Post Up

So….yesterday a 2nd grade student was in my office taking a break. She decided to stay in my office during recess so I wasn’t super concerned about what she was doing. At first, she was trying to make a paper airplane like the one in the book she was reading and then she was drawing pictures on post-it notes. I was working with a 5th grade group so my attention was a bit divided but I checked in on her every now and then. At one point she was picking things up on my desk and found the picture I submitted for college awareness month.

One of our co-workers decorated a bulletin board with our pictures and had returned them a few weeks ago. I figured her looking at the picture was a good thing so I kept on teaching.

This morning while sitting at my desk I looked up and saw this –

She found a pushpin and put the picture up on my board and I hadn’t even realized it until this morning.

In this super anxious world it’s possible to discount our accomplishments – to move on to the next thing as if what was accomplished wasn’t an accomplishment at all.

During this season of love and giving, please don’t forget to celebrate YOU! No matter how big or small the accomplishments are, they are YOURS – And while you may be waiting on other specific things to come into fruition, stop and smell the roses! There are MANY more accomplishments to come!

Happy Waiting!

The Driveway

On Saturday, I went to my aunt’s house for her annual holiday party. When I pulled up, I noticed there was a newly paved driveway. In the driveway there were 4 parking spaces and the spaces were marked. Not just a slab of land but parking spaces like the ones you see at the mall. It was incredible! I was shocked and impressed! But after talking with my aunt, I learned how those spaces came to be.

Water damage.

My uncle came home one day and saw a quarter inch of water in the basement. The spring that runs underneath the property was pushing water towards the house. To fix the problem, they had to dig up the concrete, reroute the water and repave the driveway. I imagine, because I don’t know for sure, adding the spaces was a bonus.

My entire perspective changed. I was looking at and admiring the work from the outside without knowing the amount of time, money, energy and effort needed to make it happen.

How often do we do this with other people’s relationships, jobs or even their lives? We see couples in pictures on social media but have no idea how much work they are putting in on a day-to-day basis. We don’t know what they had to sacrifice to get to where they are. We just see pretty pictures with smiling faces. We don’t see the work.

Before you start to idolize (like I did) seek to understand. Know that nothing worth having comes easy and there’s a story behind every situation.

Happy Waiting!

Everybody has a Thing

Determining what your “thing” is can take years. Sometimes people will point it out to you or you’ll figure it out on your own. It was the latter for me.

What was my thing? People. I didn’t like them, especially new ones. Socializing as an introvert was really hard at times. I preferred people I knew but often I’d find myself in situations where I didn’t know anyone.

So I’d awkwardly go to events or wouldn’t go at all. I would agonize over walking in alone even if I knew that eventually, I’d find someone I knew.

Being social meant I would actually have to socialize (yep) and try to like it.

This thing snuck up on me out of nowhere. I hadn’t had a problem socializing before. I got along pretty well in high school, in college and was fine amongst friends.

I fully acknowledge that knowing people wherever I went could’ve masked this to some degree. Especially since it didn’t present itself until after college. I just didn’t know how to get along in a room where the majority of the people I met, I didn’t know.

To combat this I started going places alone and starting conversations with people I didn’t know. I’d talk to people wherever I went. I spoke to my then counselor about it and he gave me some tips. I tried to smile more and not be so introspective or self centered.

Now, I can travel across the world solo and chat with people along the way, hold a conversation in a room where I’m doing most of the talking and, most of the time, I can engage with folks without looking for a way to exit the conversation. I said most of the time because I’m still a introvert. I need my me time.

I’m leaps and bounds from where I used to be. I’m more confident and don’t let my personal awkwardness deter me from social situations. I actually prefer going out solo and resit the need to have someone with me to be ok.

This took some work. It wasn’t an overnight fix. This work came with a lot of of self reflection. But I’m glad I did the work. Some of this was done in counseling, which I wholeheartedly recommend, and the rest of it was me and God taking steps day by day, together. I’m still a little (very) awkward (that probably won’t change) and I’m totally ok with that.

So, what’s your thing? Everybody has a thing. Figure out what your thing is, get to the root of it and do the work. Life is much better on the other side of your thing!

Happy Waiting!

Where There’s Smoke…

Thank God for the smoke.

When I look back on my dating life there was a lot of smoke I ignored. I might as well have been fanning the flames. Even when things caught on fire, I still looked the other way.

Oftentimes red flags come early. Flags don’t have to be serious things. Red flags are any reasonable thing that you know won’t work for you.

While at a singles event a few months ago, we were asked to tell someone our non-negotiables. I heard everything from liars to cheaters to kids. Yes kids. That was mine…

Now there are others but that was the first thing that came to mind. You have to decide what your non-negotiables are and stop negotiating.

As we get older it becomes easier to relax our expectations just to be with someone. But what if relaxing your expectations puts you in bad company or situations you can’t reverse…

A wise woman once said “take your time, do it right.” I’m not talking about sex, I’m talking about choosing. You’ve waited this long (I think I’m ministering to myself) and now you have the opportunity to make a good choice. Don’t throw it all away.

Pay attention to the flags. It’ll save you lots of time and heartache.

Happy Waiting!

You’re Not As Strong As You Look

While debriefing with my personal trainer he said, “you’re not as strong as you look.” His voice trembled a little when he said it. It seemed, he was trying not to hurt my feelings.

He didn’t.

Although I knew he was talking about my physical strength, deep down inside I knew I needed to work on my mental strength, my thought-life.

My strength only goes so far and then fear checks in. One of the reasons why I started personal training was to have someone there to push me past my personal limits. If it were up to me, I’d do the same exercises over and over again, I wouldn’t increase the weight knowing I could go harder and I’d go home and wonder why I wasn’t getting results. My strength mentally was only taking me so far.

This mental block would keep me from doing a lot of things. God has given me so many great ideas over the years. And now, since I haven’t acted on them, I see them on TV and it’s devastating. I had those ideas 10 years ago and never did anything about it because I was afraid of the work or afraid of failure. There are many things I have wanted to do and try but I’d consistently talk myself out of doing or trying any of it.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a push to strengthen my thought-life. To be more in control of my thinking. To be more intentional about what I watch, and what I listen to….even what I say.

I’ve done this work before but lately I’ve felt myself getting off track. And now that I’m going into a new season, this work is more important than ever.

Are you like me? Are you trying to get control of your thought-life?

Oftentimes what we think colors what we see. Our minds are a powerful playing field and if we don’t get control over our thoughts, everything in life will become more challenging, be less fulfilling or we’ll miss out on great opportunities.

We, yep you and me, have to decide to think about good things and to have faith and trust God always. We also have to check fear at the door. If we get control over our thoughts, He will change our lives! It’s a lot of work but we can do it – together.

So, are you down? Can I count on you to do this work with me? Let’s be stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually and let’s watch as God does his BEST work in us!

Happy Waiting!

The Bull In My Backyard

Every now and then I’ll have very vivid dreams. One night in particular, I dreamt there was a bull in my backyard. I remember waking, walking to the bathroom and moving the curtain aside to look out of the window. The first thing I saw was a big black bull in my backyard. It didn’t move, it just stared up at me.

Not sure what to make of it, I retreated to my room. Soon after, the bull began charging into my house. I called the police. While I’m not sure what I thought they would do, I called them anyway and shortly after the call I woke up.

The following morning, still startled by the dream (read nightmare) I searched the phrase “bull in my backyard. I was surprised to find there is a book called, A Bull in my Backyard and it’s about you (you and me) being the source of our own stress.

Several days during that week I felt like I wasn’t catching any breaks. I actually felt sad – it was a funk I couldn’t shake even though things were fine.

Reading the summary of this book made me realize that yeah, I am the bull(ly) in my own backyard. Constantly comparing or complaining, feeling like life isn’t fair when I’ve been super blessed and not being able to get out of my own way.

I hated that dream but it led me to a revelation. I have to take better care of myself. Not just my physical self but my spiritual and emotional self. I’m going to try to stop comparing (the over analysis that leads to stress) and give myself some grace. More than anything else, I’m going to move forward and get out of my own way.

Are you the bull(ly) in your own backyard? Are you being hard on yourself? You’re not alone. We all do it from time to time, many of us do it often. Just breathe and give yourself some grace, vow to treat your mind and spirit better and we can move from being the bullies in our backyards to the conquer and encourager our corners.

Happy Waiting!

Check On Your Strong (Single) Friend

Not long ago there was a Huffington Post article with the title Don’t Forget To Check On Your Strong Friend. After a series of events, this blog post was inspired by that article.

A few weeks ago I was having a really bad week. There were some things that were out of my control and everything was coming at me at the same time.

Within 48 hours of each other, two friends reached out. Both were folks I hadn’t talked to in a while and said I was either on their mind or showed up in a dream. One thing is for sure, that week, I really needed a friend and a reminder that God sees my hurt and will send people to check in on me.

There was a particular day that week that was really hard. I don’t usually let myself cry but in-between both conversations I cried. I mean it was an ugly mess up your makeup kind-of cry.

I’m really good at putting things up on the shelf and leaving them there until I’m ready to deal. But one day, sometimes years later, I’ll break down and cry.

I had a conversation with a friend about what it’s like to be single and not have someone lay eyes on you everyday. There have been times when I’m really going through it and I call 3 friends and no one answers. With no fault on their parts, everyone is busy, what happens when I really need someone and can’t find anyone to share with? People assume that when you’re single, you’re just out living your life when in reality, you could be at home in a puddle of tears.

This is why the title of this post is check on your strong (single) friend. We need to know there’s someone out there thinking about us, praying for us, and checking in on us. Lay eyes on us and make sure we’re ok. Even those of us who are “strong” get weak and could really use a friend.

Happy Waiting.