The first thing that comes to mind for me is how often we look at each other and make judgments based on surface appearance and/or our opinions and ideals without getting to know the person behind the burqa or the bikini.   It is so unfortunate that in the short term, making assumptions about each other seems so much easier.  Today, I remind you and I remind myself to stop using stereotypes.  Making harsh and often untrue judgments against each other is a one way express ticket to Hell.  Call me old fashioned, but what if we took the time to listen, to care, to show love, mercy and grace or at the very least ask questions and then really hear the answers.  Imagine a world where we chose to think the best of each other, not the worst.  

Sadly, this cartoon reflects our attitudes today.  Attitudes that continue to make the world sick, corrupt minds, polarize humanity and validate our decisions to turn against each other.  It is so sad because whether we see it or not--just like this cartoon above-- we're in bondage.  To our ideals, our self-righteous existence, our flawed sense of justice and our perceived right to live our life... all the while judging others for living theirs.  Heaven, help us all is the cry of my heart.  Help us.  Help me.  To live what I believe.  To love my neighbor as myself.  To treat others with love and shower them with grace, especially when I believe they are in the wrong.  To trust God and walk in a judgment-free zone.  Oh to realize that I am not always right.  That I cannot see the entire story from beginning to end.  To know that try as I might, I am not a Savior (Jesus is) and that ultimately I do not have the power to set all things right.  This doesn't mean that I just give up, either.  No, I keep fighting, but I know that what Gandhi said is true... "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."  The thought of this goes against everything in me when I am wronged, hurt or just plain ol' pissed off.  You see, if my eye is the one that just got poked, this feels unpopular and uncomfortable, but it is true nonetheless. So I continue to fight with an arsenal of non-traditional weapons: vulnerability, authenticity, grace, prayer and love.  Keep fighting.  Especially when it would be easier to just give up, cuss everybody out and go have a turkey sandwich.  I don't really like turkey, but you catch my drift.  

To remember the words of Jesus whenever I am tempted to judge someone,  "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone..."  Nice way to say shut the hell up and go sit down somewhere, huh?  Jesus is so loving and classy like that.  I want to be like him.  I do.  Yet I am too quick to pick up a stone or poke the eye of whoever just poked me, which is why I ask him to help me everyday.  Left to my own devices, I am a rank mess that overflows onto others.  We all are.  'Tis true.  But when I tune my heart to listen to his voice and meditate on his words in scripture, I go from a rank mess to a work-in-progress-masterpiece.  That's an upgrade that I'll take any day.    

When I'm tracking with Jesus, I'm not giving anybody else the side eye, philosophically venting about someone through my status update on Facebook or Tweeting with the power and speed of an F5 tornado.  Instead I feel settled, at peace and able to walk in Love because this is what I hear in my heart and spirit: we are all the same kind of different; we are His... I also realize that I am often doing the very thing that I am judging in someone else, which is why forgiveness wins, a little Grace can go a long way and Love is the best motivator.  You know, the kind, patient, non-envying, non-boasting, non-judgmental type of Love.  Not the counterfeit, narcissistic and currently prevalent idea of love that says: do it my way, it's all about me and gimme mine.  I'm talking about true Love.  The Love that we all desire deep down... Love that keeps no record of wrongs, does not dishonor others and always protects.  If you want, you can read more about that kind of Love here.  I truly desire that kind of Love in my life.  I want to give and receive Love.  

Receiving Love... God's unconditional love is step one.  Accepting that God loves you.  Unconditionally.  Yes, you.  God loves you no matter who you are, what you've done or what you're currently doing.    He loves you even if you don't love Him and contrary to popular belief, He loves everyone.  Everyone, which includes but is not limited to: Gays, Straights, Lesbians, Transgenders and Bisexuals... Liberals, Conservatives, Bigots and Activists...Folks who are Single, Married, Widowed, Divorced, Re-Married and Blended Families (hello, Jesus was in the first blended family)... He loves Criminals, Liars, Thieves and Drug Dealers alike... He loves Welfare Recipients, Coupon Queens, the Rich, the Poor, Orphans, Haters and everyone in between.  He loves President Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton too.  He loves people who wear a bikini and He loves people who wear a burqa too.  He loves everybody and He don't play favorites like we do*.  Accepting that fact is the hardest part, I think.  I still don't fully understand why He loves me, but I do accept it and I will tell you this: His Love is so wide and deep that you just can't wrap your mind around it.  Don't even try because it'll give you a fierce headache.  Trust me.  This is a love that defies reason.  His Love is a truth that you have to accept and believe with your heart.  You know that true Love is the majorly lacking component in this world of ours.  I believe this is precisely the reason why true Love is the gift that Jesus brings to each of us.  His Love is beautifully pure and simple because it's for you and it's free.  All you have to do?  Believe and embrace.  You see, the crux of it is this: we have to receive it before we can give it.  Try as we might, our best attempt at love is counterfeit until we get a taste of the real thing.  You can read more about this sweet Love here.  Accepting this free gift of Unconditional Love is step one.  The hardest part, I think.  So hard but so worth it because His Love is what makes me see that Ms. Bikini and Ms. Burqa are my sisters.  This Love is what motivates me to embrace the truth that we are more alike than different and it continually reminds me that we are somehow the same kind of different.  That our journeys parallel, but we can only know this about each other if we open our hearts, authentically share and truly listen without preconceived thoughts, notions and opinions.  Love prompts me to be part of the solution and gently reminds me that I am the pot so I need to stop calling the kettle black.    

Endnote: This was a weighty post for me.  I've been pondering it for months now and still the words did not go how or where I thought they would...  Yet, I followed the trail to the end and clicked "publish".  While I was mulling everything over in my heart, mind and soul, I asked a few folks to share their thoughts:  

"...the naked tail chick thinks she's free since she can dress how she wants, but showing her ass to everyone isn't really freedom.  It plays into nasty fantasies, but she's bought the lie. ..Meanwhile, Ms. Cover-Up... shows how free and holy she is, but that still plays into a very controlled and male-dominated society...  Two extremes that are both wrong." -Cheray

" One is using her body to get attention and validate her self worth.  She's not even using her mind and ironically, she covers her eyes, which are the window to her soul.  She will show skin but hide her true self.  The other exposes who she really is (through her eyes), but her skin, which is private, is covered."  -Holly

"Touche."  -my Hubster

What are your thoughts? 

*I'm bound to get flack for this statement, but I don't care because I didn't make the rule up.  God did.  (Those who don't like it can take it up with Him.) It's 100% true and the Bible proves it time and time again.  His Love is like the sun, it shines down on everyone, so don't let anyone tell you any different.  If you receive His Love, it'll change your life for the better and in more ways than you could ever imagine.   I'm living proof of that.  Pinky Promise.  

spring break!!!

Is it just me or does anybody else still live their life according to the high school or college calendar?  


Maybe it's the school teacher in me.  I dunno, but even though I am a grown woman, I still refer to seasons of life according to the school calendar.  It is highly likely that I will never stop.  And I'm ok with that.  

 Even during my stint in the corporate world, I was
 appalled when I found out that we did not observe  
 Fall Break, Spring Break or Summer Break for that 
 matter.  So appalled that I spoke to my boss about 
 it.  Yeah... He didn't get it.  

 So, today I just want to say: Happy Spring Break to 
 ya!!! Enjoy your relaxing or your travels!!! I know I 
 will!  Whatever you do this break*... do it with all 
 your heart.  


*just make sure whatever you're doing is not something that you'd be embarrassed for your Granny to see.  #springbreakrulenumber1

mom panel

I get to be part of a really awesome panel of 6 mamas.  The purpose?  To encourage moms in their current season of life and give them a heads up about what's ahead.  If you're not a mom, stay with me because the material we share actually applies to all people.  Grannies, Papaws, Cousins, Godparents, Siblings, Foster Parents, Guardians, Aunts and Uncles even.  Everybody can walk away with helpful information.  Promise.

The cool thing about the panel is that it's comprised of 6 women and we're all from different walks of life.  Each mama shares ten things she is learning or has learned about her current season of life.  It's funny.  It's real.  It's encouraging.  I am on the panel and I laugh, cry and learn something new every time we speak. 

Just to whet your tastebuds... here are a few juicy bits:

Raising Preschool Children 
Never bad mouth spouse, parents, in-laws to/with/in front of the chi'ren.  Save personal gripe sessions for a  confidante (not your child) who will listen to you, pray for you and then tell you to snap out of it!  

Raising Elementary Ages  
My example trumps all.  We can say what we want to our children, but they will follow what we do.  How I live matters.  

Raising Teenagers
I have learned not to overreact and jump in too early... I need to respond vs. react... I realize my child will pick up on my emotions and it can possibly make things worse.  

Raising College Age "Adults" 
You've had them 18 years... it's too late if you haven't taught them to make their bed, wash their own clothes, be responsible with money, choose their own friends and study.  Sink or swim... let them... and don't nag.  

Interactions w-Married "Children" and Grandchildren
Love grown children and their spouses unconditionally.  Encourage constantly.  Find positive character traits and offer genuine praise often.  Communicate with genuine love and respect.  

Raising children as a Single Parent
Choose to go on living rather than allow myself to be paralyzed emotionally and spiritually... living in a long-term dazed state.  I may have to make this choice repeatedly.  

And that's just an appetizer!  I hope something encouraged or inspired ya!  Pass it on or live it.  Community is a huge part of raising young'uns so don't discount yourself if you aren't a parent.  We all have a part to play  in the lives of people who are younger than we are. 

And as far as the mom panel goes, it's a full dose of laughter, truth and encouragement.  Pinky swear!  We travel and we're willing to talk to anybody who'll listen! Holler if you'd like to have us come share the full monty!  

dear blog, I've been cheating on you...

With Twitter.  

At first it was the cute bird that got my attention...

You know how much I like birds, right?

Then it was 140 characters... 

Because it is so much easier to share thoughts in short rapid fire bursts.  

You know what I mean?  

How many characters does it take to fill an entire blank page anyway?  


Plus, I had another mishap with that certain someone who simply refuses to respect my boundaries... that always leaves me feeling a bit out of whack.  Then, I got to feeling sick... there's just been a bunch going on, you know?

There's ALOTTA good stuff blooming too... #futureblogtopics  

Look, even though I've been super busy lately, I do love you and I think of you often.  And I think I'm over my experiment obsession with the 140 rapid fire character bursts.  I think.  

We both know I've been thinking pondering really deep things lately... things that are tough to fully express of right now, anyway.  And you know my style... when there's nothing to say, silence is golden.  

Just know that it's not you... it's me... and one day I will explain my tryst with Twitter... if I can ever find the right words, that is...  

You know I have several posts in the works...  Several.  I will start completing them and come back to you... Pinky Promise.  

I mean you both can be in my life being social media and all... I'm still finding just the right balance* so thank you kindly for your patience.  

Now that I've made up with my blog, I can say: 

I'm back and I sure have missed ya'll!!! If any of you'uns are on twitter, come say howdy!  Click THIS LINK RIGHT HERE  to check out some of my rapid-fire-blog-cheatin-tweets ;D

smooches, darlings!


* the key word that keeps showing up over and over in my life :)
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