Thinking out loud while "changing my thinking"

in Him


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Don’t quench the fire

Just as I was finally calming the scatterbrain, beginning to read my bible in the midst of talking to Him…I started thinking about the camping trip I will be missing out on…because I am attending the Rocky Mountain Magnetic Resonance Conference in Denver.

I thought of the missed opportunities to connect with people and to observe them in a different setting… Boy do I LOVE seeing people in a variety of experiences… so much to learn! Then somehow, my brain went into how I would want to be known as well, in a different setting…

I started thinking about, how the only way to share who you are, is by letting people see who you are in a variety of environments… the only way for someone to truly, find some level of attraction to you…that is beyond the physical… is by them experiencing your fire burn…the warmth that they enjoy being around, the radiance of personality, the pain that comes from being scorched by your anger (maybe a little reach with word choices here LOL)… etc…

I thought of the this guy, who is going on this camping trip, and how I consider him decent physically, but have found his personality attractive for a while… and some of his challenges in pursuing women…I thought of how he is successful career wise and financially… etc… yet single. And in the maze of thoughts, fast pictures  of a number of my single female friends… especially the ones who have never even dated…and how they see themselves because they have gone “unnoticed” for so many years of their lives. I thought of the convo I shared with another friend where she emphasized the importance of preparing yourself for marriage etc.. Again a topic most married couples seem to elude to, saying they didn’t realize how different marriage actually is.

Entangled in my web of thoughts, was the article I just read about Tina Turner (73) getting married to german music producer, Erwin Bach, in switzerland yesterday… after 27 years of dating. 27!!! I can only imagine  what caused that delay…between her past experiences and maybe wondering if there was any real reason to get married… who knows…

But what I noticed from one of the photos of her and the new hubbie, is that she was just radiant…absolutely gorgeous. And He looked enamored with the sight of her. After 27 years, of which they probably lived in their house for at least a decade, if not more… he simply looked like the doting husband.. who was happy to finally put a ring on it.

And I could not help but think about how we should NOT let our fire die out! More than learning to keep house… to cook… to dress for various occasions… and manage money (PLEASE DO… very important considering its one of the leading causes of problems in marriages… I pray I get better at this myself)…and getting physically healthy for yourself and your family (Extremely important, hence I started slowly working out a few days a week, 2 weeks ago)…

Besides these practical preparation steps… I think during these times, rather than become disheartened…losing hope… or even having such a low self-image… for example, thinking you must not have anything to offer.. or are unattractive… BURN EVEN BRIGHTER

Become more confident in being yourself in every circumstance…

I saw an ad on Facebook, which used an old George Elliot quote “It’s never too late to become what you might have been” …showing the legs of a runner.. I believe it was for Zephyrhills… and I was like YEA! (mainly because my goal is to one day be a runner! lol)

Bottom line, be who YOU are created to be… FULLY… and let the God given relational experiences teach you how to be even better!

Dive into those friendships, no matter the risk of judgement, hurt, loss, etc… and be the best friend you can be… and let those experiences reveal your selfishness, childishness, wrong thoughts… and allow yourself to experience the grace of being sharpened!

You can only become more radiant.. more attractive…and more secure!

At this stage in the game… what will hiding in a corner, holding back who you are and feeling inadequate really accomplish? Absolutely nothing!

So if you are single… at least enjoy who you are and let the people you come in contact with be left with a mark from the encounter!

 

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Dating Standards

Tonight, I decided to skim through Clutch Magazine online since multiple pages of the website were left up (on my computer) by a friend of mine, who seems to love reading their articles. Though I have never seen the purpose of reading this mag (for reasons I will not expound upon here), I decided to give it a shot and dive in.

As expected, articles ranged from struggles with “transitioning” from relaxed to natural hair; to debates on whether some young black boys were either sexually abused, gay, or just influenced by some of the horrendous “music” that is put out in today’s culture; to people’s blatant opinion on why black women should ditch college and get married… essentially, its like the soap opera of whatever seems relevant to the “black community” at the present moment.

Though I will choose not to focus on the overall magazine, there was one article in particular that seemed worth commenting on.. mainly because I have had a number of discussions and/or debates with people about the general topic.

“My Panties Are Staying On If…” dealt with some of the challenges faced by the writer as she decided to return to the dating scene following a 2 year hiatus from her “insecure and possessive lush of an ex-boyfriend.” But what intrigues me about the article, really has nothing to do with the title… but more so with some of the commentary made by readers supporting the notion of a man not being worthy if he does not have a job and at least a bachelors degree.

Of all the comments, one woman mentioned how she passed up multiple good men in her lifetime due to being “selective”… aka having standards…

Good points but be careful ladies, you get my age and you realize these are just rules. I passed on so many great men and now in mid age, I know that all I want is a man who loves and respects me. I wish the guy I loved had money but he doesn’t. I am ok with that because no one can love me like he.

Somehow, present culture has taught us that meeting standards are what make us worth something. We are groomed that we must be educated to attain decent jobs, to be respectable, to be of value in society… and nowadays, it appears to even be worthy of love.

But why?

When did it become a crime to just be a good hearted, decent human being, who works hard and is supportive? Who says that everyone who has achieved “success” in manners we can measure (ex. income, degrees, etc) are truly the ones worth considering?

But most of all, do WE want to be held to those standards? Do WE want to be judged based on our merits?

I personally think someones character is what will dictate the future of a relationship. Their character will greatly influence the values instilled in the family hoped for. And I surely, do not want someone looking at my track record… though I may be educated, my net worth is definitely in the red.

Don’t get me wrong, if you happen to meet that guy who is “successful” according to whatever standards there are… and is truly of upstanding character… a blissful future I bid you.

But do I personally think elimination based on a list makes sense? No. And chances are, if you are miserable in your singleness because of this… you might want to loosen the grip just a little bit, see beyond the list, and evaluate them on something that counts for more.


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Quick fix

 

In the past, I used to spend a lot of my time dwelling in pits of loneliness…deep, painful, dark and cold pits of loneliness. Basically intolerable. Points where I would utterly question my entire existence on this planet we call earth… and would have relief in the idea of being gone…dead…

I would imagine if then, my life would suddenly matter to those around me…like I was having an outer body experience picturing the scenery as certain friends, colleagues, associates, etc would be in shock at my suddenly being plucked from their lives…from this world. I thought of those who might even shed tears when they learned of my passing… and I literally felt more loved in those made up scenes in my head than I did in the state I was in.

I imagined the regret of people who did not take the time to care for my soul.. the people who took me for granted… the one’s who could not see me and truly know the depths of my pain.

Sounds pretty dark… but this description only expresses the surface of what was my reality.

I chose various methods of escape, whether it was sexual, food, people, entertainment, alcohol, etc… all the standard things that are used to give me a purpose in that moment…a promise to elevate me out of that darkness.

Despite knowing time and time again that the quick fixes would leave me dissatisfied at the end… unfulfilled… and plunge me deeper into nothingness…I found myself addicted to the idea .. addicted to that moment of having a purpose and acting on it.

Today, I can say, a lot of those addictions are gone… some by choice, some not so much… while others are a work in progress… but has my battle with loneliness ended? or have I found more acceptable “quick fixes”? Or am I coping with loneliness in more wholesome ways?

One thing I can definitely say, is though I am alone…and have been alone for a long time now (even in the midst of relationships)… today I realized that I am not actually lonely. I miss having close, intimate relations in the form of truly sharing myself with someone… my thoughts, feelings, weaknesses and strengths, etc… i miss learning through the reflection of my character those relations offer… but i am not in pain.. there is actually a peace about where I am now… though I am alone..

and though a big part of me wants people who I care about or miss or love or whatever…to reach out… to speak to me… to tell me every once in a while that they are there for me etc.. I’m actually okay with where I am right now…

To answer the questions I posed earlier… I do not think my battle with loneliness has ended…i think its dormant… I think I am in the “cease-fire” of it all… Do I have more “acceptable” quick fixes? Maybe.. possibly, blogging is one of them for me…its a way to share what I think and feel without fighting for someones undivided attention and wondering if I am boring them to death or sounding too self-absorbed or whatever else… And yes, I am coping in more wholesome ways… when isolation does not seem like what I need in the moment… I extend myself beyond my boundaries and connect healthily to others.. or I just spend it with Him.

But I do believe the more I connect with Him, the more I make choices to be in good relationships, and resist all temptation of my mind to think on lies… the more I will experience transformation from the inside out… the more I will experience freedom and truly be content.

No relationship, no status, no popularity, no illusion of love, no knowledge about, no substance/material… will ever fill those pits. I’ve tried it all. My hope rests in Him.

http://www.footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php

 


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The Cardinal Sin

 

I have been out-of-town for 2 days, with a large group of what I will refer to as my adoptive family (truly love the bunch). But before I expand on other thoughts and experiences I had during the trip…there seems to be a greater sense of urgency for me to uncover a huge error on my part…

As you can imagine, I was tagging along on a family vacation to Universal Orlando…so naturally, this in itself, is a somewhat chaotic venture being that we had 8 adults, 1 teenager, and 2 babies (a 5 and 3-year-old)…all piled in 2 hotel rooms (not suites by any stretch aka SMALL)…and 2 vans.

My little sister and myself, were assigned to ride with the married couple and their 5-year-old for the trips to the theme parks… so during these periods I was able to see, hear, and basically share in the experience of their married life… whether I wanted to or not. And trust me, I am leaning more to the NOT.

It’s one thing to witness my spiritual parents marriage, where a certain level of comfort and understanding has developed over the years of our growing relationship.. it’s a totally different ball game when dealing with people who you feel at home with (definitely give them credit for being warm and welcoming)… but have rarely encountered…aka AWKWARD!

What I came to notice is that the husband appeared to have the same “always right” attitude that I have come to not be a fan of…despite my own friends saying I have the same quality. But it was not so much the attitude that bugged me, as it was the way of speech… the sarcasm, the tone, … all seemed pretty disrespectful… though the transparency is admirable… it struck a chord with me…

As I watched the occasional bickering over minor details such as when and how directions were given… to temper tantrums over being hit a certain way – though there was an attempt to dial it down with justification of how the hit was executed … to criticisms of what was being done… etc…

Now here I have to PAUSE…

Mind you, I identify with these things… I throw tantrums over minor things because I want the other person to acknowledge how what was done to me was in fact significant just because I feel that way

And as much as I don’t like to be constantly corrected aka criticized when I do things, I am also known to be the criticizer…to the T.

But watching these things as an outsider makes you realise all the more why they wrote a book called “putting away childish things”…

So during one of the few distasteful meals we had there, while he was messing with me and just being his typical self… I made the comment, “all I have to say is [your wife] is truly special and very patient”… SMH SMH SMH … oh boy… joke or not…serious or not… real or not… WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!???!!!  WHO DOES THAT!!!???!!!

At the time, I did not think too much on what I said, but when it came back in the midst of another one of those bickering’s.. I thought to myself, you truly over stepped your boundaries…

As he mentioned sarcastically, “why don’t you find something else you can criticize […]”…and said how his wife had a fan (me.. smh)… I was like… man… you surely should learn to just shut up.

I meant no harm by my statement.. but it taught me a real lesson…never commit the cardinal sin of inferring and/or interjecting nada, when it comes to married couples… for at this point, they are one. Whatever is said even suggestively about one half… can be harmful to the other half…even if it seems not to be so offensive.

I sent an apologetic text this morning after I got over the, ugh… how should I rectify this situation… and he graciously let me know they took no offense…

Life lesson learned!

 


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Where does this all end?

 

As I heard my phone alarm go off, still in a state of daze…I laid there… and all I could say to Him is, “I am tired, I don’t want to get up…”

For most people, this is the norm. This is there natural response to wanting to continue their love affair with sleep. But for me, this was a cry of uncertainty as to whether I can keep going on.

I have always been one to wake up early… (like it or not)…energetic… lively…and a lot of times, really happy and/or joyful!. But this past week and a half especially, has been sheer torture.

I have literally run myself into the ground in every possible way and have reached my limit. The point where the hidden questions and deep thoughts of my heart make it to the forefront of mind like loudspeakers on max.

The Why’s, What’s, Who’s, When’s, … you name it… they are all there.

Clearly, very emotion driven at this point because I am physically worn out… but the good thing about these moments… periods… what I can refer to as “desperation points”.. is that I become all the more convinced of … certain of… why I am in the state I am in… what it’s going to take to get out of this state… who I can truly depend on… and of when (hopefully) and where I can finally find my rest. When I come to these points.. I begin to realise what’s an illusion and what’s real. I begin to see through the “smoke and mirrors” all over again… and the path… the ONLY path becomes more obvious…

Sad to say, but i’m also beginning to realise how true it is that suffering… in whatever form it comes in, seems to plunge us into these points of despair, making us all the more willing to find the source of our hope… our faith… whatever that might look like to the average human being. Some search for it…others return to it…either way, no one can truly do without it…

We are in need…and those needs have to be met.Image

 


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Is bubble gum a junk food?

 

Game nights are typically considered a fun, lighthearted opportunity for a group of friends and even “guests” to get together without all the pressure of being a good conversationalist…low expectation of reaching some deeper level relationally…and though some social awkardness may occur due to varying personalities (etc), it is easily forgiven and brushed off.  Tonight however, turned it to a major battle of egos over bubble gum. Bubble gum….
From the point of my arrival, we made it through Taboo with the competitives being able to show grace to the newbies..then we moved onto mafia which thrusted us into a different facet of interactions because the accused had to either defend themselves and/or convince others of who the killer could be…etc… this is where people began to cross lines (boundaries of being polite especially when you are not familiar with the other people playing) in saying one person looked guilty…or in my case I liberally accused someone, who I later found out was completely innocent, of being scandalous.
However, scattegories once again, took the medal for game night spiralling out of control.
We made it through 3 rounds of challenging letters and categories…with fun, weird, and some outrageous answers that were just plain desperate…but even when conflicts in opinion occurred, we were able to settle them through majority votes or just decisions to let it go.
But then came that infamous last round that people just had to tack on…the letter rolled was B…and we were all determined to make it count.  What’s amazing about it is that  everything was going fairly cordially and each pair (team) was gaining points, but when we got to “a type of junk food”…and bubble gum became the subject of debate…it was all over.
The tensions in the room grew…muscles in peoples necks tightened…tones and pitches began to vary indicating increased intensity…to the point the people began to point at one another, stand in order to dominate the situation (a classic approach when taking a stance)….but even as i watched things escalate and tried to intervene…at a certain point I realised there was no going back….too many lines had been crossed…too many offenses had been made by commentary that were condescending…marked separation in educational background…and then the snap! before you know it…arms were  flailing in the air, words that were now directed towards the people involved completely…no longer just the object of the debate…”is bubble gum a junk food?”
Absolute catastrophe…eventually the two main egos that were clashing ended up in separate rooms.
As you can imagine, game night ended abruptly…and the real question became, was it really worth it? Would they be able to move forward from this?
How would this affect their relationship?
The first question is so easily answered…for one point, in the game of scattegories, pride truly could have been set aside….and the biblical principle of esteeming others/ prefering others as better than yourself…basically loving one another as Christ loved us…would have been the true star of the night…a true demonstration of the gospel.
But for now, all that is left, is an opportunity for people to choose to learn and grow from this experience…and that is my hope…that wisdom and love will prevail…and rather than loss of relationship, a closer one will develop with deeper understanding and respect for one another.

 


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Chatter box

 

So we are all sitting here, waiting for our flight which I now believe will be departing late…boy, I hope I make my connecting flight….and this older lady starts up a conversation with me based on seeing the cinnabon I was eating. oh how ironic to hear her ask about it telling me it looks delicious…but even after I confirmed that it was just okay… She proceeds to tell me how she cant do it even though it looks good because she has lost so much weight…two sizes to be exact. I congratulated her, and then she proceeded to tell me about her wardrobe…and then her life story. The whole time as I tried to listen with intention, I kept wondering, is she talking this much because she is truly just so friendly and open as a person? Is it part of her southern hospitality? Is she just lonely? Within a  few minutes I saw a pic of her 16-year-old daughter…found out she is 58…learned of some of the new items she got on this trip to be with her sister…heard how her parents courted (the thing they did back then as she exclaimed), then got married…learned of some alcoholic relative…how her second husband died when their daughter was 3…etc. Eventually I had to.go.to.the bathroom because I knew it wud be cleaner here than anywhere else…so I stepped away once there was a break due.to.flight announcements…. A part of me ks curious to know what drives people like this, where they don’t follow the norm pattern of pretending to.be interested in the other person to balance the conversation….is it just loneliness? could it be they are just conceited and feel so important? Or what?…