Reading Goals

Being an avid reader I always tend to set very lofty reading goals each year.  This year, my goal is to read twenty-four books.  While reading is a passion, I am very busy working two jobs and starting an entrepreneurial journey.  So, I know that in order to reach my reading goal I will have to utilize each and every free moment I can find.

So far, I am off to a good start!  I just finished reading, I Am Malala.  One down, twenty-three to go!  This book was simply amazing.  I find inspiration for choosing books to read from various places.  This one, I found through my son.  He needed to complete a book report and his teacher had given him a list of books to choose from.  He chose, I Am Malala.  I decided to purchase two books so that I could read along with him and support his learning.

From the moment I began reading this book, I knew, no matter how long it took, I was reading it to the end.  I truly enjoyed how much she spoke of the importance of her education and the importance of an education for all girls and boys.

Growing up,  I knew that my education was the one thing that would take me where I wanted to go.  I wasn’t the best student but I worked hard, listened to my teachers and tried to absorb as much as I could.  I get a little frustrated when I read articles or posts that talk about education being a waste of time or that going to school is not going to give you every thing you need.  Granted, school isn’t going to teach you everything. It may teach your things you are not interested in or things you may never use again but how will we know what interests us, what we may or may not like if we are not exposed to various things?  I would definitely have to disagree that it is a waste of time.  To me, education is a gateway to options.

I am always telling my own children that we must honor those who paved the way for us.  Our education was not free.  Many people sacrificed their time and their lives so that I, we, could enjoy the education freedoms we have today.  In reading, I Am Malala, I was truly reminded of the importance of my own education.  I was struck by Malala’s passion and desire to see that all young girls and boys have an education that will allow them to reach their full potential.  What struck me most was that even when she was literally faced with the threat of death, she continued to go to school and to speak out about the importance of young girls having the opportunity to get an education.

This is definitely a book I would recommend.

I give it five stars…:)

 

Refreshed

It took a little while but this morning I was able to complete my 90-Day study of Awaken by Priscilla Shirer.  I love the format in which this book is written.  Each day begins with a scripture and then a short discussion followed by time to write down your thoughts.  If you are looking for a short daily devotional with high impact, I would definitely recommend this book.

On Monday, when I realized that I was almost done with Awaken, I stopped at my local Lifeway Christian bookstore to find my next bible study jewel.  I had no idea what I wanted to read/study next so I browsed the shelves for about an hour trying to find a book I was hoping would speak to my mind, spirit and soul.  I thumbed through all of the authors I am familiar with but nothing felt quite right.  I then turned my attention to authors I had not read before.  Low and behold I came across a book titled Craving Connection by (in)courage.  (in)courage, I have since come to know, was founded by Dayspring as an online community for women to share stories about their every day lives with God.

I purchased this little gem and brought it home.  I am looking forward to cracking it open in the morning and taking the next step toward building an even closer, deeper relationship with my heavenly Father.

On to greater heights...😊

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…:)

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…😄

Throwing Up Hands

Remember those times when you’ve gone to the store and the item you wanted to buy (socks, perfume, underwear, sheets) comes all neatly tucked in a package? But, you wanted to see it up close.  Touch it.  Hold it up to see how it looked.  Ever so gently, you open the package, careful not to tear it.  You take the item out thinking you were going to remember how it came out so you could fold it back and replace it in the package just as you found it.  With your smooth operation, no one would be able to tell the difference.

Then there is just one problem…after you’ve examined the item, try as you might, it just won’t fold up and fit back inside the package.  You get one side in and just when you think you’ve got it…the other side pops out!  After a while of struggling, you throw your hands up in defeat, toss the item and its package on the shelf and walk away.

Isn’t it funny how life some times works that way too?  You are doing your thing, living your life and all seems well until an issue or problem pulls you out of your neat little package.  You try several different options to try to get your peace of mind back and the situation under control but nothing seems to work.  You work out one thing and something on the other side pops out.  When all is said and done, the only thing you want to do is throw your hands up in the air and walk away. If you are anything like me, you like to wrestle with a situation until it is fixed.  I do not like to quit.  When something in my life isn’t working all I want to do is dig in and fix it.  But then, I am gently reminded that I don’t have to wrestle and that I can throw my hands up and walk away.  I can do this because my faith in God allows me to trust that without my help, pushing, wrestling and Ms. Fix-It attitude, He can work things out for me.

My Love once told me about a saying his grandfather had.  His grandfather would say, “there’s no point in you and God being up at night worrying about something. He’s going to be up anyway so give it to him and get your rest.”

Give it to God…:)

Taking A Look Back

So…I have been a little stressed about life and my finances.  While, I am far from poor and not where I hoped to be at this point in my life, there are a lot of good things happening in my life.  This past weekend, I lost sight of those good things.  I am certain we have all reached a point in life where we look back on our life plans and think, “man, I haven’t done nearly what I thought I’d have done at this point in my life”.  That was me just a few days ago.  But then a simple act happened that hit me right in the face.

We had a relatively quiet and restful three-day weekend.  I started getting a little tense on Saturday after getting up and paying some bills online.  I’d just gotten paid on Friday and by Saturday the amount in my account started shrinking fast.  Still, my love and I, decided to drive out to a small historic town to have lunch and to just enjoy the day.  It was nice but still I was focused on my finances like, “wow, I work hard and just like that my hard earned dollars are out the window.” Sunday, our son had a football game so we drove out to enjoy that as well.  By Monday, I was still trying to get it together and we decided to get our weekly shopping done. While out, we somehow ended up in the neighborhood I lived in prior to graduating college.

My old neighborhood served its purpose.  My friend, who owned the home where I lived, at the time, was taking a job three hours north and needed to sell.  I was in school and didn’t want to quit.  With no other options, my friend suggested public housing.  I wasn’t ready to live there and didn’t plan to stay long.  The first time my name came up, I turned down the housing.  But with time running out, the house being on the market and could be sold at any point, I swallowed my pride and accepted when I was offered housing a second time.

My son and I moved in.  I worked super hard, finished school, found a teaching position and got out of dodge withing three years.  The neighborhood is now being demolished.  On Monday, seeing nearly all of the buildings gone, humbled me with the quickness.  I sat there in the car, looking around at my old neighborhood thinking about where I’d come from and all that I had accomplished in fifteen years.  I was reminded that I have no reasons to be stressed or worried about my life or finances.  Living in public housing, seriously wondering where our next meal was going to come from and praying I could just hold out long enough to finish school was my reality back then.  If I could just finish school, I knew I could make a better life for me and my boy.  I’ve come a very long way and God has been there for every up and every down.  Somehow, we always had food.  The lights never went off.  I had gas to get to and from school.  The rent was paid every month and I never had to borrow a dime from anyone.  We were faced with situations I thought we’d never survive and we had outcomes that I know for a fact were not of my hand.

Needless to say, that simple drive changed my perspective within a matter of seconds.  It never hurts to take a moment to look back over your life and in doing so, focus on the number of times you should have been down and counted out.  Those days when you knew you were being careless and shouldn’t have survived the night.  God kept you for a reason.  Don’t lose sight of that.

A brighter day…;)

Finding My Way

Over the past few weeks I have had many great ideas to blog about. However, so much has happened over the past few weeks that I am not quite sure where to begin. When I first began this blog it was meant to be a place where my friends and I could gather to discuss books that we had chosen to read together, an online book study of sorts.  I think we may have gotten through one book together and then, as with life, we all got busy, schedules changed and we could no longer do what we set out to do. But since I’d already started the blog I didn’t want to just shut it down and as a natural-born writer I decided to use it as a place for simply sharing my thoughts, ideas and encouraging others based on my own experiences. The goal was to post at least once week, no less than three times a month. But as my life got busy I wasn’t able to post/blog as much as I would have liked.

My experiences in the past few weeks have been good, great, not so great and some just simply the worst.  As I sit here now thinking about it all I’m drawn to how I felt about each experience during and after.  Sometimes I was angry, sometimes I was hurt, at times I was confused, at times I was scared, and sometimes I was just plain numb. It’s funny that in the middle of it all I just wanted to say, “ok, life…you win. I quit.”   Then just sit on my bed never to move or leave the house again.  Of course, I couldn’t do that because in order to have a house to live in I had to have money.  I had to eat while I was in the house which meant I had to go to the grocery store and that meant I had to drive my car and therefore I needed gas.  All of which tied into the fact that I needed to take my behind to work.  In all of this I’ve learned one thing and that is change happens but we can never, never, ever give up.

To be perfectly honest, after looking over my life and the things that I’ve been through, the experiences that I’ve had, it used to bother me something terrible when someone would say to me “don’t give up, everything will work out, just keep pushing forward.”  I know that people, especially those who have been through some things in life, really feel that those words are encouraging and maybe to some people they are but in that moment, when you are dealing with real life, that real struggle, in the thick of things, in the middle of the drama, the madness, the chaos, the busy life, the crazy schedule, the differences of opinion…giving up is exactly what you feel like doing.  Just not wanting to be a part of the rat race period. Not wanting to deal with another issue, another problem, another setback nor another week of praying that the gas you have left in the tank will hold out until Friday, nothing.

However, what we don’t realize is that really the only way to give up or quit is to simply stop trying, to stop wanting better, to stop hoping, to stop praying, to stop wishing, to simply stop moving. And I think that as long as we get up each and every day, put one foot forward, move toward that front door, get in that car we know is ready to break down and head to that job we don’t like, by just moving we are essentially not giving up. Even though we don’t feel it and we may sometimes not think it, by simply moving along in our lives we are actually holding out hope that things will get better.  So instead of trying to find some cliche or some philosophical saying, I will just leave you with this…

Jeremiah 29:11 🙂