a book that is fab

Guess what!  My gal pal, Holly, just self published an amazing book!  It's called 5 Things- Holiday Style: Making the Season Meaningful.  Affordable.  Unforgettable.  It is a 3 month holiday celebration guide full of traditions, recipes, and stories that will make you laugh and cry!  (Cry in a good way, of course... not the ugly cry.) The best thing is the traditions and activities are applicable to every age and stage of life.  This books is for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles... anyone who wants to use it, really.  Holly is the type of friend who always has goooood ideas that are thoughtful, timeless and deeply significant.  She is the reason why my family and I write a prayer to Jesus and keep it in our Christmas stocking year after year.  The first year we did this, our child (who was unable to write at the time) dictated 4 pages of notes!  Talk about precious!!!  

I just got my 2011 prayer out of my stocking and read it.  It touches me to the core and moves me to tears.  I can see so many prayers answered as well as areas where I am still growing and learning.  I tell ya, a tradition like that is invaluable.  Holly also introduced me to the term "age appropriate" (which we use like gangbusters around these parts) and her delectable pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  I eat the cookies in one bite I don't even like pumpkin.  They're that good.  

I'm not telling you about this book because Holly is my friend.  I mean, that's part of it, but really, I'm sharing it with you because it is fabulous and you know I love to share the good stuff!  This book is like a cheat sheet of  delicious eats, games, anecdotes, traditions and fun for every budget and stage of life.  5 Things- Holiday Style encompasses all that we all deeply desire to give, experience and share with the people we love year after year.  It encourages faith, love and provides the mechanics to create awesome opportunities for memory making.  All the tips, tidbits and traditions apply to both older and younger children, so everybody is included!  My bragging doesn't even do it justice, so please check it out for yourself!  If you're interested, you can order it on Amazon or Create Space.  I bought a copy for myself and a copy for a friend.  It's that fab!  You'll love it!  Pinky swear!

goodbye, jack bauer

Jack Bauer, I love you.  I hate your clock.  It makes me nervous and stresses me out a bit.  But I keep watching because I love you, your guns and your ninja-like combat skills.  I do not like all the stress that ensues during the hour, but I do enjoy the espionage, unpredictability and the general bad-assness of your role.  I'm watching you right now, actually.  

Watching as I type this.  Thank you, Netflix.  

Due to the high levels of palpable stress during each episode, multi-tasking has become my  coping mechanism.  Intermittently answering emails, adding to my boards on Pinterest, folding laundry, typing a blog post...doing whatever it takes to bring the level of high alert from a 10 to a 5.  I'm looking at you, but I'm looking at other stuff too.  I hope you can understand where I'm coming from, Jack.  Multi-tasking keeps me from getting too freaked out while you choke people out, blow stuff up and save the United States.  Again.  

I am on Season 7 right now and I am planning to finish Season 8 before we chuck the deuce to 2012.  Netflix, thank you again for making this all possible.  

JB, I love you.  I really do, so it's hard to say this... but you can't follow me into the new year.  It's not possible.  No, Jack, it's not an option.  It's not you... and it's not me... It's your clock.  That thing is super annoying.

forever friends


You know... the people who have always got your back

Will tell you the truth 

Especially when/if no one else will

Walk through fire with you

Sing on the mountain top with you

Cheer for and celebrate you

Love you regardless and unconditionally

Laugh with you

Pray with you

Cry with you too

Forever friends are timeless.  Sometimes it's people you've known forever.  Sometimes it's people you've know for a year.  You can belly laugh, share your hopes and sorrows, and really expose the depth of who you are.  It is safe here.  The currency is love and vulnerability, two things that never go out of style but just appreciate with time.  

Do you have these sorta people in your life?  I hope you do. 

They're the people that you know you'll always be friends with.  The friends you talk to every day, every other day, day after day.  The friends you can go for months without talking to, but when you do talk, it's as if no time has passed.  Forever friends... today I honor and celebrate you.  You know who you are and I love you dearly.  Each one of you... dearly love.  You encourage and inspire me.  Your fabulous friendship makes life doubly sweet.


election day = all good

Today is election day in the United States.  I am grateful for the opportunity to vote.  I value and appreciate democracy.  I am grateful that all the political ads, accusations and general election campaigning foolywank has finally ceased.  I am not ready for the whining that will be coming later on tonight from the peeps who are on  the losing side.  Rule #1 at our house is no whining, you see.    

Four years ago, I remember hearing remarks from Republicans about Democrats viewing Obama as a savior, which makes me wonder now if Republicans are doing the same thing with Romney*.  

Hearing the savior comparisons about Obama and seeing the same sort of thing happen with Romney has only solidified my view that Jesus, the love specialist who saves, heals, and changes hearts and lives, is the Savior.  He always has been.  He always will be.  Man is not the answer to man's problems 'cause we would've figured it out by now, don't cha think?  

I vote and pray for our leaders in this country (whether I like/agree with them or not) and I pray for people and leaders across the globe.  (I got that idea straight from the  bible.) Gossiping about our leaders, wishing they were dead, slandering and even hating them... 
can't really find that anywhere in the B-I-B-L-E.  

I remember being convicted to the core when I read if you hate your brother, you hate God.  <---This is my constant reminder that there is no room for hate in my heart.  None.  Not for the President, the Priest or the Person who hurt me the most.  I hope and pray that this election, the people of faith will vote, yes. But more importantly that the love and the loving nature of Christ will be seen in our hearts, lives and actions yesterday, today and in the days and weeks to come.  

When people get so amped up about politics and all the tomfoolery that can go along with it, I find myself hoping and wishing that the Mayans were right and we can all chuck the deuce** to this world sometime in December 2012.  I mean wouldn't that be funny and amazing if we all just peaced out this December?  Merry Christmas!!!! (Happy Hanukkah!!!! Happy Kwanzaa!!!! Happy Holidays!!! Bah Humbug!!!! or whatever you say... and then) *poof* spontaneous evaporation

I hope you're laughing because I'm not serious... at least I don't think I am... hahaha

My entire point about voting is this: That we will vote our morals and consciousness while trusting and respecting the fact that other people will (and have the opportunity to) do the same.  I hope and pray that our love would be long, our respect would be wide and all judgment would dissipate.  After all, God is the judge, which is why I have faith-- a strong inner knowing or certainty-- that regardless of who is "running" the free world, I know and belong to He who truly runs the world.  And we are all part of His greater and sovereign plan.  So I vote, but I know that regardless of who wins this or any other election, I'm good.  All good, actually.  

*If that statement ticks you off, you might be guilty.
**throw up a peace sign, say "peace out" or "goodbye"

30 days of thanks


Day 1: sunshine + blue sky
Day 2: smoothies
Day 3: family (for me, family = relatives and friends) :)
Day 4: my hubster who loves me + supports me + likes me 
Day 5: kindred spirits
Day 6: the opportunity to vote 
Day 7: a long talk with a great friend
Day 8: our fun-loving, free-spirited kiddo
Day 9: music!!!
Day 10: good eats w-my peeps #crackerbarrel
Day 11: mi casa
Day 12: homemade cookies fresh out the oven
Day 13: divine appointments
Day 14: rest and recovery 
Day 15: technology that keeps me in touch w-family & friends near & far
Day 16: charitable organizations
Day 17: Netflix 
Day 18: snuggles
Day 19: seeing a friend accomplish a goal #priceless
Day 20: road trips!
Day 21: my brother, my sista-in-love and my nephew 
Day 22: smoked brisket and mi madre
Day 23: bamboo, fudge & Aunt Sissy
Day 24: an unexpected meal on the house
Day 25: friendship
Day 26: hot tea
Day 27: handwritten notes via snail mail
Day 28: medicine
Day 29: an easy, delicious, not too dry or hard as a rock scone recipe!
Day 30: lovely neighbors

first my heart broke, then hummingbirds came

Once upon a time I bought a hummingbird feeder.  Although I have loved hummingbirds for a long long time, it never occurred to me to purchase a feeder because I figured we lived too close to the city.  But one day I saw a feeder smack dab on a neighbor's front porch HALF FULL of nectar and that was all the encouragement I needed.  So I planted a penstemon (attracts hummies), hung my feeder and faithfully tended to the nectar. But no hummies came.  I remained diligent to the mission and prayed for hummingbirds to come because I really really really wanted to see one. None showed up, but I kept trying.  I plodded on and even asked my husband and Neighbor's husband to pray for hummingbirds to come.  Both were silent, gave me the side eye and slowly walked away.  Whatever, haters!  If I make it (the nectar), they will come, I thought.  So I kept at it. I pressed on until about the year and a half/two year mark and when I *still* hadn't seen hummingbird the first, I was like done.  And ticked.  Off.  I didn't get rid of the feeder because it was cute and vintage-y looking, so I allowed it to remain in the garden.  I totally gave up on the hummies though.  I was extremely disappointed and I truly stopped believing that they would EVER show.  

Fast forward a year or so... feeder still in place, still empty as all get out... and I'm still reeling over the heartbreak of few successive rapid-fire punches that almost knocked the life out of me.  I was having a rough day.  A rough couple of days, weeks and months, actually.  I was putting on a brave face and showing up to do my absolute best, but the truth is I felt heartbroken.  Despite the way I was feeling, I kept showing up and when it was time to work (write), I went to my office to sit stare out the window write.  AS SOON AS I ENTERED THE ROOM, I saw a blur of something dart near the upper right side of the window.  I didn't think much of it, but I did look towards the movement and there was the cutest, smallest, most adorable hummingbird I'd ever seen.  I was astonished.  Silently awestruck, I watched this gorgeous creature dance at the feeder.  Then I remember thinking, THERE'S NO NECTAR IN THERE.  Of all days for a hummie to come and there ain't no nectar...  Thankfully, this didn't seem to bother my beautiful friend one bit because the dancing continued and THEN he moved away from the feeder to the left side of the window and flapped and fluttered those beautiful wings directly facing me.  It was as if he was looking me right in the eye.  Time seemed to slow down and this felt like it went on for at least ten or twelve minutes.  In reality, it was more like ten to twelve seconds, which is like fifteen years for sporadic hummies, right?  Cutie Patootie flitted off, leaving the same direction he came, and I broke down and released the most guttural sobs.  

As I was on my knees crying, my sobs gave way to gratitude because I knew the hummingbird was a wonderful omen.  It was God's way of speaking to me because only He knows what hummingbirds mean to me. (I will not even attempt to convey their significance to you because words cannot express it.) My heart was wailing, releasing, celebrating and receiving... simultaneously. My omen was this: everything is gonna be alright.  Even if I can't  see when or how.  Even if I momentarily lose my way or stop believing.  Doesn't matter because He is building something that does not depend on how I feel at any given moment.  And this builder NEVER fails.  Just when I pulled myself together and thought the tender moment was over, Cutie Patootie came back (several times!) and even brought a friend.  I cried on and off all day.  

I wanted to end this post with something about Prince and how this is what it sounds like when doves cry because I was crying and birds are involved, but since we're dealing with hummingbirds and not doves, I will just say this: It is going to be ok, so don't stop believing.  And even if you do, God will never give up on you or stop believing in you.  #thatslove

The remarkably brilliant Brene Brown refers to this leg of the journey as a "breakdown spiritual awakening."  Quite frankly, I would have preferred to receive this lesson/these lessions via book or osmosis, even, but since that ain't the way it works, my advice to US is this: lean into the heartbreak, push through the heart wrenching pain or metaphorically give it the finger by showing up each day anyway because regardless of how you feel or what it looks like, what you do or do not do, there is a favorable blessing over your life and your sign will come.  Rest assured that whatever you need...  it will come.  


imbalanced hope

Sometimes I have this.  Imbalanced hope.  I keep showing up with a smile even though that situation or individual has kicked me in the teeth seventeen times.  All seventeen times that I have shown up.  Kicked in the teeth... every time. Well, maybe it was only sixteen times, but either way, the ratio is unfavorable and at the very least, I should be showing up with a mouthguard and headgear.  

What is funny about abusers teeth kickers is that they seem to get off on treating the people they love like crap.  I have had the honor privilege painful experience ... I have been able to observe this ridiculousness  first hand for almost fifteen years.  *cue violin* 

In a nutshell, it's painful to behold or experience and it sucks because the relationship is a one way highway to hell where you give and give and give and it's never ever ever reciprocated.  There are moments that at first glance seem to be reciprocation, but once again, it's a swift, hard kick to the pearly whites.  I don't know if these people/situations are psychotic, narcissistic or what exactly... and I'm done trying to figure it out really because it's their problem, not mine.  And, I have mucho bien amigos.  Mucho, mucho bien amigos who inspired me to write this post about the ways to be a fab friend.  This past weekend, I got to live out the awesomeness of fab friends at a reunion of sorts via wedding with some of my college pals who are equal parts hilarious, loving, honest and utterly amazing. It was heaven on earth and I will share *some* of that soonish...  But for now, back to the craycray peeps...  Dealing with them is downright dastardly and devilish and I have the scars and dental bills to prove it.  *violin solo ends*

So, in trying to find the healthy ground between showing up for a teeth kicking (again... hopefully not... this time could be different is how it usually goes in my head) or showing up dressed to play goalie for the hockey team (which makes me feel protected, but looks downright cray),  I realized this: my hope was never supposed to be in the person/situation anyway.  Duh.com.  My hope is supposed to be in my higher power, the one who is greater than I, the Creator of this world, the universe... all that is seen and unseen.  How did I forget that (again)? So as I take off the goalie uniform, I realize: my hope is and always will be imbalanced if it's resting on anything other than the divine, the spiritual or the miraculous.  Anytime I hedge myself on anything else, I am instantly bolted into imbalance and who wants to feel dizzy and out of sorts all the time?  Not me. Let's place our hope in the One who created the butterfly and the Milky Way, shall we? The One who holds the world in His hands so to speak.  The One who keeps it all in check by managing (read: balancing) the tension and sorting out the proportions.  Whenever I come to this realization, one of my favorite prayers comes to mind: 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.  Taking as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.  Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.  Amen.  

There was a time when that prayer pissed me the hell off, but that was then and this is now.  And now, that prayer and my belief in it are synonymous with one thing:  balance.  

XO Sharita

subconsciously ticked?

So the other day I woke up subconsciously ticked.  You know when you're pissed off internally, but you have yet to fully acknowledge or realize it?  This is what I call being subconsciously ticked.  You're slightly irritated, annoyed or heated but the reason why has yet to surface.  I hope you catch my drift... but anyways, like I said, I woke up SubT and now as I reflect, this may or may not've had to do with any of the following:

It was hot.  Way hot.  Hottttttttttttt.com 
Seriously.  There were wildfires blazing outta control, the sky was shades of black, gray and burnt umber AND homes were being burnt to the ground.  Literally.  We were praying for rain.  Still are.  

Turns out editing a book is much more time consuming in real life than it is in my dreams.  

I got rear-ended (again!) while stopped at a redlight.  Boohiss.

I could add more things (I am an HSP... my neck and low back are hurting... what is it about soreness hitting the day--and subsequent days--after?) but I won't... even though I kinda just did hahaha

When I sat down to attend a wedding just days after aforementioned rear-ending, that is when I realized that I was SubT...  

(You may not know this about me, but weddings are my favvvvv. I would get married every year (to the same man!) if I could.  I simply adore weddings.  The decorations, the covenant, a promise to love, honor, cherish and forsake all others, a new family forming, a new beginning... a gloriously extravagant display of Love.  It makes my heart swoon every time.)  

...So as I witnessed holy matrimony, I released and let go of my SubT because once again I realized: Love Wins.  It sounds romantically hopeless, I know, but it is the truth.  Love always wins.  Always.  Wins.  And weddings symbolize this eternal truth.  As I sat in the lovely love-drenched atmosphere, SubT gave way to joy and gratitude.  Stories and laughter  filled the air as I engaged in heart felt conversation with friends who are like family.  These joys replaced  displaced SubT.  Thankfully.

Then came an overabundance of even more smile-inducing memories:

geeking out at the coffee shop with my twinnnn

"stim cells" -- electronic stimulatory goodness for a sore back

dinner with precious peeps 

holding a handsomely perfect six week old baby boy 

G.I. Joe missions galore

manicures and pedicures

flip flops




wedding cake

a sweet baby girl fast asleep in my arms

friends who watch your dog for you when you're out of town (even though you always forget to ask until the last minute) 

a good book

cream and sugar with a little bit of coffee

road trips!

sincerely heartfelt conversation

and then just a few moments ago, this video: 

No need to be subconsciously ticked, see?  
"Let's look at the world a little differently" 
because Love is super legit and it wins, yall.  
Now.  Later.  Or in the End.  

Love wins.   XO Sharita

you are not alone

Sometimes I pretend like I am all alone in this world.  A stereotypically and instantly oprhaned Disney character left to make it through life on my own far away from home.  I do not know why I do this.  Maybe it is my creative-dramatic personality or just an independent-loner mentality.  Maybe it's a little bit of both.  Regardless, the lonely card is absolutely bogus, ridiculous untruth.  

So today I think what if I stop telling myself that I am all alone in this world?

What if I start remembering all the instances of laughter, love and undeniable this-person-is-in-my-corner-ness that is there? Oh yes, it is there... if only we will acknowledge it.  

For me lately, support has revealed itself in the following ways: 

unwavering love, support and loyalty that is my hubster

connecting with a bestie (friends since high school) umpteen years later and through it all, the love grows deeper still

full-bodied conversation with a forever friend I met way back in college

belly laughs regarding foolywank performances, Wolverine, ice sculptures and the engraving of a machete

kindred spirits traveling cross country and back with a kitty cat to boot #goodtimes 

friends forev
swimming and soaking up the sun on the 4th of July

keeping it real about struggles, transitions and life lessons

an encouraging comment or email that comes along right when I'm wondering if this blog thing even matters (You know who you are and I truly appreciate your heartfelt expressions. For reals, I do.)

witnessing a dream come true for my little one via Mam, Pap, Aunt Sissy and Kasey the Power Ranger 

connecting over coffee and goodies that were microwaved too long... legs with milk spots #LOL

safety, protection, provision, guardian angels, a cousin-sister, snuggles, chasing lightning bugs, dancing and doing the daily work of being my best self.  

All evidence of a lavish life full of love, encouragement and unwavering support.  You have it too, you know.  Yes, there is always a handful of haters fringe minority handful of haters who don't understand, but that's OK because: 

1. I don't get them either lol! 
2.  What others think of me is none of my business, 'member?
3.  Haters gonna hate, so let 'em hate while we live a life that's great (haha I rhymed! #rapperswag ... not really lol)

When I look around and see how many people I love, how many people love me and are in my corner, it makes my heart smile and then swell with love and gratitude.  Today I hope that you will open your eyes to the caring connections, lavish love and steady support that you have in your life because it is there.  Undeniably.  

being the right partner

image credit
Recently, I discovered Paul Newman's letter to his wife on their wedding day: “ Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the Art of Marriage, the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon; it should continue through all the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the wings of an angel. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner."

your best self

Regardless of what others are doing, always purpose and endeavor to be your best self.

It is a battle--being your authentic self-- because there are ample opportunities to throw in the towel by ignoring the whispers of your soul, following the status quo herd and pretending to be something you really aren't.  We must press on in order to find our stride and after while, who we are becomes seamless and synonymous inside and out.  Please note: this is not a one time event but an ongoing process, pursuit and lifestyle.  When we stick with the journey, we become open vessels who can give and receive, authentic individuals who just live fully and freely refusing to do life in carefully crafted compartments.  We enjoy life and just live it.  Purposefully.  Intentionally.  In wide open spaces.  Aware of our thoughts, mindful of our word choice, gracious and compassionate in loving ourselves and others.  We own our beauty (or handsomeness!) and we admire and appreciate it.  We see it for what it's truly worth.  Then we are no longer threatened or intimidated by false advertisements, the manipulative media or even the beauty of others because we know there is more than enough.  That this ample universe is burgeoning to overflowing with resources and room for everyone.  Everyone who chooses to partake, that is.  And because we know that who we are is no accidental thought or passing fluke, we humbly accept the lessons that life has to offer and through acceptance, we grow in wisdom, patience and grace.  Nobody said it would be easy.  So sometimes it does hurt, but after while, the climb starts to feel so good that we can't stop.  We don't want to.  And even though we feel worn to a nub at times, we keep going because new adventures await.  Deeper knowledge. Divine experiences and greater things generally speaking.  We may glance back--from whence we came--occasionally, but the past never holds our gaze for long because we are too grateful.  Too excited about right now, today and the future.  Things are too good to stall, so as we keep moving forward, we know that our character (the way we act when we think no one is looking), how we treat ourselves and how we treat others matters.  It really matters.  And so we decide to press on regardless of what other folks are doing.  Never forgetting this fact: what other people think of me is none of my business.  

Here's to being your best self, 

XO- Sharita

pomp and circumstance

Recently, I was awarded the awesome opportunity to speak at a graduation ceremony.  The gratitude that I feel for such a privilege is truly immeasurable.  So after much prayer and pondering, here are some of the tidbits that I was able to share with the graduating class:

Your parents: love them unconditionally, thank them often and appreciate them much. They have given you their absolute best and they love you like no one else does, like no one can and like no one else ever will on the entire planet.

Do not compare yourself with others as if one of us were better and another worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.  Each one of us is an original.  -from Galatians 5:25-26, The Message translation

Shine brightly and be yourself, but know that it's not ALL about you.  When dealing with others, seek first to understand... not to be understood.  (Thank you, Brenda Puckett!)

We are all part of an unfolding and ongoing story which includes a past, present and future, so look at people from a historical perspective rather than a mathematical perspective (as if they are a problem to be fixed or solved by you).  You are not the Ultimate Fixer of All Things anyway.  God is.  

Know the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.  Hopefully, you will continue to be a lifelong learner; however, in all your knowledge, do not forsake wisdom.  Wisdom comes from God so just ask Him for it.  He will give it to you generously.

God is not a Republican.  
God is not a Democrat.

He does not fit into any of these boxes that we conveniently create to categorize ourselves and others.  God is not in a box at all because He cannot be contained.  He reveals His attributes and character through the pages of the Bible and his handiwork surrounds us in the beauty of others, in the beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons. His spirit inspires music, books, art, interactions with others and He even moves within our very hearts. Look for, love, appreciate and acknowledge His work. There is evidence everywhere.

Live because you are dying. Death is sometimes called the great equalizer because it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor... when it's your time, it's your time and He who dies with the most toys is still dead. Maximize each moment and encourage others to do the same.

Always do your best and trust God to do the rest. This means you work hard, play hard, pray hard and leave your concerns in the good Lord's hands.  Whenever you find yourself going through tough times (inevitable... ), know that in the end, everything truly works out for good. If it's not good yet, then it's not the end.

You can sum it all up to say this: Love God. Love People...or Love your neighbor as yourself, which means treat other people the way you want to be treated. Not just some people. Not just the people who look like you. Not just the people you like or agree with, but ALL people.
Love them and treat them the way you WANT to be treated. 

Most importantly: Your best is yet to come!

foolywank friday: everything is easy #lie

Pretending like life is easy.  Why do we do it?  Why do we lie to ourselves and others saying everything is all good when it isn't? Sometimes life delivers a tough and swift kick to the gut; other times life delivers a huge bouquet right on our doorstep.  My point today is this:  when life is tough... and at some point it will be because the struggle is inevitable... reach out to someone you can trust and let them know what's up.  We all need encouragement and support on the regular, but during the tough times, we need it even more.  

Stop pretending like _______ isn't hard.  

Fill in the blank...

this relationship
trusting others
trying again
moving on
cleaning up
saying goodbye
letting go
single parenting
holidays with/without the extended fam
working out
kicking a habit
eating healthy 
empty nest
being your best self

Fill in the blank and then stop pretending.  Because in this case, pretending is synonymous with lying to yourself and we all know that lying to yourself is NEVER a good thing. 

Life is hard sometimes because it is a battle.  
Oh yes, there are moments of reprieve: time to reflect and take in all the beauty and splendor. Yet there are undeniable times of disappointment or momentary paralysis.  In those difficult moments, it is important to say (admit!) to a loved one or trusted friend that this situation "is hard" or things are "rough right now."  Sometimes we just need to say it so we can hear that loved one or trusted friend say, "I can imagine" or "I understand" ... or perhaps they'll sit with us, hug us, pray for us, talk us off the ledge or simply hold our hand.  

Sometimes we need to hear "I know it's tough, BUT YOU CAN DO IT."

Sometimes it's hard and then it gets hardER before it gets easy.  
Just keep pressing on, my friend.  Change is coming.  The struggle is inevitable, but change is too.  So is triumph and it is in your blood to battle and emerge victoriously.  

Quit pretending like it's not hard sometimes though.  Everything is easy = Lie.

Life is gloriously brutal, breathtakingly beautiful, worth doing.
Fight hard for faith, family, friendship, hopes, dreams and love.
These things are all worthwhile.
Let's just make sure we love, support and encourage each other along the way.  
We will come through it if we are willing to press on rather than pretend.  

keep on keeping on

Yesterday was a little rough.  

It started out with major communication irritations, peaked in a nostalgic-sentimental mood and then plummeted into a furious funk.  I still don't really understand how I went from one extreme to the other, but it happened nonetheless.  Gratefully, I didn't say or do anything yesterday that I regret today. 

As I wrote complaints from the cloud of fury into my journal last night, the negative energy was overwhelming so I wrote out a simple prayer and asked God to "meet me right now... to raise me up to him... to save me from my mess... from myself...to help me stop hating the things I cannot change about this life... to give me strength and courage to change the things I can..."  I also told him that I am "desperate for you to answer because I am on the last fiber of the thread that was once a rope."  I ended with two thoughts of gratitude (in direct opposition to the pervasive funk!), put my pen down and shut my journal.  

This morning... not too long ago, actually, I heard encouraging words in my heart, soul and spirit.  Words that are just too good to keep to myself.  So in case you need a reminder (like I did...), here goes:

"We are building something here that does not depend on how you feel at any given moment.  It is not about your lifetime; it's about your legacy."

I am holding onto this nugget of truth today and I hope you will grasp hold of it too.  We are part of something much greater than we can see, fathom or completely comprehend.  Let's encourage and remind each other (especially on the rough days!) that we are cultivating a legacy so it IS worth it to keep going.  


how to prioritize your life


"If you want your life to have a point, you'll have to taper it."  -Laura Francis

Verbal checkmate death blow to a recovering thought I could do it all, but I know 'tis true.    So as I vacillate between missions of ending hunger, building bridges out of poverty, swimming with dolphins, riding elephants in Bangladesh, folding laundry, cooking dinner, loving orphans, globetrotting, caring for widows and poor folk, telling people Jesus loves em, singing songs of hope, going grocery shopping, teaching and encouraging others, the whole taper thing comes to mind because you see, my list is broad.  T  O  O  B  R  O  A  D.  Time to narrow down, lean in and focus on what's really important in the right here and right now... in this season of life.  Doesn't mean I won't build bridges out of poverty.  Doesn't mean I won't love and care for widows and orphans.  Because I do and I will continue to do so; however, there is a natural order to fulfilling your dreams and it revolves heavily around your life priorities.  A few years ago, my brother shared this revolutionary list with me and now I'm sharing it with you.  In order of importance, here goes:

Call of God

PLEASE for the love of all things seen and unseen, keep reading even if you're single, have no children or think that God sucks.  I ask you to keep reading because for everyone, purpose and priority begin with the deep, intuitive, genuine part of you that is spirit.  Hence spirituality or a relationship with God (who LOVES YOU UNCONDITIONALLY and is like the best dad/dream dad ever!).  For me, the list above helps tremendously because if I am working my singing, writing and speaking while neglecting my hubster and our young'un, I know that I've just booked a one-way ticket to Crazy Town.  And since I no longer enjoy trips to that place, I now know how to re-direct and re-focus my efforts.  Meditating on scriptures and praying always bring me back to center and from there it's easy peasy to do life.  I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten this simple yet profound truth.  Nor can I tell you how many years my priorities in life looked like this:




To Do

Yeah, those eras didn't fare so well.  
Today I am so grateful to be living in a place of clarity where my priorities are straight.  Yes, walking it out can be a real booger at times, but I'm committed to giving my best effort everyday.  Doing my 100% absolute best and trusting God to do the rest.    

The cool thing about this list for properly prioritizing life is that it works for every stage and every aspect of life.  Married with no kids?  Life priorities looks this: 

Call of God

Not married with kids?
Call of God

Single with no kids?
Call of God

You see, you just skip over any aspect of  life that doesn't apply to you.  Skip over any aspect EXCEPT GOD.  <---That's the clincher here and He applies to you, loves you and wants to be part of your life whether you know it or not.  Whether you open your heart to Him or not... and even if you think He sucks, He still loves you with a passion because He's just bomb.com like that.  

If you're single now but you get married next year, you add spouse to the list at the appropriate time.  

The "call of God" is specific to each individual and it includes: 
your natural talents and gifted-ness
the issues that you are passionate about
the thing(s) you do that make(s) your heart race and 
you never ever get tired of it and 
it never ever feels like "work"

For me those things are writing, singing, speaking/teaching, working with young people and encouraging others.  Sometimes your job and the call of God are synonymous.  Other times they are two separate entities altogether.  Neither way is wrong or right, it just depends on the season (of life) you're in...

And placing yourself at the end of the list does NOT mean that you neglect to take care of yourself.  No you ARE to care for yourself.   It's all about maintaining a healthy balance, knowing that life is not ALL about you yet knowing that it's not about neglecting yourself either.  It's a delicate balance for sure, but it is totally do-able.  One of my favorite reminders from scripture is this: Love your neighbor as your self.  How can I love my neighbor if I don't love myself?  It's not possible, peeps.  So it's about living with the awareness that life is not "all about me" (aka being selfish or narcissistic), learning the balance of giving and receiving as well as caring for others and myself.  Placing yourself at the top of the list is the fast track to Narcissist Island, which ultimately isolates and destroys the individual.  Even the Greeks knew that to be true.  See their story about Narcissus here.

God's totally unselfish love is the only sustaining force that cannot be diluted, compromised, found faulty or remotely shaken.  And I know this only because it happens to be my bedrock foundation.  The fact that I am still standing (after all I have been through) is no little thing.  I'm sure the same is true for you. So, that being said, let's get and keep our priorities straight.  Let's adjust whenever we see a subtle reminder that things are off track.  For years, I kept this list on my bathroom mirror and it was also written in the the front flap of my journal.  I think it's time for me to put the list on display once more.  

Let us live with hope for a bright future that is the fulfillment of our wildest, deepest and most passionate dreams; yet be fully focused and engaged in the present, that which is before us today.  Paper stacks, half finished projects, punches in the face from the internet and all... I like to keep myself accountable and in check on the daily never forgetting the fact that I've got a pimped out ride in Bangladesh.  


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