Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where I got my "S" from

On Saturday, my sister and brothers will be giving my mom a retirement sit down dinner for 150 of her nearest and dearest friends-lol. After years of working for the State she has finally (as of 12/31) punched her last clock at formal employment. For the four of us (me and my siblings), it has been quite the eye-opener as to how absolutely incredible our mom really is. We also had to recognize how much her example and tenacity in every area of her life still teaches us today.

Honestly, the S on my chest was inherited from her.

I did not grow up in a "step family" situation. My parents are still married and together as we speak...but I do know that if my mom had not been the kinda mom she was, I would not have been prepared to be a wife, a mother, divorced, single again, single parent, married again, stepparent. If she had simply been a housewife, I would not have gained the perspective of working, getting my education, being a diligent employee and helping my household financially. Had she just been a corporate worker with housekeepers and drivers, I may not have known how to make a house a home with little or nothing. Not in a million years..would I have had the guts and drive to press the way I did had it not been for her example.

She was not just the stay at home mom type..she wasn't just the corporate type...she did them both plus some...she did them all...and unlike many unmotivated mothers claim today, she was anointed to be able to do them all well..she did what she had to do. She raised us, was a wife to my dad, was full time active in church, volunteered and supported every nuance we were involved in. She did laundry, dishes, homework, mopped, vacumned, cooked, took out garbage, paint, swept, organized, ironed, prepared her sunday school lesson, taught us our memory work, AND punched the clock M-F 40 hours a week or more to help bring substance into our home and not work my dad to death. SHE IS THE BOMB!! You betta ask somebody....shoooooot my mom's cape is flying in the wind.

The S on my chest was inherited from her.

So when I was faced with having to work full time, go to school full time, be a mom full time, volunteer for school functions, prepare to teach at church in SS and VBS and BTU and so on...pay the bills, clean the house, check the homework, comb hair, get the car fixed, catch the bus, AND pucnh the clock 40 hours a week M-F...I could follow my MOM-who through faith and patience had inherited the promise. When now faced with the added stress and complexities of a stepfamily and a former widower as your spouse...my 1st mind (as grandma would say)..says I'm outta here...but because of the impossibilities I saw her achieve..I have no excuses. There's no whining in womanhood!

I also couldn't go to her with a cockamamie story whining about what I couldn't do...I mean could of, but it wouldn't have been pretty. She's a no excuses kinda lady. "I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me" she would make us say. "There is no exception or anything that can stand outside of ALL. ALL is ALL- God is God or He ain't...which is it for you? Then gather the grace and get ta gettin'... And I did. crying...scared...tired...but I pushed and crawled and everntually ran... and my mom was right. I didn't have to settle for one side or the other...I could have everything that God has for me to do...and if He anoints and empowers me I can not just do somethings...I can do ALL things.

The S on my chest I inherited from her.

Now...in my kids I see the trickle down "Darlene" effect. They are hard workers. They will take on anything! If it means taking the bus, they will hop on. If it means saving, while others are spending, they will do without and work toward a goal. If it means extra hours on the job or doing your hair, or paying your own tuition, or whatever it takes...they will get it done. They are goal oriented, will write a list in a minute. They don't mind sacrifice. They don't necessarily like it-but they can manage it successfully. They aren't afraid to make the hard choices. I love that about them...Those are also the kind of things my mom loves about me..she told me once...Girl, you just keep getting back up don't cha?...

yup mom I do...See this this S on my chest I inherited from you. Happy Retirement Ma..I hope Jerica and Jordan eventually do the S proud.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From Guest blogger: Andy Andrews...author of my favorite book-The Travelers Gift

There's something about Valentine's Day that brings out our softer side. Maybe it's the sweetness of the candy, the brilliance of the flowers, or just the overwhelming joy and appreciation that makes us stop to cherish the ones we love.In Mastering the Seven Decisions, Andy teaches us about The Joyful Decision and encourages us to "Live a Dog's Life" by telling us a story about his Dalmatian:"For fourteen years, we had a Dalmatian named Lucy. She was our 'dog-daughter' until we had 'real' children! Lucy was a part of the family and she was especially important to my wife. For years I watched how Polly treated her, and occasionally, it irritated me.

I told her one day 'You know, sometimes I think you treat that dog better than you treat me.' (She agreed) But I couldn't help noticing how Lucy behaved when Polly was around."When Polly came into the house after a morning out, I'd often be on the phone. Maybe I would've said, 'Hi,' or if it was an important call, I might even have rendered a 'Shh." If I was writing, we'd often say hello from across the room. "Lucy, on the other hand, reacted totally different when Polly entered the room. When Polly entered, Lucy would stand up and wag her tail, as if to say 'Hey, it's my mom! I love you!' She'd walk over to Polly and lick her face, 'Ooooh, ooh, kiss, kiss, kiss.' (She even did this if Polly had just been in the room five minutes before!) "One day, it occurred to me that maybe if I treated my wife as good as the dog treated my wife ... then maybe my wife would treat me as good as she treated the dog!"

How do you treat people who "enter the room"? This Valentine's Day, try greeting your spouse, significant other, friends or family the way a dog might. That love and joy is sure to lift their spirits and bring a smile to their face.
Valentine's day is four days away...you have time to prepare ;-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


There is a saying that goes..."stop making someone or something a priority, when they only view you (your opinion, your thoughts, your point of view, your presence) as optional."

We could weed out alot of garbage in our lives by making and keeping the main thing, the main thing. As stepfamiles, we don't have time for it anyway. The less garbage to deal with the better. Some of us know all too well what it means to be taken advantage of, or devalued by someone. Yet, we continously give them our time, our attention, our resources even at the expense of others.

Its rooted in esteem...knowing and understanding who you are and what's really important. I made up in mind back when I was 20 years old that at 60, 70, 80 years old I do not want to look back to a lifetime full of regrets with my children. I strive to give them all I have, even when all wasn't really very much. There was a season though that I wasn't as good at that as I would have liked. I stretched my attention, my time, my resources, my heart to others who misused it, devalued it...some even trampled it...yet in a quest for acceptance, I kept putting myself out there only to be again back burnered by something or someone they deemed more important.

You can only go so many rounds of that before really getting a knock in the head and a bruised heart. Eventually, and with the help of my late pastor and spiritual father ....I learned who I am and that I matter. I learned that my thinking, my opinion, my way of doing things is important-God gave me my "way" of being me. My intellect is valuable and my relevancy is too great for me to settle with being ignored. So, now when I feel "back burnered" or secondary I just slow down and veer from anger. Then I end the situation (discussion, disagreement, relationship, arguement) peaceably and move on.

I have to remind myself of that on occasion...like I am doing right now by blogging. Sometimes I forget and before I know it I am defending myself to someone who doesn't matter...or feeling rejected by system or a person when really their prospective is simply that-theirs and I do not have to take ownership of it.

So, how do you do that...how do you begin to measure and appreciate your own "value add" to your family, your spouse, your career, your ministry. For me, its simple things..like when someone says something disrespectful to me or seems to not really care about what I think..I say inwardly "they simply have no idea who I am" and smile. I also don't answer "restricted" or unknown calls on my phone. Sounds silly...but think about it..whoever is calling you has YOUR number..if they feel comfortable enough calling you..why should it be under cloak and dagger ?? Who are they that I can't have their phone number although I have entrusted them with mine? So, people that do that, can leave a message with a number so I can call them back at a number or reach me another way. Sounds simple, but it just one way I constantly remind myself that HEY, I'm important too. Not because of anything I have done, but because of "Who" I belong to.

So, put the people that really matter in your life first. Honor those that deserve honor and who sow honor into you. Those that seem to disregard you, or ignore you...well..move on. Love them from afar, pray for them from even farther, serve them in wisdom, but don't allow yourself to get drained at the expense of those that need you and truly love you. Love puts their needs first and they simply need YOU.