolved. I immediately got excited because I knew that my question was about to be answered and this cycle was ending. Woo Hoo!!! Thank you Jesus because I was about to lose my mind. We feel hopeless to the pattern that we seem to struggle with over and over again, we get overwhelmed, over taken, over burdened. I am excited because He has already began to illuminate the situation. There is hope for what seemed like a dead, doomed situation. I knew the cycle was ending and in Him were the only answers.

Psalm 48:2, says He is beautiful for situation. And that He is and through Him my question is being answered. Through Him my situation resolved. As I journey through this solution, I pray that my journey helps you as much as me chronicling it in this blog helps me. To all of you readers, thanks for sticking around here. Some of you I know in real life, others I have forged some surprisingly wonderful relationships with over the internet, others may be readers I don’t even know about. But to all of you, the sentiment is the same. I’m glad to be here with you. When I originally began this blog, I was in a strange time in my life. Most simply, I was in a rut.  My life was beginning to seem stagnant, and I needed something new. So I started this blog and it has been a way for me to share my life and reflections, and to cultivate my personal creativity.  I blog because I love it.  I blog because somehow, someway the words on this screen are a help to someone. I hope you continue to Let Me Help You… and in return you can help me.

Why Moms ROCK!!!!

Read this today on a great Mom Blogging site (modified it a little bit)…

1) Because we never thought that “doing it all” would mean doing this much. But we do do it all — and then some.

2) Because we’ve discovered patience we never knew we had.

3) Because we are willing to do something 10 times, 100 times or 1,000 times if that’s what it takes for our kids to learn something new.

4) Because we have bad days and breakdowns and bawl-fests, and then we pick ourselves up and keep right on going.

5) Because we manage to get ourselves together and get out the door looking pretty damn good. Heck, we even make sweatpants look good!

6) Because we are strong. Man, are we strong. Who knew we could be this strong?

7) Because we aren’t just moms, wives, cooks, cleaners, chauffeurs and women who work. We are moms, wives, cooks, cleaners, chauffeurs, women who work, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, teachers, researchers, nurses, coaches and cheerleaders. Whew!

8) Because we work overtime every single day.

9) Because we also worry overtime, but we work it through. Or we eat chocolate or Chewy Lemonheads (my FAV) (which aren’t reimbursable by insurance as mental-health necessities, but should be).

10) Because we never stop pushing for our kids.

11) Because we never stop hoping for them, either.

12) Because just when it seems like things are going OK, they’re suddenly not OK, but we deal. Somehow, we always deal — even when it seems like our heads or hearts might explode.

13) Because … well, you tell me.

10 Things I’ve Learned Being a Mom

1. That when you become a mom you will spend the next 10 or so years covered in some type of bodily fluid and 99.9% of the time it is not your own?

2. Do NOT do the sniff test on clothing to see which items are clean unless you are fully prepared to bury your nose in some unidentifiable, disgusting scent that will singe your nose hairs and linger with you for days.

3. Not to use the term “normal” loosely. From the moment your baby is born, you will find yourself asking, “Is that normal?”

4. Many, many, many, many mornings at 5:30 a.m., you will spend inordinate amounts of time bargaining with God for just one more hour of sleep.

5. Your child will embarrass you on  deeper levels than you’ve ever been embarrassed in your life, especially when you are standing in line at a store and your 3 year old exclaims, “Whoo-wee Mommy, you farted! It stinks in here!”

6. If you did not curse before parenthood, you will afterward. If you cursed before parenthood, you will curse even more.

7. You will constantly worry that someone will call Child Protective Services on you, even though you are truly a good parent. Your child is just a lil clueless at times.

8. When you hear the toilet flush and the words “uh oh”, it’s already too late.

9. Children can quickly and easily memorize everything they see and hear on television. Moral of the story – I can no longer watch Weeds.

10. You WILL NOT do everything right the first time. You’ll have regrets, but learn from the mistakes and move on. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual and until you’re face-to-face with an eating/pooping/crying/sleeping factory, you won’t  know what needs to be done without a little trial and error.

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