Summer of Me Tour

Well, this summer I had nothing but time on my hands.  After about a week of resting and being lazy, I thought it best that I start on some of the many things I’d planned to get done this summer.  I cleaned out closets, scrubbed floors and shower walls, and organized my never ending pile of paperwork.  I even started on the garage.  The operative word in that sentence is ‘started’, because finishing is a completely different word!

Then the fun really started!  I had plans to, at some point in the summer, meet my new grandson and spend some time with my older one.  Somehow, this little trip turned into a mini excursion as I thought about all the friends I’d love to see and spend time with.  I have met and built so many positive friendships throughout the years.  Many continue to live in states where I’ve lived and some have moved.  I miss my friends.  I miss hanging out with them and so I thought, why not?  Since I’d decided that I would drive to North Carolina, I figured it would be just as easy to drive to Atlanta and South Carolina as well.  Mapping out my trip, I began to get excited.  Could I really do this?  Of course, I could!

Leaving my home on June 24th, I stopped in Atlanta, Georgia.  My friend, Lissahn lives there.  She and met about twenty years ago when both of our boys were in Kindergarten.  She is an amazing, fun, and loving person.  I truly enjoy her friendship.  Also while in Atlanta, I had lunch and dinner with my friends Renee and JD.  While we do stay in touch, I honestly can’t remember the last time I’d seen them so it was a great opportunity for us to catch up.

From Atlanta, I headed over to North Carolina.  I knew this stop was going to be a challenge for me.  I miss having my son close to home.  I am definitely grateful that he is not more than five hundred miles away but it would sure be nice to have him and my grandsons here in the Tampa area.  The bulk of my trip was spent with them.  I spent eleven days watching my three year old grandson run through parks, chase butterflies and explore waterfalls.  He is definitely a child that requires outdoor play everyday.  Meeting my one month old grandson for the first time was a true blessing.  I had to tell myself often to lay him down.  Leaving North Carolina was very hard.  I would have loved to have packed them all in the car and brought them home with me.

In North Carolina, I had also planned to see my niece and my friends, Katie and Simone.  Unfortunately, scheduling didn’t permit.  Katie and Simone are friends I met in Atlanta.  Shortly after I moved to Florida, they moved to North Carolina.  The three of us spent a lot of time together and we ate a lot of pizza, which is Simone’s favorite.  My hope and prayer is that I can plan a weekend trip soon just to see them.

My next and final stop was in Beaufort, South Carolina to see my friend and mentor, Denise.  This lady, I met here in Tampa.  After a few moves with her job, she retired and settled back in her hometown.  She and I keep in touch quite often.  Once roommates, we learned that we are similar in so many ways which makes hanging out and finding things to do that interest us both very easy.  In South Carolina, we fed my soul with history tours about West African slaves and their journey to freedom in the Beaufort and Hilton Head areas.  Hours upon hours of conversation brought me back to myself and gave me the clarity I needed to focus on my goals and dreams.

As of today, I have been back home for four days.  I missed my family but I also realize how important it is for me to take time for myself, to do things I enjoy and to be pushed out of my comfort zone.  It is true what they say, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Grateful for my journey…:)

Summer 2018

I had a plan this summer!  I was going to rest…a lot, summer clean the house, clean the garage and spend my evenings with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other.  I am one month in and I have been just as busy thus far as I normally am during the school year.  Not sure how it happened but I think it’s my mother’s fault.  That lady never knew how to sit still for more than a few minutes and I believe I inherited that gene!

Being that we purchased our first home last summer, I thought it would be a great idea to work “part time” this summer and use that extra cash to paint and decorate.  Yes, I know, now…that was a bad idea!  Although I only work about twenty hours a week, it is a bit more than I bargained for.  The work is easy and my co-workers are pleasant enough but couple that with trying to fit in appointments for me and the kids, squeezing in all the things I intended to do this summer and it makes for some very long days.

The week school ended, my fifteen year old daughter announced that she signed up for a summer course to prepare her for dual enrollment in the fall.  The course is eighteen days, three hours a day, four days a week!  To make matters worse, she goes to a magnet school for business, the school is forty-five minutes from our house and there are no busses running in the summer.  Needless to say, my plans to sleep in are a bust.  I can’t be mad at her though, she is at least looking toward her future.  Now, if she does not pass this course, she will be grounded the rest of the summer for making me get up early for nothing!

I am optimistic!  I am certain I will have time to do most if not all of the things I had planned this summer.  There is still plenty of time to sleep in, read, write and clean.

Here’s to a restful July…:)

The Difference

Writing is something that I absolutely love to do and I was inspired to write this post after reading Awaken by Priscilla Shirer this morning in my quiet time. Today was Day 10 of this devotional entitled The Difference.  The scripture reading for today was from Numbers 14:24 (NIV) and it reads…

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to and his descendants will inherit it.

For much of my life and especially as an adult, I’ve been told that I was different.  That I think differently, talk differently and pretty much do my life differently than the norm.  For the longest time this bothered me.  I didn’t want to be different.  It seemed that whenever my thoughts and opinions differed from my friends, when I chose to eat healthier or when I spoke about God and openly practiced my faith, I was getting some side-eyed glance or turned up nose from someone.

At one point in my life I can remember being so annoyed with being different that I just started going along with the norm.  When asked, I agreed with the group even when I knew I didn’t share the same thoughts and opinions.  I made choices and decisions based on what others said I should do and lived the way they expected me to live.  The more I went along with the norm the more my head, heart and body ached.  I seemed to always be physically and emotionally drained. I was tired and unhappy.  I’d gained weight and developed anxiety.  A few years ago as I sat talking with a friend about my struggles, stress and sadness, she said to me, “there is no way you can please everybody.  Sometimes it becomes about self preservation.  People are going to do what they want and you will be stuck in misery trying to live down to their expectations.”

Live down to their expectations…wow!

It was in that moment I realized I was more miserable living life trying not to be different rather than simply accepting myself for who I was and living life to my own expectations.  So people talked about me and made fun of me.  Yes, it was furiously annoying but I was and am much more happier just being myself.  My quiet time this morning, reminded me that God purposely made me unique and different for a reason.  No one else can be me.  The path and life God has for me is for me and no one else can walk my journey.  Since that talk with my friend, I’ve been living my life according to me ever since and have been better for it.

At church this past Sunday a gentleman sitting next to me said to me, “you must have a good life because you are always smiling.”  When I woke up Sunday I really was not feeling as if I was living a good life.  But after a moment of thinking about it, I had to agree with him.  I do have a good life.  We survived a hurricane with no damage to our home; my love, my son and my family are healthy and well and I am gainfully employed.  I may be different but I am soooo very happy!

A different kind of spirit…:)

 

 

Chapter Three – God’s Voice Exposes

When God speaks, His words expose.  They reveal things about ourselves that we could not know on our own (chp. 3, pg. 16).

My grandmother used to say, “what goes on in the dark, will always come out in the light.”  I used to think she was just trying to scare us kids into always doing right or at least to be smart enough to not get caught doing something not so right.  Now that I’m a little older, a little wiser and a lot more in tune with my relationship with God I understand what my sweet grandmother was trying to get us to recognize.

When God works, he can’t work in the dark.  Things in the dark are usually hidden there for a reason.  It may be something about ourselves we don’t want anyone else to know, some secret we’ve tucked away for safe keeping, some lie we’ve told, some flaw we have, some insecurity, some something we would much rather no one else on the planet knew about.  We think as long as it is safely hidden away, no one would be the wiser.  The only problem with that is you live in constant fear of what may happen if somehow, someway that secret, dark door is opened and the real deal was exposed!  What would happen then?  So you have to always be on guard of the “Dark Door”.  Never saying too much, never letting others get too close, never quite stepping out of that comfort zone for fear of the unknown.  All the while we are being eaten alive from the inside out.

In Genesis, God separated the light from the darkness.  Even then, at the beginning of time he was revealing that the two can not coexist at the same time.  When we live in darkness, that gnawing, that tugging, that whisper in our subconscious…that’s God trying his absolute best to move us into the light.  He wants to free us from that which holds us back from living our purest, truest, most authentic selves.  He isn’t trying to “expose” us so that all the world will finally know the truth about us, that we weren’t as perfect as we pretended to be or so the people could say, “see…look, she isn’t all that!”  He is exposing our hearts to set us free!

My grandmother used to also say, “when you know better, you sho’nough ought to be doing better!”  With God, the more he exposes about us and our hearts the more it should be helping us to do and be better.  Being exposed not only draws us closer to God, but it helps us to live a truly free life.

Don’t let what’s hidden in the darkness keep you from finding peace with God…♥