Wednesday, December 24, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS



Renee and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!  

Today we celebrate Jesus' birthday - that precious baby born in Bethlehem.  

May the richest blessings and peace be upon you this day and as we head into 2015.  

From our family to yours...

Renee & Roslyn - Christmas 2013




Roslyn enjoys holiday decorations




Sunday, December 21, 2014

I'm Not Sure It Will Be a Merry Christmas

 


Christmas is days away and there are many of us excited about spending time with family and friends.  The anticipation of receiving gifts, eating holiday favorites and laughing over old stories make this time of year my favorite.




Today however, I was reminded of those that might not be happy this holiday season.  Over the course of a year, my husband has suffered the loss of his mother and one of his best friends.  In the midst of a joyous season, I know he will miss their smiles and conversations. 

He's not alone.

There are so many experiencing their "firsts" without loved ones.  First time holiday shopping without them.  First Christmas.  First dawn of a new year without their warmth and love.

They are members of a club that no one wants to join

What about those sitting in a hospital this year while they watch their family member cling to life? 

What about the parents waiting for their children to return home after they've gone down a path of destruction?

What about the divorcee without his/her spouse this year? 

There's so many that might not have a merry Christmas. 





We wish you a Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year!


Roslyn and I are praying for each of you.  We are trusting and believing that God will make your load lighter.  We know the pain of losing a parent and walking through our own seasons of "firsts".  There aren't words to make the agony of living life without the one you love any easier.  Only God in His precious timing can comfort through the journey to healing.  Here's our prayer for you:
 
God, we thank you for being sovereign.  Thank you for being mighty enough to heal pain and sorrow.  Thank you for the promise of comfort and peace.  Psalms 30:5 tells us that your favor is for life and although weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.  Thank you that every person reading this prayer WILL have their joy restored.  Blessed are those who grieve, for they shall be comforted.  We declare a season of peace, reassurance, and encouragement as they head into the holiday season.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen! (Posted by Renee)
 
 
John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
 
John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
 
Philippians 4:6-7
 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 

 
 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I Have No Voice

I am sure some may think this a political statement but it isn't.  For the past three days I physically didn't have a voice. A wicked virus affected our entire family.  A sore throat soon catupluled into a bad case of laryngitis.  I knew the only remedy was vocal rest and lots of fluids.







The only problem with that plan, I work in the retail industry and the month of December means me being in stores selling products to consumers as they complete their holiday shopping list.  I had out of town visitors and I greeted them with no voice.  As I met people who were speaking at a normal tone, I just had to smile and point to my vocal chords using sign language to inform them I had no voice.

I had SO much to say during their visit but I physically couldn't. 

No one heard me. 

I could just sit and observe the conversations happening around me.  Honestly, a very humbling experience. We ate lunch and there was normal chatter, dialogue, solutions given to problems and itineraries discussed, but all I could do was listen. 

When I tried to speak, it was only a whisper. People leaned into hear what I was saying.  They would nod their head as if they agreed, but I knew they didn't hear or understand me.  

My boys, on the other hand, enjoyed the silence in the house.  







I couldn't yell my usual messages - "let's go, close that refrigerator, turn off that tv, or go take your bath."  A mom sick and not able to be heard meant kids making up their own rules. 

Thankfully, my voice has slowly returned. I'm still hoarse and sound nasally, but I have a voice. Guess what, so do YOU

Whether politically, in your home, with your siblings or at work, you have a voice. Once you learn how to use that voice, you can evoke change, encourage, teach or articulate problems and resolutions. 

Your voice is powerful. 

As they say, I didn't miss a good thing until it was gone.  I hope you realize the mighty tool and weapon you have all wrapped up within you. But be careful, your voice can also be dangerous if words are spoken with malicious intent. 

A wise proverb eloquently sums it up:  Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill OR nourish life.  ~Proverbs 18:21

Choose wisely! (Posted by Roslyn)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I've never enjoyed.....

It's hard to believe that it's almost time for Thanksgiving.  I love this time of the year.  Food, fun, family and Christmas shopping.  (Need some Black Friday shopping tips?  Here you go!)  What could be better?

We traditionally gather together with a large sampling of our family members.  Everyone under one roof is loud from the football games playing on the tv, kids playing games, and the rest of us reminiscing and catching up with each other.  Seeing cousins, uncles, and aunts, that you haven't seen in awhile is such a joy. 

The agenda for the event is simple.

Bring a dish.

Say a prayer of thanks.

Eat like tomorrow may not come.

We have a traditional southern Thanksgiving meal.  However, the other day I realized, there's some traditional items I've never enjoyed.  Some would say it's a tragedy but I would say, why add something new to the menu?  If you think I'm missing out, leave a comment and convince me to try something different.

Here we go.  I've never enjoyed.......

  • Pumpkin pie
    • Our tradition is to enjoy sweet potato pie.  My mom and aunt make the best pies I've ever tasted.  Pumpkin just wasn't in the cards I guess.

  • Green bean casserole
    • I'm just not big on the thought of cream of mushroom, green beans and french fried onions on top.  I prefer just a fresh green bean with a little meat in the pot for seasoning and great flavor.

  • Fresh cranberry sauce
    • The cranberry sauce is not a big component of our Thanksgiving meal.  I typically don't eat canned foods but if cranberry sauce is served, it's the kind that's right out of the can. If that makes you cringe, share a great recipe for me to try.

No matter what you eat on Thursday, take time to give thanks for your blessings.  If we allow ourselves, we would only focus on the things we don't have.  What about the things you do have? 

Shelter.  Food.  Family.  Education.  Water.  Finances.  Stability of mind and the ability to wake up and enjoy it all again the next day.  Most importantly, a loving God who longs to bless you with even more.  I leave you with this amazing promise from Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
 
 
Happy Thanksgiving (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Five To Thrive

It's almost here...Thanksgiving is next week and we will officially enter the 2014 holiday season.  I've already started making list and researching savory recipes.  This time of year, life is all about being thankful.

Living a life of gratitude leads to surviving even the toughest moments of your life.  I've actually seen others at their low points and still find a way to be thankful.

Here are my personal FIVE TO THRIVE, they represent the top 5 things I'm most thankful for:

HEALTH

  • It is my daily declaration to say that sickness and disease are far from me.  I'm thankful for a body that is strong, mobile, and full of health.

EDUCATION
  • Simply stated - education dispels ignorance.  Education is your passport into the future and one of your most powerful weapons.


BIBLE
  • Reading the Bible daily is apart of my sacred morning ritual.  I crave hearing from the purest voice I know.  At birth, God formed my physical body but daily he breathes critical content into me that allows me to inspire others and be encouraged.

BODY SLIMMERS
  • This might seem trivial, but at this stage of my life I LIVE in body slimmers.  Thank God for Spanx.  It creates a wonderful illusion.  Here's a secret - at times, I've been known to wear two body shapers at the same time.
FAMILY
  • These are the people in my life that ground and support me.  They have the natural ability to accept me.  I think my smile is a little brighter everyday because of them, both near and far, my family ROCKS!

What about you - as we prepare for Thanksgiving next week, what are your FIVE TO THRIVE?  Leave us a comment on Facebook or Twitter and let us know.  (Posted by Roslyn)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Middle School Parenting Success!

Parenting has the ability to make you laugh and cry all at the same time.  I don't profess to be a perfect parent but I know I'm a determined and dedicated parent.  This weekend I had a chance to show my "tween" aged daughter my dedication to our relationship.  We visited SeaWorld and before we could even make it through the gate, my daughter knew the roller coasters she wanted to ride.


Manta at SeaWorld
I knew she would want one of us to ride with her.  Alton nor myself was eager to step up and ride along.  I was even willing to let her go on the ride by herself.  I would just walk with her to the top and then stand on the other side and wait for her.  While we were walking through the line, she said, "Come on mom, this is a great bonding moment for us." 


Did she really just say that? 

Bonding? 

On a roller coaster that travels up to 56 miles per hour? 



The face I wanted to give my daughter when she wanted me to ride on the roller coaster.

 
Maybe she forgot I'm 40 years old with back concerns from time to time.  If she forgot that, maybe she would remember that this a footless roller coaster that positions you in the downward position before leaving the station.  Are you kidding me?  I could think of much better ways to bond like manicures and pedicures or even running a 5K for goodness sake.

Despite my reservations, I rode the roller coaster.  She was so happy but I was so scared.  I strongly disliked every moment of the ride.  I tried to keep my eyes closed the entire time and screamed to try and stop the "butterfly" feelings in my stomach.  At one point, I briefly opened my eyes to look at my daughter.  She was smiling and I immediately knew, this was a parenting success!

With my daughter being in middle school, I can sense her becoming more independent.  If she could, she would probably stay in her room to be in her own space.  I can't say that I enjoy knowing that my daughter is getting older.  She's my oldest and I love our time together.  If I have to push beyond my fears to have bonding moments with my children, then so be it.  Children want our time and attention.  Material things are good, but time with our children is priceless.  There will come a day when she's grown and gone.  I don't want to have any regrets when that time comes. 


She talked me into riding this roller coaster as well. 

The Kraken!

Ecclesiastes 8:15  (CEB)
 
So I commend enjoyment because there’s nothing better for people to do under the sun but to eat, drink, and be glad. This is what will accompany them in their hard work, during the lifetime that God gives under the sun.
 
 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fun Friday...Be Someone Else

Friday is Halloween and many people are buying costumes, props, and makeup just to dress up like someone else.  For instance, I walked into my chiropractor's office today and this conservative man was dressed as Kanye West.  

It's the one time of the year where we truly celebrate the ability to BE SOMEONE ELSE.  Renee and I wish you a fun and safe holiday.  (Posted by Roslyn)

My hubby as an aspiring break dancer

Sunday, October 26, 2014

People are DYSFUNCTIONAL

PEOPLE ARE DYSFUNCTIONAL

I know what you are thinking...that's a strong statement.  But whether you want to admit it, people really can be dysfunctional.  You start off as their friend, spouse, child, coworker and then quickly realize that something changes the more you know them.  Don't worry, people think the same about me and you.

We are all human and have the natural propensity to make mistakes.  We say words that offend, don't return a phone call, annoy our sibling, become to busy to invest in a friendship, or even betray a loved one.  The list could go on and on.

No matter who we are, we are ALL a part of the human race.  We cry, breath, love, reason, and feel a myriad of emotions.

How can dysfunctional people be in functional relationships?  

Tough question, but start with realizing that everyone is different.  Don't expect every one to think or always agree with you.  We live in a world full of different races, cultures, political beliefs, traditions and history.  One way is not superior to another way.  Along the journey of life, we will change course many times.  That's why we should be thankful for an abounding measure of grace.

As the song says , "It takes different strokes to rule the world."

Seek to love others through the eyes of God.  Don't see people just as flesh and blood, skin and bones.  See them as spiritual beings in your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.  No matter how hurtful or wonderful your time is with someone, that relationship was given to you for a life lesson.  

Lastly, realize that every human has different levels of capacity.  Think about the different size ziploc bags we use to store items.  Some of us have gallon size personalities and some have pint size capacity.  We are all important but have a different levels of ability to respond, nurture, learn, function and love.  The frustration becomes when your gallon size personality tries to tell your BIG dreams to someone who doesn't share your common goal or initiative as you (pint size).  Don't worry, they just have a DIFFERENT level of capacity.

Through life's ups and downs, relationships can be functional.  Just remember to allow a measure of grace in all of your relationships.  (Posted by Roslyn)


Dysfunctional hair day...but a functional relationship w/my twin!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Battle with Fibroids

 
Today I thought I would share my story on "Awareness Wednesday".  I normally don't get this personal on the blog but the more I share with others about my health challenges from 2012, I realize it's a common battle that several women face.

My journey began on January 1, 2012.  I distinctly remember being positioned on my mom's couch in the fetal position.  The position helped to minimize the pain I was feeling on a day when I should've been out catching the final hours of New Year's day shopping.  For some reason, my monthly feminine occurrence was heavy and the stomach cramps were brutal.  I wasn't quite sure why a monthly occurrence was different this time around but it was noticeably different.  With each passing month, my symptoms became worse.  I didn't take the time to see my gynecologist because I just figured it was the result of getting older.

By October of that year, I'm sure my sister was tired of hearing my complaints.  I wasn't getting better and I felt like the excessively heavy flow and stomach cramps were just my new norm.  Finally Roslyn insisted that I visit the doctor.  I finally agreed.

I wasn't prepared for the information the doctor was getting ready to share.  After several exams, she confirmed that I had several fibroids.  They were causing my discomfort month after month.  I'd heard about fibroids, but I didn't know much about my condition.  Here's 6 quick facts:

  1. Fibroids are non-cancerous (benign) tumors that grow from the muscle layers of the uterus (womb). 
  2. They affect at least 20% of all women at sometime during their life.
  3. Women aged between 30 and 50 are the most likely to develop fibroids. 
  4. African American women are at an even greater chance of developing them.
  5. Hormones released during a woman's reproductive years are normally the culprit for fibroid growth. 
  6. When estrogen levels are high, especially during pregnancy, fibroids tend to swell. When estrogen levels are low fibroids may shrink, e.g. during menopause.

My choice to delay visiting with my gynecologist necessitated the need to have a hysterectomy.  (If you missed the post about my surgery experience, here you go.)   I really didn't have any other options.  At this point, I didn't care. 

I just wanted my life back.  I was tired of being in pain.  Tired of looking pregnant (due to increased uterus size).  Tired of wearing black in case of an accident.  Tired of being a prisoner in my own body.

I'm fortunate that I'd already given birth to my beautiful babies and we were confident we didn't want anymore.  Some ladies find out this information early in their lives before they even have a chance to get pregnant.  If fibroids are found early there are several options. This link shares some valuable information about various treatment alternatives. 

I have three (3) goals with this post:
  1. Let you know that you're not alone.
  2. Save you from making the mistakes I made.  Don't wait to share your condition with your physician.
  3. Declare that God is your healer!

What if the woman from Matthew 9:20-22 (NIV)  had a blood issue caused by fibroids? Whether she did or not, she provides a perfect example of God's healing power.  Read her story below.  

 
20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
 
 
God's not only able to heal, He's willing! (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Apple Fall Inspiration

The weather where I live has turned a few degrees cooler.  It's starting to feel like Fall is in the air. I was inspired by Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) on the Food Network.  She used six pounds of apples to make yummy recipes.

The apple recipe appealed to me because my oldest son has started eating applesauce before school.  He leaves so early in the morning and just needs a fast snack to coat his stomach.  

Homemade applesauce is the perfect way to accomplish on the go eating.

APPLESAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  1. 5-6 pounds of apples (honey crisp or golden delicious)
  2. Ground cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
  3. Brown sugar (1 firmly packed cup)
  4. Lemon juice (juice from 1/2 lemon)
  5. Water (1 cup)




Start with Honeycrisp or Golden Delicious Apples



Peel and core the apples - this tool was bought at my local grocery store



The tool allows the core to be removed and the apple is sliced into 8 equal parts



Put cut apples into a pot with 1 cup of water




Cook on medium high heat about 15 minutes until the apples are soft
Add in the brown sugar & cinnamon and mix thoroughly  


Let the warm apples cool for 5 minutes
Place in a blender or food processor
Puree to the perfect texture
Store warm applesauce in a glass jar
Cool and place in refrigerator if not used immediately

The warm applesauce can be eaten alone or drizzled over ice cream.  This morning the cooled applesauce was used in an Apple pancake recipe.  The large batch of applesauce  can be used in many ways - Happy Fall! (posted by Roslyn)  

Please check out foodnetwork.com for more recipes.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall into Him!



Fall in Los Angeles (2013)




It's hard to believe that Fall is upon us.  Wasn't it just yesterday we were saying, "5, 4 ,3, 2, 1, Happy New Year"!  One thing I've learned along my life journey is that time waits for no one.  Whether you're ready or not, Fall is here and we must say goodbye to the long, sweltering days of summer.

 
 
I recently studied the cause of seasonal changes.  It's more than just a change in temperature.  Seasons are the result of the Earth's yearly orbit around the sun and the tilt of the Earth's axis.  The closer we are to the sun, the warmer the weather.  The further away we are, the colder the temps.  What a metaphor for life!  If we changed just one letter in the word s-u-n, it would be the word S-O-N. Seasons in our life occur the same way it occurs in the atmosphere around us. 
 

Floral blooms in Springtime
 
 
  • Spring-The time in our lives where we are growing in our relationship in Christ.  This is a season where we fall in love with Him more and more each day.  Whether you're new to Christ or a seasoned saint, it's an awesome time of digging into God's word and learning more about His abilities.  This can also be a "rainy" season.

Aquarium visit in Summer (2014)
 
     
     
  • Summer-Depending on your environment, this can be a time of drought.  Forest fires often happen due to drought conditions.  As dangerous as fires can be, they are vital for new growth. The burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest.  In this season, you may find that you lose friends or family that weigh you down.  This separation fosters new relationships that can prove beneficial for your emotional growth. 
  •  
 

Look at those leaves!

 
  • Fall-So much can happen in Spring and Summer. Fall is a time to store up in preparation for the winter months. Fall can also be a time of harvest before plants go dormant. Enjoy this season. Winter can be just around the corner so take delight in all the blessings around you. Dig into God's scriptures in preparation for a new period that can prove challenging. 
 
 
 
     
     
  • Winter-This is a time when you may feel far from the S-o-n (Christ).  Temperatures are cooler.  Matter of fact, it's down right cold in Winter.  You will need to "feed" on what you've stored up from Spring, Summer, and Fall.  Remember God's word because you may find it hard to hear God's voice during this season.
 
When you are able to recognize and understand the seasons in your life, you won't try to hang onto old seasons which hinder your forward progress.  You will know the times when you need to feel the weight of being broken, and the sweetness of being restored. 
 
As we stand at the dawn of another Fall season, "fall" into Him (Christ).  He's the only one who can navigate you through the storms of life.  Recognize quickly that there's a season for everything under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 profoundly shares this wisdom.
 
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. (Posted by Renee)
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Can Having Faith Sabotage You?

Are you starting to lose faith?

This does not have to be faith in a higher power or creator but losing faith in other sources.  We all have faith in something.  We have faith that our car will start when we turn the key, faith that our lungs will take in air so that we can breath.  

But are you starting to lose faith that a family member can change his manipulative ways, faith that your sick loved one will be healed, faith that your marriage can be restored, faith that your child will learn to respect you, faith that your finances will recover or faith that your career path is sustainable?

Faith in material wealth, health or people can sabotage our ability to believe in God.  An imperfection or betrayal by someone has ruined your image of the church or how you view the world.  A marriage ending in divorce leaves you with anxiety of making a lifelong commitment to your partner.  Don't have faith in people, wealth or health because that can all be taken away suddenly.

I will ask you again...are YOU starting to lose faith?


I've been reading a book about daring to live out faith.  It's a 30-day challenge to change the way you perceive, travel and navigate through life.  I personally was asked, "What does faith mean to you?"  My simple reply:

An intentional confidence that what God says will come true.




For me, it really is that simple.  A strong faith in God allows you to carry a confidence, that even in the midst of adversity, the promises of God will be manifested in your life.  

Intentional confidence speaks to the fact that life hits hard, but even in those moments of uncertainty I can choose to remain confident in the ability and power of God.

Make a choice today to STAND on what you believe, CHOOSE to have an intentional confidence, REST in the peace that God is in complete control.  (Posted by Roslyn)




  • So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal ~2 Corinthians 4:18
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NEPHEW - JORDAN!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What I've Learned After Being 40 for 6 months!



Turning forty was amazing.  We blogged about our excitement last year.  No worries if you missed the post, here it is.  There's something so powerful about entering a new season in your life.  The exhilaration of new beginnings and the closing of a chapter sprouts forth hope and expectations for the best being yet to come.

I've learned quite a bit after being forty for only about six months.  Prepare yourself for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  1. My eyes don't see everything they did before.
  2. My metabolism slowed down.
  3. I stay hungry. (Not sure if that's changed much from being 39 years old)
  4. Other people's opinion no longer matter as much.
  5. I love dancing like nobody's watching.
  6. My body aches more with less activity.
  7. I have to color my hair more often to cover the new gray hairs.
  8. I've found my purpose!
  9. Authenticity is a must.
  10. Running is a great workout and a wonderful therapy session.
  11. Sleeping with a fan next to my bed helps with the night sweats.
  12. Losing weight is a little more challenging.
  13. Nothing is impossible!
I'm enjoying this time in my life!  Who knew getting older could be so wonderful?  I feel sorry for those who dread their birthdays.  What's not to celebrate?  Sure, I haven't accomplished everything I want but I'm still focused on my goals, still active and still loving me for me. 

Take it from the woman who's lived four decades, life is full of swift transitions.  Treasure every moment.  Like a great friend told me, all you have is right now.  Enjoy your family, be slow to anger, reconcile quickly, kiss your spouse often and dance like nobody's watching.  I dare you! (Posted by Renee)

A Time for Everything (Ecclesiates 3:1-8)

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
 
 
 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stay Calm!



This has become a popular saying - STAY CALM I'm turning 40, STAY CALM I'm fabulous, STAY CALM and stay strong, STAY CALM I'm a kindergartner, etc.  The list goes on and on...

My boys and I spent last week together before they head off to school on Monday.  Each day we did an activity to get them organized and prepared for a successful year in 4th and 9th grade.  We now are parents of a high schooler and the rigor of his classes will be a transition in his freshman year.

On last Thursday, I wanted us to spend time creating some personal goals.  The boys each came up with robust goals for themselves, and I know they have the creative and academic ability to reach those goals.  I was inspired by a dear friend to set a goal for myself - STAY CALM.  My kids are getting to the age where they are testing their own independence and I want to learn NOT to freak out about every decision.

Interestingly enough when my friend told me to try and stay calm this school year, within minutes she received a photo of her son's new haircut and I had to offer her the same advice she had just given me - STAY CALM.

Making choices and dealing with the success or failure of those decisions is how we learn.  I want to make life "easy" because they are my kids but that won't teach them any life lessons.  Four short years and the oldest will be heading to college.  Critical thinking skills will be valuable for him.  So, as with any new school year, it will have it's twist and turns but I'm committed to just STAY CALM!  Simply because I know, God is in control. (Posted by Roslyn)




Q:  What's your personal goal for this new school year?

Cast all your anxiety on God because He cares for you. ~I Peter 5:7

Sunday, July 27, 2014

He's Gone and I'm Mad At God!

In recent months, so many loved ones have passed away.  Not only my friends and family but the loved ones of those I know.  It's heart breaking to hear of another friend that's lost someone near and dear to their hearts.  Until you've lost someone close (especially a parent), you can never understand the grief that one feels during that season of life.  Unfortunately I've lost a parent and it's a "club" I never wanted to join.

I was always a daddy's girl.  My dad was my hero.  When he became ill, it rocked my world.  I had to move from believing God was a healer to knowing without a shadow of a doubt that He was my father's healer.  God showed His awesome power, time and time again during dad's health challenges.  That's why when he passed away, it was devastating.




I was mad at God.

We prayed, we believed, we fasted and he passed away.  Even though God  worked miracles in dad's body in the past, right now, he was gone and my world was turned upside down.  As soon as we started sharing with others that dad died, people from all around called and provided words of encouragement.  I was so mad, those words didn't really encourage.  It wasn't their dad gone.  They weren't feeling my grief so I really didn't want to hear what they had to say.  I know that sounds harsh but it was the raw emotion of the moment.

I was still mad at God.



My journal excerpt:

"As we entered the church, I saw all of the people and became overwhelmed.  I didn't know how to handle it.  I felt myself beginning to cry and hyperventilate.  I tried to breath in and out deeply to prevent myself from falling out.  As we drew closer to the casket, my eyes were cloudy from the tears.  I couldn't believe that I had to sit on the front row.  I'd seen this image so many times before but this time it was my reality.  My heart was saddened.  I felt empty.  Family members passed by and I still could not see out of my eyes.  I put my head in my hands because of the intense grief I felt at that time. 
 
The service progressed and suddenly my soul just became happy when the choir sang.  I had made the first step toward accepting my father's death and coming to peace with it."




I would still have some long days and nights moving through the grieving process.  The key was to move through it.  Not remain stuck.  Months after his death, I shared my disappointment and hurt with a family friend.  The words she shared in response changed my life forever.  She quickly reminded me that God provided divine healing for daddy.  When we pray for healing, we must always remember that God is sovereign.  We can't dictate to Him how or when he will manifest the healing in our loved ones lives.  Whether it's physical or divine healing, God is still the one healing.  Remember, God is always able to heal.  More importantly, He's also willing.  (Posted by Renee)

 

Psalms 23:4
 "Yes, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of anything, because You are with me. You have a walking stick with which to guide and one with which to help. These comfort me."

Lamentations 3:31-33
“For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”

Psalm 30:5
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Psalm 34:18
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 22:24
“For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Keep Calm & Don't Lose Your Head



These words speak to me.  Lately, I have felt a bit depleted when it comes to my inspiration for others.  When you deal with your own twists and turns in your life, you don't always have an inspiring word to encourage someone else.  That's why I try not to live based on my emotions or feelings.  Those twins - emotions and feelings - can lead me down a wrong track.

I encourage you this week to just keep calm and handle the ups and downs with grace.  You are not alone in this journey of life.  Changing your perspective and focusing on only what is helps keep you calm.  Don't overthink or overanalyze every situation, women do this easily.  Have a support system that listens and doesn't always try to judge and solve your problems.

My stress has caused break outs on my face.  A recent dentist appointment revealed that I'm also grinding my teeth at night...not pretty.  Stress can evoke several harmful reactions within our body, so just KEEP CALM.  Be inspired this week to breath and operate from a place of peace (Posted by Roslyn)

Don't fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray... Philippians 4:6
Roslyn chooses to SMILE!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Monday Inspiration...BELIEVE



It's Monday!  The Summer is moving quickly and back to school supplies are already appearing in stores.  Before we know it, Christmas will be here and we will be ringing in a new year.

As time moves and doesn't allow us to "get off" and catch up with it, we must remain focused on intentional actions.  Not just mundane but an intentional plan to have a greater impact in the world around us.

When was the last time you told someone that you BELIEVE in them?  You believe in their dreams, abilities and have confidence in who they are as a person.  We've all heard negative words spoken over us.  Growing up, children at school called you names.  Employers dumb down your abilities to a performance score or rating.  You even start to agree with the negative label that might have been placed on you during childhood.  You wear that label, positive or negative, as a banner or badge of honor.

Truth Moment:  It's never about what you are called, it's all about what you answer to!

Let's start a revolution to intentionally become people builders.  That means, using our words intentionally to build up, lift and encourage another person in our life.  We have the greatest impact on our family - so we can start with them.  Find positive words to let them know you BELIEVE in them.  

Believe in others more than they believe in themselves.  Be fueled by the passion of where they are going and not the circumstance they are in today.

Let's do it - full of belief in someone other than ourselves.  We will shift from being internally focused to being focused on the needs of others. (Posted by Roslyn)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Confessions

I have to blog twice this week.  Once for Double Portion Inspiration and again on Friday for GFC Beautiful Blog.  I thought having a similar theme for both blogs would make writing a little easier.  I thought about the title the other day while driving in the car.  A post that's fun and reflective.  There's no rhyme or reason to my confessions.  Just some "summer" fun.

  • I've never shopped at Big Lots
    • As much as I love a deal, I've never even been tempted to shop there.  The other day I wondered if I should go inside.  I don't even know if it's a grocery store vs. clothing store vs. Walmart wanna be.  If you think I should venture inside, let me know.

  • I feel guilty giving my daughter chores 
    • Not sure why??  I'm sure I'm not the only mother who feels this way.  I've come to realize that I need to have the kids help out around the house because it's through their responsibilities that they will learn how to manage their own homes when the time comes.


  • I was a thumb sucker (even into adulthood)
    • I'm often told I have a beautiful smile.  Most wouldn't know that that I sucked my thumb well into my adult years.  Fortunately I'm blessed with my mother's smile because I've never had braces.




  • I love the "Sound of Music"
    • I watch it every time it comes on television.  It's a beautiful love story.

  • I've never watched "Roots"
    • Yes, I'm a Black woman whose never seen the movie. I've seen it in bits and pieces but some parts of it are so hard to watch that I choose not to watch it in its entirety. The same holds true for "12 Years A Slave".

  • I don't like being alone
    • Some enjoy the peace of quiet of their own space but I don't.  I've always had someone with me and so it's my norm.  Don't get me wrong, I like some "me" time every now and then, but at my core, I love people and the sound and thrills that being in relationship with others can bring.

Well, that's my Monday morning inspiration.  Nothing earth shattering or life changing.  Just a few things you might not know about me.  (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why Did I Get Married?

One of my favorite movies is "Why Did I Get Married?"  Even though it came out seven years ago, I still watch it every chance I get.  I can recite most of the lines in the movie so you know I was thrilled to see it playing numerous times this weekend on the BET network. 



 

In the movie, there's friction between the couples and they are forced to think about, "Why did I get married?"  During one of the conversations between the husbands, they make reference to an "80/20" rule.  There's a thought that you will only receive 80% of what you need from your marriage.  When someone comes along offering the 20% you're not receiving, it's easy to think that the grass is greener on the other side.  Some will find it easy to leave the 80% even though they will only receive 20% of what they need in the new relationship.  Watching the movie's reruns this weekend sparked a conversation between me and my husband. 

What do you NEED in your relationship?  What do you WANT in your relationship? 

When was the last time you asked your spouse or even fiancee that question?  If you're single, have you thought about your needs and wants so that you can share them with your future spouse?

It's essential to know what you want and what you need in a relationship.  What's a deal breaker for you if you aren't getting a certain need fulfilled?



17 years and counting!


It ended up being a great conversation that we hadn't discussed in quite awhile.  I thought I would share some of the needs we have of each other.

  • Spiritual Foundation

  • Trust

  • Respect

  • Communication

  • Feeling loved

My additional needs:

  • Affirmation

  • Protection

Marriage is the most powerful partnership in this world and too many marriages are breaking up and they don't need to.  God created us to be in relationship.  He created marriage and thought so highly of it, that it was used as a symbol of our relationship with Christ.  Read about its reference in Isaiah 54:5:

Your real husband is the one who made you.  His name is the Lord All-Powerful.  The Holy One of Israel is your Protector, and he is the God of all the Earth!
 
 
My hope with this post is to inspire a conversation.  Get to talking! (Posted by Renee)
 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

CHOICES...Clarity vs Confusion

If you are reading this it means that you are alive.  If you are alive that means that you are faced with choices.  Just like the air we breath, we get the opportunity daily to make choices in our life.  In fact:


You are the sum total of the choices made yesterday!



What will you choose today?

  • clarity vs confusion
  • late vs being prompt
  • sickness vs healing
  • sadness vs happiness
  • building vs destruction
  • frustration vs fortune
  • victim vs victorious
  • life vs death
"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction". 
~Deuteronomy 30:15

Knowing that you have choices should cause us to stop and live life with intention.  Spend time daily figuring out what you "intend" or plan to accomplish everyday.  If you have no plan or vision, you perish.  In other words, when you don't set goals for yourself you exist in this life instead of bursting forth towards purpose and fulfillment.  

Making the right choices day after day is protection for your soul.  Now don't get me wrong, we all screw up along this journey but if we set out with intention, we lessen the mistakes we make along the way.

Ever wonder what your legacy will be?  It's actually easy to find out.  If I ask someone, "What do you think about _________ (insert your name)" and the person responds, ugh and shakes their head in detest, then that means you might not be succeeding in leaving a great legacy.  But If I ask someone about you and they say, "Him/her is a beautiful person, Or he/she is so patient and giving" then you are already sowing seeds of a lavish legacy that will last for years.

The challenge this week is for you to start sowing those seeds of positive intention.  Spend 10 minutes each day simply making a plan.  Be the driving force in the events that happen in your life - don't allow life to drive you and leave you behind.  

Roslyn's Fun Trivia:  Can you try and guess what my favorite words are?  

Well, if you are a faithful reader you know I love mornings.  They are sacred to me.  There's the clue...my favorite words are GOOD MORNING!  Not because it announces a time on the clock but because it announces a new season of awakening.  (Posted by Roslyn)

GOOD MORNING my love! A new day has begun.