It’s something worth repeating: you are accepted. You are good enough right where you are; muffin top and all. I say this because it’s incredible how much in our society people are searching. Searching for that one thing to make them more well; accepted. The search for love on television shows; hoping that one guy or gal they meet and spend 3 hours with will want them. The search for 5,000 facebook fake friends to add to the mix, the drinking group that just accepts you becaues you can handle more tequilla shots than the next person. You can search everywhere for acceptance or you can accept that you are accepted and good enough right where you sit. You don’t even need a Mac!
There is no need to go about life trying to change who you are. It won’t work. It can’t. Those that would accepte you based upon the fake you will eventually see the truth and then what? You are starting your search over again seeking elsewhere for that acceptance that doesn’t exist.
You don’t need to beg for roses, have sex on the first date; or drink yourself into oblivion to impress others who are drunk. You just don’t. You don’t have to have bigger muscles or better car either. See; Jesus doesn’t care about any of that. He is much wiser to see the core of who you. the best part? He loves you despite of your shortcomings.
It took me a long time to get to a place of 1) accepting Jesus, 2) accepting the fact that He already accepted me, 3) accepting myself. I had no idea what that meant at the time. I only knew that what I was doing wasn’t working. How about you? Are you tired of searching? Are you tired of being where you are? Perhaps is the day you try something new. Perhaps today is your day to believe and receive. Perhaps today is a new day where you see just how accepted you truly are.
It’s a simple question yet one all too often overlooked. I found myself looking in the mirror the other day and thought it would be like any other day. Well; it wasn’t. It reminded of years ago when I was challenged to sit in front of a mirror and just stare at myself to see what God sees. That’s a challenge all right; with a life changing outcome!
I ask you again- what are you investing in you? I took a long look not at the Eva Mendez mole that I have that people tend to comment on, not on the grey hair here or there that no one but me sees; but just a long look. It caused me to step back for a moment and pause.
How about you? Do you spend far too much time looking but not seeing? Perhaps now is the time to look at your investment and reflect on what your return on it actually is. You may be surprised.
What I saw has caused much change in my life. It’s always a challenge to go for radical change although if you don’t where will you be? You can’t do what you have always done and then not expect to get what you have always gotten. It just doesn’t work like that.
What did I see? I saw areas that need different investment for larger return.
1- I saw I was investing or sowing more in others than they were in me. I reflected on the relationships in my life where I gave more than I was receiving in return. I need to invest more in me and others who are not the sucker branches where I am better able to bring ripe fruit into my life.It’s not a selfish thing but reflecting on me and where I am to where I want to go and grow.
2- I saw the physical effects that Dallas has had on me and well; all the people I have met who too have moved from other healthy and fit cities. I didn’t beat myself up over what I saw but rather gravitated toward a lifestyle of one that will produce healthy results for lasting living and lifelong impact.
3- I saw an investment in a career that I dreamed of that isn’t quite the reality as I believe most people experience. Remember the days when McDonald’s was good? Sure you know what I am talking about? When you are able to see it for what you are you can make the change. I have better boundaries, hours; and results in the end.
4- I saw that life will suck the life out of you if you are not actively investing in yourself. I don’t mean the purchase of a new car, more clothes; or material things. I mean investing in you. The person that you are. There will always be more debt for a vehicle, more clothes that will be outdated in a few months; more tweets to post about it all and that isn’t investing in you. That is nothing but the trap of society to keep you from the right focus for actual living. Take a step back and look. Step back and see.
It’s all about choice. Choice to see. Choice to pay attention. Choice to change. Choice to choose. You may want to get on board and do something now before it’s too late. You would hate to not invest in the one thing that can change your life and then have to tell that to others what you never did.
There is no one like you. Some of you may be thinking ‘no kidding’ but know it’s true in the best way possible. You are unique; you were created one of a kind. There is nothing that anyone can do exactly like you. You were created to be you and there is no other.
Sometimes in life we get so caught up in the frenzy of living that we don’t recognize what we actually bring to the world. Think about it. When was the last time you were truly recognized for who you are and the value of you and not what you have done for the benefit of a company’s profit.
So on this day the value that you bring is larger than you think. The value of your smile to someone thinking about taking his or her life. The value you bring to your family even when you say nothing at all. The value of your ideas that will be tomorrow’s life saver. The value of your heart that you have that is shown to the world shared even when you are sleeping. The value of friendship you offer to those in quiet places that only need someone as strong as you to be a friend. There is never anything that can take away the value of you; unless you beleive the lie and accept you have none.
You were wonderfully made. You were hand crafted for a special purpose with special meaning; and there is value in that. You are the head and not the tail and were created to live above and not below. You are a masterpiece; beautiful in every way. You are one of a kind and that my friend is invaluable.
Let me first start by declaring it bold: YOU are needed. Yes you. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing; or however you are feeling today you are needed.
The feeling of not being needed is a trap; especially for single people who have no children. The purposelessness can begin to overtake that person into a depression and let it be clear that regardless of what your marital or parental status is; you are needed.
You are needed for what you bring to those around you. You have a smile that shines ever so bright. You have a laugh that many need on those days when their children and spouse are more than what they want. Your strength in heart and muscle are needed for those who simple need you.
For so long I lived my life not recognizing this. How could I? I was abandoned as a child, lived in a foster home; homeless at 15 and single. Who on earth would need me? What would I be needed for? I couldn’t quite grasp the concept until well; I got beyond myself to see that I wouldn’t be here otherwise. I am needed and you are too. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Don’t ever underestimate the fact that you are needed. You may never know when someone who is hurting would be blessed by you. If you fall into the trap of not seeing it; you too will lose out on the blessing.
Let today that your little light shine and smile at those who may not be smiling. Smile because you have a purpose and you my friend are needed.
The eyes reveal much. There is no doubt. What you see is something that should be paid attention to; or else the entire essence of the message is lost. There is no time to not see what is being revealed. Never. Not when what is what is being shared is probably the most personal and insightful intimate thing that the person is revealing. To ignore it is sin.
I speak at women’s conferences and retreats about beauty and image; although not from the perspective most think. Beauty isn’t about the focus on the outward person. It just isn’t. I do understand that men are visual so there is no need to dispute this. We know and yes we also know that women are visual too. The point is that true beauty goes beyond what people see initially and it’s so unfortunate that our culture is so focused on what they see instantly instead of what they would actually see if they took more than a second.
In a consumeristic society the trends are buy more of this, show more of that; leaving woman and young girls more confused than ever as to what beauty is. It’s unfortunate that as a gender we have lost our way. Beauty in reality should be reflective of the essence of a woman and with more healing from past wounds only allows the internal light of a beautiful to shine through.
When we cover our eyes from the pain from the past or use clothing to reveal what need not be to the world; we only distort the true message of our personal beauty and value. This must be undone. We cannot continue to allow our beauty to be hidden all the while letting society use us for the sake of selling what they deem beauty is when in fact it is nothing more than fleeting.
Years ago I tested a theory of a woman’s dress to the level of eye contact she received from others. The findings revealed the more revealing the clothing less eye contact the woman received. Whether or not the clothing choices were conscious or subconscious wasn’t the exact point. What was most telling was that of the women’s beauty and direct line to who she is was the most hidden. The clothing proved to be a distraction from what women wanted revealed. That saddened me then and still does today. It told me that women are deceived to thinking that they are nothing more than objects to be looked over instead of looked at. Nothing is further from the truth.
While we have a long way to go to get to the definition of what beauty is known this: the world and Word have different ideas of beauty. Don’t get caught up in what anyone other than He says about how beautiful you are; and how your eyes are the light to your soul. Work inward first as the more you do the more of your beauty will shine through; and it’s time the world gets to see your little light shine. Don’t you think?
Great relationships don’t come without effort. It is not possible to be in healthy relationships and contribute nothing. Relationships require commitment, communication, sometimes sacrifice; and most of all forgiveness. All of these require that focus is not on self. This was a tough lesson for me to learn. I spent most of my life alone and growing myself up. I was 15 and homeless and put myself through college. I was a warrior! It was all about me; and when it wasn’t it still was. Trust me.
When I met my mom in 2003 for the first time that was an experience to say the least! It wasn’t until 2007 that we connected again. She disappeared again which made things difficult and to be honest; I didn’t care because I wanted nothing to do with her in the first place. Anyway; that is a separate story altogether but for the sake of this I had to learn how to relate to her as the mother and also learn how to be a daughter. I never really got that experience so needless to say it proved to be something I knew nothing about. Was it work? Absolutely! It was beyond anything I ever imagined and there was no ‘wanna get away’ escape from it either! I could only wish! And I did!
While I had been a speech professor for almost a decade by this time; I thought my communication skills were effective. Why wouldn’t I? Boy was I proved wrong! It wasn’t until I started communicating more with my mother that I learned just how much I had to learn. I had to deal with my own personal issues in order to be effective in communicating with her; else we could never build a healthy and functional relationship. I remember daily when she would call screaming at the top of her lungs how much she hated Dallas. Well; who could blame her? It’s hot and humid here. Ironic since she moved from Houston but still. It was a daily issue and I learned that my reaction only fed it. I needed to shut up and listen. What a lesson as there wasn’t much I was used to not having an opinion about. I had a lot of growing to do. I had to put down the cell phone and pay attention. I had to stop texting and pay attention. I had to look at my mother in the face and pay attention. I had to get over myself and just pay attention. I had to do it. Perhaps you are in a place where you need to just stop and pay attention for the sake of the relationship and those who are important in your life.
What I have learned are amazing things! While my mother has been diagnosed with every mental disorder you can imagine and is unable to physically care for herself; she will blow your mind! She is in the second phase of testing to be on Jeopardy. Who knew? I’ve learned that when she doesn’t want to talk about things that are too personal; like who my father is- she gets silent. When she has an answer she is very direct with her ‘yes’ and ‘fine’. Check out the segment from The Today Show and see what I mean as it’s hilarious! She holds nothing back. I learned that that is where I get it from and why my nickname in powder puff football in high school was ‘Mouth’. Go figure.
I’ve learned that my mom laughs a lot. She enjoys life now even though she no longer lives on her own. She gave up everything to move from Houston to Dallas to build a relationship with me. She did that for me. She has a warm heart and would give you the jacket off her back; and did to many on the streets even when she herself was homeless and cold. I’ve learned that even though her left ankle is swollen to her knee and the doctors have no clue why; she never complains about it. She just rangers on. Not only that; it doesn’t bother her to take a pair of scissors to cut her pants off at the bottom instead of sewing them. She just walks on and sings Queen songs all the way. Be aware if you take her to any musical show she will sing every song to your embarrassment.
The biggest lesson that I must share and admit is embarrassing; is that until I got over myself I couldn’t see her for who she is in my life. She is my mother and at times I struggled with that. I wanted anyone but her to be my mom. I know it’s not nice to admit but it’s true. I wanted someone more well; motherly. My mother is not nurturing and that’s ok. She still holds the title of mom and that’s enough. Once I really grasped the importance of obedience to the Word I saw that ‘Honor Your Mother and Father’ didn’t mean if you like them, if they are a Kennedy; or anything else. It just reads to do it. Once I got this and learned that it wasn’t always about me my life changed. Her life changed. Our lives changed. Isn’t that what it’s about anyway?
Life is about relationships. It’s about each of us growing and changing and experiencing with others. Life is also short. I lost 25 years of time with my mom and I can tell you that having that time back would be a blessing unimaginable; but it’s never going to happen. I can only relish in today and the time that we have to learn and relate to one another; to grow together and enjoy life together. I hope that for you too that on this day; you reflect on those in your life and what you can truly learn by relating to them in new ways. I assure you; you won’t regret it.
Forgiveness is the most wonderful thing in the world. It changes lives, heals and restores. There is nothing that can move mountains quicker than forgiveness. How do I know? Simple. I lived a life of unforgiveness for more years than I care to admit.
What I can share with you honestly is that many years of my life were filled with hatred, resentment, bitterness and more. All the cousins of unforgiveness were alive and well; killing me. I didn’t have many healthy relationships, patience or positivity. While I didn’t care about any of that; I was living the way I knew. I lived a life of unforgiveness.
It wasn’t until I was shown the true process of forgiveness; what it meant and the impact that it would have on my life. I am forever changed by getting over myself. Imagine how that happens! See; I had been deceived for many years thinking that I had forgave those who hurt me although the symptoms were there. I hadn’t truly done anything but give lip service. Lip service my friends is nothing more than mental rationalization to continue to harbor what you want without consequence. It never works.
Once I was real with myself nothing was ever the same. Once I mad the choice to forgive my life changed and in big ways. See; everything internal manifests itself outward and the more I forgave those in my past for what they did to me my eye color changed and my voice changed. While it may be subtle the changes are evident without a doubt. Doors opened in ways unimaginable.
The biggest and most life changing event in my life was being reunited with my mother. I hated her for so long. Don’t be shocked- you probably would too if you went through some of the things I did. But I digress since that is not the point. My mother is a wonderful person who deserves as much love as the rest of us. My mother is someone who made a mistake and who am I to harbor unforgivess toward her? I had to learn and recognize that I too have made mistakes and if others were as unforgiving toward me as I was toward my mother where would any of us be?
My mother and I today are great! Her life has changed much from the time when she lived on the street corner in Houston before we met. We have a relationship and that is something that neither of us ever would have expected; especially from where we were. This in reality; is what forgiveness does. It heals, it restores; it reconciles. It changes people lives for the better of everyone we come into contact about. So my friends; who can you forgive today? Who’s life besides your own can you change?
Hatred is an evil thing; it always has been and always will be. It never comes out in first place and it never brings peace. It brings with it its nasty cousins of anger, bitterness, resentment; and revenge.
The only way to combat it is with love. Love toward those who hate, love toward those who are bitter, resentful; unforgiving. Love is the only answer. Always. Love prevails.
Such is the case with Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty. Those who hate Christians are not prevailing; they just aren’t. Those who think that siding with hate is the answer are not winning; they are merely showing their hand of intolerance of others with different opinions. They are showing their ignorance. Cracker Barrel is one who is proving their stance which is a shame. They are showing they are not acting very loving. Of course Phil Robertson has already come out stating he loves his neighbors although that seems to be overlooked. Oh the irony.
The result is being seen. Love wins. Duck Dynasty now has 2 offers on the table from other networks for their show. Daystar and Glenn BeckTv have stepped up to help against the wickedness we are seeing over a 67 year old man with an opinion. Interesting enough those who hate Phil Robertson’s opinion aren’t in danger of losing their jobs. Just watch and see the love prevail. Watch and see.
Hatred came against Chick-fil-A and guess what? Love prevailed. Chick-fil-A locations sold out of all their food before 12pm and still had lines of people coming for support. And even later that night numerous locations were vandalized by those who hate. Why? Why show your hatred through tearing people down? The most ironic thing of all: Chick-fil-A franchise still does almost 1 million more in business than it’s closest competitor McDonald’s. And they’re closed on Sundays!
It’s a lesson we all need to learn. Whether it’s hating those who are Christian, those who are gay, those who are short; or those who are geeks, or overweight it doesn’t matter. Hatred spreads like a cancer to destroy the lives of those who it comes into contact with. Why let it fill your soul? Why let it take over minute by minute? Why get on its bandwagon and show it to the world that it has control over you and just how fast you are dying?
Why not love instead? Why not understand that you are not the only one with an opinion. Why not let go of the fact that you are not the judge of the universe. None of us are. You are not the one who has any right to take away someone else’s opinion, shut down their business; or take away their employment. If no one is doing it to you on this day you should be celebrating; or watch out. Those who hate will come after you if you aren’t careful. I’m sure when it hits you would want someone to come out in love of support of you right? It’s a lesson of thinking about how we treat others and if we would want them to treat us the same way.
You see; I lived a life of hatred so I know what it’s like. It’s not enjoyable, restful or peaceful. It’s endless, relentless; and madness- all the time. It brings nothing good. It can’t. It simply cannot. We can see that with those who are attempting to destroy others in the name of a difference of opinion are not going to be well received in the end. It’s backfiring folks; it always does. When will the picture be clear? Hatred never wins.
God will bring judgement on those He sees fit when He sees it fit to do so. He always does. But in the meantime if each one of us does our part to recognize that loving our neighbor is the only way we will get much further. When we recognize that what we all are guilty of having opinions but we love anyway; we will prevail. When we recognize that we have to love ourselves in order to love others; it will be amazing what we can accomplish. It’s the recent events of tearing a family down that is only show us just how far we still have to go. Perhaps that should be the largest new years resolution people make. Love. Simple love.
Maybe you remember it; it was the called ‘conversation’. People did it at neighbors homes, at the park; in line at the grocery store. It’s time to reclaim it; unless it’s too late.
If you are one who relishes the time when getting to know someone meant a face to face interaction you are in good company. If you remember phone calls you are in good company. It seems now; nothing is face to face nor is it even verbal. While many of you gadget lovers out there may say I am old fashioned know that there are still some things you can’t do through texting; and those that you can do may not be the best. Let me break it down:
1-Read non verbal communication. Studies still reveal that 93% of daily communication is nonverbal. You are missing the truth of what someone is saying when you get away from the face-to face conversation.
2- Build intimate relationships: Yes I am aware people may argue this but how many people are actually getting engaged and celebrating their weddings through texting?
3- Grow business. A few years ago my then hair stylist thought it was a good idea to communicate all of her advertising, appointments; and other pertinent information via text. Needless to say that didn’t last long! If you idea of business is without ever having a conversation you may want to reflect as to whether or not you should even be in business.
4- Get a job. Sure you may be able to text 957,302 words per minute but so what? Can you actually answer the question in the interview, ‘how do you resolve conflict’ without needing to look down to text it? Effective communication skills are really a vital skill regardless of your texting abilities. Want a promotion? I’m sure that too will require ability to speak to others. Ironically; did you know that the two skills college graduates lack that employers want above all are written and verbal communication skills?
Some other things that aren’t the best are:
1- Texting while driving. Duh-big red truck. Just the other day I was driving and looked to my right and immediately felt I was in a scene from the Bourne series as the driver was driving a vehicle that came from Goa and portrayed the demeanor of those in that car chase scene. He was flamboyantly carrying on his texting conversation and the ‘oops’ hit the car in front of him. Good thing we were parked at a light right? Well; not necessarily. There was no damage so the driver let him off and then guess what- the next light- he almost did it again. It’s apparent that the wake-up call for some needs to be a bit louder to get the message. Let’s hope that people like this drive into walls instead of other cars so as not to hurt or kill innocent people.
2- Texting while walking. If you ever go to Wal-Mart you probably know the parking lot is a dangerous place. Why on earth people would dare to walk through any Wal-Mart parking lot while texting is crazy! Two young people were almost run over because it never occurred to them to look up when walking.
3- Acquiring a girlfriend or boyfriend. If the purpose of dating is to get to know someone; if the belief is that texting only to build a relationship is going to work this could be a reason why you are single. Texting may work to coordinate plans but if no one ever picks up the phone to have a conversation; how far is that relationship actually going to go? For many women; if a man is not able to dial the number and call her she will lose interest quicker than the Cowboys lose a football game. (Sorry but it’s true!)
To to the art of the conversation it’s quite simple. Check it out:
1- Put down the phone. Isn’t the person you want to get to know more important than your germ infested phone?
2- Look at the person. Doesn’t the person giving you his or her time at least deserve that?
3- Listen. Yes this is a tricky one since people have lost ability to do that since they text so much. Listen is where you show eye contact, paraphrase what the person is saying, ask questions; respond. You will be amazed to what you learn from focusing on something and not some gadget.
4- Recognize that that could be the last time you ever see that person again. See friends; we take too much for granted. We have lost our way and it’s terribly sad. We as a society have become so engrossed in all the things unimportant that what is most important and waiting for us is just ignored. How many of you have people you have lost in your life that you would love to have back? I’m sure there are many that would as their lives were gone much too soon. We can learn that lesson from Paul Walker who was recently laid to rest.
None of have any guarantees of life after this very moment. You may have the coolest phone but wouldn’t you prefer to have the coolest friends and the coolest memories with them? I know I do! I would venture to say that getting time with them and having conversation is probably the best first step to take. It’s not that you are building memories staring at your screen while your chin falls lower each day. You can though; be building those memories of time spent together having meaningful conversations. So go now; and use your phone for something productive and schedule time with someone!