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Monday, December 30, 2013

The greatest of these is LOVE...


Like many people, I could express the beautiful gifts received on Christmas day; however, I’ve learned that it is not about monetary gifts, the value one has spent on purchasing gifts or even the abundance of the gifts received. That stuff comes and goes and in a year or so, will be obsolete, old, useless and probably broken anyway. My special Christmas gift this year is having both of my daughters at home. For years, it was just my daughters and me. They were my road dogs, my doll babies, my joy and sometimes my headache. I’ve nurtured them, loved on them but when the time came, I had to let them go.

Just two days ago, my daughters called me in the bedroom and told me of a discussion they had with each other… as sisters often do. They shared with me how the one thing I demonstrated for them was Love. They told me that they grew strong in loving people because they always witnessed me loving them (even when they were getting yelled at) and as a result, they now share with everyone; particularly, those close to their hearts, the words, “I love you.” They also reminded me of a situation when they were in middle school of being teased by a few children because each time my girls saw each other in the hallways, they would hug, kiss and say to each other, “I love you.”

Well, my daughters are back together again loving on each other, but just for a short season as my Brittany will have to leave soon and return to her military base in Guam. While often times I think this country doesn’t deserve her ~ equally my thoughts tell me that because she is love and represents love, perhaps SHE is exactly what this country needs.

So… while we all marvel at the gifts, attempt to decipher the instructions on our new gadgets, spend those gifts cards on the 75% off sales … remember what is really important in life. In my life that would be LOVE. I don’t know about you, but for me, without LOVE my life is not worth living.

Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Gift of Love...

Our gift to the world is the capacity to love, forgive and to see all people as wonderfully created. While this isn't always easy, we recognize that when you're given something, you must "give back." We choose to give to all of God's people and to each other love ... demonstrated through action not just words. Give the gift of LOVE ~ not just for the holidays, but all year long...it will look good on you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Self Love ...


Self-reflection (in my opinion) is a term that I use to help motivate me to move toward the next course of action in my life among a few other things. This is a very difficult albeit cleansing task to perform because it requires complete and honest examination of self. What I’ve discovered, or I should say have confirmed is that I love me. Loving MYSELF motivates me to help others love THEMSELVES and while I am far from perfect, I can boldly state that I am perfectly made.

As I continue to speak to people, pray for and with people, counsel, study and become involved in intimate relationships, it is clear to me that people don’t love themselves. They have no clue about what self-love really is, what it means and how to go about truly and sincerely loving who they are. How do I know this? Well, I’ve watched the imitators, I’ve stood beside the copycats and I’ve grieved for those who somehow cannot appreciate the authentic nature within their very own creation. I’ve viewed their constant turmoil and despondency. I’ve watch them examine over and over and over again their feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness without resolve.

I’ve been alongside those experiencing a drastic decline in their state of being ~ only to be replaced by a temporary “self-love” which ultimately results in their inability to sustain this false melancholic condition. We look to our spouses, our children, our jobs and ministries; we look to others who themselves struggle to define self-love. We look to this evil world and the people within it to love us when all along self-love begins with truly believing how worthy, valuable and great you are.

Self-love is demonstrated when you are kind to yourself, when you do the things that contribute to a healthy mind, body and spirit and when you stop looking to others to love you when quite frankly, some just aren’t equipped to love you. Self-love is also demonstrated when you can look at yourself with compassion, and under a microscope. Self-love allows mistakes and imperfections while embracing the fact that even in those imperfections lies something beautiful and marvelous. Self-love is a willful and conscious act that says, “no matter what happens, who hurts me, who rejects me and who betrays me, I REFUSE to define my love for self in someone else’s love for me.” Too much self-love, on the other hand can result in an off-putting sense of entitlement and an inability to learn from failures, so part of the task is finding the balance.

Finally, self-love defies all thoughts and opinions of those who just don’t matter or contribute in a healthy and consistent way in your life. Who do you think you are anyway that everyone should love you and furthermore, how did your pride, ego and arrogance become so great that despite the fact that not everyone loved even JESUS (a perfect man), you STILL believe they ought to love you? Get over yourself immediately! On your best day, you still can't hold a candle to Jesus.

Recognize that you were made as a result of love. Your job is to believe in it, and embrace it. Then start treating yourself with the loving kindness that you deserve. Love already takes up residence within you so it is unfair to yourself and others that you continue to make others responsible for loving you.

Opinions and thoughts are my own. I apologize for none of it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Needy People




Needy people as described by:


Merriam-Webster: Not having enough money, food, etc., to live properly, needing a lot of attention, affection, or emotional support.

Reverso: In need of practical or emotional support; distressed.

Urban dictionary: To be needy is a guy who needs attention no matter what the cost. A person that doesn’t have much confidence and will bug the living shit out of you just for a little attention.

Psychological definition: Failing to realize or recognize that they are needy because of both an ignorance of their personality, and because their “rocks” are afraid of hurting their feelings by reclaiming independence. “Rocks” here means: someone to lean on, a source of comfort.

My definition: Those who dismiss and/or lose all sensibilities and respect for others time. Lack of consideration for others. Selfish, arrogant and borderline narcissistic personality—meaning: an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet. They can be difficult and defensive. Minimal and/or lack of degree of insight as to their intrusive nature.

Let me first be clear! I am in no way referring to people who are needy as a result of social injustice, discrimination and those who suffer from absolute poverty or destitution regarding the deprivation of basic human needs. I am referring to people who reach for others as their end-all.

These people hurt, are angry, are desperate, and are constantly seeking answers, doing the research, studying and tearing everything up and down in order to find relief. They are also debaters because they don’t agree with what is said. Sadly, there is no relief, because the more they tear down, dissect and discover something new, the more they NEED to find more. It wears people out. It causes people to back away. It causes the needy person to lose friends, relationships and most of all; it causes a perpetual cycle of the sickness that has already hooked its roots in their souls.

Needy people don’t care about your time, your commitments or the fact that every moment in time may not be about them. They will pull on you, grab on you, and take hold of you if you give them a window. Like toxins… it finds an open hole and it seeps in like a bad disease. That’s what needy people do. They can’t help it. They lack something vital in their lives and with every person they pull on, their hope is that they will find their cure, be delivered and they will be free. Concept of time is not their friend. They have none. If you give them a moment, expect to give away an hour… or two.

The one thing we all NEED is Christ. He is the only person who can fill the void, give you all the time in the world and who won’t dismiss your arrogance and selfishness. He’ll allow you to talk with Him all day and night and will soothe your pain, comfort your soul and calm your spirit. You’ve been searching for so long--- in all the wrong places—when in reality, what you needed all along was right in front of you.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Did you consider?


Did you consider the single mother who just lost her job?
Did you consider the man who can’t find a job?
Did you consider the child who is bullied in school?
Did you consider the patient who has no family visiting?
Did you consider the foster child that no one wants to permanently adopt?
Did you consider the widow who never gets invited anywhere?

Did you consider the boasting you just did to the person who can’t afford food?
Did you consider that the sweater he/she wears is the only “coat” he/she has?
Did you consider the family that is being evicted tomorrow?
Did you consider that she’s not fat because she wants to be, but instead has a health issue?
Did you consider that he has mental health issues as a result of serving in active duty to protect you?
Did you consider that behind his smile is a body filled with debilitating pain?

Did you consider that she didn’t speak to you because she honestly did not see you?
Did you consider anyone else today other than yourself, your situation, your problems, your events, your issues, your self-serving concerns and that this world does not revolve around you?
Did you consider that what you do on the outside only matters to the world… it’s what takes up residence within your heart that really matters?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Standing Alone...


So many people are afraid to stand alone. They are afraid of being different, standing out, going against the grain and not fitting in. Why is it that we are comfortable in a culture of just “fitting in?” What is it about our personalities that make us go left when you really want to go right and why do you feel that in order to gain approval and acceptance, you must stand with the crowd instead of stand alone? Perhaps it’s loneliness, a feeling of exclusion or not wanting to be viewed as that person who rocks the boat? I’m just guessing but I suspect that it has to do with courage; or the lack thereof. I’ve never been afraid to stand alone. I’ve never been afraid to use my voice and use it loudly. I’ve never been afraid to raise my hand and exert my perfect self-expression and I don’t think much about what others think when I do.

For a very long time, there was this “thing” within me that was just dying to get out. I don’t know what else to call it so I will call it “thing.” She was bold and she made noise. I tried to squash that “thing” but she always managed to bust out as if to say, “I am who I am so let me just be.” In my attempt to put her in a box, that “thing” would break lose. It was too big for my box and it was too big for yours. She didn’t belong there and no matter how I tried to stuff it, it just didn’t fit.

What I realized is that this “thing” within me was never meant to be squashed, pressed down, stuffed or molded in such a way as to make YOU feel good. It was my “thing” and as a result of failing to acquiesce or going along with the crowd; often times, I would stand alone. Standing alone, I would watch the faces of those who told a story of discomfort. I would watch the behaviors of those who would “go along just to get along.” Those poor, poor people… who knew they were never meant to assimilate with the crowd, but whose voices were so weak, so afraid and so fearful that they did it anyway.
What a pity it is to stand with a crowd yet still be so isolated, so lonely, so ignored and so disregarded. We all got that “thing” in us. Yours is dying to come out too. You just gotta stop being so afraid of what people will think. They are JUST people… and by the way imperfect people at that. Stand up and stand-alone if you must. Just STAND!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

She remembered my name...



In life, there are a multitude of things that make us feel significant. A mother feels significant when her child tells her that he/she loves her. A wife feels significant when her husband cooks dinner for the evening. A co-worker feels significant when they are awarded a promotion out of the blue and a child feels significant when they get that long awaited toy for Christmas. But what about when a complete stranger makes us feel significant?

I was in San Juan, PR at the airport in August 2013 waiting for my connecting flight to Philadelphia. I had just landed there after spending 7 wonderful days in St. Thomas. While waiting for my flight to take me home, there was a group of women who took seats near me. As I people watched, I became mentally engaged in the behaviors of those around me. Some energized me, others made me laugh and still, others disgusted me because they were extremely loud and was acting as if they had never traveled before.

I don’t apologize for staring at people. I can’t help it at times, although I do try to remain aware of my super long stares if it makes someone uncomfortable. It’s just so amazing how much we learn from people simply by observing and listening. One of the women from this small crowd took a seat next to me. A few moments later, her friend appeared. This friend spoke very softly but had quite an edge to her. I could already tell that she didn’t take “no stuff” and for this reason alone, along with her eclectic look, I paid special attention to her.

As it turns out, she took a seat on the other side of me. We smiled at each other and then began to have a conversation. I learned that she had just come off of a cruise and she was taking her flight from San Juan back to Philadelphia. She asked about me too and that is when I informed her that I was coming from St. Thomas after 7 days there and that my 2 hour layover was in San Juan, PR. We shared our vacation stories and talked about our hometown ~ Philadelphia.

This woman was approximately 65-70 years old but had the energy of a 40 year old, looks of a 50 year old and the friendly spirit of an innocent child---still, she had a way that I cannot effectively describe that demonstrated that she didn’t take “stuff” from anyone, yet she had a genuine interest in me.

It’s now time to board our flight back to the City of Brotherly Love. My San Juan friend was a Platinum Card Member, so she got to board first. As she stood in line, she looked over at me and smiled a few times. The very last time she looked, she said, “have a safe flight Tori” and followed the line ahead of her to board. She remembered my name. It seemed to be hours before my section was called, but nonetheless; finally, I could board.

I didn’t see this woman again during the flight or after we landed. Four hours had passed and we’re now back in Philadelphia. I’m outside waiting for my ride to pick me up and take me on my hour long car ride back home. I was tired, semi-depressed because I had to leave beautiful St. Thomas and my friends, but at the same time, ready to see what was waiting for me.

A car pulled up in front of where I was standing. Out of nowhere, the woman I met in San Juan and her friends appeared. They were quickly placing their luggage in the trunk of the car and taking their seats. As the driver began to pull out he had to maneuver around shuttle busses, taxi cabs and other awaiting vehicles. I was so focused on his driving skills that I never noticed my San Juan friend who rolled down the window and yelled, “Good-bye Tori, it was nice meeting you!” She remembered my name. I’m not certain if I made that great of an an impression on this woman that she would remember my name, or if my name is so unusual that she couldn’t forget it, or perhaps, maybe she just had a good memory ~ all I know is…she remembered my name.

While this may be a “small” thing to many, it had a “big” impact on me. It proves that to our very core, one of the things we really want is for someone to remember our names.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Carol and Cheryl...FREE TO BE…AND THEY LOVE ME FOR ME…


Few of us have people in our lives who we can call friends. I’m constantly hit over the head with the fact that I’ve got some good people in my life who accept, love, understand and will take my good, my bad and my ugly without judgment or condemnation… I’m a fortunate woman. We come from different walks of life, different, educational, spiritual and marital backgrounds, but the one thing I can say that we all have in common is a true love for each other and for life.

We can sit around and not say a thing but still be on the same page, yet we can be out of our minds with randomness and it all makes sense. Carol and Cheryl are a healthy dose of truth minus the attempt to be the most profound, the loudest or the most holy. Pretentious, they are not. Phony or trying to win a popularity contest with people…not their style. They are free to be who they are around me because they expect nothing less.

Few of us have people in our lives who we can call friends. I call Carol and Cheryl (a.k.a. Sweet Neck Bone – you had to be there…LOL) friends! They really are FREE TO JUST BE and THEY LOVE ME FOR ME. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve them, but it must have been good!
The understanding of our unique purpose depends on how we answer this question: What on Earth Am I Here For?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My friend, St. Thomas


I’ve got a friend and his name is St. Thomas. Whenever I visit, my friend requires that I take advantage of the numerous white beaches, calm blue water and bask in his warn sunshine. He requires that I relax in a simple pair of flip-flops and comfy clothes--- not those Caribbean dresses that we all think is appropriate and that will make us fit in with them. He’s schooled me on the lesson that “they laugh at us because they don’t dress this way.”

My friend also requires that I talk with the locals. Because of their wisdom they can educate me and dispel what we are accustomed to believing on television. He has groomed me to say, “good morning,” good afternoon” or “good evening” as simply saying “hello” or “hi” is considered rude and uncustomary. He wants to make sure that I enjoy the food of their land and their perfectly hand-made items…not the touristy stuff that most tourists purchase. My friend has one other requirement and that is to leave all of my stress where it belongs--- OUT OF THEIR LAND. He wants me to fit in.

I’ve got a friend and his name is St. Thomas. He’s a good friend and one that I hope to have for years to come...

What’s underneath there?



So many people think that it was the top of the iceberg alone that sank the titanic. No, that isn’t true and while we may never know the exact size, early reports indicate that the height and length of the iceberg was approximated at 50 to 100 feet high and 200 to 400 feet long. What sank the Titanic was underneath the water.

When I think about the destruction, devastation and traumatic series of events that sank such a large vessel, I am also reminded of what is beneath “our own surface” that can net the same results as this boat. We only allow people to see the surface of us. You know what I am talking about…. The smiles, new hair styles, fine clothes, and only promote what’s above water.

But, LAWD, LAWD, LAWD, what’s underneath there? Hmmm, let me guess. I suspect for many people, they are weighed down by hurt, anger, fear, frustration, resentment, envy, jealousy, hatred, bitterness and rebellion. Wait…. I’m not finished. I also suspect self-hatred, perfection, and lack of identity, low self-esteem, guilt, shame, addictions, and pity. Do you think I’m finished? I’m not, there’s a ton more and yet with all of this weight, we only choose to show “YOU” what shines brightly and what looks so perfect on the surface. NEWSFLASH…. Those paying close attention already know that beneath your surface, there is corrosion..

Eventually, this corrosion will not only take you down, but it will take others who are in your path down. You were never created to carry this kind of weight, but because of “pride,” and the refusal to do the hard work of being free, you just kind of float on out there… waiting for the first innocent bystander to accidentally bump up against you before you take them down--- like the Titanic.

It requires work to rid yourself of all of these sinful violations. It requires getting to the end of yourself. It requires not giving a damn about what people think or what they have to say and being dangerously bold and brave enough to admit that underneath... there was a stench that violated all man-kind. It doesn’t happen overnight and for some, it may take years, but you can be free and you don’t have to hide the totality of who you are underneath by selectively choosing to give us the part that you “believe” is your best.

NEWSFLASH AGAIN….. Your best part is the part that shows us who you are beneath the surface. Your best part is the part that reflects who you were authentically created to be. Instead of sinking ships with your corrosion, choose instead to sink into the loving arms of a God who can rescue you from yourself.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

They are just like you and me...



We live in a world where many have not just enough, but an abundance. The big homes, decent cars, food on the table every day as we enjoy the fare of our choice, designer clothes, vacations, mini-vacations, knick-knacks, patty whacks and give a dog a bone! Do I need to go on? You get my point. We live in abundance! Of this abundance we seldom think of sharing because it’s always about us.

I was driving to work the other day and my heart grieved uncontrollably. I mean, it was an “all of a sudden, completely out of nowhere moment.” I drove the streets of the mainline looking at those big fancy homes, designer cars and petite women sitting behind those SUV’s they could hardly handle. It made me sick. I could not help pulling into my employer’s parking lot with my eyes filled with tears—hoping no one parked next to me and asked what was wrong. I was just sick of those who have nothing and yet those of us who have so much, never think of sharing. We’re all guilty of it so don’t read this and think, “I know she’s not talking about me.” YES….I’m talking about you too.

It doesn’t seem fair and I wanted to stay in my car and just beg God not just for forgiveness for those of us who have been so selfish but for mercy on those who live in the streets. It is a complete misconception to believe that these people want to be homeless. They do not. They are just like you and me. The only difference is that we are one second away from a tragedy or disaster striking ~ completely removing all of our cozy comforts of life. For these people; they’ve met theirs. Are there some who have personality disorders and who are dangerous? Yes, but that does not excuse the behaviors of those who live in abundance and simply refuse to help.

I sat in my car asking God why He would place such a heavy burden on my heart? I did not need this so early in the morning. My make-up was fresh, I was nice and caffeinated from my coffee, had just finished listening to some Old School Funk on Pandora and I was ready to get the work day going, but apparently, God had other plans for me. I could not stop weeping, so I waited for the answer and refused to get out of my car until I received something. I got my answer. He said to me that it was on purpose that he placed this on my heart. He told me explicitly, plainly, boldly and matter of factly that on purpose he gave me a heart for people and that he knew I would do everything within my power to help. He also told me that he knew I would be praying without ceasing for our homeless, underserved, under privileged, disregarded and disrespected population. He told me that he will hear me. I cried some more. Thanks God! I was all jacked up at 8:30 in the morning!

My car was facing train tracks that morning and a train happened to be going by. I recall (as I sat in my car) how the noise of the train drowned out my sobs for these people but immediately calmed myself because God heard me. It is truly a burden when you love people as deeply as I do. You want to help everyone but just don’t have enough and so you find yourself constantly resisting the temptation of becoming angry at those who can help but won’t or never think to. You fight the urge of asking those who brag about what they just bought if they’ve given to someone who have nothing and you wait patiently, wishing, hoping and praying for them to tell you that they made a donation to some organization---any organization that helps someone. They never do.

I have enough. I don’t need anything else. I really do not. If I don’t ever get anything else EVER in this world for the rest of my life, I STILL have more than I need. Help someone yall. Step away from yourselves and help a stranger. Step outside of your world because everyone doesn’t live there and help someone. Stop catering to the ones who you know eat every day and think about those who don’t. We are all a second away from a catastrophe and we don’t know what’s coming around the corner. They could be us. Help them yall. Please. They could be us.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Benefit of the doubt...


Why should I be so naïve as to give you the benefit of doubt? What have you done to earn your way into my not doubting that you will not lie to me, steal from me, or attempt to manipulate me under the guise of befriending me ~ only to gain what you need to satiate the appetite of your sickest desire? The benefit of the doubt is simply NOT free. It comes with a cost. Below is my fee:

Consistent behavior demonstrating characteristics of a moral and upright person, position or institution

Unquestionable Integrity

Fruit ~ minus maggots

Action not empty words

For some, my price tag may be too high, and that is okay because in life, you get what you pay for. If you settle for low standards, low functioning and low expectations that is what you’ll get. If you settle for the benefit of the doubt, you run the risk of being bamboozled and blinded by the self-serving shadiness of someone seeking to use you to their advantage.

I’ve lived long enough to know that if there is a choice in believing something good about what someone says or believing something bad, I’m going to look at my price tag instead. It’s a high price for some but everything ain’t for everybody. Also please note, I do not give discounts, have sales, offer coupons or hold blue light specials.
My price tag stands... even if I stand alone.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I've come to realize ...

1. I've come to realize that...you can't lose what truly belongs to you.

2. I've come to realize that...when my brother died, my world would change forever.

3. I've come to realize that...no matter how hard you love, you can't make someone love you back.

4. I've come to realize that...there are only 24 hours in a day and 8 of them I NEED to sleep.

5. I've come to realize that...time really does fly when you are raising your children.

6. I've come to realize that...if I want to see change; I have to be that change.

7. I've come to realize that...the world will go on without you so are you making the most of your world?

8. I've come to realize that...summer goes way too fast and winter lasts way too long.

9. I've come to realize that...I just will never appreciate winter time, snow or any temperature below 60 degrees.

10. I've come to realize that...your children will one day grow up and WANT to do things without you around.

11. I've come to realize that...I really do cherish a glass of red wine...daily!

12. I've come to realize that...the best snack is a huge bowl of sunflower seeds mixed with barbeque potato chips.

13. I've come to realize that...appreciation is more powerful than love.

14. I've come to realize that...rude people exist everywhere.

15. I've come to realize that...Dr. Phil may be full of crap.

16. I've come to realize that...I am addicted to good drama movies.

17. I've come to realize that...I may be a big-time dreamer.

18. I've come to realize that...I have many associates but few friends and I like it like that.

19. I've come to realize that...I can usually tell a person's character as soon as they open their mouths.

20. I've come to realize that...I do not like snobs...in fact, I pity them.

22. I've come to realize that...I had to personally fight through some issues to grow up spiritually.

23. I've come to realize that...children learn what they live.

24. I've come to realize that...all mothers think their children are cute; just disregard that third eye near the nose.

25. I've come to realize that...not all overweight people are overweight because of poor eating.

26. I've come to realize that...a corn on your baby toe never goes away.

27. I've come to realize that... I've got more blessings than not.

28. I've come to realize that...money can buy me some happiness.

29. I've come to realize that...GOD is the ONLY way!

30. I've come to realize that...gay people are people so LEAVE them ALONE and focus on your own stuff!!!

31. I've come to realize that...being selfish is not always selfish.

32. I've come to realize that...crying really does relieve some kind of mental pressure.

33. I've come to realize that...I'll never be a size 4 again, no matter how hard I try, so please pass the chips!

34. I've come to realize that...giving to the Goodwill makes me feel good.

35. I've come to realize that...my friend Carol Price-Cook looks like she is always walking on air. I want some of that.

36. I've come to realize that...when I die, I will be leaving behind many people who love me.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bow Down ...

We live in such an egocentric society ~ you know, www.itsallaboutme.com. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you that sometimes it’s not about you or me at all. Sometimes it really is about helping someone else whose gifts aren’t as sharp or who needs a hand or a push. Sometimes it is simple encouragement ~ offering your own gifts, strength, stamina and experience. As I look at my own life, I am reminded of some of my friends, co-workers, family members and even strangers at how a seemingly random, intentional or unintentional act may have helped them. I’ve watch people go from zero to 100, A to Z and being quiet in their spirit to now speaking with a boldness that they are still trying to become accustomed to. It is actually quite encouraging when you know that you were the person being used to help someone else--- even if it does not appear to anyone that you are moving. It’s okay folks, because again, sometimes it's just not about you or me.

Sometimes the only role you were meant to play was to be used. Don’t like that word “used” do you? Well, I didn’t like it either until I fully understood what it means in the spiritual realm. Being used is to be “of service.” It is to “Bow Down” (Bless someone else). It is to be self-less and not selfish. Being used says, “I love you just as I love myself: which is by the way, what the bible calls us to do. So, being used it is not a bad thing. It is a good thing and you have to know that by allowing yourself to be used, you will too be blessed.

Let me just give you a word of caution though. Don’t look for the blessings necessarily from people. Don’t even look for the “thank-you’s from those you’ve helped or encouraged along the way. If you look for that, you will be disappointed; furthermore, you will have missed what it means to be used. Secondly, people bless you when you’re on top and curse you when you’re on the bottom. We’re flaky, bandwagon jumpers and some of us just blow wherever the wind takes us. Now, if people do bless you, GREAT, but please don’t hang your hat on people.

The kind of blessing I’m referring to would be from the Almighty Himself. You see, His 2nd greatest command is to love your neighbor and loving your neighbor definitely blesses God. Do all that you do for His glory and not for the glory of man. You will be sorry, lost, confused and dismayed over time. Man and their accolades are not permanent. They are fleeting, temporary and inconsistent.

So, the next time you have an opportunity to Bow Down (Bless someone) and be used, do it. It may not be about you at all today ~ but in the END ~ when it really, really matters, it will be all ABOUT YOU!

Friday, May 24, 2013

DEAD MAN WALKING ...

I see dead people…. EVERYWHERE! Everyday, I am among dead people. No, I don’t visit the cemeteries, look for funerals or spend time in morgues. The dead people I am referring to are people who are living among us… but only in a physical sense. Spiritually, they’ve died a long time ago.

Dead man walkers have lost their most innate sense of reaching for something so much higher than themselves. They’ve lost their zeal and zest for life, their dreams, desires, motivation, passion and a willingness to search for more than what is in front of their eyes. They’ve adopted this twisted and faulty belief system that their time has passed and they’ve missed the boat. The view in which they see themselves becomes their crutch and their excuse of being too tired or too old. What is frighteningly sad are those who believe... “this is just the way it is and there is nothing I can do about it.” They experience no joy and very little happiness. What a horrible, meaningless and hopeless existence.

Will the person who placed the age limit on living please stand up? Statistics prove that people today are living much longer than our grandparents and great grandparents ever did. So, why have so many of us chosen to be walking dead people? Why have many of us chosen to stop living, stop dreaming, stop planning, stop experiencing, stop loving, stop searching and stop growing? How did we become a society of sub-standard or at best, mediocre people? When did we decide that it was better to be dead than alive and what’s worse—model this dysfunctional behavior for our children and grand children?

Being spiritually alive is a FREE gift. The only thing it costs is a desire to change, a willingness to be open and a passion to grow. Being alive allows you to embrace hope and embrace something much bigger, more powerful, worthy and infinitely greater than ourselves….but it is a choice. Just like you’re choosing to be a dead man walking, you can also choose to be a healthy person living because everyday we make a choice, but one of them is wrong.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Glenda Brown... My Sister, My Girl!



I didn't deserve Glenda, but Lord, you saw fit to add her in a MIGHTY, MIGHTY way into my life. I will never forget.
Thank you!

G-L-E-N-D-A B-R-O-W-N
God-centered
Loyal
Engaged
Noble
Doormat for our Lord
Awe-inspiring

* * * * *
Brave
Royalty
Optimist
Wisdom
Nurturing

I won't forget the gift that you Lord saw fit for me to have in Glenda. I promise to take care of her in the same manner that she has taken care of me all of these years.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Friend Lisa ...



I’ve got a friend. Her name is Lisa. I met Lisa in 2009 but it’s strange because it seems like a lifetime. We’ve only been through 4 seasons together, but it sure seems more like 10 seasons. Many of these seasons were dark seasons—for the both of us, but even through those dark seasons, we managed to recognize light. I met Lisa at a church outing. Our church was committed to improving a neighborhood that by all standards was depressed, oppressed and a mess! I was walking with my husband at the time, (we’re now divorced) and Lisa was kind of lagging behind us. She was alone. Somehow, we struck up a conversation. It was just chit-chat but I found myself struggling to walk alongside my (then) husband (who didn’t have much to say) but was more interested in conversing with Lisa. She ended up remaining with us for the entire event and we exchanged telephone numbers to stay in touch afterwards.

Fast forward, our relationship took us on many twists and turns. We prayed, laughed, cried, ate, talked, vented, gossipped, (yeah, I said it), worshipped, served and both suffered failed relationships together. We were always together and coined a part of our relationship, "pity-party in the pit!" If we weren’t on the phone, we were in each other’s presence. If there was an issue, we turned to each other. If we had an issue with each other, we aired it. It was very comforting. Lisa and I had so many similarities and that is what drew me in. Like me, Lisa had the ability to say what she wanted, when she wanted and had a moxy about her. She was sharp and when she spoke, I listened. Like me, she didn’t take a lot of stuff and didn’t put on pretenses. Like me, Lisa could spot a phony a mile away; I just had no idea what God was doing when He paired us up. I had no idea that both of us would be used in a mighty way to help propel the other. I could not have imagined it.

I’m a school student and I was always horrible in math. The thought of math brought on so much anxiety that I wanted to quit school in my last year. Lisa just HAPPENS to be a Director at a center that offers tutoring. She offered FREE tutoring sessions and as a result I passed all math classes including Statistics with an A. That was not an accident. On the other hand, Lisa wanted a relationship. She didn’t speak often about it but I had learned her heart and her desires. During this time, Lisa wanted a Godly man to mentor her son. There was only one man who came to my mind so I had to introduce them. All praises and glory to our LORD, she is now marrying him.

When I reflect on the past 4 years with Lisa, it seems like a lifetime. This post can never effectively communicate all of our stuff ~ the insight, intense conversations, sharing details of our personal life that we just can't share with many, laughing until our guts broke wide open and late night wine and food fests. I’ve met a lot of women, but there is really only one Lisa. She is the kind of woman who works tirelessly, serves endlessly, gives unselfishly and loves unconditionally. She is the kind of woman who seeks the under-served, hates the spotlight, praise and atta-girls. She is the kind of woman who surrounds herself with people who others frown upon. She does not need to be the most popular, most successful or partner with the high and mighty in the church, professional world or otherwise. She does not need all of the stuff that the world gives you when you’re on top. She is comfortable just doing God’s work and not being recognized because she knows that the ultimate Thank you from God is all that matters. Because of Lisa, I’ve grown, I’ve matured, and I’ve expanded my thinking. Lisa is the reason why I continuously focus on those who others don’t pay attention to.

My friend Lisa is getting married and if I had to choose one other woman in my life who I would wish this kind of happiness for, I can’t. She deserves this. In just 4 short years, I’ve seen her depth and I’ve witnessed the capacity at which she serves. I am praying and wishing and holding on to my faith that my friend Lisa will forever be happy and live a long life with the man of her reality, Traci.

Every woman needs to have a friend like Lisa. I've got mine, you've got to get your own!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The art of LISTENING...




Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you find yourself trying to “get in where you fit in?” In other words, the only way you can get a word in is if they pause for a breath, sneeze, cough or maybe even choke? I’m all too familiar with that feeling…but from the opposite side of the spectrum....you see, I am a talker. In fact, it’s what makes me tick, but I now know that the more I talk, the more I miss out on opportunities of learning something new about someone.


For the record, I did not choose to be a talker, but my unique and divine make-up longs to take a deep and personal look inside the souls of people which usually creates conversation after conversation. I want to know who they are, why they do the things they do, where they hurt and as I continue to grow in my faith, along with maturity and my own life experiences, I realize that my talking and my natural longing of wanting to know about people doesn’t go away. What is interesting in all of this is as soon as I conquer one area of my life(listening), another is revealed to me.


I am now faced with conquering my annoyance with people who just won’t shut up. I know that isn’t nice; however, my entire blog speaks what is true to me so very honestly speaking, the truth is that I really do want to tell people to just shut up already. In particular, it’s the people who talk and talk and talk so much that you could take a shower, go grocery shopping, do a load of laundry and work a part-time job and they never knew that you left the phone.


It’s the people who can talk about their life hours upon hours along with the life of their children, spouses, job, what’s new, what’s old and everything in between but never, ever does the thought cross their mind to ask you about yours. Or, the best is the person who becomes quiet (under the guise of listening) but as soon as you’ve finished, they make it quite clear that you were apparently speaking a foreign language because they immediately delve RIGHT BACK into their own issues without once commenting on what they’ve just heard you say. Those types also have cases of extreme selfishness, a grandiose view of their own talents and a craving for admiration.


Finally, it’s the people who can't help but one-up you. They don’t even realize that they are trying to one-up you because it’s a part of who they’ve become. These people thrive on having an edge or an advantage over you by making their story more sensational, bigger, better and more interesting. Sadly, what they end up proving is that they really need someone to listen to them, not from the position that what they have to say is all that important but from the position that NO ONE listens to them ~ not even the voice activation feature on their cell phones.


So, why did I write this post? I wrote it for two reasons ~ one for me and one for you. For me, it serves as a reminder that the Lord has called me to listen. It doesn’t matter if the person ever asks me about my life, my children, my job, my dreams, goals or my day. It only matters that for the time spent whether on the phone or in person, they had someone who demonstrated care and concern. I’m working hard to get there without feeling like I still want to tell them to shut up!


For you, this blog hopefully and respectfully is a reminder that a real relationship is two-way. There is give and take. There is back and forth banter and both people should be able to respectfully contribute to the conversation. It also requires a deep sensitivity that allows you to listen and respond to the other person’s thoughts, concerns and cares.



I’ve said for a long time folks, that life is never about us. It’s always about someone else. We’re just being used to serve others and that includes listening. Don’t believe me? That’s fine but you can’t argue with “when words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent (Proverbs 10:19).”
While I continue to work hard to resist the temptation of wanting to tell you to shut up, I can at least promise you that I will listen.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Job well done!

One of the things I want to hear is: JOB WELL DONE. My two daughters made being a mother pretty easy. <3


Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
The foundation we laid for them is paying off. Sow a good seed and reap a fruitful harvest!
My Brittany is a nurse in the US NAVY caring, healing and helping others while stationed in Guam as she serves for our country.
My Brianna is a pre-school teacher also caring and helping. In her sparetime she voluntarily and selfishly collects items for the homeless and serves in the M.I.S.F.I.T.S. Ministry at our church.

About vicTORIous

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I am a free spirit and an extreme realist. With God, I've encountered strength that I never knew was possible.