Sunday, September 14, 2014

30 day journaling project- Day 2

Something you feel strongly about....

Hmmmm, where to start? I have a pretty passionate personality, and feel strongly about quite a lot of things. I think I will focus on children though, since they are an extra special part of my life.

It is difficult for me to handle when adults make horrible decisions that affect children. This usually, is their parents, but can be a host of other people.

I feel strongly, when politicians whose children never even went to public school, make money based decisions that affect millions of children in this country who attend their local public schools.

I feel strongly about adults who openly cuss in front of children or worse at their children, it's as if they don't get it, just how much kids learn from their environment, that then has to be unlearned later in life. And they don't get that angry discipline that includes cussing at a child should not be an option. Protect the innocence of your babies!

I still get confused about the families who are waiting for children, and those who have children but don't care for their needs. Leaving children in hot cars, letting your children spend all day in front of a screen, bringing children along for the ride of not so great decisions that will mature them before it is their time.

I get so sad for the broken families and the confusion and anger and betrayal that our population of children are starting to see as normal. I wish I could let the parents who have left their duty as parents, see the face of their children. Hear the questions, and the earnest wishes for families to be reconnected. Sigh, it is a troubling problem. 

I always go back to the idea that no child ever asked to be here. That was the choice of adults. And so when children suffer, it just swirls up these feelings inside me. It is why I do what I do. Someone has to listen and advocate for our children. Someone has to just be there for our kids as they work their resilient way through the ups and down of life. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fresh

New, bright, dawn, vibrant, awesome.
With my earlybird morning ways, the sunrise and I are good friends. It gives me peace to actually see a new day dawning. Dark night skies gently lightening up to more pastel tones. I tell you, the soft pink, orange, blue, and purple of daybreak.....absolute perfection!

Life is this concoction of fresh and routine. Fresh moments, mixed into the routines of the day to day.
I love the routines of life, the days, weeks, months, and years that are filled with the things that I am used to. But yet, I grow through the fresh experiences. I blossom through new people, places, and ideas that make me ponder and sometimes make adjustments.

I am working in a quaint little school, that is mellow and wonderful. And sometimes I feel like this rushing, quick, not mellow woman. However, this is the season for more mellow in my life. I have been planning and being busy since my teens. Loving being gone and surrounded my people. 29 has come and it keeps showing me that there is another way. A season of quiet nights, and tasks that don't get completed. A season of not being my own worst enemy. Not stacking the expectations impossibly high and then berating myself for constantly falling short.

29 feels like such a fragile age. I have moments when I react like 19 year old Sabrina, and moments of great maturity where I react, as I hope 39 year old Sabrina will react! It's kinda something else actually. Something that both encourages me and also frustrates me at the same time. How can I still be that girl and yet be the woman I will become?

I'm giddy about fresh moments, that if I will let them, can lead to fresh days, weeks, and months.
I'm learning to not rush through the fresh times, but let them last as long as they are meant.
I'm realigning my outer self with my true inner self, and admitting the gifts and the flaws.
I'm content and smiling and so very thankful for the blessings that are mine, not deserved but always appreciated!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Desires of the Heart

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Epicurus

I am here! I have had a wonderful transition back to Florida. I feel so much peace being back home, and establishing a new home for myself. Prayers have been answered in great ways, and it is true that "my cup runneth over". I don't ever want to forget the path that led me back here and this excitement about new opportunities.

I love the title of this post because it is something every single person has. Those private, very personal desires of the heart. And in an age where we share so much, I think it is really more important to remember that everyone has things that they don't share. Wishes, thoughts and desires that never leave the recesses of our hearts and minds.

I am not sure about you, maybe you have not checked in with yourself lately, but in the middle of hectic life, I would say to find some quiet time and ponder what is it that you guard carefully and closely. What ideas, and dreams do you want and work for, yet don't blast aloud to any listening ear. I think that these desires of the heart are strong. They can be some mighty motivators, and so many times they are that spark, that twinkle in your eyes that hints of hidden depths and untapped potential. 

Lately, I have enjoyed the excitement of realizing that this life is ALWAYS going to give you more than you planned. And I do mean ALWAYS. Yet, I am blessed to say that it all works out for good. Not perfect, mind you, but definitely good, and I thank God for that! You know I used to see things simply, if it made you cry or doubt or frown or dig in deep and work, well then those were difficult situaitons and I didn't want to be around those. I wanted to write my life story with as few of those moments as possible. And I was so naive, because I didn't realize that in the story of this here life of Sabrina, those are the exact times that made me a better person. And I wanted to skip over them and avoid them!

I am grateful for time to work it out and grow and change. I am thankful for time to hurt and heal and hunger and thirst and be filled and then be overflowing with abundance. I am content with the ups and down and the things that are not sure now, but will be sure in time.

29 is shaping up to be quite an amazing year! My future is continuing to morph and give me peeks and glances at new possibilities. I am trying to be aware and yet humble. Loving and also resilient. I am walking this path of being everything I have always been, and yet also, everything that I have the possibility of being. Yeah, and that is turning out to be just as interesting as it sounds!

Monday, July 28, 2014

30 day journaling project- Day 1

                                                                     (pinned here)

I think sometimes it is great to do a check-in with yourself. It's nothing fancy, but it does the spirit good to take some time and ask questions, and look over your life. Just to make sure that the life you are living, is in sync with your dreams and goals. And that your life matches up, both externally and internally.

I have made the move back home to Florida, I am enjoying this 29th year, and I am blessed to have a profession where I get time to recharge in the summer! So a quiet Monday morning sounds just right for my own check-in. I stumbled across 30 days of journaling prompts on Pinterest. Pinterest is awesome! I won't share all of them, and who knows how long it will take me to get through all 30....but I am up to the self-reflective challenge.

Day 1- Five ways to win your heart
1. It is becoming more and more important to me, that the love of my life, be a man who is faithful to God and who I can trust and depend on. A tall order, but one worth waiting on and praying for. A shared faith is not just a maybe, it is a necessity, and that is maturity and life speaking right there.

2. Say how much you care and also show me. I would rather be spoiled in this way than material gifts and such. And I like gifts too, of course!

3. Cook with me, it is fabulous. It is a time to share my passion!

4. I think winning my heart also comes by the unexpected, small, kind, yet wonderful gestures. I am used to doing it myself, Planning it, organizing it, pushing myself to get it done. So when you turn the tables on me, and invite me to rest and slow down, well I really do appreciate that thoughtfulness.

5. Winning by heart can also be done by loving my family. You loving, what I love, makes for a deep and lasting connection.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My grandma & the 23rd Psalm

Psalm 23 NKJV
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The setting and timing of a story or event often make such a momentous impact. Finding $100.00 would make anyone excited. But finding $100.00 on the day before your power was going to be turned off, leaving you and your 3 kids in a desperate situation, well that would make you ecstatic.

And so it is with the ever-changing events of life. This is the story of how a Psalm that I have known for over 20 years, came to mean even more to me due to the setting and timing.

My family and closest friends know that my beloved grandma is ill. This year has been a struggle for her, though praise God she is having some better days lately. I went to visit with her yesterday, and that perfect smile greeted me, and she called out "Brina", and that was really all it took to know that she is OK. She is changing and aging, but she is still my grandma. We spent precious hours together, and I know they are precious, because I have many friends who are mourning the passing of their grandparents.

The laughter was genuine, and the requests for small things were pretty constant, but I would not trade that time together for anything. Life really does come full circle, and this grandma; the only grandma I have ever known (my middle name, Maude, is after my daddy's mother, who died before I was born), the grandma who saw me graduate from high school in Jacksonville, and undergrad in Tallahassee, and graduate school in Athens, GA, this grandma who knows I would literally give her anything on this earth and it would not come near to the amount of love, support, and laughter that she has brought into my life. This grandma blessed my life and comforted my spirit, again, yesterday. And there I was thinking I would go and comfort her. Maybe the truth is we comforted and encouraged each other.

Before I left, I was sharing my daily devotional with her. Reading some thoughts on standing up for your faith. In the reading there was a reference to the 23rd Psalm (the whole thing is above). As I started to read, "The Lord is my Shepard.." my grandma's voice joined mine. And I closed the devotional book and we both slowly and powerfully recited the God-inspired words of the Psalm. And I will admit my voice trembled when we said together, "ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...". Because it was not lost on me, that, that valley has come closer this year than ever before. We kept on in the Psalm, and I was reminded to be grateful as we said the words, "my cup runneth over". And she added an extra "Amen" at that part, even though the present has been difficult, the Amen was for the fact that she knows God has been faithful to her, and she is wise enough to know the current situation, is not the whole story, not at all.    

We ended our words with, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." What a comfort and peace those words were to us both. I am still young with an old soul, but I have seen it again and again, that as life fades, as the body tires, and the mind slows down, often it is the simple messages and songs of faith that linger in the human soul, and that is no accident. I have sat at the beds and nursing homes of many people, and there is no talk of politics, and money, but there is talk about family and God, and God and family. I know that I am blessed to be 29, and know that I don't have to wait for advanced age to come, to live a life that reflects what truly matters, God and family.

As I drove home, it hit me. I remembered that when I had first come to the house, my grandma had been confused about what day it was. Surprised that Monday had come so quickly. And during my stay, she had sometimes substituted my name for one of my cousins...which is not really a new thing, there are a lot of us:) But you know what, she recited that 23rd Psalm word for word, as clear as crystal, with no confusion! Praise God for his great care and tender mercy! 




Saturday, July 12, 2014

What is a prayer warrior project?

Many of my 30 before 30 goals are clear cut..."go sailing". Check, been there and loved it!

Some are more abstract however...."start a personal prayer warrior project (daily, dedicated and specific prayer time)". I have been working on this specific goal for almost 2 months and so I wanted to update everyone.

I love prayer, and more importantly prayer is part of the lifeline that keeps my faith real, growing, and personal. Talking, sharing, and confiding in the Lord is the pivotal part of my daily walk in faith that keeps me grounded, I would not be me without prayer. 

So, as I get ready to enter my 30's, I wanted to go deeper and seek more wisdom and know more about prayer. So, I wrote down the goal above...but did not have a true plan of how to actually get started and find out new and different nuances to my prayer life.

Well, by God's providence, just when I was seeking something to guide my prayers, I found a gift given to me years ago by a wonderful friend, as she was just starting off her new life as a Christian. 100 Days of Prayer for a Godly Woman is the book and it has turned into part of what I needed.

My personal prayer warrior project has 3 parts.
1. I read the daily devotional, quotes and scriptures provided in the book. The topics range from "Pray for Perspective to See through the Media's Distorted Messages" and much more.

2. I think of one descriptive adjective or phrase to describe God and write it down. I then use that specific word as a part of my prayer and praise for the day. This is been SO good for me! I was often stuck in a rut, using the same words to describe my awesome and all powerful God. Being mindful of how I describe God has opened my mind and spirit in great ways! Here are just a few words or phrases. So far I have 60!
my all in all
perfect
gentle
bountiful
constant
healing
careful
magnificent
infinite
sweet
Sometimes I really have to stretch my mind and Biblical knowledge for a word or phrase. But it has been AMAZING!!! I wish I could do the whole process justice. It's the part that I would recommend to any Christian. 

3. Because I fully believe and know that prayer is powerful and works, just as it is promised in God's word, I wanted to pray for certain things over and over. I wanted to take some people and places and just dedicate myself to praying for them, and 100 days seemed like a great amount of time. I ended up with 6 items. These are things that I often prayed for, but that I wanted to show more dedication to. For I do believe that as a Christian, if you care about something then you will be talking to God about it. I won't share them all because they are personal and privileged information. 

But one is my grandma. Her health is wavering, and I feel so helpless as how to be there for her, and so she is at the very top of this list. And my prayers have helped remind me that her life is cared for by the God who created this entire universe....I do not need to fear her aging.

 Another one is Godly marriages. Have you looked around lately, and seen the brokenness that is seeming to overtake the family unit? I often pray for protection and strength for marriages that are trying to honor God, for I know that the world does not give them respect, and I bet that can be quite difficult and challenging though ultimately fulfilling. I also pray for those who are waiting on a Godly mate, because believe me, it is so tempting to give in and just date or marry someone without God's hand guiding your relationship. I myself am waiting, so I take this prayer very seriously.

Anyway, there you have it. My prayer warrior project. 60 days in, and I know that it has changed me and is changing things. Praise God!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thank You!

When I wake up with something good on my heart and mind, it gets me in the blogging mood.

There were SO many things to cherish about the "Sending-Off Celebration" last night at church. Here are just a few....

*Looking around and taking time to realize that the core group of people that I love the most in Athens was all together.

*Hearing that God's grace and love are indeed growing and shining outwards in my life.

*Ending the evening praying with 3 of the most wonderful and faithful friends that I could ever be blessed to have.

*The laughter, and fun that abounds when God's people come together and break bread and relax for a while.

An ongoing joke was, "Who has ever heard of organizing your own going away party?" And while it was a unique idea, Jennifer, Jessica, and I really did have a great time, pulling together just the right type of celebration. A good time was had by all, and that is all that matters in the end:)

I already miss my Athens family in Christ. I did not get to tell each person last night, but the faithfulness and acceptance I enjoyed during my 4 years here has been phenomenal! It is a true testament to a group of varied people, who have more differences than commanilites. But the overarching thing we share is the life-changing power of Jesus Christ! And that, I continue to learn, is a bridge from my very best self, to the very best self of these other wonderful Christains, that were my family for 4 years.

Here is a blessing for each of you. From the bottom of my heart and soul, I pray this over each individual and family who has loved me and supported me and kept me going in the right direction during my stay here in Athens.

I pray that you all continue to enjoy the life-changing greatness of a life that is daily grounded in God. That you would be the exact combination of strength and weakness that God can use to influence this world and use for his supreme glory. I pray that the laughter and pure joy of life be overflowing and that when tears come, the sorrow be shared and the burden divided by those who love you in Christ. I pray that even though I will not be in constant communion with you all, that our faith and circumstances will keep you on my heart and that my spirit will never in this lifetime forget just how kind, thoughtful,true, and Christ-like you all have been to me. You were all strangers and now you are part of my family, praise the Lord for his great mercy! Amen.

To close up this blessed chapter of my life, here are some scriptures that still continue to change me, when I remember to find humbleness, and let God have his way.

My Senior Quote- Proverbs 27:19 "As in water, face refelcts face, So a man's heart reveals the man."

My manta during the hardest trial of my life, my sister's illness. Psalm 61:1-2 "Hear my cry. O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the Earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

My reminder to keep the faith- 2 Corinthians 2:14 "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."