Monday, December 28, 2009

Resolution 2010: To eat Healthier, on a Budget?

From what we gather in most grocery markets the price of eating clean, organic or otherwise health comes with a hefty price tag. With the convenience of fast food coupled with busy lifestyles & limited budgets, those of us in charge of the family meal find ourselves in quite the quandary. Don’t forget to throw in our desire to feed our family a more healthy and nutritious diet.

I have studied purchasing organics through information I researched from dozens of top nutritionists, Slow food advisors, physicians that I work with, Whole foods tours & seminars, and practical, hands on experience. What I have discovered is that with a little work you can feed your family at least 75%-80% healthier by June in 2010 and yes, on a budget. Here are my top 5 ways to eat better and save more.

1. Know the difference between all-natural and organic. In my opinion, all natural is a complete farce. As long as the ingredient came from planet earth it can be considered “natural”. DON’T believe the hype. “Organic” however is regulated heavily by the USDA. To be labeled “organic” the food item was grown or raised in a completely chemical free environment. This means no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or artificial ingredients are in the food. THIS IS THE WAY TO GO and a great money saver versus some “all natural” items.

2. Study the “dirty dozen” and make these items the place you start buying organic items as they will have the most impact. The dirty 12 are worst food items that carry the highest rating of pesticides. BUY THESE ITEMS ORGANIC: (listed most harmful 1st) Peaches, Apples, Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Kale, Lettuce, Grapes, Carrots & Pears. You can find out more about this on

3. Consider Generics. Meijers has a Meijers Organics brand. Even Whole Foods has “365” which features organic items as well.

4. Sales and Coupons. Most shoppers have gotten away from shopping with wisdom, but if in 2010 another one of your goals is to be a better steward with finances, you may need to go back ‘to the ole time way”. Clipping coupons and stocking up on sale items has saved me up to 50%-60% on my regular grocery bill. My biggest savings has been regular price $178.54 ~total purchase price: $54.30. I will never forget that moment of triumph. Even organics go on sale.

5. MEAT: Beef is one of the biggest culprit of hormones & antibiotics and can be the most expensive organically speaking. One way to cut cost is to serve a few meals without meat (ex. veggie lasagna, add extra 2% cheese & extra sauce they won’t know the difference). Buy other organic meats like chicken, fish or lean pork. Or look for beef that is listed as antibiotic or hormone free. Although the animals may have eaten regular feed, the meat would still partially qualify with the other organic requirements.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Don't call Sprint to fix your water heater!

Yesterday, I had the honor to serve (and, yes it was an honor) sexually/physically abused and neglected children and their familes at a Christmas festival through the Junior League. It was so humbling to hear some of the stories of the children and to discover some of the tragedy that they have encountered already at their young age. You watched them playing the carnival games and eating pizza and opening gifts and you wonder who in the world could have beat a defenseless child senseless? It was enough to bring tears to your eyes and gratefulness in your heart for what you have may been spared.

A few years back I studied "abuse' in a different sense. Anything you misuse or use against or contrary to its purpose is considered abuse. Dr. Myles Munroe who is a Phd is in Religious studies I believe, defines abuse by disconnecting the words to reveal the root "AB"normal "USE". Most abuse occurs when you are ignorant of or ignoring the purpose for which something was created. If you don't know what a child is will abuse him/her, if you don't know the reason your spouse is in your life, you will abuse him/her. If you are ignorant as to why your family was created, blended or otherwise thrown together ...not knowing its purpose will cause misuse and soon abuse.

You will abnormally use your family to give your life the semblance of normalcy. You will abnormally use your family to strike business deals or get favor. You will abnormally use your family as an excuse not to do something you are otherwise obligated to do. You will abnormally use your family as a battleground for your shortcomings and a punching bag due to your failings. That is not its purpose. I tell my girls in seminars and sessions and even in my book, one of Dr. Monroe's most meaningful quotes. "If you want to know the purpose of a thing, you must ask the person who created it". Only they have the authority to determine why it was made and what it should be used for.

You wouldn't call Sprint to ask them to fix your water heater. Sprint did not create the item with the issue. They aren't responsible for what happens to to your heater. They did not put together the service plan or give you instructions for a water heater. You need to get in touch with the water heater manufactuer in order to figure out what to do with the broken pipes. Sound silly and simplistic when we are talking about water heaters and cell phone companies. But it seems to get complex when we start talking about our lives or the lives of our spouse, children, stepfamilies. Its no different. Thankfully, a cell phone company didn't put our marriage toegther, or our family together. We got a "God said" from the beginning-If we hadn't we'd be in REAL trouble now. We kept God involved in EVERY decision regarding this marriage and covenanted before Him in His sanctuary before His man of God our vows to one another.

So, now that it looks "stank" in some areas...I don't bend off of that premise. God created this. If your family is suffering abuse..."abnormal use" in ANY area...go back to the one that put that family together-prayerfully it was GOD. If you did it, through manipulation, deceit, sin, error, inpatience or stupidity, repent, ask for forgiveness and then ask for direction. Get a clear direction as to its purpose and its vision. What should your family be doing or not doing? Where should your family be going or not going? Are you away from home too much? Are you home too much and not doing anything of substance with your free time? Is there balance, clear direction...purpose?

Again, remember if you don't know the purpose of a thing...just like the battered children at the will abuse it and the scars will last a lifetime. Don't call Sprint (or anything or anybody else), FIRST ask God for wisdom...he gives it freely and prepare to start your new year with a clearer path for your life than ever before.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jicama ?? Ummmm Ji WHAT ???

I went to the Whole Foods supermarket yesterday for a tour. The tour included a course on understanding the difference between conventional, natural and organic foods, studying rare vegetables that should be added to our diet and gaining an understanding of their tag/labeling system. It was extremely informative and along the way we got to ask questions. For whatever reason, I went in thinking that everyone in the group knew more than I did and that my questions would come off as stupid and insignificant. Not sure why, but that is just what I thought. As we went along, I realized that whereas some knew more than others in some regards, I was more versed in other areas. In other words, everyone knew something, but no one knew everything. It was a give and take and we all (even the instructor) left knowing something we didn’t know before….which was the whole point in going.

When you are seeking wisdom on a new endeavor or gathering information to increase your knowledge base, do not be like I was initially. Intimidation and the fear of what others think or feel about you can prevent your growth. It can also thwart the opportunity to meet the people and make the connections you need to make in order to reach the next rung of destiny in your life. When you back out of mind stretching activities because of fear you are simply saying that “my fear fence won’t let me go any further than here, my fear is in control not me, and certainly not God”.

Knowledgeable, mind expanding, thought provoking people should be in your influential circle. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of people who have achieved where you are trying to go. BUT don’t get all of your information from the successful either. You need to talk to some people who have made some mistakes…preferably some big mistakes. I learned more from that Whole Foods group when we started discussing things that didn’t work, or suggestions to try in “lieu of” due to mistakes that others had made when cooking this, or cutting that. Their candid responses even when discussing their errors developed a camaraderie of sharing.

So don’t be “skurred” (scared) as the kids would say. Get out of your box, expand your knowledge base, ask questions and share what you know. Lastly, if you need wisdom in any area ask God 1st, He gives it freely.

Oh and by the way, the picture is of a root/vegetable called “Jicama” (pronounced HIK-a-ma). It’s kinda like a cross between a potato and radish in appearance. You can shred it and add it to coleslaw along with other recipes. Its very high in nutritional value..and I know all about it... least since

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Review of The Statement Necklace

Originally submitted at Chadwick's

The necklace statement of the season! Imported.

  • Multi-chain necklace
  • With various lustrous pearl-like beads
  • Detailed with a gorgeous rhinestone brooch
  • Manmade
  • 22” long with 3” extender

Waited almost two months for it-but!

By QueenCDJ from Michigan on 12/4/2009


5out of 5

Pros: Lady-Like, Classy, Good Quality, Stylish, Beautiful, Elegant

Best Uses: Formal Occasions, Night Out

Describe Yourself: Practical, Classic, Career, Stylish

This necklace was on backorder and I waited awhile to get it. It was so worth the wait. I have an event on December 19th that I am saving it for. I am positive that I will recieve MANY compliments. My husband was shocked when I told him what I paid for it!

GET THIS NECKLACE- it will dress up a LBD like you wouldn't believe.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'd been there before

Saw a woman crying yesterday. Absolutely bawling. We pulled up to a stoplight at the same time and she leaned her head on the steering wheel. When she leaned her head back on the neck rest that’s when I saw them…the tears. They were relentlessly streaking down her face to the point where her breathing looked labored and she was heaving as if she would choke. I could tell she was screaming and sobbing loudly. I blew my horn, rolled down the passenger side window and gave her the ok sign as if to ask if she was ok. She shook her head no.

I asked her if I could help and again and she rolled her window down and again she shook her head no. With that I wanted to just reach out and hug her. I told her her that I was praying for her right as we were talking (and I was) and then they came…The tears..this time the tears were mine. She looked over at me and saw me wipe away my face and then before she rolled back up her window she slightly smiled and said “thank you young lady, thank you so much for crying with me”. I’ll be fine, just keep praying. With that she drove off and I sat at the light a moment before horns behind me started to blare.

“Thank you for crying with me”. I never had anyone tell me that before. Somehow those tears meant more to her than anything else that I could do for her. She didn’t thank me for asking if she was ok, or for the prayer…just gratitude that I for a moment although our pain may be different I allowed myself to be affected by the pain of someone that I didn’t even know. But she was wrong I did know her. She was me. I’d been there before. I didn’t try to pump her up, or give her the slogan for the day, I just simply allowed myself to be touched with the feeling of her infirmity. Even as I type this, the tears well back up in my eyes. I still wonder what was wrong. Did she lose her job? Did she have a breakup? Did someone physically hurt her? Was she out of money? Did she feel depressed or out of control or hopeless? Did she lose a loved one? Was she or someone in her family just diagnosed with something? It may have been one thing? It could have been a combination of pain. But when I saw her…I knew one thing for sure… I’d been there before.

All the things I wondered about her I had experienced or am experiencing. I know that pain, I know that “pound the steering wheel with your head”, scream at the world kinda cry that noone can understand even if you could explain it. Which is why when I saw it in her, I was immediately equipped with what she needed to be encouraged; The ability to feel what she felt and simply cry. Sure, I prayed for her and had she pulled over I would have given her both barrels, but GOD knew already that she didn’t need all that.

That’s why He sent me with all of my faults and failings to be the instrument he used to simply cry with another one of his children. Her semi-smile made me thank God for the humility that keeps creeping up everytime I think I may want to get haughty or soapboxy. As the old song said..”There’s always something there to remind me”. But for the grace of God, that woman driving into whatever turmoil she had to face, could just as well been me. And when its my turn to lean my head on the steering wheel again..I know I’ll have some prayer warriors interceding..but I hope to be blessed enough to have just one person to be there and not say anything, with a tissue and a hug…and a few tears.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How many meatballs or what color casket?

Today most of my co-workers and supervisors will be attending the funeral of the son of one of our Senior VP’s. I stayed behind thinking.. I really needed to write this instead. Randy was in college in Virginia and a freak accident claimed his life. He was 22 years old. He leaves behind a little brother, a mom and a dad who are racked with grief as we speak. They are getting dressed right now, preparing to get in the family car to go to church to view him one last time.

Sharon, Randy’s mother is concerned with the well being of her surviving son and how he’s handling the grief…she is also worried about the roller coaster of emotions that her husband is dealing with. On top of that, she is picturing in her mind how in the world is she going to handle seeing someone closing her son up inside of a casket to be lowered into the ground.

This morning my biggest concern was how many bags of meatballs to take over my sister’s house for Thanksgiving and if I had enough money for gas and food to make it until payday. My God, it seems so incredibly trivial right now. If Sharon could switch problems with me right now, she’d do it in a heartbeat just so her loved one could be back in her presence. All of my problems, issues and responsibilities she would gladly take on if it would bring Randy back.

So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful about a lot of things but mostly it’s all about my family. I am so blessed. All my kids are well and safe. Unlike Sharon, my 22 year old son, although not perfect is still with me and alive for me to fuss at. My husband and his children are safe. Both my parents and all my siblings are all alive and well. My nieces and nephews are running around driving me nuts when I visit. I have a loving goddaughter and cooky grand goddaughter that show me love everytime I am in their presence.

Everything else is gravy. My job, co-workers, church and church family, neighbors, degrees, car, house, clothes, jewelry, awards, Wii Fit (ok, I don’t have that yet, but if I did-lol) is secondary to people. This Thanksgiving I give thanks to God, for He is good and his mercy endures forever. Thankful, not for things, but for family-I will remember to not take them for granted again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moving the Giant Boulder

The story is told that in ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King's' wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road..

After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

Many have a tendency to look at a disaster an issue or an inconvenience as bothersome and annoying. Yes, it may be a temporary hinderance to where you are trying to go -but you need to not avoid hardship or continously ignore it...but endure it as a good soldier. Once you deal with whatever it is once and for all...your temperment, patience, arrogance, narrow mindedness, stubborn streak, negative talking...whatever it is..once you move it you will reap the rewards of doing the hard work. The GOLD is for the person who deals with themselves head on and fights until they win.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Best Intentions-AIDS & Stepfamilies?

Back in 1988 King Rama of Thailand had a momentous birthday...He turned 60 years old. To celebrate the occasion he decided to give his country a gift. BUT his best intentions ending up releasing a horrible plague into his entire country. AIDS was primarily conatined in Thailand's prison system. Prisoners had it and passed it to each other, but it was not widespread, almost nonexistant in the mainstream of the country. The King decided to release (grant amnesty) to about 30,000 prisoners. His "gift" also released the AIDS virus into his population and begin to spread, infecting millions.

Can you imagine how he felt.... If you are a stepparent, you most certainly can. Ok, no we haven't released a deadly plague that has infected the USA...but we can count on all our fingers and toes how many of our best intentions caused a mini war in our home.

All you wanted to do was be sure they left the house looking presentable-they see it as an attack on their fashion choices and how they were previously taught. All you wanted to do was be a good steward and keep your house clean and when you move their things from where they don't belong, or tell them to do're considered a clean freak or picky. WHY is this happening...I didn't mean for it to be interpreted this way....blah blah blah...These stories can go on and on...but the truth of the matter is, just as King Rama learned...somethings are better left alone and on lock down.

You may think that what you are doing, or saying, allowing, or how you are reacting is what you should do.. but there may be a reason behind the imprisonment you see and trying to give instruction in an area where it will not be well received has the potential to infect your whole house. PERIOD.

So what do you do? Well, I have learned a few things.

Children imitate their atmosphere. They act and react based on what they have seen and have been taught directly or indirectly. Step children, my children or the children down the street they are the sum of three people (mother, father and the uniqueness of themselves)...The more I get to know my step children, the more I see things in them that people have told me was in their mother (positive and more importantly the negative). My children are the same way....I see me...I see their dad...I see them. That's alot of wacky personalities to manage and administrate.. Its takes grace. It takes God.

Please understand if your stepchildren are not meek (teachable) and you do not have the support of your spouse. . In most situations you need to backoff-today...literally. Its not that you don't love them or that you dont care, but ultimately the responsibility for those children belongs to the parent and they have to LEAD the charge in the teaching and the discipline in their lives. That is not your place. Your job is to support your spouse. Your job is to set the best example you can in word, deed, action, demeanor and simple things like making sure your spouse is happy. That is one of the most important things that they can see that 1. Their parent's life does not totally revolve around them and that their life and happiness is becoming more and more their responsibility. 2. Showing love in a marriage models before them what a marriage should look like and will hopefully cloud any negative exchanges they saw in the past in previous relationships. Is that to say you cannot correct, or instruct, NO...You are an authroity figure in that home and you deserve respect but it is to say just like the ROCK says...know your role...and shut your mouth....and I will add PRAY!

Pray for patience, pray for grace, pray for wisdom, pray for instructions. I am a witness that God will send "children" (yours or somebody elses) into your life that ARE willing to listen. The student seeks out and finds his teacher. God is truly a rewarder of them that diligently seek him....I promise.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


For those of you just joining as a follower this year, you missed an exciting time last November. In November, a online community of thousands sets aside the entire month to write a novel of 50,000 words or more. It's not a "contest" per se' but you are encouraged to finish and there are forums, suggestions, ideas, advice and help for you at every turn.

There is information to help you deal with writers block, to help you find a place to study, to help when kids keep interrupting, how to write during the Thanksgiving holiday, what to name your main characters', nieces' friend. Its great to get on there and find help in whatever area you need. What's even better is to see others that are having your same struggle. You feel like as my dad would say "fellows in the same ship" and all of a sudden you don't feel alone in your fight.

One day step-parenting, and second marriages, and single parenting and all of the other "taboo" things that trip us up and cause us to stumble will be talked about so openly that people will be able to get help and not feel so alone anymore. Until then we have to use blogs, articles, stories and the like to lift up one another, encourage and tell the truth about our situations so others can pattern us and have hope.
For example, My husband and I just went in for a counseling check-up session to make sure that we were communicating properly and to hear innovative ways and suggestions to do it better. Most people would not talk about counseling or admit that they do it, but maybe if a couple hears that we regularly check in and stay on top of our issues that it will encourage them to not fear it, but embrace the fact that we are imperfect people, married to imperfect people, raising imperfect people.
As I get prepared for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) I look forward to the camaraderie as much as I do the writing. The novel writing is fun. You are writing off the top of your head and its exhilerating and interesting as you see raw ability being pushed to the limit. Its also just a fun to log on on a day that you can't go any further and see 20 people send you a message in 2 minutes encouraging you and helping you to push forward. I hope that all areas of my life will be encouraging, fun, supportive and motivating like that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

At the bottom of the cliff

I am rereading a book called The Influencer. This book starts by explaining that we have the tendency to prepare for the worst or spend alot of time learning "how to cope" that we spend very little time dealing with prevention. We feel powerless to change our plight, our situation, our relationships, our outcomes, so we read books on how to DEAL with teachers...or how to DEAL with diabetes...or How to DEAL with a bad marriage How to DEAL with having a bad attitude etc...I'm sick of "dealing"...coping...its time for influencing change.

The example the book gave was phenomenal and I also shared this with my "mentees". Lets say that there was this extremely steep mountainside and every car that comes across that area falls over the mountain crashing into the valley below. A community organizer sees the carnage of tangled metal and corspes and springs into action. They are so frustrated that noone was "doing anything". So they quickly raise money, jump on the phone for help, makes a website, gathers the best and brightest ambulances, EMT's and trauma medical staff people and he and all his resources go into the valley to wait for the next person in the car to come over the cliff, and the next person, and the next person, and the next person to come over the mountain and then they can deal with the injuries of any survivors.

WHAT ? Yeah...don't laugh...they are just like you and I. They have effectively learned how to cope with the accidents. They have also filled their need to "do something". But of course it makes more sense to go to the mountain where the issue is and build a gate to prevent the accident in the first place?

There are somethings in our lives that are preventable. Period. You eat and feed your kids an ongoing diet of junk food, salt and sweets they are not going to be healthy thriving kids. You have unprotected sex with someone with HIV, you will probably get it to. You smoke packs of cigarettes a week, your chances for Cancer have increased. You don't exercise regularly or eat a balanced diet-you will probably be weak and fat. Those, we understand.

On a more personal note, there are things in your life that you see over and over in your attitude, your demeanor, your reactions, your responses, your actions, your dress, your vocabulary that you have learned how to "cope" with instead of working to change. You have learned how to pretend, how to manage and how to perpetrate being who people think you should be. But standing in that valley isn't changing the issues in your life. You will just keep watching the cars come tumbling down. Only climbing to the top of the mountain and doing what's necessary to prevent the disaster will bring about the change and growth you need to go to the next level in your life.
How you the Personal Board of Directors post. Also, recognizing when you need help and being honest about it. Humble yourself and ask significant others in your life to help you. Teachers don't come looking for students. Students seek out teachers. Study, study and study. Exposure and information changes the seasons of your life. Actively pursue, confess and put change into thing at a time. ex. This week I will NOT eat or feed my family junk, Or (if youhave problem with negativity) try... this week, I will say one thing positive to at least 5 different people every day...etc.. baby steps...small steps...will eventually get you out of your valley experience and get you to the mountain top where you can really see further, clearer and achieve all that you need to accomplish.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monkey in the Middle

Wow...found this blog entry from 9/6/07 and I will be doggone if this same thing isn't happening today too...uh huh..I see a pattern here, devil!!

Monkey in the middle was an interesting chiild's game that we used to play. It's now a board game...but back in the used to be that people on two opposite sides threw a ball back and forth between them and you "the monkey" would try to catch it by intercepting it. Unfortunately, you end up running back and forth between people constantly. You jump up only to find that they threw it low that dip only to see it fly overhead. By 20 or so passes you are tired and you want the ball...but after awhile you don't doesn't seem worth it.

Today, I am the "Monkey". I am running in between issues, people and problems trying to make and keep everyone happy...while I "make do". I make do with feeling neglected, I make do with feeling misunderstood, I make do with not having what I need. I try not to complain, cause in some areas (but not all)...I have more than I have ever had. But the running, the missing, the jumping, the dipping...has worn me out. I want to scream to the world...I'm not perfect...I can't hold your weight and mine too...BACK OFF. However, in the midst of it all..I have remembered to take of me. That's over eating a ton of drowning my sorrows in food or shopping. I am valuable even and though I feel like crud...feelings are an unstable source of information. I am not perfect, but I am ME.

TODAY 9/22/09:
The enemy thinks he's slick..I will not be fooled another year, I betcha that!

Always darkest before the dawn

I wrote this in an older post on another blog 9/17/07. I am absolutely floored that it is still applicable and accurate for my life...a whole year later...

Whose knows who said it first...but it seems to be true. It gets SOOOOO dark in your life right before the "wonderful" or the "awesome" thing happens. Or does it? Maybe it's just been so dark that any glimmer of light no matter how signficant brings hope to a seemingly hopeless situation. I am looking for glimmers. On the surface everything appears great, but deep down there are some inner struggles, some issues and disappointments that I struggle to keep at bay. There are some hurt feelings, some trampled emotions, some ignored needs that keep kicking me deeper into darker places that when I get a ounce of good news, I jump at it and grab it for dear life.

That's not least not the level of living that I am believing for. I want JOY and happiness. I want peace, simplicity and to diminish the need to explain or defend myself all the time. How do you climb to a life like that when every rung is met with fear, disappointment, a mistake, judgement.... You keep on walking. Past the critics, past the heartache, past the keep on stepping. You can't linger anywhere too long-even in your mind. If you are working out an issue, work it out in your head, or on paper then let it go. If someone doesn't understand you, oh well! If they are not someone of influence in yor life, or a credible authority on the subject matter that they are criticizing you about, reject it and move on.

I guess in a way peace has to be pursued, joy has to be a choice. It sure won't fall in your lap. There are glimmers of light everywhere. Look for and be grateful for small things. Because when it's dark is when light shines the brightest.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Duck and Roll

My children will battle all day about who the greatest superhero is. They will call out pairs and try to determine things like "If Thor fought the Incredible Hulk, who would win?" They base their hypothesis on what specific powers each of them possess and which power would overcome the other.

My absolute favorite hero (next to Superman, obviously) is Wolverine. Ok, yes he is a tad rough around the edges. He isn't quite the most "polite" hero and those claws are FIERCE! But its his other power that I admire and its what I believe gives him the edge over his enemies...its the ability to absorb a knife cut, a wound, a bullet, a bomb, a scape, scratch, or bruise and within healed of the pain from the inside out and have NO scar to show from it.

If I could only choose one superpower, that would be it. Why? Because complete healing gives you the ability to persevere without fear and the wherewithal to keep fighting indefinitely, healing inwardly along the way. I can't imagine all I could have done, accomplished or changed if I didn't have to stop along the way to lick my wounds or take a "season off" to get over an offense, or what someone did or said to me or assumed about me.

How is that possible you say? How can you not allow hurtful things, not to deeply hurt you? I tell you how I am doing it, and others may have different ideas....but as for me I "duck and roll".

When I notice that something is going on that can potentially be determential to me (a negative conversation, an inappropriate tv show, a nasty attitude, verbally abusive, or even physically) my first response is to move me. I move me mentally, physically if necessary, emotionally most certainly. My first goal is to protect my heart from foolishness. To "duck" if you will from anything that can potentially damage who I really am and what I am really about.

Secondly, I "roll"! If something has managed to hurt me, I learn to shorten the turn around time until I get over it. In other words, let it roll off quicker which allows me to get back in the fight and ensures another chance for success. Whatever I have to do, whether its pray, cry, listen to a song that inspires me, run around outside, watch something funny on TV, write, whatever I need to do to work through the effects of a blow, I do it, I do it quickly and I move on.

To be able heal from issues quicker is not only better for you mentally but physically. You cut down on heart issues, stress, ulcers etc.. I have discovered its not worth it. I have some issues and other people have some issues but NO issue is worth altering my destiny for. Don't internalize everything or take others problems personally. Don't own other people's issues.

Heal "Wolverine style" from the inside out, and heal quickly. Don't let offense, hurt, mistrust or fear rob you from love, relationships, or the mind blowing plan that God has for your life.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Personal Board of Directors

In the book Mastering the 7 Decisions by Andy Andrews, I was reminded of the importance of having a Personal Board of Directors. Since I also work in Governance, this parallel rings very real and purposeful for the next seasons of my life. On the Board of Directors at my job, we are careful to select people with specific backgrounds, expertise, education, cultural backgrounds, family makeup, economic levels and social circles that will benefit the corporation. Everyone doesn't come from the Auto industry, everyone isn't a teacher, everyone doesn't understand finances, everyone isn't African american, everyone isn't a parent, and they don't all go to the same church, there are dfferences so vast that the corporation benefits from a wide scope of ideals, connections and experiences.

You need to have a "Personal" Board as well. People that you can turn to and count on to give you sound advice, true experiences, encouragement, correction and connect you to the right people and places so you can achieve your goals and vision.

My Board is very diverse, everyone serves their purpose and I tap into them for their specific limited scope for the different catagories of my life. Since I am married, my husband serves as the chairman. As a steparent, I have a two very "successful" (very important) stepmothers that I can go to, to glean wisdom from. As an author, I study and seek out the style & experiences of Andy Andrews & John Maxwell. As a wife, my godbrothers' wife is my sounding board and she will encourage me when I am on target and slam me unmercifully when I am not-lol. As a believer, my pastor, by nature of his role would be considered a Board member. As a future multiple stream- business woman, legacy builder and billionaire, I have a mentor and motivator that I have tremendous respect for that takes time to talk to me, answer my questions and push me. To learn grace under pressure, class and ladylike demeanor, I watch Queens, Princesses, The first lady of the US, and my founding pastors wife. For my professional career, there are two attorney's and a roundtable of trusted co-workers that I use to bounce things off of. For everything else, there is my mom/dad, sister and brothers and my e-mail crew from my 1st church home-"The Cats".

You might think wow....that's alot of folks to get advice or direction from. Actually it isn't. You have neve heard of a multi-million dollar corporation having 2 board members? I am much more valuable than that, so I need wisdom from all directions. The bible even teaches that in a multitude of counsel there is safety. All of the counsel I get is submitted to the ultimate authority-God and he has always caused the things I need to know to be in line with what I have been told and His Word.

So give it some thought. Your dream, your vision, your family's destiny is much to big for you to carry it alone, isn't it? You are going to need help. You are going to need answers. You are going to need support. The people on my board never attend a meeting or come to a board retreat. They may not even know I consider them a board member in my life, its not about formality. Its about the sincerity of looking at their life, desiring a trait or characteristic they have and being humble enough to learn from them. I have young ladies that have come to me directly and asked me to mentor them. Honestly, the 1st few I told them no in so many words. I didn't feel that I was "perfect" enough to do it. I didn't get it, now I do and as I get mentored, and learn from my "board" the more wisdom I will have to share with them.

Its time to round up your board-WHO IS IN YOUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE and WHY? Where are they taking you and is it where you are supposed to be going?

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Tug O' War of Today

We played the game of Tug of War when I was growing up. The coaches always tried to be sure that the teams were even in size and number. We would pull and pull and pull until finally one side or the other would end up letting go, getting scared of the other side or lost their footing and are then pulled over onto the winner's side. Tug of War has strong archaeological roots going back at least to the 12th Century AD. In other words, its been around a long time.

Regardless of whether the game is played in school, on the playground, on Cardoni street, in the coliseum, or in the Olympics, the fundamentals of the game are still the same. One side either let go of the rope, got fearful or the other side pulled hard enough to cause them to lose their footing and be pulled across the line.

Life today was a major game of tug of war for me. I am not sure if I was on one side or the other or if I was the rope. I had appointments, meetings, deadlines, unexpected calls and issues and of course it all happens within a 45 minute window. I am still detoxing from the drama of the day and I have to admit, I made it without loosing my cool, almost without loosing my patience and for certain without throwing up my hands. There was grace to handle everything. Now everything that I wanted did not happen and I still don't know how I am going to take care of what's ahead, but I learned three things:
1. Don't let go. Do not just throw your hands up and allow the issues to just "be". Do all you know to do. Bishop Jakes says Do all you can, leave NOTHING out. Even if its not enough, you will have an assurance that you truly did all you could. We have great confidence in what God can do, but we don't believe that we have been given the power to do anything. When you go to God and you turn it over to him you should be able to say with confidence that Lord I did everything within my power to do. I did all I could with what you gave me. I need you to take it from here. I refuse to let things just "happen" to me and I just lay there...I am SO the warrior! God equipped me to be a fighter so I can do battle and win. With me, its not likely that the issue will continue to survive as long as I am steadfast in the things of God.
2. Don't lose your footing. You have to know who your rock is and what you are rooted and grounded in. You have to release anything that is flaky, insecure and wavering-be it people, situations or relationships. Its easy to want to try this and try that in order to get this, but in some things you have to simply get back to basics. For example, you want more money? You can fast until you are blue in the face and 57lbs, put oil on your checkbook and pray 17 1/2 times a day but the Word says GIVE and it shall be given unto you. So all of that stance is fine and good...but if you are not bringing in multiple streams of income, tithing and giving out of what you have..prawlly NOT gonna happen. Don't lose your footing and get caught up. Do what you KNOW to do.
3. Don't be a punk and get fearful. People really made alot of assumptions when my husband was attacked the other day. One of the biggest assumptions was that I was SCARED. Was I concerned for him, you better believe it, was I angry that he was hurt-that's a certainty, but scared? Like I told my daughter, I ain't never scared-bad english but true none the less. I may not like the situations that are happening to me..but I am not afraid of them. I am a seasoned, decorated war hero who is not afraid of battle because I remain equipped to fight at all times-at any time.
So if you find your mind, your life, your relationships in a Tug of war, don't be afraid. Dig your heels in and hold your ground. Don't let go and I am a witness who made it through the craziness of today that you can outlast any enemy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Out to destroy me??

(Picture from recent Tennessee Vacation)

Most of you who follow us know that just recently my husband was car jacked at work. Outside of the inconvenience of replacing everything, adjusting here and there and your occasional anxieties, we have come through this fire without even smelling like smoke. He’s fine, I have him, so I’m fine. All Praise to God.

Yes, we dealt with the "Spirit of Stupid" as there were idiotic rumors going around about what happened with people who don't even know him anymore. I really wish wisdom would have prevailed and that kind of irreverent garbage would have been kept out of my husband’s space. He had enough to contend with without having to take precious time to squash plain ole dumb stuff. He laughed it off as is his nature, but it was SO not funny, not appropriate and mature believers should know better, just the enemy using them and their immaturity to take another swing...BUT-Anyway…we came through that as well.

However, although grateful I am still deeply and thoroughly annoyed. Why? Because my husband told me that although this incident happened physically to him, that the enemy wasn’t out to get him, he’s actually out to destroy me. Now THAT ladies and gentlemen ticked me off, probably because I knew that as soon as he said it there was a ring of truth to it.

The enemy, my friends, family, co-workers, and even my hairdresser knows that if you want to send me swinging or see me drive a minivan through your living room window, mess with my husband, Stevan, Jerica, Bryan, Jaivon, or Jordan. That my dear, will get you injured. I am sure there is a more spiritual, politically correct way to say that but rather than try to comprise that, I think truth speaks loud and clear.

Now mind you that there are others that are important to me, there is my mom and dad, my siblings, My husband’s family, my nieces and nephews, my goddaughter etc.. Trust me the enemy knows my protective nature of those I care about, am committed to and are committed to me. He also knows I have been attacked directly so much and so often, and in so many ways, I suppose I have developed a blasé immunity to how an attack against me directly effects me. Armed with that kind of information about people you are planning an attack against seems to be a major advantage.

Thinking about my husband’s statement, I think what does the enemy gain by taking me out? And furthermore “How can I win against a foe that knows my most targeted vulnerabilities”.

I’m going to think about that…and get back with you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More vacation pictures......

More pics from the cabin...when we go into town today I will get some pictures of the city...This place has everything on one LONNNNNNNNNg street...its like a country style vegas with no gambling and a Walmart!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We're here!!!

After some research, planning and praying...we finally made it.. John and I are officially on vacaction this week. We are up in the Smoky Mountains in an awesome secluded cabin that looks out over the mountains and lush forestry. I woke up this morning in disbelief that we were actually here. Yesterday...we checked in..went to Logan's for dinner and then headed to the supermarket for things we would need for breakfast.

John is sleeping and I am up watching Hillsong TV and drinking coffee...THIS is living :-). Today we have NOTHING planned...and that's how we like it. We may drive into town...we may not..we may go for a hike in the mountains...we may not...choices...options..what a wonderful thing. Tommorrow we are supposed to go see a production called "Miracle" and then Friday its SHOPPING (well...I mean really we got bring back t-shirt..or something)...Saturday, we head back home refreshed...relaxed and ready to face our brood once again. I will be posting pictures all tune in for our adventures..I just got a text from my "sis" in law Cheri..saying "soak it in"...I'm so trying to do that..I am so grateful to be here...not just "here" but just my place and position in life right now...I have much to be thankful for. I have a great husband..awesome children and stepchildren...brothers...sisters...people who love me..a good job with benefits.. the knowledge an revelation of Jesus Christ, and some sausage and biscuits in the can't beat that with a stick!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nearing the end of an awesome summer...

Hey all;

Hope you like the rare pic of me in my glasses...hayfever season-UGH!

I haven't written much lately (for about a month), because I have really been devoting my attention to some activities that I have been working on for the goals for this year. I stated near the end of spring that I was not going to keep up my current pace, so I started cutting out somethings that was taking up alot of time that I no longer enjoyed. First to go was the Media Dept at my church. I let go all of my responsibilities there as of May 31st. Great dept, served faithfully there for almost 8 years-it was time to go. Then it was Junior League. There were a few things that I was going to do over the summer that I decided I did not quit but decided to just be off totally for the summer. Then there was acting. I just finished Sweet Charity in May and usually you want to get right back out there and do something else in theater...I decided not to audition for anything else this year. Instead, I will help out backstage and that's not until late fall. Soooooooooooooo with all that free time what's been up?...I'm glad you asked...

This post will be about June and the 1st half of July!

In June-

Jerica (J) graduated from high school. Her graduation was very nice and there were many graduates (which is always a blessing to see). Most of her immediate family was there. Her grandmother wasnt able to make it-but all of her brothers and sisters were there, her aunt and uncle, cousins and nieces.

Jordan (the girl) went to Wildwood ranch horsecamp in Howell Michigan. It was a week long and she was in the canter and post division. She really enjoyed it and hopes to do it again next year. She doesn't realize yet what a blessing it is to be exposed to that environment. Most children in her circle don't have any idea what equestrian is...I am happy for her-she is and is going to be, a phenomenal, well rounded young lady....

Jerica (AKA sister) was here. I talked about her visit in the last post. Since that time...Jerica has faced a tremendous faith fight. Her roomates left her high and dry in Florida after deciding (without telling her) that they were coming home and staying, when they too came home for the holiday. So Jerica returns to Florida and expected her roomates to do the same and they didn't... leaving their bills and junk behind. Jerica was stuck with a three bedroom apartment, rent that they left unpaid and a overdue lightbill. But GOD took her little job at McDonalds and blessed it. She got favor with the landlord and time to work on the debt without being evicted. My parents and my aunt gave her money to help. I was able to help her and soon she was able to move into a beautiful newer one bedroom apartment. Rent is paid. Lights are caught up, she has food and a friend who was moving away to Alabama gave her furniture, kitchen supplies, food and others things she didn't have. She attributes it all to Christ and although I cried many nights praying and believing God with her and for her...I am so grateful for the experience. She's a better young lady now because of it and I know her faith is strengthened! I feel so sorry for the other two young ladies...they have no idea what they hav done to one of God's own. They are in BIG trouble.

Fourth of July- was low key...thank God. Jay was home...we grilled a little and kept everything kinda laid back. Jay enjoyed his time at home. He really misses his brothers and sisters alot. I told him that I would work on getting us all together for the holiday! He was able to go to church and see his friends there and he saw his grandparents. He has a great testimony about what happened to him on the way back-you will have to read it on his blog .

By MidJuly- I am in full swing...Jordan is in ballet intensive-so she goes every week day...yes EVERY. So I am driving back and forth to the opera house every evening in July. Its ok..I got alot of reading done and some writing while waiting for her. Allergies are rolling...glasses on =contacts out. Preparing for the all girls conference that was held yesterday...this pic is of me studying and mapping out my handouts a few weeks ago....More on the conference and AWESOME AUGUST next post..

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My daughter came and went...

Jerica (my Florida baby) was home for a few days. She really missed being here and needed to "visit"! It was great having her home. She got to see her brothers and mom and dad...her aunt and all of her stepsiblings, cousins and friends. She did her sister's hair too while she was here-which was a REAL blessing.
(pic from this morning at the airport)

I had the chance to talk to her to and from the airport...and its great to hear the maturity in her character as well as hear the little girl who still has alot of questions and apprehensions.

I am so proud of what she has stepped out to do on her own. She is learning life lessons that are more valuable than any formal education that I could have paid for. She is looking at starting school and she has already been promoted to manager after only being there a few months.

She is so me...but not me. She has seen the struggles in my life and the disappointment, sacrfice and the heartache. She has learned from my mistakes and my triumphs and she is planning a few victory laps for her own wins! Its tough to change from the mom that fixes everything, makes the calls for you, absorbs the cost, takes the hit the mom that has to stand down and allow a few hits to get through to allow her to get some faith fights for herself.

The mom role for me is daily changing...evolving and developing. I can't say that it is easy. Its a pruning, tough process...but its for my good. Its for their good. I've done what God has called me to do by them and now its time to let those seeds grow so I can see what I got and what I need to pray against..or pray through. New levels, new devils as they say..its a new role but I am equipped and ready for when they come and when they go...mommy reporting for duty.
Oh my Oklahoma baby will be home for the holiday I get to start adjusting all over again...:-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

You need to know that know that you know...

Bishop Jack Wallace used to say that statement every Sunday.."you need to know that you know that you know"....There are somethings that you may be unsure about..but somethings you need to know and be steadfast on.
Influence is a VERY powerful thing. Its power can change the mind of Kings. Its persuasion can alter courses and cause billion dollar mergers. Influence can also cause you to question what you know, even when you know that you know it. THAT alone makes it a very powerful to be handled with character and responsibility.

A few months back I asked my husband ahead of time to pick up my daughter from the camp dropoff point in a few days because I had to pick up our goddaughter from school at the same time that day and they were on opposite ends of the city. I proceeded to tell him where it was and he began to debate with me profusely that it wasn't there...he continued stating that it was on the corner of this street and he would be happy to get her. I told him no, its here and I need you to be there at 5:00. He again continued to debate with me as to where it was and he then went on to tell me how his brother use to go there so he knew exactly where it was. This went on until I was totally frustrated-so I just stopped the debate. It made me wanna holler, throw up both my

A day or two went by and all the while I begin to question inwardly what I KNEW that I KNEW. I had been dropping off and picking up my kids from this location for about 15 years. But maybe it is where he says it is? Maybe I didn't notice the street signs? Maybe the location changed? I had just dropped off my daughter a few days ago...why in Jesus name am I beginning to question myself and believe him? Influence. Because he is my husband, I'd like to think that he has wisdom in some areas that I may not (and vice versa). I'd also like to think that he is smart and knows things that I may not (and Vice Versa)..and since I TRUST him and value what he thinks and says...I begin to alter my thinking to line up with what he is thinking. That's the power of influence.

By Thursday I had to catch myself-.....sorta went like ...wait one dog gone minute...I am not stupid....absentminded, forgetful or trivial. I know this pick up point. I know where I left my child. I know like I know my name where she is supposed to be picked up from. Why am I allowing someone to tell me otherwise. I do not care what he thinks he may know-but on THIS-I know that I know that I know. I didn't remind him to pick her up. I left work early and jetted across town like a mad woman but I picked up my goddaughter on time and I picked up my daughter. She was right where she was supposed to be...and for whatever reason I breathed a sigh of relief-like maybe she wouldnt be there and I had lost my mind.

So my husband-God love em' -was wrong. I don't believe that he was intentionally trying to mislead me, he just didn't know and since my perspective on that matter is not an INFLUENCE for him he stood on what he believed to be true. Wrong or not. Since what he says was INFLUENTIAL to me..I begin to waver on what I knew to be true...just because it was from him. I never even mentioned this again to my husband. To him it probably really wasn't a big deal. But to me-wow- it taught me an extremely valuable lesson.

Influence is powerful in marriage, in parenting, at work, in church, in relationships...and in life. Be mindful that you have people that you influence just based on who you are to them. Sometimes we are right and our influence wields a great return for us and for others. But sometimes we are wrong and if we are not humble enough to see our error and go back and share with those we influence-they could be headed to the wrong pick up point and miss their blessing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boot Camp..On Purpose

Well, one of John's major desires has been for us to work out at the gym together. We hadn't been able to manage that much since we have been married...His gym (powerhouse) was too "guysweatyish" for me..and my gym (Bally's) was kinda "fu-fu" to him. So, we did guest passes every now and then but never consistantly.

We enrolled in a Fitness Boot Camp at Better Life Fitness three times a week from 5:45 until 6:30 PM. It surprisingly has been fun working out with him there. He is a great encourager and he watches to be sure that I don't hurt myself and that I do things correctly. The boot camp is TOUGH. We do weights, circuit training, boxing, crunches and more. They teach us how to eat correctly and they really push you to do your personal best. (

I have to say I have already seen a major difference in my ability to do a little more each time. I also know that I do work harder /better in a group setting versus alone. Is is the competition? Is it not wanting to let your trainers down, Is it seeing the others in the group and being encouraged by their persistence? Everyone there is single focused and ON PURPOSE with getting fit, loosing weight and having fun.

Whatever the reason...many of us are like that in many areas of life. We need trainers, coaches, siblings, parents, friends and just people along side of you sweating, aching and striving just like you. Seeing others achieve a mutual goal pushes you to go after it harder. Where do you find "like" minded people in specific areas? Where do you seek out mentors that truly have your best interest at heart? How do you "edit" your circle so that everyone around you is on purpose? It starts with prayer and really looking at the lives of those around you. Are you mindlessly following someone you don't want to emulate in ANY way? Ms Brenda (the trainer) is a former bodybuilder and it SHOWS. She looks like a fitness mag model. Now, although I don't quite want to look that ripped, it would be foolish of me to train with a woman who was 450lbs and couldn't lift a weight. Brenda has shown outwardly and inwardly that her expertise in this area is to be respected. Now, would I go to Brenda about advice for my children...nope. Why? She doesn't have any lol (her dogs don't count)?

I supposed I said all of that to say that in the gym I believe that we pull from each others encouragement, strengths, weaknesses and triumphs. We are all there for a reason and we sweat, grunt and do whatever it takes to get through that goal. Just make sure that in your life you have some ON PURPOSE people, ready to sweat and do whatever it takes to reach their goals and encourage you to reach yours. Also, make sure your "trainer" has been where you trying to go...and if you are blessed to have a spouse there is nothing like sweatin' something through with them by your side.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Good To Great

There are many stepfamilies in our circle. We know them from school, work, church and even in our individual extended families. We are good families. We navigate through the land mines of step hood with the grace of a ballerina. Things blow up, but they don't destroy us. We are good. But how do you go from Good to Great? How do you go to the next level, where things aren't just maintaining, but thriving and moving and growing...

We are studying the book "Good to Great" in my professional circles and I have learned that some of the same principles that apply to moving businesses in this direction can apply to the complex "business" of stepfamilies.

One of the methodologies they cover is the Level 5 Leadership concept. Level 5 leaders (in our case John and I) have to be humble on a personal level but possess a great drive and desire to succeed. The success is not viewed as personal(he and I ), but corporate (family). Level 5 leaders are not "rock star" or celebrity leaders, whereas the boat will fall apart after they are off the scene. They empower others to lead and to grow. They are diligent and hardworking and lead by example by being in the trenches rather than barking from the balcony. I am seeing the importance of this now as my children are living on their own. They haven't fallen apart because they aren't with me. They are thriving. They are doing what I taught and trained them to do.

Another important concept is to "confront the brutal facts, yet remain in faith. " GREAT companies (families) have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of their current reality, whatever they might be, yet maintain unwavering faith that they can and will prevail in the end regardless of difficulties. So, if you have a child that is slothful or talks back to much, don't ignore it, act like it will change on its own or they'll "grow out of it". Instead, deal with it head on. Discipline, show, teach, and structure remaining positive that with work they will develop the character that you are trying to grow in them.

The last one that I'll mention is The hedgehog concept. You need to identify three things to make a transition from good to GREAT.

1. What are we deeply passionate about? God, Family, People and relationships

2. What can we be the best in the world at? Drama, Performing Arts, Writing, Art, Dance

3. What drives our economic engine (what can make money)? Diligence, administration, unique talents, unique makeup

I did this with the Superfamily, before really knowing what it was. I begin to "market" us if you will. We were not just the Jamersons, or just the Andersons or the Stephens'. We are a new entity alltogether- The Superfamily which is comprised of many parts. We are gifted in performing, cultural, musical and dramatic arts. So, I begin nuturing creativity by developing a newsletter, buying instruments, going to auditions, and seeking opportunities for us to shine as a SUPERFAMILY. As a result, we have been interviewed by people in NYC and as far as Austria. We have this blog. We take a yearly trip inviting extended family and friends to go with us. That's just collectively-individually we have people studying ministry, ballet, communications, engineering, equestrian, vocal music, instrumental and theater.

Please know John and I have to refocus often. What are we about? Who are we about? Then, we kindly delete the rest. Its easy to get sidetracked from each other, family, our vision and your goals if you lose sight of what they are. You will allow the silliest things to get in the way. Just this past week, I was talking to two ladies and I made a comment about my family that drew the most stanky look from one of them as she glanced knowlingly at the other one. I know where it comes from-they have a difference in view and that's ok. But I let it bother me for awhile, before I started to look at what I'm about, refocused and let it go. I finally determined that they have bigger problems if at their age they aren't ladylike enough to use more discretion and courtesy when in disagreement. So, I could effectively delete that whole issue and moved on.

So, anyway- everyday we are growing, deleting and developing and gaining momentum. But its a PROCESS, not a date on a calendar. I know people may think I am over the top and unorthodox. Good. Most people that are just Good are pretty status quo, normal and fall in line with whatever the comfortable thing is. That is not our goal-our goal is GREAT.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Should I have just stayed home?

I am sure that you know that pressing through regardless of circumstances can really pay off in the long run. Sometimes it is simpler to give up, go home, stop or let something alone than it is to work through it and press on to (as the old folks say) "see what the end is gonna be".

This past weekend I had my 4 year old godgrandaughter over to spend the weekend with me while her mom was out of town. I had the weekend all planned, starting with a trip to Lansing to a women's workshop. We were up, dressed and packing the car when all of a sudden I was out of time..and it was already 15 minutes later than I wanted to leave. I thought as I ran around the house-skip it, I can just put her back to bed and plan something else, but I pushed that aside. So with the portable dvd playing doodlebops and the baby strapped in, coffee in the holder.. 15 minutes later we trudge out. Of course I have to stop at the gas station, because I told myself the night before to do it and I was too tired (equals=lazy) to do it then. So, now I am running late, but since I give myself a good travel cushion I can still make it in time for the workshop-I just may miss getting breakfast. This was the 2nd time I thought-oh forget it..I am just going back home". But I was organized enough to have something for the baby to eat and I had cut up fresh fruit and had a water for press on, we're good..and on the freeway.

An hour into the drive I start looking at my directions again because we should be close. I look at the exit sign and note that according to the numbers I am only two exits away. I look at the clock and I am impressed. We got up there in great time and I now am excited that we are almost there.
THUMP THUMP THUMP...the car begins to wobble and shake..I know that feeling. I have had it before. Its a flat tire. So, I am on 96 Freeway in a skirt with a four year old, a flat tire and 10 minutes to spare to get to ther workshop on time. My first frustrated instinct was to well....cry. I am sure most of you would have said pray and I ain't mad at cha..but I didn't start there. I didn't cry but I pulled the car over safely and just sat for a minute to collect myself. I thought (almost audibly) WHY didn't I stay home?

So then, I did pray, asking God what to do next. My husband is almost 80 miles away and at that very moment probably singing on the platform at church . My brothers, brother in law, sons and dad are even further. So I hear almost instinctly-Change the tire-now. Duh, talk about supernatural revelation. First, I text my husband so he would know what going on (he won't read it until way later), 2nd I change the movie for the baby and get her something to snack on and drink. Then, I go to the trunk to find the tire (ok that took a minute, I had to get the book and everything). So, in my light khaki colored skirt, I crawl under the car to get the tire and then lift it to the front of the car and start working with the jack when out of nowhere another car pulls up. This awesome couple jumps out and helps me put the donut tire on and then follows me to the gas station so I can get air. They said they thought I was ok until they saw the extra tire in the front of the van. The flat was on the side away from view of the freeway (so, if I hadn't got that tire out when I did-they may have kept driving-when God says move-move)
Although, I was excited and grateful to have the tire on I was so frustrated. My skirt was dirty, my makeup smeared and I was just exhausted by the adrenalin of it all. So, for the third time I thought-I am just going to put the air in this and go home. I can only drive so fast on this tire and its gonna take me forever. The workshop started an hour ago. By now I had talked to my husband who told me to call him back when I was on the road and then every so often to let him know where I was. I told him I was going to find a nearby restuarant, feed the baby, let her walk around a bit, and use the bathroom before I head back, since it would be a long slow trip.

But instead....I thought I came here to go to the workshop and I am going. If its over I will buy the CD, get the notes and THEN go home. But I came for a purpose and skip it I wasn't leaving until I got what I came for. Then I called the church..and that's another long awesome story...but anyway.
I get to the church. I am sure I looked a mess. I walked in the door and I cannot tell you how tangible the peace of God was there. The lady in reception was so pleasant and asked my name and as soon as I started into my story I heard the conference host take the podium. She had JUST started speaking. The assistants were like you didn't miss it..come on we'll get the baby in child care just in time for the puppet show and they will feed her breakfast in the room. Within 6 minutes of walking in the door, the baby was situated, I was in a seat bible open and pen out. AMAZING.
The workshop was incredible. I will my 7 pages of notes in a separate post. But its main theme was about attitude. My attitude this weekend was TESTED. I could have flown off the handle, mad at me, mad at my husband, mad at the world, but staying focused on the goal and keeping my emotions, attitude and demeanor in check paid off.

I got home in good time. The ride home was peaceful. The baby slept, I had the windows down enjoying the quiet....and thinking of all the things I learned at the conference and BEFORE the conference.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Drawbridge

Guest post adapted from Henri Nouwen-

Very powerful parallel.........

You must decide for yourself to whom and when you give access to your interior life. For years, you have permitted others to walk in and out of your life according to their needs and desires. Thus you were no longer master in your own house, and you felt increasingly used. So, too, you quickly became tired, irritated, angry and resentful.

Think of a medieval castle surrounded by a moat. The drawbridge is the only access to the interior of the castle. The lord of the castle must have the power to decide when to draw the bridge and when to let it down. Without such power, he can become the victim of enemies, strangers, and wanderers. He will never feel at peace in his own castle.It is important for you to control your own drawbridge. There must be times when you keep your bridge drawn and have the opportunity to be alone, or with those to whom you feel close.

Never allow yourself to become public property where anyone can walk in and out at will. You might think you are being generous to anyone who wants to enter or leave, but you will soon find yourself losing your soul.When you claim for yourself the power over your drawbridge, you will discover new joy and peace in your heart and find yourself able to share that joy and peace with others.-

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Big Week !!

Hey all-

We had 4 major things going on in the Superfamily last week!! First...I finally graduated into Junior League of Birmingham Michigan. I still am quite surprised that I made it. Not that they would'nt accept me perse'...but it was certainly outside my comfort zone and cultural arena. I was exposed to many new things...made some great friends...went on a few good, educational trips and widened my circle of influence all while volunteering and helping my community! This summer I will be on hiatus but in the fall I will start as a member of the Government Affairs Committee. Our Graduation picture is below..

Secondly, my son Bryan escorted Clarion (a young lady of high interest:-) to her prom at the St. Regis. They looked absolutely darling..nothing over the top..outlandish or inappropriate-PRAISE GOD...She looked happy and they told me that they had a good time.

Thirdly....I went to an AWESOME International Women's Conference in Lansing, Michigan with Dr. Stacia Pierce. ( I will share more on that later...but for now...) I met some incredible women there and had the chance to meet Ariana Pierce (who is a gracious absolute Princess), IROCC Williams, DEL and Quincy Brown (P-Diddy's son)..I have a few pictures of that below:

LASTLY-and probably most importantly...we went FURNITURE shopping for the living room! Most of you know that we don't have living room furniture yet...we just never were in a rush to furnish that room. It has new carpeting and I think we painted it...but just no John decided we would go LOOK...and we did. We actually found one that both of us we'll see...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Home; A peaceful place to be...

Not many people can say that about home...that's its peaceful. But I woke up this morning and the weather is finally breaking... I went out on our back upper deck and it was such a peaceful time. It wasn't quiet mind you, but peaceful. You could hear the rippling waters of the creek in our backyard. The chirpping of the birds and in the faint distance you could hear children making their way up the road to get the bus for school...but even though it wasn't silent it was peaceful. I had to take pictures, so on the days it gets a lil nuts, I will remember mornings like this and what mama says.."Trouble don't last always".

Alot of people ask me...oh my GOD I bet your house is loud all the time..and the answer is 93.4% of the time yes, the house is loud. The TV's are going, the computer is going. The kids are talking, laughing & screaming. The washer machine is humming the dryer is flipping. Cars are coming in and out of the driveway and doors are opening and closing constantly. The dishwasher is swishing and we have a revolving door of visitors that add tremendously to the volume level. But on a rare occasion-like this morning it wasn't loud at all. There was quiet...which has a new definition for me-The absence of chaos or unnecessary noise.

It was also peaceful. But peace is different from quiet...thus the term "PEACE & QUIET'. Peace is an inner decision and quiet is controlled by circumstances and volume. I had peace this morning, not because everything is perfect-Its not. It was not because we don't have issues to face or obstacles to overcome-We do. But for that moment I decided not to let all of that to forefront. I will have to eventually go back and get it (the issues, the obstacles etc..) and face them but for that moment I sat in my chair and chose peace....and it was an excellent choice.