Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Tunes

I like this gospel song for a heart-filled Friday.
Amen, for the weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ever-changing Personal Politics

Is it alright to admit right from the start that I am not enamored with politics? I think I need to share that I know something about the left and right wing but not enough to argue with anyone. I have in some ways kept myself out of the political loop, but I have definitely not abandoned it.

It all boils down to this in my book. Politics can bring out the worst in people. And so, when possible I don't engage in that harsh, negative, world. But I am well aware that it exists and its crowning glory day is coming around again in November.

The title of this post is "Ever-changing Personal Politics".  I do not know if I am alone in this or not, but as I grow and change so do my ideas and politics. Politics are such a divisive hotbed because they are at one point national and at the other point completely personal. All that you are often comes to the forefront in your political choices. Your wants, desires, fiances, faith, and deepest hidden personal agendas combine in a swirling pot of political stew.

At 18 I became a proud registered voter in the state of Florida. Who was I then? An upper middle class, African-American girl, conservative both in faith and politics, but hating societies' expectations of what a girl like me and people like me should think and do.  At 18 I was a Republican and proud of it. Why? Because my daddy was a Republican and in our house politics were split down the middle; mama and Melanie on the Democratic side and daddy and Sabrina on the Republican side. I was conservative to a "T" in those days and very aware that according to MY life experiences the American dream was easily available for all, who worked hard enough to get it. Also, I got personally heated when other people assumed I was a Democrat because I was black. That, more than anything, had me wanting to break free. I did not want the NAACP or anyone else dictating what my politics should be, based on my race alone. I looked around at my white friends and no one told them how to vote. I didn't feel them have the frustration and slight shame of going against the grain as they made their personal, political choices. That was then.

At 27 I am still a proud but definitively more cautious voter in the state of Florida (soon to be Georgia). Who am I now? Still an upper-middle (just barely) class, African-American woman, knowledgeably conservative in both faith and politics. Some things have stayed the same and of course some things have changed. I have proudly left both the Republican and Democratic paths and am finding my own personal way in the land of being an independent voter. In 9 years I have been utterly disgusted with the ways of both sides. And in order for me to not just become apathetic I had to look at a new way of doing politics. I am so much happier and well informed as an independent voter. I have the power now to research and also to change. I can pick and choose and then put back and adopt new ideas and ways of being. It was stifling to me to be in either the right or left wing because in my mind you had to choose everything they stood for. And that I could not do. I do not support everything Republican and I do not support everything Democratic. I found that the only thing I could support 100% was the Christian way of living. And that is surprisingly neither Republican or Democratic. I support giving people the chance to change. I support the American people not feeling pressured to vote the right way for fear of not fitting in. I support the fact that the "haves" and the "have nots" are very real in America, and that I can't go judging either group until I am willing to learn more. I support the fact that I have very personal beliefs that can now be expressed in my political view. This is now.

In 10 more years it will be highly interesting to see how I have continued to change. With age comes wisdom I have learned. And I am committed to learning and growing and not giving up. Interestingly enough I just did a Google search and realized that my opinion is not that unique. This is a good, quick little article (from USA Today) from last December about the growing number of independent voters.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ode to Summer

Summer Evening

Lone, floating, flickering firefly
Purple fading into palest pink sky.

Summer Evening

The slightest hint of breeze
Rustle of green leaves in trees.

Summer Evening

Chirp, chirp crickets in the woods
Hoot, Hoot owls in the trees.

Summer Evening

It's a lovely North Georgia summer evening. I think I'll take time to enjoy it and bask in God's magnificent nature.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

6 word Challenge

Thank you old Oprah magazine issue for this blog post idea.
In her issue from February 2012 there was an article about the Six-Word Memoirs project.
Have you heard of it? If not you should check out the link above or read O's great article here

In short, it was an idea for people to share their feelings on their life in 6 words. No more, no less.
The beauty in this is that your Six Word Memoir could change daily, because, Hey that's life in a nutshell really.

For the last few weeks mine was.
Thought I trusted, but I don't.

And even though I don't have the absolute, official contract, my next one will hopefully say.
For right now I'll stay here.
(When all the ducks line up in a row I will share more.)

If you feel like sharing I would love to see what yours would say! You can comment here or leave a FB comment, etc. if you like.

Just like Old Times

It is a pleasant thing to remember good times.
My 4 years of undergrad were some good times. Freedom (though not wildness), fun, fabulous friends, purpose. It was great!

Coming back to grad school full time I wondered could it be like Florida State days? Or would it be vastly different. In some ways it was different. Harder school work, being on the go to multiple jobs because the bills definitely don't pay themselves, more mature friendships.

But Thursday night was one of those rare nights that was almost just like the old days.
It was Thursday night, Mexican themed potluck with church friends. Lots of people inside a smaller but beautiful home having a ball. Random chit chat, a variety of food that I did not have to cook myself, reckless laughter, and getting to just hang out. A safe space where technology was booted out for a while, as we just got to be together. And nobody really rushed off. It was a great time.

Then my buddy and I headed home to find out the power had gone out. Well what are two girls to do then? Head to a late night Wal-Mart run. Just like old times! Wandering the aisles and joking with my friend seemed to erase the extra years the current tension has added to me. She was able to keep me focused and I didn't end up with too much random stuff.

Oh what a night! Fantastic in its simplicity. It was one of those times where just enough was all that I needed. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Friday Tunes

Here is a pretty rockin way to start out your weekend:)
I'm off to visit Melanie and get out of this tiny space filled with boxes!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Update from Yesterday

Yesterday morning I was feeling especially glum about the whole job thing (see here). It's a roller-coaster I tell you, this waiting and anticipating thing.

Thankfully just one day later I am feeling much more content with my circumstances. Why?
I made plans to go see my sister this weekend.
I talked to my mama and her old-fashioned, Godly wisdom reminded me to chill out and be thankful.
I checked out some DVD's from the public library, since my collection is packed away.
I went for a refreshing walk and listened to some Zumba tunes.
I talked to one of my best friends who reminded me that there is a silver lining to the cloud I was under.
I got out of this little, cramped apartment that is currently filled with boxes and let the sun shine over me for a while.
And then late last night my mama called me and said a wonderful prayer for me. It encouraged me to no end, and reminded me that I need to be finding ways to serve others during this rough patch.

I'm glad today is Tuesday and I have another chance, with God's guidance, to work this out. I'm waiting for something good, and that brings peace and hope.
OH, and this morning I read this article from USA Today and realized that I am not really alone. I just felt that way yesterday.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Real Talk- Waiting (unsuccessfully) for Work

The main reason I try and blog during this time of restless waiting is because I will need to look back and be thankful. It's a sobering thought to see in clear reality what a horrible person I am when it comes to waiting.

This morning I was in a particularly whiny mood. Maybe you have been there in whatever you have been waiting for. It's that place where your core stubbornness meets the fact that for all intents and purposes it looks like NOTHING is happening. And those things do not bring out any shining moments for Sabrina.

This job market is no joke. If you are not currently searching for work then you should say a thankful prayer for that. At least to me the worst part of this job market is that it quickly drains you of enthusiasm and hope. As much as I know that I am a worthwhile employee and that God is going to work it all out somehow. The jobs roar back that positions are already filled, and that you don't have enough experience, and that budgets have just been cut....sorry. And that loudness has quickly drowned out the still small voice of reason. If I did not have faithful friends and family, I would be just about ready to slip into my sweats, get 1 free month of Netflix, and re-emerge in late July, probably a few pounds heavier, with my mind numbed because of too much TV. Yuck, I don't even like that mental picture, because it smells strongly of giving up. But after extended waiting (since January 2012 to be honest) and rejection, giving up for a bit does not sound all that bad.

Waiting for work stinks. There, I just admitted my true feelings about the whole convoluted process! I have a large amount of personal pride that usually serves me well. In this case, not so much. I think I take the endless silences personally. I think I expect better treatment. Why? Because in my mind I guess I deserve it. Do you see what a problem this can be? I don't know when I grew an enlarged sense of entitlement, but I hate it.

I can readily admit that at this time I am feeling pretty low in the unemployment pit. Who knows, tomorrow might be better. But there is some lesson to be learned down here. And it just might be that God is going to teach me to trust him in a way that I will never forget. Because when you can't see your future clearly, when it is literally as clear as mud, it is trust that becomes your guiding light and through that trust I pray my hope will be restored.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Note for Fathers

Growing up, more and more I am continually thankful for my amazing father. 
I know I am not alone, there are so many people who love and appreciate their fathers.
There are also many people who will be missing their father this Father's Day. Some have passed away and some have never taken their rightful place for one reason or another. 
But, I can write about what I know. What I have lived with, and what I have seen in 27 years of living.

Dear father, daddy (my personal favorite), papa, dad, pops, or whatever you like to call the special man in your life.

 I am glad we have a special day set aside to honor you. I smile when I think about just how deserving you are of praise, respect, and overflowing love. Sometimes life gets in the way and I don't let you know just how much you mean to me. I don't take time to let you know that the woman I am is in large part due to the father that you are. We both are linked, you and I, and I often hope that you see yourself in me and my actions. You are my role model! It is a true honor to hear people say that I am like you. I love to hear people say that they KNOW that I'm your daughter.

 Simply put I want to thank you. Thank you for putting your family before yourself. By doing this you ensure that another generation will know something of sacrifice for a worthy cause. Thank You for your protection. You don't wear rose colored glasses and even though we sometimes ignore your well placed hints and tips, we know that you are always concerned about our safety. And that makes us just glow inside and also want to take care of ourselves more. Thank You for your solemn praise and the small but huge ways that you show us that you are proud of us. Thank You for hugs and care and concern and that particular knowing silence when we just need to talk to you.

There is something special to be said for how you are different from our mothers. We NEED that dad, so please don't hide that power. Continue to proudly be the man of the house. Work together with your wife, and yet lay claim to the special things that only you can do. Exemplify the particular way that you think and reason. Showcase your hard-work, determination, and your gentle strength. There is no yelling or screaming in your vocabulary, yet a disappointed look and having "that talk" in "that tone" will get the point across as quick as lightening.

There is one last thing. Keep your chin up dad! The world demands a lot from you each and everyday. Especially, if you are doing it right and trying to be a supportive husband and father. We know this clashes with what some of your friends might say, or what your boss thinks is important. We are not naive, we know that there are things and temptations out there that want to take you away from us and offer you something new, and quick, and easy. But keep up the good fight! Because it means so much to see you come home after a long day at work and unwind with us. It makes us grin to look up and see your face in the crowd at a performance, or event, or graduation. We are silently thankful each time you kiss our mothers and call them by that pet name that has been hanging on since college; because how you love her, and how you are dedicated to her is just a small part of how you love us and are dedicated to us.

These simple words are not enough but Thank You from the bottom of my heart for being the very best:)

                                                        With all my Love,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Friday Tunes

It just turned midnight and since I was still awake I figured I would go ahead and post for today.
I was in an old school, Sabrina as a teenager mood. At first I was thinking about a song for the summer. LFO's Summer Girls popped in my head, but after seeing the video again it was just too cheesy, even for me:)

So, I went for a more mellow tune from JC Chasez (formerly of N'Sync). A weekend of packing, home-cooked meals, and nature walks is in front of me. I hope yours is filled with quintessential summer activities.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What kind of Woman do I want to be?

At 27 I am fully aware that I have arrived at womanhood. I'm no pro at it or anything, but here I am;)

There are so many labels that usually come along with being a woman; wife, mother, aunt, etc. And maybe because these don't currently describe me I still feel not completely settled into this growing from girl to woman thing.

There are not too many things that I know. However, I am coming to see what kind of woman I want to be, and that has actually been a blessing. It's been nice to have time to meditate on this topic and discuss it with God. I feel like this summer has opened itself up to a lot of self reflection, and I am thankful for that fact.

I want to be a woman who takes delight in life. Sometimes I see pictures of my mama and her smile is pure joy. She loves people, and her garden, and God, and my daddy, and life in general. I want to love more and not hold back.

I want to be a woman who is beautiful and refreshing like fresh flowers or a full moon. I want there to be something about me that reflects the natural beauty that God has created.

I want to be a woman who is welcoming and also continuing to grow. I hope that hospitality comes more and more naturally to me. I also want to stand strong and learn more and more, yet find a gentleness that is beyond my own personal attributes.

Lastly, I want to be a cooking woman. Serving good, wholesome food to friends and family. There is nothing wrong with a few modern shortcuts, but I want to cook often and well and share my food in comfort and peace.

That's all I have for now. But really that's quite enough I think:) Because even though I did not mention it, I want to be a woman who is not constantly wanting more, more, more and biting off more than she can chew.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Movie of my Life

Cue tape, and Action!

The scene is not that original. A young woman in paint stained sweat pants, an old church activity T-shirt, and her favorite undergrad zip-up jacket, goes for a solitary walk.

The weather is perfect for her contemplative mood. No sun in the sky, gray clouds and a thin mist covers everything. Yet, she has made it her goal to get out and walk, so come rain or come shine that is what she is going to do.

She walks swiftly as if she is trying to escape her thoughts for a while. She walks with purpose as if she knows where she is going and when she needs to return. The phone in her pocket was tuned into her Pandora radio but after a few minutes she opts for the natural sounds of her walk. Wet tires sloshing by, the drip drop of rain on soaked leaves. Her own breath as she walks one of the many hills that surround her home.

What is she thinking? What are her plans for this day? For this week? For her life?
Well it's quite simple really, and it's also quite complicated.

This can be a big year for our heroine, who often helps others but currently feels like she needs some saving herself.
There are all types of choices that need to be made. She looks out over a year that is full of promise and also full of change. And it's the changes that inspire and scare her.

She puts on a brave face. But if she had not found that being in nature calms her down like nothing else; she would be inside pacing in her apartment. Online scouring for opportunities that only end in disappointment. Drinking hot tea out of her favorite comforting mug and running through every possible scenario about her future. Wanting one of them to be the clear winner. The path that she was meant to take, that also jives with her own dreams and plans. So far all she gets are more questions and less certainties.

So, she walks on. This morning she has chosen to walk alone. At other times she will choose to walk with family and friends. Get some time to just talk and ramble on, in hopes that sharing with someone else will help bring clarity and comfort.

End scene.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pack it Up

You definitely can't rush the packing process. Because in so many ways it's like a stroll through memory lane.
Maybe, because to me packing things up is full of so many memories, it takes me forever!!

Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that I own a lot of stuff;) Why would you even suggest that?

I am pretty sure where I am going to accept a job. I'll share more details when I can. That means however that I need to start sorting and packing to get ready to hopefully move in July. Whether you are moving across town or across the country packing is a process.

Each room has it's own specific packing needs and personality, if you will. My kitchen is my kingdom in some ways and so I lovingly pack it up. My closet can be frustrating! Can I really not fit into that anymore? And so I just try to get the packing over with quickly. You get the picture.

On one end of the spectrum I want help packing up my things. On the other end I don't want help because packing helps me take inventory of what I own. I can choose what to donate and I can organize each box for optimal unpacking. Sigh, do you see why it is going to take me all month to get this done?

I'm really looking forward to moving. More square footage will help me to be able to display my things and not just stack them. Also, I pray it will allow me more room to invite over cherished friends! An extra bathroom will allow me to redecorate to my hearts content (hand-made, pristine, white, eyelet fabric, shower curtain....Yep!) A fancy new DVD and Blu-Ray player from Melanie and Lee will hopefully allow me to hop on the Netflix train! A dishwasher will free me up to use all my pots and pans as I create new meals!

As I gaze around I already see my progress in this packing project. Hooray! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Tunes

I am smiling already as I post this. I was on Facebook and a friend of a friend posted a video of a recent Will Smith interview. Part of it is below and it's the tune that will take you way a good way. Enjoy, and definitely sing along:)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Changing my Prayers

"My main purpose in prayer is to control the environment."

These words, written on a handout last Wednesday night in Bible class stopped me completely. In them I saw the reality of what I had been doing, and there was nowhere to hide from the glaring truth.

I really do love prayer! I am so thankful to get to talk to God and dwell with him during the day and evening. Somewhere along the road though, my prayers got too specific. Please God do this and this at this time for this person. Lord help so and so by doing this exact thing for them. God could you give this person this thing at this place so that they can feel this way.

I could go on. I won't however, because I am sure you get the idea. Though I sprinkled in some asking for God's will to be done. I was praying ALOT for specific things. I was doing in my prayer life what I do in my life in general. Plan, plan, and plan some more. It makes sense looking back at it, that this way of living was bound to spill over into my faith.

There is nothing wrong with asking God and being specific with him. But I do think there is some moderation needed. I was getting heavy on the details and weak in the trust. Trust that in the end it all works for good. Trust that sickness, death, unemployment, fertility issues, grief, anger, etc. do teach powerful life lessons. If we will stay faithful and watchful. Trust that just because I don't see it does not mean that there is nothing to see and nothing going on.

This summer I hope to make some changes to my prayer life. Mainly to take a hint from the summer season. Relax, slow down, and simplify. And in doing that allow myself to be pleasantly surprised by how good God is, in all situations, all of the time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tug of War

In one day I felt both the incredible joy of new love and trusting covenant, as a sweet, wonderful friend got married.

And I also felt disbelief, fear, and sadness as another friend shared about some struggles and betrayals in her own marriage.

It was a lot to handle in one day let me tell you. It was a true tug of war as my feelings and emotions went from grief to peace. Where am I now? Questioning, would be a good word. I admire those who believe in love even when love is under attack.

This tug of war left me mentally exhausted. I am a thinker, and so my little mind just wanted to make sense of what was going on. How life can be so fair and yet so unfair? I didn't come up with much. Except, this; Don't give up. That's what I was reminded of this weekend. When your trust in someone is rewarded and the sun in shining on you and all seems right in the world, be humbled and thankful for that. And when your trust in someone is not rewarded, and they hurt you and make horrible choices that can be life-changing, don't give up.

Sometimes I want the good and that is all. If it smells of struggle, I turn tail and run. Or pray that it be over quickly, or avoid, or ignore. But the lessons learned through the trials are the best lessons of all. Two strong women let me share in their lives this weekend. Of course if I had to choose I would want to be the bride. Fresh, ecstatic, and enthusiastically in LOVE with her new husband. But, I need to also learn from my other friend's strife. I need that strong core that keeps on keeping on when the road is treacherous. I need strength to not just give up when the going gets tough. I need that peace that passes all understanding and comes from being absolutely humbled.

In the end, I need to find a place of calm refuge. Where my love story might be written. Not overly beautified by fanciful, fluff romance. Not overly catastrophized by grim darkness and distrust. But set free by sacrifice and hope.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Tunes

My Friday Tunes usually are songs with words. However, to switch it up a bit I thought I would feature this gorgeous piece of music by The Album Leaf. It's pretty and relaxing and reminds me of the Fall for some reason. Have a great Friday!!!