Angels Among Us

I am not unaware that I am getting older.  Some days I forget my age when my mind tells me, “oh, yeah, we can still do that!”  But then, later on when I’m trying to sit or lay down my body says, “girl, we can’t do that no more!”  However, the older I get I make sure that I listen to my body and do what’s best for it.  I made my brother a promise, when he was battling cancer, that I would take care of myself and not ignore when my body is talking to me.  So, when I ain’t feeling quite right, I go see my doctor.

I happened to be doing a follow up appointment this morning when my day was impacted in a very unexpected but pleasant way.  My appointment was at 8 a.m.  I got up on time, made breakfast for the kids, sent them off to school and went about my normal morning routine.  I had an extra hour since I wasn’t going straight to work so I had breakfast myself and extended my quite time.  Left the house on time, made the forty minute drive to my appointment and the moment I put the car in park I realized that I’d walked out of the house and forgot my doctor’s acquisition order for the test he wanted done.  Not to panic, I thought, maybe the doctor forwarded a copy to the office.  Get in, check in and tell the receptionist about my mishap.  She checks the system and finds no acquisition order.  Our next option, before panic sets in, is to call the doctor’s office and simply have them fax over a copy.  The message on the doctor’s line says that the office is not open until 11 a.m. today.  Now, its time to panic!

Of course, there was no way I’d be able to make the forty minute drive back home to get the papers, make the forty minute drive back to the office (if there was even time to no squeeze me in) and then get to work by 11:20 a.m.  Looking at my face, I think the receptionist could tell that I was starting to get a little anxious.  Thinking quickly, after I told her how far I had to drive to go back home and then return pending traffic, she asked where I lived and then found an office that was closer to my house.  Thankfully, that office agreed to squeeze me in but I had to get there within the hour.  I got home, grabbed the papers, made it to the office within the hour, checked in and sat down to wait my turn.

As to not let my anxiety to continue to rise, I decided to Bluetooth a message from Transformation Church on my ride back to the house from my first appointment location.  During this message the pastor referenced a passage of scripture I wanted to read.  Upon sitting at my second appointment I thought I’d take out my bible and read over the scripture while I waited.  As I began to read, I noticed a man of a different nationality watching me.  I thought nothing of it and continued reading.  A few moments later this same man walked over to me and said, “hey, what’cha reading?”  I replied, “the bible” and then told him the scripture I was reading.  He told me that was one of his favorite scriptures and sat down next to me.  He introduced himself and began talking to me about his church and ministry background.  He said that he approached me because he’d never seen anyone reading the bible in public and was glad I was unashamed to do it.

For a split second I thought, “I hope this man is not trying to hit on me because I don’t want to have to be rude.”  As it turns out, he wasn’t he just wanted to have a conversation about God.  We had a very pleasant conversation about God, my kids, his kids, his family, my work and then my name was called to see the receptionist.

The strangest thing happened.  The receptionist told me that the test my doctor ordered couldn’t be performed at that location and that I would have to go to yet a different location.  We rescheduled the appointment for a later date because it was apparent I was not supposed to have that test done today.  On my way out I stopped to thank the man who took the time to come over and talk to me.  When I told him I was at yet the wrong location again he told me that he wasn’t supposed to be there either.  He had been finished with his appointment for about an hour and the friend that was supposed to pick him up was running late.  He then shared a scripture with me, quietly prayed over me and sent me on my way with a hug.  Of course we got funny looks from the people in the waiting room because here was this short black lady with crazy natural hair and this tall white man with a bald head and sleeve tattoos on both arms sharing about God, praying and hugging in the waiting room of a medical office.  Talk about angels on earth.

I’ve heard of people having encounters like this but I’d never experienced one myself until today.  It truly made my day.  Just when I thought I was going to have a bad day and stress out over this appointment, God sent this angel to cross my path.  My whole day changed in just a few short minutes.

Trying to let God lead the way…:)

 

Morning Drive – Part 2

So a few days ago I posted about my struggles with my morning drive to work and the subsequent solution to my problem.  Now that I am having an extended quiet time as I drive to work listening to positive people discuss positive things I must say that not only is my attitude better but I am learning a ton.

I totally agree that Smartphones can be so very annoying in that they seem to be all up in our business based on things we search and apps we use.  Of course, YouTube does the same thing and posts in your feed videos that are similar to those you’ve watched and searched for.  My go to morning inspiration person from YouTube is Pastor John Gray.  Every now and again when I want to switch it up a bit I listen to Joyce Meyer or Priscilla Shirer.

Then last week as I was scrolling through YouTube looking for a new message for the day I came across this Pastor named Michael Todd of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Man, have I been encouraged on my drive this week!  When I began listening to Pastor Todd he was beginning an eight week series on what he titled Relationship Goals.

In this series he talks about all aspects of relationships; friendships, dating, engagement and marriage relationships.  I have learned so much from this series. I am currently on Part Five and plan to finish the series and maybe even listen to more from him later on.  I think the most important thing I have taken away from this series so far is that relationships of any kind will only work best when God is in the middle.

I can definitely see how that can be true.  From personal experience, I notice that the more I grow in my relationship with God the more I feel disconnected from the relationships/friendships I have with others who do not have a personal relationship with God.  I’m growing and changing in a way that is different from theirs.  Of course I’m not saying that I am in anyway better and they are less, it’s just different.

The more I learn about God and myself, the more I want to do better.  It’s kind of hard to grow and do better in relationships with those that don’t hold you accountable or encourage you to to better.  When those around you don’t grow in away that promotes the best of God it can be difficult to maintain a positive and successful relationship with them.  If they are still hanging out in the same places, using the same language, behaving in the same way you both did before you decided to build a relationship with God, then it stands to serve that your relationship with them will not be the same.

I know that I am much different now than I was prior to my relationship with God. I still have some of the same friends however the friendships are different.  I have to set boundaries not only for myself but for them as well.  However, those friendships that attempted to hinder my relationship with God had to be severed. I still love them and wish them the best but my relationship with God was much more important.

Moving on…:)

Morning Drive – Part 1

We all know that things in life happen for a reason.  What I’ve come to know is that no matter what the reason, we should learn something from all that we experience in life whether good or bad.

So around the beginning of the school year this past August or September I had gotten to the point where I just didn’t like any of the morning talk radio shows.  As I drove to work I found much of the commentary quite annoying and silly.  I kept thinking to myself, “what in the world am I learning from this?”

I got up in the morning, went through the whole morning routine with the family and then once they were out of the house I sat down to have my quiet time with God and pray.  When my quiet time was over, I got in the car for the twenty minute drive to work listening to morning talk show hosts go from one silly, crazy topic to another.

Just before getting into my car I’d spent fifteen minutes or so preparing my heart and mind for what I already knew would be a stressful day.  I’d arrive at work feeling as if all of that preparedness at home was zapped away on the drive in.  Once I got clear about my very draining and sometime negative drive to work I figured I had two options:

  1. I could turn off the radio and drive in silence like my mother used to do (now I understand why she did it)
  2. I could find something more positive to listen to

Last March I had purchased a new car that had Bluetooth capabilities.  At the time I had no idea how important that little feature would become in my life.  Not long after the purchase my niece connected my cellphone to the Bluetooth so that I could be hands-free.  But then a little while after that my co-worker walked me through how I could use my Bluetooth to listen to Pandora in the car.

One of my favorite people to listen to sometimes during my quiet times is Pastor John Gray.  I watch him on YouTube.  I enjoy his positive messages and he’s pretty funny.  As I was dealing with my morning drive issue I thought, “how great would it be if I could listen to Pastor Gray on my drive to work?”  Then it hit me, if I could Bluetooth Pandora, maybe I could do the same thing with YouTube.

So I sat in my car one afternoon, followed the same steps my coworker taught me to connect Pandora and whaa-laa, my car was connected to YouTube!

Now, each work day morning, I get to have what I like to call my, PHOP, Positive Hour of Power!  I have my quiet time at home and then hop in the car with my YouTube and positive message from Pastor Gray.  It’s amazing what a good morning of positivity can do for the rest of your day.  I am so very happy with my drive to work. My PHOP gives me more than enough energy and a definite positive attitude to get through the day.

Attitude is everything…:)

Not In Vain

Currently, I live with two teenagers.  If you have teenagers of your own, know teenagers that belong to someone else or remember clearly being one yourself, you know those lovely teen-formative years can be challenging.  Not only are they challenging to the teens themselves but they are even more challenging for the adults who have been dutiful chosen to raise them.

My love and I have had the distinct pleasure of raising a brood of seven so we’ve seen our fair share of shenanigans.  However, I must say that all of them are respectful, kind and caring young people.  Yet these last two…the twins…my, my, my! They are a hot mess!  I feel like I spend most of my days getting after them about keeping up with their homework, cleaning their rooms, and doing their chores.  Where ever they put things down is where it stays.  Let me or Dad put something down and it disappears with the quickness never to be seen again!

So day in and day out we work hard to bring up great, loving and caring human beings.  We get up early to make sure they are up and ready for school with a hot meal in their bellies.  We hit the bed long past our bedtime exhausted from running to practice, to after school appointments, making dinner, discussing various ways they can solve their problems without fighting, chasing after them to get in the shower and then to bed on time.

Just when we think it’s all for nothing and that we are failing at this parenting thing, there is a twinge of hope.  The boy twin came to us a few weeks ago and asked if he could transfer to a private school he had been researching.  He’d downloaded and read through the entire student handbook.  Even after reading all of the things he would be restricted to such as not wearing his earrings, not being able to wear his various pairs of shoes but also being required to wear a uniform, this boy was not deterred.  When we asked why he wanted to change schools, his reply, “it’s a smaller school with smaller classes and I’ll be able to get the attention I need.”  Huh, what!?  Then to top it all off, today I was typing in his responses to the questionnaire on the application and here is his exact response to the last question: “By the time I turn 25 I would like to be playing professional ball in the NFL, taking care of my family and creating a foundation that allows me to give back to my community and giving kids that are less fortunate a chance to make it out of the struggle.”

“Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”  That is the sound of my heart singing!  Something is sticking.  Forget the part about being in the NFL and taking care of his family, I’m just glad he’s thinking about others.  Community service and looking out for others is something his dad and I are passionate about so just to know he has some understanding of why we participate in community service events, why we make them do it and why it’s important makes my heart smile.

Today was a good day...:)

Giving Back

The volunteer organization I have the opportunity to serve with is called Soroptimist International of Tampa.  Soroptimist is a global women’s organization whose members volunteer to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls through programs leading to social and economic growth.  There are clubs in over 120 countries around the world.

I became aware of this organization a few years ago when I was working to complete my bachelor’s degree.  This organization focuses their scholarships on supporting women.  One of the advisors at my college handed me a Soroptimist scholarship application along with many others when I went in seeking assistance with funding.  I was in my last semester of college and I was desperate to get funding so that I didn’t have to stop attending school.

To my surprise, a few months later, I was awarded two scholarships from the stack of applications my advisor had given me.  One of them was from Soroptimist International of Tampa.  I attended the awards banquet they held and received my scholarship award.  It was at this banquet that I was able to learn more about this service organization.

Fast forward about four years, I had graduated from undergrad and graduate school.  I had begun my career as an educator.  As an educator, I see so many families in need and that prompted me to seek out ways to get involved in my community outside of my typical work day.  I thought back to that service organization that once helped me, found their contact information and eventually joined the group.

That was about ten years ago.  Today, I am the current president of our Tampa Chapter and I have learned so much about volunteer service.  The needs of our communities are growing beyond things like homelessness, poverty and food.  The need for service volunteers is great as well.

Through my service with Soroptimist I have become very aware of Human Trafficking.  This particular issue is a very scary one and it affects all communities no matter the socio-economic status.  Yesterday, I was able to participate in the Light up the Night 5K/1Mile Walk to raise awareness of Human Trafficking.  Many of our children are at risk.  Just a few months ago, the city where I live was ranked third in the country for children being trafficked.  We are now second.  This issue is so important, just like so many other issues around our country.

I am so passionate about my volunteer service.  If there is an issue or cause that tugs at your heart, I encourage you to find a local volunteer service program that supports it.  The more we can help, the more we can raise awareness, the more we can keep each other safe and give each other a hand up.  For me, just a few hours of service gives me an opportunity to stop focusing on my own problems and see my life for what it really is…not that bad at all.  When we can focus on others we can see the bigger picture much clearer.  There are others in the world, in our country and right in our communities that are hurting and in much greater need than we are.  We may not solve all the problems in a day but let’s do what we can to help and support each other.

Better together…:)

Finding My Passion

In my last post I mentioned that one of the things I learned in 2017 is that as an educator, I’m going to need multiple streams of income if I’m going to do more than just survive.  In an effort to begin sourcing these multiple streams of income I thought maybe I’d try out this business idea I had.

While on Christmas Break I had the opportunity to chat with my father-in-law about my idea.  You see, not only is he a very sweet man, he happens to be a very successful business man.  At his urging, when I returned home and I began doing some research on my idea.  I’m certain I sat in front of my computer for two days just fascinated and taking notes on all the information I found.

Then I came across a website, http://www.womensbusinesscentre.org.  This site had a wealth of information to help women.  They encourage women who are in business or thinking about starting a business to come in and take advantage of all the resources they have available.

Among the resources they offer are several on-site training classes and seminars to help women get familiar with the many aspects of running a business.  To get myself familiar with their resources I signed up and attended an Introduction to the Women’s Business Centre class.  I had no idea what I was in for!

In that hour long course, not only did I learn a ton about starting a business, I met some incredible women who were in various stages of their business.  I was very proud to learn from several, young female entrepreneurs who’d simply found something they enjoyed and took a chance on turning their passion into a business.

I so admired these women for their vision and courage.  The hour long session wasn’t enough time to get into their back-stories but from the little I was able to get I was totally inspired.  So here are just a few of the businesses I had the opportunity to get to know that night…

✔onlyherz.com, Clothing Design

✔essentialyouyoga.com, Yoga

✔tbahcare.com, Companion Care

 

Adding my business in 2018…😄

Just the Highlights

I am so very glad that I journal almost every day, put darn near everything I do in my calendar and capture the most important moments on digital image.  In this particular instance it will make giving the highlights of my 2017 year that much easier.

Leading into 2017 my focus was saving money in hopes of purchasing my first home.  Then came the business of house hunting.  But in between that lofty goal I…

Visited Washington D. C. and the African American History Museum

Completed a couple of 5K’s

Bought a new car

Served my first term as President of Soroptimist International of Tampa

Spent lots of time on the beach

Completed a bunch of School District trainings

Attended a District II Training in Ft. Lauderdale for Soroptimist

Attended more high school football games than I can count

Hosted a One Day Conerence for teen girls

Saw my old apartment building being torn down

Visited my boy and grand-boy in North Carolina

Helped my friend with her wedding business

Saw my God-Childen on their visit to Orlando from California

Took part in a protest

Celebrated my sister’s twenty years on the job

Weathered Hurricane Irma

Watched one of our schools burn down

Visited Mt. Dora

Read 14 books

Had breakfast, lunch and coffee dates with my friends and family

Got my church on…not every Sunday but frequently

Through all that I spent time reflecting on life in general, family relationships, friendships, my career, my love life, my future.  And here’s what I learned…

If it makes me happy…I’ll keep doing it

Read more…my goal this year is 24 books

Make my morning quiet time a priority

The only person I can change is me

Keep up with community service projects

The truth will most definitely set you free

Dream Big and Dream Often

Your character says a lot about you

Forgive

God’s plan for my life is meant for me; everybody can’t go

As long as I am a teacher, I will need multiple sources of income in order to survive

Work toward my goals a little every day

Here’s to 2018… 🙂