Declaration of Dependence

Declaration of Dependence
We just enjoyed Independence Day … the United States celebrating our nation’s independence.  It made me start thinking about how much people relish independence, being a “self-made” man or woman, being your own boss; in essence, running things.  All are interesting positions to take.  However, it made me pause and think of the importance of dependence … on the right things.  I want to make my declaration of dependence … on God.
I depend on God for …
– Wisdom.  To know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.  Without Him, I’d make some pretty messed up decisions.
– Patience.  Left to my own devices, I would be hot-headed and unwilling to wait.  But I depend on God to teach me the art of waiting while still working towards my goal, and allowing Him to fulfill it in His time and season.
– The ability to love others.  People can be mean.  Purposefully.  However, I choose to try to walk in the love of God with others.  It’s not easy, but the peace I feel is so worth it.
– Peace.  I am at peace even when it doesn’t make sense to me.  Only God can do that.
– Protection.  The world we live in can cause you to be full of fear and anxiety.  I am so thankful for every single day that God protects my family and I.
I hereby declare I will continue to depend on Him … and Him alone.

It All Comes Down to the Money … Or Does It?

This is worth another share ….

September Blog - Money

“Measure your wealth not by the things you have, but by the things for which you would not take money.”
Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace Revisited.

It’s so easy to get caught up in making everything about money. “Look at me I can buy this,” or “We don’t have enough for that.” Or how about “I’m gonna buy this because I can,” or “I won’t be happy until I can afford that.” Chances are, you’re in one of those statements. I read those punctuating words listed above, in Dave’s book, and paused. How refreshing for a book about finances … to talk about measuring wealth by standards other than finances.

Just a little reminder as you start your week. Maybe you’re headed to a job you hate. Maybe you wish you could be doing something, anything, other than what you’re doing. Maybe you feel like you have so little and times are so tough, that sitting to cry is a welcome release. Maybe, just maybe, you have plenty of money … but not the peace or happiness to go with it. Well, here’s a reminder of the things for which you would not take money.

• Your health (you’re able-bodied enough to read this blog)
• Your sight (again, you’re able to read this blog)
• Family and friends
• A place to lay down your head at night
• A mind to think of new ways to do and be more
• The ability to draw the breath of life

I guess it really doesn’t all come down to money. Does it?

Puffed Up In Pride

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists one of its definitions of “pride” as “a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.” That feeling of superiority can manifest itself in different ways – from putting down other people that you deem “less than,” to an unwillingness to admit you’re wrong and apologize. The Bible speaks in numerous places about the detrimental effects of pride. Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” In 1 John 2:16 (KJV), the Bible says, “…the pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.” From both the natural and spiritual perspectives, there are many reasons to avoid the temptation of pride. I want to examine a few areas where you may not even realize that pride has crept up on you, and help give you ways to avoid having it settle in.

– See more at: Gospel Today “Puffed Up In Pride”

Charleston … I’m Sorry …

Blog - Charleston

Charleston … I’m sorry …
Sorry that we continue to allow mass shootings
Sorry that we live in a world where this can exist
Sorry that lax gun laws and accessibility to firearms is not properly addressed
Sorry for your tremendous grief and hurt
Sorry to see your loved ones cry, to see your precious children traumatized
Sorry that this nation grieves … again … over a senseless shooting … again.

Our hearts. Our prayers. Our grief … is with you.
I’m sorry.

I Watched His Profile

Blog - Profile

 

I Watched His Profile

 

As he walked so big and tall

No hand to hold, like when he was small

He’s proud and confident, strong and secure

With each step, his walk is sure

 

I Watched His Profile

 

Curious, inquisitive and full of wonder

I longed to hold him, like when he was younger

My little baby is a baby no more

They grow up so fast.  For me, he holds the door.

 

I Watched His Profile

 

This should get easier, when you say goodbye

Sports events, camps, what’s that tear in my eye?

He no longer lingers, so ready to go

I’ve done well, I know it.  I just miss him so…

 

I Watched His Profile

How Do You Say Goodbye?

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I can’t imagine losing a child. At any age. My eyes begin to well up with tears at the thought. It’s so unnatural. It’s just not the way it should be.

How do you say goodbye …
to the early years, bathing and feeding, tickling and hugging, kissing and holding.
the elementary years, of discovery and wonder, where everything is new and exciting
the teen years, of growth and development, of patience (or trying of patience for you)
the adult years, of friendship and laughter, of memories and bonds. Of caring and commitment.

My heart hurts for Vice President Biden, and the scores of other parents who have had to do it. You are truly in my thoughts and prayers.

How do you say goodbye to your baby? I don’t know …

The Price of Quiet

I have recently made it my mission to learn to “breathe”. To take time for me. To appreciate and celebrate all God has blessed me with, instead of being in a frenzy to cram in even more. I guess, in essence, I’ve been trying to shut out the noise and get to a place of quiet. Then I stumble across this.

Thanks, Kirk Franklin ….

BLOG - Kirk Franklin Price of Quiet

If you live anywhere on the planet earth, you would agree that this year has been LOUD.

And we’re only 5 months in!

Sometimes, we have an uncontrollable array of sounds. Some good, some bad. The noise from Baltimore was both good and bad. The cries of the overlooked and disenfranchised exploded onto the streets and brought both attention and destruction to the national spotlight with a narrative too common over the last year.

Then the deaths of thousands in Nepal overwhelmed us to the point that most of us checked out unfortunately and had to be reminded that “oh yeah, that did happen.” Sad. The return of LOVE AND HIP HOP ATLANTA got the streets riled up again about our favorite urban soap stars fighting and setting up scenes to bust each other in love triangles lit and well directed for our voyeurism and escapism from our own normal lives stuck on repeat. THEN, there was THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY…..sorry, I fell asleep blogging… anyway.

Continue reading at: Kirk Franklin “The Price of Quiet”

It’s No Accident

Blog - No Accident GOSPEL-TODAY-Parenting-from-greatschools.org_

My little boys and I were cracking up at a vintage episode of The Cosby Show. Before I could get to the remote to fast forward, a commercial break, complete with a woman pulling off her clothes, filled the screen.

My boys and I were out on errands and heard a song with a great beat in the store. Next thing I know, the boys are asking me the meaning of words they have no business hearing.

We’ve taught our boys that there are certain words they do not say (the closest a kid can come to swearing without saying the actual word.) So imagine my surprise when my 8-year-old son showed me the words in one of his favorite kids’ books.

Parents, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

– See more at:   “It’s No Accident” via Gospel Today

Freedom from Addiction

Overcoming an addiction of any type is never easy. You always hear that the first step is to admit that you have a problem. I couldn’t agree more.

Hi. My name is LaKeisha, and I’m addicted to being busy. I don’t know how to relax, enjoy spare time, or not multi-task. Help!

I’d say that’s a pretty good admission.

In my last blog, I said I’d tell you how I am making steps to overcome my addiction. That’s exactly what I’m doing – making steps. It doesn’t happen overnight. And boy, is it not easy! I can’t tell you how many times in just a few short weeks, I’ve been tempted to just add one more thing to the calendar, or swing past this event (really quickly of course), or stop by this happening. I realize that resisting my own self imposed pressure to “just keep going” is going to be harder than any external force could put in place.

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So how am I doing it? Here goes ….

First, I’m putting myself on a schedule. I will put in set times for homeschool, set times for writing, set times to have fun with my husband, set times to enjoy the kids, and set times to relax. To some of you, a schedule might sound like more stress. But as a person who likes structure and wants to stick something in every spare moment, making myself take several hours or a day to relax is necessary. At least at this stage of the game.

Next, I am cutting down my to-do list. My lists were epic. I could have twenty items on a to-do list, all of which I expected to accomplish after a full day of homeschooling, making dinner, spending time with the family, and getting everyone off to bed. I’m laughing now – it’s insane, really, that I operated like that. Trying to keep each day to five items, max. I’ve already broken my rule several times, but at least the boundary is there, to reel me back in.

Third, I am really focusing on prayer and devotional time. I have to remember that God created rest! It’s something that’s good, beneficial and necessary for us. As I stay focused on Him and His Word, I find it easier to remember what’s important, and why.

Which brings me to my next point. I’m doing a better job of prioritizing. I’ve always thought organizing and putting things in order is one of my strengths. Well now I’ve turned it up several notches, because I have to prioritize my top priorities, if only five are going to make it on the list. This is really hard. But the more I do it, the better I’m becoming at succeeding.

And the all important learning to say no! When I first started blogging, my first blog was devoted to learning to say no, so I didn’t destroy myself and my family with my craziness. I learned that lesson, and proceeded to undo all I’d learned by getting crazy busy again. So, this also has to be turned up a notch. I’ll be saying no to several good things. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you, it doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for my kids, it doesn’t mean I don’t want my husband to succeed. And it sure doesn’t mean I don’t want success! But everything just can’t get done. Not humanly possible. So that’s that.

Lastly, it is one step at a time! Seriously. So I added too many things to my to-do list today. Okay, breathe. Be patient. Start over. Tomorrow’s a new day. Man, before I knew it, that “yes” to accept that invitation was out of my mouth. I should have said no. It happens. Regroup. Do better next time.

Here’s to victory. And staying free. One “no” at a time.

My Addiction Got Too Big To Handle Alone

BLOG - Drowning - Addiction

I have an addiction that I’ve dealt with for years. I’ve fostered it, denied it, admitted it, thought I’d moved past it, only to sink right back into it again. It’s affected my marriage, my family and several friendships, not to mention my own well-being. It’s a quiet addiction; many people face it and don’t even realize it, or are still in denial. But I’ve passed that point. After weeks of being too dizzy to see straight, being nauseous, horrible to deal with, and not knowing whether I was coming or going, I’ve decided to face this thing, head on.

Hi. My name is LaKeisha, and I’m addicted to being busy.

I’m seeing your blank stare right now. Being busy? Is that all? Big deal. After all, who isn’t busy these days? Multi-tasking is now an art form. For some people, it’s a badge of honor to see who is the busiest, almost a game of one-upmanship. “You think you’re busy? You wouldn’t believe my schedule,” they say.

I used to be that person. I loved that people always thought I was “on my grind”, always “about the hustle”, making things happen, making moves, making strides. I was that go-to person when you wanted something done. And I was busy doing it. It felt great.

After having my first son, I continued in my get’er done lifestyle, while also seeking opportunities for him. Now this is where it gets really interesting. I started to realize that I had a problem with always wanting to be busy, and was missing out on valuable time with my little boy. So I started turning down film and TV production projects. Started focusing more on him. Started slowing down. Briefly. Ever so briefly.

Why? Because I started getting him involved in projects, in events, pursuing interests. You like to spell? I’ll find every spelling bee out there. You want to help people? Let’s do it, larger than life. Basketball, soccer, guitar? Sounds great, let’s go for all of them. Oh, and entering other academic competitions? No sweat, I’m on it. Researched, found, entered.

And I was the volunteer queen. Room mom at school, check. Helping out at church. Check. Neighborhood board member. Check.

Now in and of themselves, there is nothing wrong with any of these things. In fact, it should be a parent’s heart to want to help their child develop all of the talents and gifts God has given to him. And if you know anything about me, I go hard for my kids. For my hubby. Real hard. Anything they aspire to do or want to be, I throw my all into making it happen.

The issue became when I couldn’t find myself anymore, because I was so deep in being busy helping everyone else. And that, coupled with my own pursuits, had taken me to a place where I no longer wanted to be. I didn’t find enjoyment in anything I was doing. I just wanted to finish each thing, so I could be on to the next. I always had my to-do list in mind. If I had a spare inch of breathing room, time to reflect, actually enjoy my children, or rest, I was filling the time.

Blog - Chain Break - Addiction

I heard my body. You’re breaking.  You’re doing too much, slow down, you’re getting sick, get some rest. And I did. Long enough to get well. A quick break to recover. Then back to over-committing, suffocating, drowning, in a sea of to-do lists, and crossed out items; many of which I can’t even remember.

It was a maddening, frenetic way to live. And I wanted no more of it. I’d had enough.

Stay tuned for how I am finally making steps to overcome my addiction.