Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Now and Later

Can I start this with a confession? I can...OK, thanks!

My natural, autopilot settings are set on future mode. I am hard wired, way down deep, to always be thinking about the future. Days from now, weeks ahead, months coming up, and even years. It is as natural to me as taking a breath. I am happy however, that at this stage in my life I can recognize it, and feel myself start to shift into "future mode".

Sometimes I go along with it, and sometimes I do get frustrated with myself. In all honesty, I don't want to always be looking ahead. Constantly thinking about more. Sometimes I tire myself out, with the constant swirling of my mind and thoughts. Sometimes it feels like I don't trust, but instead organize and pre-approve plans. Always waiting for everyone to catch up to my rapid fire ways.

Even though Fall is fast approaching, and New Years 2015 is a thing of the past, I do have some goals that I want to work on during this part of the year. Maybe it's the back to school vibe that has me thinking about some self-improvements. And self-improvements are not a bad thing, in fact I find them refreshing in a way.

Of course there are goals; one spiritual, one physical, and one financial. All three are deeply important to me. All three are linked to visions I have of my future and what life could have in store for me next.

In order to reach these goals however, I already know one of the keys. And it's opposite of my natural settings. One key is for me to live day by day and appreciate the present. Great, just great! So my struggle is also connected to my growth and goals....oh life!

But really, I do kind of.. sort of ..maybe.. get it. Life is telling me that in order to grow in some areas, I am going to have to reach and stretch. If I stay doing what I always do, I will get what I have always gotten.

So this is me, trusting the process. This is me, admitting that there will be struggles, but I believe they will be minuscule compared to the victories. This is me saying that I don't have it all figured out, but also that I refuse to give up, when such wonderful things lie ahead. This is me, agreeing that I thought I would have it "together" by now, but maybe just maybe understanding that I am where I need to be now, yet there is still room to grow.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Consistency of Growth

I am really glad that I have this blog. Writing here is my "thing" and the memories and reflections are a pure joy to me. We can forget so many of the precious details in life, we can forget so many of the answered prayers. This blog aids me in remembering and cherishing my wonderful life.

Tonight I sit, and look out the window at my small attempts at gardening. And you know what? I see growth! It really is the best feeling, to see life and know that you played a part of its development. Some of my plants have grown so much that I have had to repot them. Pretty cool!

The thing I have learned about planting is that the growth lies in the consistency. Now each morning I go out back and water my plants. I take a look at their progress, and then go about my day. But, this morning routine is reaping dividends of beautiful growth! I am enjoying the work of my hands...even when I get sweaty and come in smelling like "outside".

Of course my mind draws a connection to the growth of my plants, and any type of growth that we are aiming for in life. It's the consistency, the day in and day out care, that bring forth the rewards. Get rich schemes...nope. way. You really have to be in it for the daily progress. Ready to each day put your hand to the plow and work.

And you don't see the progress at first, it's happening out of sight. But it is happening! That combination of rain, wind, sun, and consistent care. It has been an utter joy to watch my plants begin to grow taller, and vibrant amazing colors to form. I am a proud gardener!

In my life, as I see areas that need growth (finances, health, work, relationships, faith),  I wonder if I am ready to practice consistency. I want to. The inner me is on the path to growth, though the walk sometimes slows to a crawl. I guess I just need to remember that it is a day to day thing. Better financial choices each day. Increased movement everyday. Care for my babies at work Monday-Friday. Appreciating my family and friends and thinking of them from moment to moment. Praying all the time, and reading my Bible everyday.

These will bring growth in my life. These things will refresh me and stretch me and help me to truly be the absolute best me possible.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Walking in the Light

I looked closely in the mirror this morning. And you know what, I saw the sweet answer to a prayer.
Years ago, I prayed to be beautiful, as God sees beauty. As beautiful as a sunrise, or pale crescent moon. I have never been much for makeup and such, but I realized that those things are not the key to beauty. Beauty is your character, your words, how you make people feel.

I definitely feel like 30 has put me on the path towards the woman I am becoming. I have had thoughts and dreams and prayers about the love and family that I want one day. I still am a planner, but I also experience more. Walking in the light, is a Biblical idea, but in the world I think it also can resonate with anyone who is trying to live in such a way that reflects truth and love. I find those things in God, and he is always interested in my heart and soul, not just my smile and shape.

As I type, I am listening to Sailing by Christopher Cross. The song and beat seem to go well with this post.

Well, it's not far down to paradise, at least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me

It's not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me

Sailing takes me away to where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

Fantasy, it gets the best of me
When I'm sailing
All caught up in the reverie, every word is a symphony
Won't you believe me?

Sailing takes me away to where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

Well it's not far back to sanity, at least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me

Sailing takes me away to where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

I am connected closely with my purpose in life. It is at some points natural, and at some points not what I had pictured. But, I can look my natural self in the mirror, I can hear my words contain grace, I can see my life bringing genuine joy to others. I am beautiful! I am learning to walk in the light! Praises!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sunday Morning

"one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity,"
Martin Luther King JR (referring to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombings in Atlanta in 1963)

This morning I woke up and after reading more information on new details from the Charleston shootings, my mind started thinking about tomorrow morning...Sunday morning.

You see, the night the shootings happened, when processing such clearly racially motivated hate, with my sister, we both mentioned how this was a modern day move that takes you back to the church bombings during the fight to end segregation. Thus the quote that I used to start. Of course in 2015, the weapon was advanced and deadly destructive, but the motives were alarmingly similar. Just like in the past, this man knew exactly where to go to make his horrible point known. Not into the streets, because with the current situations going on in this country, he might not be heard amidst rioting and looting. He didn't go into the home, where brokenness and confusion seem be louder than unity and commitment. No, he went into the church. Take a minute and let that sink in. It speaks both to the power of the message of God, and to the utter depths of depravity of the shooter. And to be humbly honest, it is really hard to grapple with both of those things, when presented so close together.

Yesterday, the victim's families got time in court to speak to those assembled and a killer. The reports show that many of the messages included forgiveness, repentance, and the power of God to transform a life. That was not the human nature talking, that was the faith, love, hope and Holy Spirit; leading mere mortals to speak and act in a way totally and completely opposite from the way in which their loved ones had been treated. It reminded me again that God calls us to journey with him along a different way, and though you might lose your life, if you are his, you will never lose your "life" (Matthew 16:24-26).

Tomorrow morning is coming though. The first time since the whole country was rocked by vicious and blatant hate (and if you don't see what happened as a hate crime, then we are coming at this from vastly different perspectives) that the faithful will gather to worship God. I am African-American, I am Christian, and I am Southern. So, tomorrow morning I will meet, as is my practice, with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We will sing, and listen, partake of communion, worship, give, and live out the calling of Christ to love deeply. But at the same time, I can't lie and say that I won't cast a brief but suspicious glance around near the doors of the church. I am human, and there is weakness in me, but I know that to not attend tomorrow, or to walk in scared and afraid would give Satan a sense of triumph. Maybe he is thinking even now, maybe I have sounded my message of death and despair so loud, that finally those believers in "the way" will give up, give in, run and hide.

No, this is the time to stand on the "rock" (I Sam 2:2) like never before. To read your Bible, to go to worship, to pray for this wicked, fallen world and the "lost sheep" (Luke 15:1-7) who are in fact being sought by God the Shepard even as I type this. Now is the time to remember that the "harvest is plentiful but the workers are few" (Matthew 9:37). In your own path of life, as you walk with Jesus along the road of faith, you are being called to be light, salt, peace, love, hope, forgiveness, calm, joy, gentleness, and most importantly.... strong in the strength of God, the creator and the ultimate judge of the entire world.

Whew! I  have been trying to get some of these ideas out for days. I am thankful if you made it all the way through these sincere but rambling kind of thoughts.

I still believe in love, I still hold fast to my faith, I still struggle to live in such times as these. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

30 before 30 Part 2

Schools out for summer.....and I can finally get to finishing up my inventory of my 30 before 30 list. I did not get to everything on my list, but it was the effort that counted most, and this list was still one of the most fun things I have ever done!
Goals 11-20

11. take a surprise visit home to see my parents
I planned this one before I turned I will still count it as complete. I went home to Jacksonville for Mother's Day. I knew in my heart that I would make the trip this year as soon as my grandma passed. We enjoyed a mellow and memory filled time. It was sweet and somber, but still very very good!

12. maintain my weight, below a "magic" number  
(Gotta get my motivation back on track)
13. plan a trip just for the sister and I

14. read through the New Testament

I started co-teaching Ladies Bible class on Wednesday night in April, but did not meet this goal. I still want to however!
15. clean out my email ( all 3 accounts)

My email is definitely a bother. One personal account, one junk account, and one work account. All overfull. But I did spend hours on this little project. I unsubscribed to many companies, deleted and deleted til my eyes were blurry. All that and I will for sure need to clean them out again soon....yuck!

16. buy a pedometer and track my steps
My parents got me a Fitbit for my birthday! I love it! I just clip it on each day and the motivation is gives me is excellent!

17. adopt a classroom for a school year 

18. update my scrapbook

This one changed a bit...I started using the Snapfish app and getting free prints. So now I have actual "old-fashioned" photo albums full of amazing memories! 
19. use the scanner I got and really organize old memories, pictures and papers

20. go to a concert
On the Friday before Easter, Kenneth was my last minute date to a gospel concert. We both had a wonderful time! We heard the delightful voices of J Moss, Jessica Reedy, and Mary Mary.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

30 before 30 Part1

I am a few days into this 30th year! Yay!!!
I was going to include pictures for my 30 before 30 goals, but if you are my Facebook friend or follow me on Instagram, then you have seen them already. I posted along the way:)

I have loved my 30 before 30 list and the purposeful life of my 29th year.
Over the next few posts, I will reflect over this list, and how it was so much more than a list.
Also, somewhere along the way, the goal morphed not into getting everything done exactly, but savoring the actual experience of these wonderful accomplishments (both small and large). So here we go....

Goals 1-10
1. start the birthyear with the 29 gifts challenge (Day 1- April 28th 2014)
I did not even start this one. But I will say that I highly recommend the book 29 Gifts by Cami Walker. It is a quick read, and the idea of giving to others; giving of our time, talents, resources, etc is inspiring.

2. host a dinner party to welcome in one of the seasons (Fall is my favorite)
As my favorite time of year came to Tallahassee, I had a few friends over one evening for a Fall Party. We had a blast! Snacks, and conversation, and the best part....painting pumpkins! I am a multifaceted type of girl, and I love getting crafty! I would definitely do it again!

3. go on a cruise

I did not get this one done. But, now I have something fun to look forward too in my future! My parent's AARP magazine suggested river cruising through Europe....a girl can dream right?
4. celebrate 30 in a BIG way

I had the BEST time celebrating 30! Movies, getting taken out for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners by wonderful friends and family! There was also shopping for myself, reunions, lazy days, beach trips, gifts, and more. Of course there was my pre-birthday weekend where we painted, enjoyed a fish-fry and bonded more! I would not describe it as glamorous, but my birthday was full of big fun, big laughs, and big contentment all the way around:) 
5. celebrate 30 in a quiet way

I enjoyed treating myself to a birthday gift. It was my way of celebrating 30 in a quiet way. Manicure and pedicure. A few other assorted beauty treats rounded out my day. It was perfect, to sit back and steep myself in quiet and some girly, beauty prep.

6. travel to 5 places that I've never been before

Check, check, and double check! My favorite goal! My travel-bug was satisfied in my 29th year. I am so blessed to have the ability to travel and broaden my horizons, and collect memories along the way. I went to; Niagara Falls, Canada, West Chester, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Falling Waters State Park in Chipley and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.I enjoyed each and every location!

7. sleep under the stars

I really put my mind to this one, but just could not get it done. Especially because in my head, I want to sleep under the stars, but not on the ground!
8. watch a full sunrise and full sunset from the beach

The beauty of this goal makes my soul glow. It was an experience to see the day wake up and then settle in for the night. If you have never done this, I would recommend it as the beauty is untouched and perfect, just as God created it to be.  Also, sharing the sunset and sunrise with Kenneth will always be a special and very fond memory.
9. finish reading Julie and Julia and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

One freeing part of this "project for self" was that I have not been stressed about anything on my list. If I got it done, great, if not, no problem. I am more high strung in real this 29th year has been a sigh of relief as I have used the moments to enjoy. This goal morphed a little, and that is just fine because the spirit of the goal stayed the same...I was reading! I did finish Julie and Julia and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle....but I also finished Outliers. Outliers is so wonderful, one of my favorite books! 

10. cook or bake 24 "new to me" recipes (2 a month hopefully)

This goal is right at the heels of goal 6 above! The new things that I cooked made me happy! I was in the kitchen and loving it! Making myself get out of my comfort zone and trying new recipes was a tasty adventure. I should do it again, just for the plain joy it bought me. 
Here is a list of what I cooked or baked....
Peach beehives (Thanks Connie), oven roasted yellow potatoes, baked peaches served with ice cream, creamy mint Oreo brownies (bake-off at church), apple/pineapple dumpcake (just OK), sweet potato pound-cake (Ah-mazing!), apple pie cookies, copycat Tuscan soup ( boyfriends favorite), cinnamon sugar Chex-Mix (made this one a lot...easy), tortellini lasagna and cheddar biscuits, ham, corn and potato chowder (another favorite), cheesy veggie pasta, hot corn dip, green beans and potatoes (Thanksgiving in Tally), sugar cookies and royal icing (fantastically fun night with my roommate and our guys), Thanksgiving leftover soup, cranberry white chocolate cookies (Christmas in Macon), cinnamon rolls (Christmas in Macon), veggie beef soup, pecan pie cookies, cubed steak (chewy..not my favorite), Mexican chicken bake (feeds an army and delicious), strawberry rice krispies (Valentines 2015), heart inside cupcakes (Valentines 2015, baking with Rhonwyn, awesome!), and brown sugar, bacon little smokies (a fan favorite).

7/10 goals completed....not too shabby!
*Part 2 to come (goals 11-20) *

Monday, April 27, 2015

The work of my hands

 Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life.

Lately, I have been craving connections with the past. With how things used to be done and what used to be reliable. Just the old soul in me, feeling left out in this fast paced, ultra modern, yet ultra disconnected (from authentic people) world of ours. I am sure this also has something to do with this new need I have to discover fresh ways to honor my grandma.

There is this gratifying satisfaction of working with my hands. I have known it for what seems like forever. Cooking and baking have been important to me for years and years.  I get in the zone and relaxed as I whip up yummy meals and sugary desserts. I love mixing, and measuring, and preparing. Cutting, tucking, and frosting are favorites as well. I am a girl who cooks from recipes but always adds in a dash or splash extra. I am a girl who cooks from scratch and believes that you really can't ever completely ruin a meal.

The work of my hands, resulting in food that satisfies, that is an instant recipe for happiness in my book. Simple, but not common anymore is this kind of "old-fashioned" kitchen work ethic.

On another side of the coin, I have started a humble, pallet garden! I already love it. Yeah, I tend to jump right into things. But, really I have been observing my mama garden for years now  (her garden grew and flourished after Mel and I left for college). She is a gentle yet through master of her domain in our backyard and the blossoms that grow for her are absolutely beautiful! I have seen the seasons come and go, so I have a sneak peek into the seasons of gardening. I don't have to fret when the leaves drop off and the green turns to brown. If I stay careful and also let nature do its thing, life and Spring will hopefully bloom again and again in my garden. Can you feel how over the top excited I am?

I also really enjoy when my hands work on hand-written cards and other forms of creativity, such as painting. So far I have 4 Sabrina originals gracing my home. Bringing color and form to a blank canvas relaxes me and stretches my mind in all the right ways. There is a creative gene in me that yearns to show itself. Sometimes I give it full and free reign.

The work of my hands is intimate and personal. It is a connection to my sometimes too soft heart and the things that make it beat. The work of my hands is tactile and life-giving. I am focused on the work of these hands and the difference that they make in my little world.