A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey… but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong. So every day I get STRONGER!

Forgiveness

As 2016 ended, I completed a forgiveness journal. The process takes seven days, forgiving others in the morning before noon and forgiving yourself in the evening before midnight. If you miss a day, you must start again and continue until you have completed seven consecutive days. This was the first time I had completed the exercise in years and surprisingly the days went by effortlessly with no need to restart.

Often times we do not realize when we are holding on to things or how the act of holding on to things keeps us from maintaining forward movement in our lives. Having my latest forgiveness journal completed in “perfect” time to start the new year gave me a boost of self-confidence at my ability to conquer all of my goals this year in “perfect” time as well. When you forgive yourself, you are staying that it does not matter what you did yesterday, last week or even last year. You are letting go of any and everything you ever did that made you feel unloved or unworthy. You are giving yourself permission to live your life COMPLETELY!

It might not be obvious to you that you are in need of forgiveness or if there are others you need to forgive but if you are at a place in your life where you feel stagnant, lost or confused maybe it’s time.

 

 

Forgiveness: a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness:

Forgive: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone) : to stop feeling anger about (something)

 

Sacrifice and Surrender

Surrender-To give up in favor of another.

Sacrifice– the surrender of something desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

Even if you are not a religious person, you are probably aware that the Lent season is upon us now. I find it interesting that even if I have not been on my blog in past months around this time I make my way back to share a few tidbits with you on the subject. If you’ve read my blog before you know I’m not deep into religion but I do consider myself to be a spiritual person and depending on who you ask that’s more than enough.

My purpose today is to talk about not the religious aspects of the season of Lent, but of the healing aspects of taking time to willing sacrifice and allow yourself a chance to grow beyond where you are at this present time. Often people spend so much time looking for comfort in every moment of their life that they forget that sometimes we have to not only go through pain and discomfort but actually encourage it if we are to gain some of the comforts and joys that we seek. When you create visions and set goals it is not always about what you are willing to DO, sometimes the more important thing to recognize is what you are willing to GIVE UP. For example, let’s say you have a goal of losing 20lbs. You might be willing to walk 3 miles 5days a week but have you identified what you would have to give up in order to make that a reality? It’s not rocket science, but it does require a conscious effort on your part. This is a reason I think so many people fail with New Year’s Resolutions and also why so many people fail to live up to their true potential. They are NOT WILLING to make sacrifices. One thing about sacrifice though is the same as it is with goal setting; you have to start somewhere and it’s okay if you start small. Another thing about sacrifice is no one can do it for you, no one can tell you what would be a sacrifice in your life. We all have things that we love to do that take our time, energy and mental capacity and likewise we all have things that we desire and want as a part of our lives. We have to ask ourselves what is most important RIGHT NOW! What do we want, need, desire to such a degree that we are willing to make a sacrifice of something else to achieve that end.

I know in the tradition sense, Lent is all about giving up Earthly pleasures to become closer to God and I think that is a marvelous and worthy goal but I challenge you again this year to apply the principal of sacrifice in all areas of you life. When we sacrifice we surrender and when we surrender we are saying that we want something better and we are wiling to work for it. We are saying I know that this might be uncomfortable and possibly hurt a little bit but it is nothing compared to what I will gain on the other side. In order to change, in order to grow you must spend time outside of your comfort zone over and over again. This is not something to do just once a year, you should do it continually all of your days! We should always be striving to get better.

So as you go into this Lent season go with a longing in your heart to become a better person. Spend some time in quiet reflection and discover what sacrifice(s) you can make to achieve that in the next 40 days. It doesn’t matter if you start tomorrow or next week, just START! Look in the mirror of self and see who you really are. See where you have been lying to yourself and others and WILLINGLY surrender as much as you can. As you do this I guarantee you will weep, you will moan, you will cry out to God on high to deliver you from yourself, not because you are unworthy, but because you are worth more than you’ve ever imagined!

Please remember that this is a personal journey. No one can take it for you and thus no one need travel along. When we sacrifice we don’t do it for the sake of others to say “Good job! Look at what she sacrificed!, etc” We do it for our own peace of mind, our own self-discovery and growth. Make no mistake though, others will see your growth and as they revel in it they too will be inspired to make sacrifices in their own lives.

As I close remember that any true sacrifice will cost you something, it’s okay. Open yourself up and let go…

 

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I do not even remember writing this but man, I like!

Living Life from A to Z

I know I should be sleep but I was given a sign today and I had to fully acknowledge that I had seen it and would take it to heart. Pulled out the workings of my book and it has been so many days; ok months since I looked at it or worked on it that the words just blew me away. I was reminded again why it’s been so hard for me to finish. In a word it’s pure procrastination but on another level it STONE COLD FEAR! Over the years as I’ve watched my eldest daughter grow up I have learned that she can be brutally honest. As I read over some of the pages of my book I realized where she got that trait from. This book is hard to write, but I can’t let it go. It always comes back boomeranging around me in one big…

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It that time again! Time for me to make time for the things I love and need most. One of the ways I’ve set about making this a reality on a consistent basis is by making a schedule of my week that tells me when and where I should be errrday! Someone on the outside looking in would probably think it’s crazy but I have realized it’s how I function best. You see three years ago I meet this guy who rarely made concrete plans and was very flexible in how he moved about in his time outside of work and music obligations and to him I seemed anal and controlling in the way I planned my time. So in an effort to be more flexible, last semester I did not make a schedule, even my cook days were haphazard. FAIL, FAIL, FAIL! I find it hard to function that way and I spent a nice part of the semester catching up on assignments, catching up on sleep, not getting in workouts, eating at the craziest of times and not having enough time to really breathe and do some of the non-school, non-parenting stuff that was important to me. I tried things a different way and it just didn’t work for me. Which brings me to the point of this post. Do what works best for you and if you don’t know what that is, take a little time to find out. I read this really good book some years ago and it helped me do just that, Getting Organized from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern.

 

Now since I have my daily schedule does that mean that everything gets done down to the micro-second, not at all. But one, it provides a template for me to follow and gives my day order. Two, looking at it shows me how I will get things done so I don’t have to worry about fitting stuff in. Three it helps me see where my priorities are and keeps me focused on being the best me! There it is, short and sweet. Don’t get overwhelmed with all you need to do, focus on what you can do right now that will make the greatest impact!

Stay tuned for my resolutions post. I originally had 21 things on my list but I’ve made some adjustments and there’s one that has my main focus and it’s helping me greatly with all the others.

Until next time, AJ is leaving the building…

DISCLAIMER: By most definitions I am not a Christian. That being said, someone once told another person, “She don’t know the Lord!” Well I’ll be a monkeys uncle given the fact that the person that made the comment had only been in my presence once and that one time barely acknowledged my greetings of hello. I tell you about good old Christians, some of them just love to judge folks based on their own limited views of what it means to KNOW the Lord. In another incident many years ago I was making my way home from the store when this lady made a beeline across a busy intersection to tell me, “Allah is not your God!” This was quite disturbing given the fact that I wasn’t Muslim but also because she felt so strong in what she believed & was so certain that she knew what I believed she had to run and “SAVE” me.

I recently had a discussion about Christ and Christianity and one of the things that was said to me was that in order for me to have Christ in my heart I must profess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour according to the book of stories of unknown origin written by various authors at various times in history. My follow-up question was this,  if God, Jesus  & the Holy Spirit are one why MUST I acknowledge them separately? (found the answer to this one, but my Christian friend was unable to give a satisfactory answer, hummm) Now I don’t want to get into a debate about what people believe or why they believe what they believe, but what gives any human being the right to tell another that God and/or Christ does not dwell in them because they don’t do as you do? Because I don’t say “In Jesus’ name” my prayers go unheard? That’s deep!  Here’s a quote I read today, “I don’t need to change others beliefs to validate my own. Nor does it diminish my God to accept others and their beliefs.” Could not have said it better myself. With all the different people in the world it truly amazes me that so many people believe that a  God who is omnipotent & transcendant has revealed himself the EXACT same way to every single person on Earth.

Years ago when I visited this same issue the definition that was being used to describe for someone who was a Christian was -Someone who brings others to Christ. This to me is where the waters get murky because for most Christian, bringing someone to Christ means that they get baptized as an open sign that they accept Jesus as Lord, but wait, I thought Christians were supposed to be humble and what good is professing if others can’t see Christ in your daily walk? Now don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying because you are a Christian you have to be perfect, no man is. But shouldn’t you at least be happy? Shouldn’t you at least have an uplifting spirit most of the time? Shouldn’t you at least try and help others and attempt to be an inspiration to others because it’s in your heart to do so and not because you see it as a ticket to heaven?

“Being Christian should be about a relationship with Him. Being catholic (or baptist, or Lutheran, or whatever) is about joining with others in a common set of religious practices that, IN THEORY*, are designed to be an outward expression of that relationship and faith. You can debate the pros and cons of various religious practices, but it SHOULDN’T be a basis for judging. Neither should participation in any particular set of practices be a guarantee that an individual has that relationship. You can follow all the “rules”, and still lack the relationship and heart attitude.”T.G. (highlighted that because even within the denominations of baptist, Lutheran, Catholic etc. there are further distinctions made i.e. Southern Baptist, Eastern Catholics etc.)

So where am I going with this, I’m not really sure. I take periods of reflection for my own growth and betterment and though it often brings me closer to God it sometimes pulls me away from others so I’m just working through some stuff. Not a good or bad thing, it just is, life goes on.

So while it’s true I’ve never been baptized, and haven’t had a church home in over seven years that doesn’t diminish the fact that I am a child of God. There have been times when I have been stopped by perfect strangers who ask me to pray for them. What is it that they see if not light?  I have come a long way in MY PERSONAL relationship with God so when others look upon me and pass judgement it makes me wonder how strong their walk is that they feel threatened by mine. If you believe something in your heart, LIVE IT that others may see it. Then, when they ask you how do you stay strong, how can you always be so positive etc. you can share the beliefs of your faith. You need not wear it like a badge of honor as a means of validating your relationship with Christ.

I know I should be sleep but I was given a sign today and I had to fully acknowledge that I had seen it and would take it to heart. Pulled out the workings of my book and it has been so many days; ok months since I looked at it or worked on it that the words just blew me away. I was reminded again why it’s been so hard for me to finish. In a word it’s pure procrastination but on another level it STONE COLD FEAR! Over the years as I’ve watched my eldest daughter grow up I have learned that she can be brutally honest. As I read over some of the pages of my book I realized where she got that trait from. This book is hard to write, but I can’t let it go. It always comes back boomeranging around me in one big circle to the point where I can’t go any other way. This is not just something I want to do, this is something I’m being CALLED TO DO. I can’t shake it.

Nope, nope, nope, I know what you’re thinking, but no this is not my only calling but it’s one that I must fulfill to keep my energy flowing in the right direction. I keep trying to go right and it’s constantly steering me to go left. I think it’s time I REALLY LISTENED.

Had a nice conversation with my aunt on the subject and it is just Divine how God uses people to send His message. One thing that was stated that really grabbed my soul, ” Me not fulfilling my calling could be hindering someone else from fulfilling theirs.” The universe is waiting and I’m just dragging my feet like I’m the only one affected. We’re all connected and we owe it to each other to stop jaw japping and tip toeing around the things we know we need to do. Somebody needs us to be great so that they might find their greatness too. Baby steps are okay, just GET MOVIN!

MY SOUL

This is a poem for my soul always searching yet I’ve denied a thousand times.

Whose gentle prodding stood strong in my suppression,

heartfelt whispers and poetic musings

flung incessantly at my mind.

Alive with fiery vision; it’s birth halted by my inability to be free.

Though I have learned and relearned this gift FOREVER.

For when I need to listen you are there to guide me

yet because fear took hold and grabbed me you were pushed aside and rejected.

PERSISTENCE & DETERMINATION

Now I feel that no one can have a voice without first acknowledging his soul

and one must love & accept until it overtakes him.

I believe every soul can be passionate

especially mine.

So I write this for my voice, my words, my FREEDOM;

for my soul, Life Eternal,

day one going on forever…

If I didn’t tell you, would you know? If you knew, would you care? It’s okay, I’m used to it and for the most part I think I’m over it. Truth be told though I’ve dealt with the meanies more often than I care to count. You don’t know who they are you say: LUCKY YOU! Chances is are though you’ve met them on some occasion in your lifetime. They stuck around tough with me for years though. Gave me headaches out of this world and made me question time AND time again if anyone would miss me if I was gone. My daughter doesn’t know it, but she’s the reason I’m still here.  Couldn’t bear to leave her. But those meanies, those meanies tried to make me believe I didn’t matter day after day after day. It’s amazing. Sometimes we come through some stuff and once we reach the other side that hind sight we gain….MANN that is some amazing SHHH! That hindsight let’s you see some stuff you didn’t see before and you’re like MANN  I didn’t even know that was there!

I think it was a wet cold day last November when they tried to sneak their way back in my head. They pounded and pounded against my skull trying to invade my happy world & and I cried. I cried like many times before, this time though I had new armor. I had found myself & learned to love & accept myself and I had someone who I wasn’t afraid to talk to, someone who wouldn’t say to me “Pressure burst pipes” (that shit never helped). And I knew that I was strong &  beautiful and the meanies couldn’t control my mind or my thoughts or my feelings if I DIDN’T LET THEM! I let them settle in long enough to get there spill off and I countered them. I refuted everything they had to say and then released them from me. It was that day that I realized how powerful they were. I had been minding my own personal business and they just came out of nowhere trying to divert and control me. It was also that day that I realized just how powerful I was. I could see that they were there, take in everything they had to dish out then I could dismiss them just as quick as they came without a lingering thought of anything they had tried to make me believe. Hell they’re so much weaker now they barely have the strength to try. I’ve found my joy and I don’t intend to let it go. Meanies can’t live here anymore because I always CHASE THEM AWAY!