It’s Her Birthday

Today is a very special day for me. It’s my momma’s birthday! She would have turned sixty-six on today.  I lost my momma in June of 2015.  Even now, it’s still very hard for me to believe she’s no longer with us.  Grateful that she’s no longer in pain but so sad she had to go.

The months of November and December were her favorite.  She loved cooking so Thanksgiving and Christmas gave her the opportunity to go all out.  Feeding us and making a plate for anyone who stopped by gave her so much joy.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of both my parents but I think of them most often during this time of year.

Time is not always on our side and everything can’t wait.  There is one thing I can be whole about when it comes to losing my parents and that is we had no unfinished business at the time of their deaths.  I can mourn and be sad without guilt or feeling as if I should have said something or done something prior to losing them.

Be authentic. Love your family, love your friends.  If you have something to say…say it.  If you know you were wrong…humble yourself and apologize.  If someone hurt you, tell them and clear the air.  Remember…forgiveness is for you.  You walking around in hurt and anger is only further hurting you.

Missing my momma…

 

Deep Thinking

Growing up, I can remember thinking, “gosh, my life sucks.” As I got into my teens my thinking became, “this is just the way my life was meant to be.” One childhood incident taught me a very negative lesson. I learned that I simply was not good enough and no matter how hard I tried, my life would just be what it was.  My way of thinking and being became completely negative.  When good things happened, I enjoyed them but my attitude didn’t allow me to stay in that good place for very long.  My overall being was, “yeah, it’s good right now but I know something bad is coming along soon.”  I was always expecting something bad or negative to happen so that is exactly what I got.  I began to feel like there was always a dark cloud following me around.  Every once in a while the sun would peek through but soon after the dark clouds would cover it up again.

Fortunately for me, I had others looking out for me that refuse to let my life be just what it was. As I got into my twenties I had wonderful women investing in my life, helping to instill positive reinforcements and encouraging words as to who and what I could be. For years they told me that I had the power to change the things in my life that I didn’t like, starting with my attitude.  So I began to think that things could possibly be better.  However, when problems, issues or not so good situations arose my negative thinking came back. As the saying goes, old habits die hard.

Honestly, it wasn’t until I started studying the Bible with a lady I’d just met around the time was 28 years old that I really started to think and envision my life in a different way.  Maybe, just maybe, possiby, God had a bigger plan for me than I had for myself.  It took a while and it took time to process how to change something I had been doing and thinking for most of my life. I have always been an avid reader but it wasn’t until that same lady who studied the bible with me asked me to read the book Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer with her a few years ago that I truly started to understand just how my thinking was affecting my growth and progress as an adult.

So I decided to focus my attention more on thinking about what I was thinking.  I focused on how I was thinking, what I was saying to myself during the times that were the hardest for me. When situations came about I was consciously thinking about what I was thinking.  I began to take note of my thoughts and I really didn’t like what I saw (or thought).  I made an important decision about my life.  If I was ever going to do better or be better, I first had to change my way of thinking.  I surrounded myself with things that would help me to focus on the positive.  I read books on meditation, I journaled more, I began to walk in 5K races, I read christian fiction and I even changed the radio station in my car to jazz and instrumental only music.

It took some time, more like some years but I can finally say that I do not struggle with negative thinking anymore.  When I find myself going down that road, I can very easily reverse it because I now have so many tools to use that I no longer get stuck in that cycle.  For years, I’d heard and read about how our thinking can impact our lives.  For so long I felt that changing was not possible for me. It would work for some but definitely wouldn’t work for me.

If negative thinking is something you struggle with, I encourage you to not give up on changing that habit.  Try a few of these:

  • Start small by simply reading a quote or a scripture each day.  Write it down and read it whenever you feel that negative thinking is taking over
  • Read a book, any book
  • Take a yoga class
  • Schedule some time to walk two or three times a week
  • Pray for positive thoughts
  • Start writing down three things each day that you are grateful for
  • Post your favorite quotes around your house or at work where you can see them often

Everything gets better with a little time and some effort…:)

Company We Keep

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to meet a young woman who had lived a very rough live. She is still in her twenties and has a lot of life ahead of her. She has survived years of sexual abuse at the hands of her drug addicted mother’s boyfriends and lived in several foster homes where the abuse continued. As I spoke with her she told me of how she feels that she has finally gotten her life together. She has a young child now, is in school, working and seeking help to work through her childhood issues.  By all accounts, and from what I have gathered from school officials and references, this young woman really is doing all that anyone can ask of her in order to succeed.

Unfortunately, it seems that every time she starts to go in the right direction something comes along and knocks her off track.  Although, I’m not quite sure how this happened but not long after I met this young woman I began receiving emails from her mother.  Even though this mother is the reason this young woman has most of the issues she has, the young woman still wants to try to build a relationship with her mother.  What I came to know after reading the mother’s emails is that SHE is the reason the young woman can’t seem to catch a break.  Not only is she emailing me, she is emailing sponsors that are trying to assist this young woman as well as the Dean at the school where her daughter attends college.  These numerous emails include screen shots of text message conversations she is having with the daughter that clearly show she is trying to bait the daughter as well as court documents from the daughter’s past run ins with the courts.

The mother’s emails are simply full of negativity.  She details each and every offense she feels has been done to her by her daughter and tells me that I should be careful of the company I keep.  Now, while I can understand the mother wanting to “protect me” from this horrible person she sees in her daughter, what I see is a young woman trying to succeed in life, to do her best to work through her issues and rid herself of the demons of her past not knowing that the biggest reason she can’t move forward is because of the one thing she won’t let go.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that we should all try to repair broken relationships with parents and/or relatives. But remember forgiveness is for YOU, not the other person.  You forgive to let go of the negativity you are holding on to which in itself is holding you back from living your best, authentic life.  Forgiveness does not mean that you have to allow others who are unwilling to move forward or let go of past negativity to dominate your world.  Sometimes you have to love people from a distance. You have to wish them well on their journey and continue yours without them.

As for this young woman, I told her she will have to make the determination about her mother on her own.  However, there was no point in me continuing to assist her until she got clear about the nature of her relationship with her mother.  It was most certainly a sad thing to see but clarity can only come from peace within not someone telling you what to see, think or feel.

Luke 21:36, be always on the watch and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the man of God.

Stay awake…:)