Breathing

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Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to breathe, for lifting the load that I didn’t even know was crushing me. Today is a good day, just because I know You’re keeping me. -The Storm Maven
Yesterday, I was on the highway just driving, thinking, and jamming to Babyface: Behind the Boards (good stuff on iTunes). The sun was beaming; outside, the breeze was blowing, and I was breathing. Not just regular inhaling and exhaling, I simply felt lighter than I have in a long time and able to breathe with depth.

Things are difficult for me right now, and this faith stuff is hard to push through when what I see doesn’t line up with what I know to be true about myself. You know, what God says about me. Trust me. He says a lot of good stuff about what He has for me as a Christian and personal things, too, but I digress.

I found myself feeling happy and empowered despite what was currently taking place in my life. I was on my way out of town to handle some business that I really didn’t feel like handling, driving a car that may quit any minute, on tires that could just blow; yet I was breathing. Feeling okay. Basking in the sunshine. Praising the Lord for His magnificence and great care, because I knew-in that moment-my faith had not been in vain, and everything would be alright. Right now, my situation has not changed. Anything could happen at any given moment, but I choose to believe-no matter what happens-He is forever Amazing and able to handle all my circumstances so much better than I can.

If you’re feeling crushed and are living in disbelief of The Promise, just hang on in there and wait. He’ll show up when you least expect it. I promise! You will breathe again.

Remember this: “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

http://bible.com/114/psa.27.14.nkjv

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Batsh** Crazy, But in the Meantime…

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I prayed. I really did, and I meant it, but things did not go well. 

Like Paul, I have a thorn in my flesh. Although Paul did not name his, my thorn has a name. I have to look at it, interact with it, and tolerate it. No matter how nice or accommodating I am, it just presses deeper. So, one morning when I’d had enough, I called our family’s junior Jesus (my mother) to ask for advice. 

And in her typical junior-Jesus fashion, she simply stated, “Pray for her. I dare you. 😌 Pray that God blesses her more than He blesses you, and if it doesn’t help her, it’ll sure help you.” I knew she was going to say this, because she’d told me this same thing when I was in the middle of what proved to be one of the stupidest times of my life: divorce. This time I was prepared for her, though. I asked, ‘Do I have to mean it,’ and burst into laughter. Junior Jesus laughed with me and said in her annoyingly calm tone, “Yes, you do. Even if you don’t mean it at first, keep praying. Eventually, you will.” 

Well, a few mornings later I decided to pray for the thorn, and deep within my heart I truly felt a sadness for this person whose intent-knowingly or unknowingly-was to pull everyone in her path into her misery. No sooner than I’d finished praying, I began to receive a series of messages from the thorn that were unpleasant, to say the least. I was just stuck, and I stood there thinking-in the words of a close friend-she is BATSH*T crazy. (Make that asterisk whichever vowel you’d like.) ☺️ 

Let me be clear, despite having just asked Jesus to bless her, I was livid and was set to go to verbal war! However, junior Jesus taught me better, and I refused to give her the satisfaction of having me “act a monkey” on what promised to be a busy yet productive day. So, I continued to lift her up in prayer. Mind you, at this point I certainly didn’t mean it and was praying more for myself and her safety from my verbal wrath and batsh*t crazy mode. Let’s face it. We all have a bit of that kind of crazy. Some of us just choose to live in it while the rest of us come and go at will, but I digress. 

Shortly after another conversation with the Lord, I typed messages to the thorn that were clear, concise, and could brook no argument. However, I was still saying cussin’ words in my mind. 😒 

Fast forward to today, the problem has not yet been resolved, and the shenanigans continue. So, while she chooses to reside in batsh*t crazy, in the meantime I’ll pray…and maybe one day I’ll mean it. 😊  

 

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Spanx: There’s GOT to be a Better Way

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Having been a big girl the majority of my life, I have developed this allergy to confining clothes, particularly undergarments. I credit my mother for it. (When all else fails, blame Mom.) 😏

As a developing pre-teen, Mama would force me to bind myself in a longline bra and girdle every Sunday; so much so that it became a way of life throughout high school, and I would even wear them when I dressed up for school. I loathed them, but Mama said…So, I did.

Needless to say, as soon as I graduated, my first act of rebellion was to ditch the pinching bra and girdle and go regular bra and pantyhose or just full commando underneath dress clothes. Okay, so, maturity (and weight gain) set in, and I graduated to panty girdles. Mind you, it was nothing I had to fight to put on; it was just enough to keep things from moving around too much. For years this has been how I’ve held things down, so to speak, underneath my clothes.

In spite of all I have just shared with you, I don’t know what possessed me to buy a pair of Spanx a few weeks ago. I mean it had to be Satan, right?! 👀 I fault my friends who swear by Spanx and sing their praises regularly. I was intrigued, and I canNOT resist trying something new at least once. (Again, I blame Mom.)

Well, one Saturday night in a stroke of inspired genius, I bought a pair. Sunday morning I get up and am all excited about how great I’m about to look in my dress because of this fix-all undergarment. I shower and sprint to the bedroom, because I am going to look FABULOUS! I remove them from the packaging and marvel at how small they seem, but I figure the geniuses at Spanx know what they’re doing. So, I commenced to put them on. I tell you, the sweat fest that ensued was nothing less than legendary, and frankly, I needed another shower when I finished yanking and squatting them into place. It was indeed a show, but I’d bought them and insisted on wearing them at least once.

While encased in my Spanx, I developed an unhealthy fear of restrooms. I was afraid, if I pulled them down, I would have to return them to their original position or either throw them away in disdain or pure hatred. (Choice number two was NOT an option in my dress of choice.) Therefore, no restroom before, during, or after church for me. I walked by the door needing to go in yet knowing what awaited me if I entered: bladder relief, followed by a sweat fest, and putting things back in place. (e.g. dress, shoes, makeup)


Home was never a sweeter place than that Sunday afternoon. I peeled Satan’s creation from my body, went to pee, and texted my friend.

Me: Okay, soooo…I bought Spanx yesterday and wore them today. There has GOT to be a better way! 👀👀👀

Her: Lol!!! There isn’t!!!!

😒 I submit there is! Is there anyone who will join me for a Spanx-burning party?!

2014: Sparks of Genius

Son. Home. Work. Church. Hometown. (Lather. Rinse. Repeat as necessary.) That’s been my life for the past 4 years or so. I might have gotten out with friends every once in a while, but I always spent that time with the same people in most of the same places. Not that I don’t love those people and places, but I felt the need for change in my life. I felt compelled, as 2013 was ending, to meet new people and have new experiences. However, I couldn’t expect different results doing the same things I had always done. Hello, Insanity!

(Enter hometown friend with a bright idea)

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So, last night, I took advantage of an opportunity to hang out with a group of entertaining people. (Somehow, entertaining doesn’t quite cover it, but it’ll do for now.) It was the most fun I’d had in quite some time. New faces, new situations, and common interests all combined to create an evening that I’ll never forget and marks the beginning of what can only be termed a fascinating year for us all. I’m excited about and full of wonder at this mixed group of misfits (myself included) who have been meshed together by one clever thought. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the year. So…

(raises glass)

Cheers, Y’all! Here’s to fun times for years to come and sparks of genius! Thanks, Shaun!

Seasons and Reasons

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You may have read this somewhere before, but since this is my blog…

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV)

This I know for sure. Things and people come and go. However, for all the coming and going, the question remains: Did I understand the purpose? If I never understand the purpose of a thing or person, I am destined to continually find myself in the same situations until I’ve gotten it, whatever it is.

I have made the choice to never again take longer than necessary to understand the purpose of a person or thing in my life. I will not hold on to that which was not meant to stay. I’ll release it to make room for new lessons and for greater things and people.

I WILL live my life with an open mind, heart, and hands to release freely and to make room for more. I choose more. I choose greater.

Church on FB

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This post begins with a little whining, but it gets better. Just hang in there with me.

I have been feeling particularly BLAH! these past 24 hours. I didn’t even go to church today, and I was feeling kind of bad about that since I decided to remain in town this weekend. Things in my life are just up in the air lately. Everything seems as if it’s on hold. My dream. My job. My money. My LIFE.

For all my posts here about overriding fear and being destined for greatness, I was feeling overwhelmingly crappy. I’d been talking to God, but that was not really what I wanted to do right then. Although I believe He’s here for me and is waiting for me, I just…

These 24 hours had been filled with such doubt that it seemed as if greatness was the gum on the bottom of doubt’s shoe, and was being continually trampled. *deep sigh* I am certain greatness was there. However, my faith had been so low lately that to even fathom it caused all manner of eye-rolling and whatevers.

I mentioned earlier that I didn’t go to church. I didn’t even scroll meaningfully through Facebook until after 11:00 a.m. (That’s unheard of in these parts.), but when I did I was so blessed by the statuses and posts that I found there that I felt like I’d been to the house of God today.

There were so many positive and encouraging words that I felt an uplift. A jolt to my spirit. A little song in my soul. My faith began to rise little by little, and I saw things a little more clearly. Innovative thoughts were once again racing through my head. Even though my situation hadn’t changed one iota, I could envision the journey in a brighter light. In the words of my ancestors, “Trouble don’t last always.” As a matter of fact, I am assured of this.

I am not saying that it is okay to substitute Facebook for church. I am saying that words have power to build up or tear down. I needed building in a way mere words could not explain; however, words were the catalyst for inciting memories of things promised and things yet to be manifested.

It is my prayer that these words will find a person in need, so that he or she will know that alone and crumbled is no place to live (or wallow). Better is only a word away.

Dear Readers,

Keep your heads up. Keep the faith. Hard times will come. Feel them, but move on quickly. By all means don’t stall. Remember, if you continue moving, you will reach your destination.

In Love and Faith,
The Stormmaven

It Ain’t Ya Breast!

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Very recently I had a conversation with my friend, Eden, who had come home to visit with her mother, Sarah. During the course of our exchange, Eden shared with me an incident which happened at her mother’s house that caused me to think very seriously about how I react (or overreact) at times. So, I’ll share it with you in hope that it will tickle your brain as well.

Now, Sarah, Eden’s mom, forms ridiculously strong, sentimental attachments to her things; and believe me, she has bunches of “things.” So many things-in fact-that there’s barely room for it all. Eden is constantly encouraging her-firmly but lovingly-to discard some of her stuff, but her mom just refuses to get rid of any of it. Well, the other day Sarah inadvertently dropped one of her treasured mugs, broke it, and immediately began to have a conniption. At this point, Eden tilted her head, pursed her lips, and looked in Sarah’s tear-stained face and said, “It’s just a cup, Mama. It ain’t ya breast!”

The statement itself was intended to show how over-the-top her mother’s reaction was when compared with the loss of something that would create a true void. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather take a loss on the mug than the breast. My breasts and I are kind of attached to each other. (pun intended) My girl, Eden, had made a valid point.

But I digress, the instant Eden told me what she’d said, I burst into laughter. Then, it struck a chord deep in my soul. Scenes from my life began to flash before my eyes. Scenes where I’ve overreacted to trivial situations that may have required only simple responses (or none at all) or that required me to simply clean up what I messed up and move on.

I realize that there will be more frivolous occurrences throughout my life; and I’ll risk throwing a cliche’ in this post, but “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” There are so many important people, things, and ideas that deserve our full attention. When we spend time, space, emotion on those circumstances that have little or no value, we cheat those people, things, and ideas of all that we are and all that we are capable of producing.

I believe there is much for each person reading this to accomplish in the course of his or her life. We all have purpose. The question that I pose to each of us is: How much of our valuable energy will we continue to waste on those things that don’t matter when time would be better spent fulfilling our destinies?

I’ll answer this question simply by paying close attention to every situation and will decide how much of me I am willing to invest in it. And if it seems that I am placing too much energy on the trivial and deducting from my destiny, I’ll remind myself that “It ain’t ya breast!”, refocus, and keep kicking!

I WANT MY MOMMY!

Skinned knees. Nervous jitters. Prolonged illness. Troubled mind. For me each of these brings up that one feeling that most of us are afraid to admit we have.

“I WANT MY MOMMY!”

As a former preschool teacher, I have witnessed many three-year-old meltdowns which usually begin with a child screaming, “I want my MAMA!!” Because I was the adult in the room, who was not the “mama,” it was my job to smooth things out and make sure we could all get through the rest of the day meltdown-free. Usually, this situation was handled with a well-placed, “I know you do,” or “She”ll be here to get you soon. I promise.”

Last Friday I was emotionally in a very low place. I felt as if my world had been turned upside down. I was feeling lost and surprisingly abandoned. So, I spent the day sulking, wallowing, crying, and sleeping. By the way, none of these activities made me feel better, and I decided a to call my best friend was in order. We met for lunch (Eating usually brings me comfort.), and I cried through quite a bit of it which was slightly embarrassing since we were in a public place. Following our discussion of my problem and eating some amazing sushi, I felt marginally better and was appreciative of my bud’s time and attention. Yet, I was still feeling as if I needed something more.

I remember thinking, “If I could just go home, I would feel so much better.” All I wanted to do was get to my mom and lie down in her bed. In that instant I identified with that screaming three-year-old and made the decision to run away for the weekend. I needed to escape my surroundings, to change my scenery, to know that someone cared. I almost couldn’t wait for my son’s school day to end, and I seriously contemplated picking him up early. However, I stuck it out, but no sooner than 4:00 came around, I hightailed it to my mother’s house two hours away.

The crazy thing about this is that I knew that, due to a previous engagement, she wouldn’t be home when I got there; yet, when I pulled into the driveway, I had the sensation that-once the weekend was over-my world would be righted once again. What I craved was familiarity with a simpler time and a loving presence that without words assured me that all would be well.

I don’t care how old you are. When you’ve experienced the love of someone special that just automatically brings peace to your spirit, it’s a feeling you want to hold on to forever. For me it’s my mom. For you it may be a grandmother, grandfather, dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, or some other person that provides an inexplicable stability. We are never too old to need someone special. Those are the people that make this life worth living.

Even when they leave us, we may miss them terribly; but we can always pull up that feeling of “alrightness” that they bring to our lives. That’s the beautiful thing about memories. They provide a warmth inside that passing away cannot erase.

I know one day I’ll no longer have my mommy with me. However, I feel comfort in knowing that I can forever cherish the memories we made together and that her words will be my safety net in times of crisis.

I’ll never be too old to “want my mommy.”

If I Cry…

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I find myself in a place where I feel as if a few minutes of self-indulgent crying would do me a world of good. Yet, I cannot shed a tear, for I am by nature and nurture not a crier. Tendency towards thinking, yes. Crying, no. The purpose of tears escapes me somehow. I can never find the good in them.

As a matter of fact, when beginning to cry, I’ll ask myself this question. “How is this helping you to solve the problem?” At which point I dry my eyes and begin to think of a solution. If an answer escapes me, then, I put on my “acceptance” hat and keep it moving.

I guess this comes from a lifetime of being reared by some awesome people. Our conversations about crying went something like this:

Me: (beginning to cry about something)

Mom or Dad: Why are you crying?

Me: (Whatever explanation was appropriate at that time.)

Mom or Dad: Well, is crying gonna fix it?

Me: No.

Mom or Dad: Ok, then.

That was it. End of conversation. At this juncture I could have either kept weeping or dried it up. I typically decided to dry my face and either solve the problem or go on about my business. Evidently, I have the same internal conversation with myself as an adult that my parents had with me as a child. I always have the choice to cry but rarely choose to do it.

This scenario reminds me a bit of the proverbial spilled milk. “What’s the use in crying over spilled milk?” they say. I guess whoever “they” are weren’t the ones who spilled the milk in the first place. Maybe “they” didn’t understand the yearning for the milk, and just maybe it was the last glass of milk. However, in this moment, I do not understand this “they” that thought this was the appropriate thing to say to the person whose milk was spilled.

If I could cry at this very second, I certainly would. I have often heard that tears are cleansing to the soul. (My soul must be filthy and in need of a power wash for all the tears I haven’t shed.) Yet, I cannot induce or allow this necessary washing of my spirit. That infernal question keeps popping up in my head. “Will crying solve it?” and the answer is always, “No.” So, I continue on with my day’s journey with a rip in my heart that at this moment seems irreparable. Because I feel I am making a bigger deal of it than it really is, I shake it off with the assurance that all will be well and work out as it should and the knowledge that nothing will change if I cry.