101 Update…

In November 2013, I began a journey to complete 101 things in 1,001 days.  Day 1,001 is August 13, 2016.  I’ve not gotten as far as I had hoped on my list, but I’m fine with that.  I’ve decided that I will start another 101 journey on August 14 that will incorporate some things from my current list, and add some new adventures/challenges!

Despite this, I’ve still got just under a month to check some more things off the list, and I’ve managed to do several things I set out to do…yay!  This experience has also caused me to realize that when we write things down, they somehow start to happen!  Last year, I checked going on a missions trip off my list (it was one of those things I wrote with no clue about where this would take me), and next weekend, I’ll be checking going whitewater rafting off of the list.  This was yet another item that I had no clue how I would complete, but I’m heading out on the water with Brendan and his family during their family reunion!  Exciting…I’ll be sure to take some pictures before or after the adventure!  The thing that strikes me about both of these things is that I was not intentional in planning to complete these things, it just happened randomly.

One of the not so random things that I recently checked off the list was attending a fireworks show!  Those who know me best know how difficult this was for me!  I hate fireworks with a passion.  I’m certain it’s because of the noise…I’ve been terrified of loud noises for as long as I can remember.  As a child, when the fire siren would ring, I ran in the house as fast as I could to escape the noise…when the saints started shouting at church, it was all over, I had to run outside.  I’ve just been terrified of loud noises my entire life, so fireworks have never been on my list of things to do.  But…this year, I decided to tackle my fear, (Brendan being a huge fireworks fan kinda helped me check this off of the list) and I survived!  It didn’t matter to me that it was a small, local fireworks display where they shot off 1-2 fireworks at a time, that worked for me, all that mattered was checking this off the list.

I may never go see fireworks again in my life, but I managed to face a huge fear, and check the most difficult challenge off my list.  Now for the next few weeks, I need to get busy tackling some of the smaller challenges on the list before the next journey begins.

Until next time…

Things to Do/Personal Challenges

1. Finish writing my 101 list…this is hard stuff! – Completed 11/16/2013

2. Complete photography CE certificate requirements.

3. Watch the 1st season of Scandal.

4. Write 5 letters to 5 people who have had a positive impact on my life. – 1 of 5 completed

5. Organize my computer files.

6. Organize my iTunes library.

7. Make a list of my fears and what I can do to face and defeat them.

8. Make a list of what is important to me in a relationship. – Completed 12/5/2013

9. Complete a 30 day photo challenge.

10. Attend a summer fireworks show. (This is by far the most challenging item on the list.)  – Completed 7/2/2016

11. Make an address book with contact information for family and friends.

12. Go speed dating in DC.

13. Subscribe to Real Simple magazine. – Completed

14. Go to Morgan’s Homecoming Gala.

15. Go to Morgan’s Homecoming game.

16. Write on my blog weekly for 52 consecutive weeks. – In progress

17. Get to work by 8 am every day for an entire month.

18. Go without watching TV for one week.

19. Go whitewater rafting.

20. Bike round trip from Baltimore to Annapolis.

Personal Growth and Enrichment

21. Read 10 books I currently own but have not read.

22. Write a living will.

23. Write a letter to open in 1,001 days. – Completed 11/19/2013

24. Writer a letter to open when I’m 40.

25. Write a Personal Mission Statement.

26. Go away for a personal silent retreat. – Completed 5/6/2014

27. Write in my journal for 30 consecutive days.

28. Write a letter of forgiveness to those people who have hurt me in my past…won’t send it, but will write it.

29. Get my CPR certification. – Completed

Relationship-Building

30. Go on a vacation (maybe a camping trip) with my immediate family.

31. Have lunch with my Dad.

32. Take a photography workshop with my brother.

33. Go on a spa day with my sister-in-law.

34. Go to tea with my mother.

35. Spend a day with my oldest nephew.

36. Go on a movie date with my middle nephew.

37. Bake holiday cookies with Kim.

38. Go to Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse with Pastor Ann.

39. Go on a weekend ski/snow tubing trip with friends.

40. Fix and have dinner with my grandmother and great-aunts. – Completed Mother’s Day 2014

41. Host a dinner party for my church “mothers”.

42. Complete a 5K (walking or running) with Ronnie to celebrate her weight loss journey.

43. Visit my aunt for a weekend in NC.

44. Send Sentell a care package. (This may be mission impossible!)

Faith and Spirituality

45. Complete a Daniel Fast.

46. Read the Bible in its entirety.

47. Create a prayer and meditation space in my home.

48. Apply to seminary. – Completed 6/23/2014

Lifelong Learning

49. Take golf lessons.

50. Take tennis lessons. – Completed 6/2014

51. Take swimming lessons.

52. Take a guitar class.

53. Take a piano class.

54. Take a cooking class.

55. Take 3 photography courses. – “Shooting in the Dark” (February 2014)

56. Learn how to make vegetable beef soup. – Completed

57. Learn to hand dance.

Health and Fitness

58. Run 30 miles in 30 days. – In progress

59. Complete a 10K race.

60. Lose 25 pounds.

61. Go rock wall climbing.

62. Run in the St. Michael’s Running Festival.

63. Bike a century.

64. Complete a sprint triathlon.

65. Complete a 50 push-up challenge.

66. Complete a plank challenge.

67. Consume zero cookies for an entire month.

68. Document my meal choices for 30 consecutive days.

Things to Own

69. Upgrade my dSLR.

70. Buy prime lens. – Completed

71. Buy a new TV…the tube TV has been out of style for some time now! – Completed

72. Buy a new bed. – Completed

73. Buy a dresser for my bedroom…I think it will help with organization. – Completed 5/2014

74. Buy a new nightstand. – Completed

75. Buy a desk. Completed…January ??, 2014

76. Buy a new iron and ironing board. – Completed

77. Buy new lamps for my bedroom and living room.

78. Buy my first home.

Financial Milestones

79. Pay off my car.

80. Save 10% of my annual salary.

Things to Do at Home

81. Organize my filing cabinet.

82. Create a weekly cleaning schedule. – Completed…can’t remember date!

83. Finish decorating my bedroom.

84. Make my bed every day for 30 consecutive days.

85. Create an office space in my home. – Completed

86. Frame and hang my artwork from Nigeria.

87. Frame and hang some of my own photos.

Places to Visit

88. Go on a European vacation.

89. Go on a cruise.

90. Go to New York during the Christmas season and see the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall.

91. Take a trip to Canada.

92. Go to the US Open…I love tennis!

93. Attend the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival.

94. Spend an afternoon in St. Michael’s.

95. Spend a weekend as a tourist in DC. – Completed 5/3/2014

Giving Back

96. Go on a missions trip. – Completed 6/2015

97. Organize a scholarship fund to give a book scholarship to at least 1 high school senior annually.

98. Donate books to a school/organization.

99. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

100. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. – Completed

101. Join the Pratt Contemporaries.

Nights in Rodanthe…

I’m blessed to be spending some time away in the Outer Banks, NC.  It’s been a long year, and I’m long overdue for a break.  I’ve been here several times before and until today, I’ve never step foot on a North Carolina beach, I’ve never been south of Nags Head, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never fully embraced the OBX experience.  As is my style, I’ve never taken the time to slow down and just enjoy the experience.  Well, today, I slowed down and embraced my inner child.  Some rather interesting things evolved from this…

My morning began listening to a message on the web…it is Sunday, and while I wasn’t home worshipping at my church, it was not my intent to dismiss God today.  From there, I joined B on the beach early this morning.  The air was beautifully mild, but the water was cold.  It reminded me of a song of my youth, “Stepped in the water and the water was cold…chilled my body, but not my soul”.  I digress a bit…  Despite the water temperature, it was really fun walking on the beach and letting the ocean water touch my feet.  We then took a spontaneous road trip to Rodanthe, NC.  Many years ago, I watched a movie based on Nicholas Sparks’ book, Nights in Rodanthe.  I watched this movie at a pivotal moment in my life, a time where I was intentional in spending alone time with me.  One of my very first alone moments during that season was a trip to the theater to see this movie.  Truthfully, I had forgotten all about that until this evening when we got back to the house.  The road trip was great…before seeing the actual house where the movie was filmed, the Inn at Rodanthe, we rode through Pea Island, a place I had never heard of, and stopped in a small park to watch several individuals windsurfing!  It looked like tons of fun, but I’m certain it may be a bit too adventurous for me.  Maybe I’ll live life on the edge one day…

Pea Island was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!  In this park, there are 300 different species of birds that inhabit the region at any given time.  There were the normal sea gulls flying through the air, but we also observed a mother goose and her goslings.  And, the dunes were amazing!  I’ll be going back tomorrow to take some sunset pictures (if it be the Lord’s will).  When we returned back to the house, I truly returned to my childhood.   B and I picked up kites while we were out today…I, of course, was the cheap one and got a $2.99 plastic Finding Nemo kite.  It did really well until the tail got caught around the kite!!!!!  B, on the other hand, got the deluxe nylon kite that was at least twice the size of mine.  Initially, we were having some trouble getting it up, but once it finally started catching the wind nicely, we were able to fly his kite for a long time.  It was a great time, it was good for the soul!

You know, this week could be very overwhelming for me.  We’re here with several of B’s family and friends.  There are way too many people for my introverted soul (it’s like 30 people in this huge house), but I decided to be intentional about living fully this week.  I’m intentional about relaxing and just having a good time.  I think I’m off to a great start, and I think the week is only going to get better.  I’m hoping to post some pictures in the coming days, and perhaps will do some more writing.

Until next time…

A Love Worth Waiting For…

New relationship…broken heart…woe is me, life sucks!

New relationship…so-called love…engaged…this won’t work, time to end this things…broken heart, maybe, sigh of relief, definitely, tears, yes, lots and lots of them…time out for just me, growing my career, having fun with family and friends, becoming a better me…life is great!

New relationship…wait a minute, this guy is really nice and he really likes me…ummmmmmm…my life is great, now what?  Love…really, love?  Uh-oh…I don’t do all of those mushy emotions…until now!

It’s Valentine’s Day week…everybody is supposed to be excited about the love of their life!  I’d say that I am!  But, when I think about the past 7 or 8 years of my life in terms of love and relationships, this hasn’t always been the case, my life has been a seesaw experience.  There have been incredible high and incredible lows, but I wouldn’t change the experiences that I’ve had for anything!  I have learned and grown so much because of them, and I can honestly say that they have made me better.

What did these experiences teach me?

I learned to how to be a self-sustaining adult.  I used to think that my success and my ability to fulfill my life dreams and goals was dependent upon the presence of somebody else in my life.  If my parents were no longer my support system, I needed a man in my life to be my provider.  I believed that my singleness and being a woman would never allow me to reach greatness, so I sulked thinking that I would never be more than average.  I thought I would never be a homeowner, I thought I would never be a mother, and I thought I would never have the finer things in life all because I believed my life depended on another human being holding my hand through life’s journey.  Flawed thinking and a reflection of low self-esteem, but thank God for growth and maturity!

I learned to love myself.  For a long time, I only found joy in the presence of other people.  I feared going to the movies alone or treating myself out to a restaurant.  I was reluctant to be the person who was dateless at a party and I was always jealous of the people in my life who found themselves in a relationship, healthy or unhealthy.  I always wanted what those couples had!  Sadly, because I had unrealistic expectations of what a “good” life looked like, I spent many days down and depressed, when I truly had many things to rejoice over!  Despite what I thought, I had a really good “sometimes single” life!

I learned how to make decisions for myself.  I have always loved my family, and for many years I had a family first mindset.  I did not waver from that thought process.  If my family called, I was going to be present.  I would miss functions with friends, significant others, or anyone else for my family.  My own life was not my priority, pleasing my family was.  And while, I still love my family a great deal, I also now have healthy boundaries in place.  I’m not going to let anyone be in harms way, my folks can always count on me in a pinch, but I’ve also learned how to consider myself when I make decisions.  I no longer feel obligated to go along to get along.

Perhaps, most importantly, I learned about the things that do not define love.  I used to have an image etched in my mind of what picture perfect love looked like!  He was tall, dark, and handsome (and likely from another country)!  He had a high-paying job, and was a homeowner before he met me.  All of the ducks were in a row in his life in my fantasy.  But I learned that love isn’t necessarily what we fantasize.  Love is not linked to a certain career.  Love is not linked to a certain salary.  Love is not linked to a certain family history.  Love is not linked to a college degree.  Love is not linked to a certain physique.  Love is not linked to a certain neighborhood.  Love has nothing to do with a lot of things we have been conditioned to believe it is linked to.  No, love really is patient and kind, selfless and forgiving, compassionate and supportive.  Love is hard and challenging, it takes serious work, but love is wonderful if it’s true and one opens up to the experience…

I’ve discovered that true love isn’t perfect, in fact, sometimes you want to give up because it’s easier.  But, I’ve also discovered that true love is always seeking to be the person that you need him (or her) to be.  True love wants to support you and encourage you and be present for you even if he (or she) cannot change a thing about your circumstances.  True love admits that he is only human, but, true love also declares that in his humanness, he always seeks God first, so He can refine his imperfections so he can strive to be perfectly aligned with God’s will for his life and the relationship.

Years after feeling sorry for myself, years after feeling so much hurt and pain, I’ve come to appreciate all of my life experiences because they have prepared me for my present place in life.  I’m still not perfect, but every hill and every valley taught me how to embrace love.  On the other side of these things, I’ve come to appreciate that I was never ready for the “loves” that I thought were for me in those earlier seasons of my life.  No…God was preparing me for a love that was worth waiting for!  Now, we shall see where the journey leads us…

Until God Says So…

Nearly a month ago, as my work day was coming to an end, I got a call that no one wants to receive.  Through the earpiece of my phone my crying mother said, “Dawn, you need to come home.  Mom-Mom is dying, she only has a few more days to live, and she wants to speak with all of her grandchildren tonight.”  Without thinking, my immediate response was, “I’ll be there, I’m leaving here in just a few minutes.”

Despite having just visited my grandmother the weekend before, I had to go, I had to see my grandmother, I had to be there for my mother…I had to be an adult and face the difficult challenge of death once again.  When I arrived at the hospital, I felt like I was on the set of Soul Food…my entire family was gathered in the halls of the hospital and despite our tears and emotions, my grandmother was offering her final words of wisdom to everyone and unlike me, she was very much at peace with the situation.

A month later, I’m happy to say that I didn’t face death that night, and death still hasn’t knocked on my grandmother’s door.  No, she’s alive, kicking, and amazingly getting stronger each day.  Interestingly, my oldest nephew declared on that challenging day a month ago that he had faith and believed that Mom-Mom was going to get better.  Well…out of the mouth of this child we were reminded that nothing happens until God says so!

I don’t know what my grandmother’s fate is…she may have just a few days left here with us, or she may have a few years, I really don’t know and am afraid to guess, but I do know this, God has not said it’s her time yet!  When I visited her last week, she shared with me that the Lord had brought her a mighty long way, and this same thought rings true in each of our lives.  Whether we choose to admit it or not, there are areas in each of our lives that have been on life support a time or two.  It could have been our marriage, our finances, our children, our health, our job, our academic achievements, our home, or our anything!  All of us have been down so low in something that we were certain death was inevitable, but in that moment, somewhere deep down on the inside we had just enough faith to whisper, “I’ve got faith and I believe my life is going to get better”!  This is my conviction this year, not just for me, but for everyone who is connected to me, my family, my friends, my coworkers, and even my haters!  We’ve got faith and life is going to get better for all of us!

This chapter of my grandmother’s life story has reminded me that God truly has the final say!  Many of us (including me) get a bit too confident, and think that things happen in this life because of what we’ve done or who we are, but it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, God does what He wants, when He wants, and there’s nothing we can do about it!  So, I’m gonna keep on visiting my grandmother and enjoying the time I get to share with her until God says it’s time for her to come home and rest with Him eternally because nothing in this life happens until God Says So!

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” -James 4: 13-15

Getting Daniel Fast Ready…

This year for Lent, my church will be completing a Daniel Fast together as a family.  This time of spiritual renewal and prayer with God requires intentional planning.  I didn’t do so well last year, but this year I’m planning early.  So…I’m going to post some recipes as I begin to plan out the food part of this journey.  Feel free to use these recipes…

Today’s recipes…

White Bean and Barley Soup with Tomatoes and Greens from Real Simple (This is super easy to make and delicious!)

  • tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • large onion, chopped
  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 128-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • small bunch collard greens or kale, stems discarded and leaves cut into strips (4 cups)
  • 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces), plus more for serving

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the broth and tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Add the barley, reduce heat, and simmer until the barley is tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add the collards or kale and the beans and cook until the greens are wilted and the beans are heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  3. Serve the soup drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with additional Parmesan.

 

Southwest Veggie Burgers by Whole Foods (I haven’t tried these yet, but they are definitely on my list!)

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced roasted red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon no-salt-added chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix. Form the mixture into 4 patties.
  3. Place patties on the baking sheet and bake, flipping once half way through cooking, until browned and slightly crisp on the outside, about 30 minutes.
  4. To freeze the burgers, bake and cool them, then wrap in foil or freezer-safe wrap; unwrap the burgers and reheat them in the microwave, or place them on a parchment-lined pan and bake in a 300°F oven until hot, about 25 minutes.

Our Gifts Do Make Room…

gift After today’s morning worship service, my guy and I went out with some others to share communion with one of the senior members of our church who is unable to attend service on a regular basis.  Visiting with her is always a wonderful time, but I’ve come to appreciate it even more since B has been a part of my life.  He truly has a gift and passion for senior adults.  As a result, he is able to engage in dialogue with seniors in such a loving way.  I didn’t fully understand it until seeing him in action a few weeks ago…he has such compassion when dealing with seniors, he truly has a heart for them, and there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is the area where God has gifted him to do ministry.  Today, much to our surprise, God opened yet another  door in his life, and perhaps mine too!

After sharing communion with our friend, we were getting ready to step on the elevator when a resident of the nursing home stopped and asked us could we come and fellowship with a group of residents.  At first, we were a bit confused about the exact thing he was asking us to do, but it soon became clear that there were a group of residents who wanted to have a prayer and praise service, but there was no one there to lead them.  We soon learned that there is someone who leads worship with them on every Sunday except the first Sunday, and today the residents had decided that they still wanted to worship!  And thanks be to God, we were able to lead them in worship!

B was amazing!  I was really proud of him! I was his sidekick and psalmist, as he led us in prayer and shared how being asked to share in fellowship with the residents today was an answer to a prayer!  His dream is to one day open an assisted living facility.  In the meantime, he’s developing a non-profit whose mission is to serve disadvantaged populations, specifically seniors and individuals with mental health disorders.  His goal is to ensure that these individuals do not feel left out from society.  To that end, in his events, he seeks to uplift and encourage individuals through prayer, meditation, and a time of engaging in games and activities.  I know God has great things in store for him! But, back to today…

We prayed with the residents, we shared scripture, and thanks be to God, we were able to share a brief meditation with absolutely no preparation.  We talked about the meaning of Immanuel – God is with us – and how that rings true no matter where life has placed us in this season.  We then shared some songs and hymns, and left with an assignment to learn Onward Christian Soldiers before we return for a visit again.

This experience threw quite the wrench in my plans for today, but it was well worth it.  In a conversation last night with B, we had just talked about our gifts making room for us.  We talked about the challenge of waiting patiently for God to open a door, but I think today was complete proof of what God will do when we let Him order our steps.  If all goes as we hope, with the blessings of our pastors, B and I are going to try to go and share in fellowship at this nursing home every first Sunday after our morning worship service ends.  And, most importantly, we aren’t doing it for personal gain or recognition, we simply want to share with others a little bit of what God has given to us!

Dream Big. Pray Hard. Just Believe.

dream big scrabbleFor almost a year, I’ve spent a lot of my time with one who dares to dream big dreams…one who chases crazy, impossible, insane dreams…one who stops at nothing when it comes to pursuing his dreams!  When the odds say the dream just isn’t possible, his response is, “God showed me this, and I know He’s going to bring it to pass.”  When the money is tight, he says, “If I give all that God has asked me to give to Him, He will provide for all of my needs…does He not say test Me, then watch Me open up the floodgates and pour out blessings that we won’t have room enough to receive.”  When I offer a discouraging word or simply say now is not the time to follow a dream, his response is, “I trust God…you might not believe it, but my faith will not waver on the dream God showed me.  You can go with me or stay here, but I’m believing God for this.”  While his circumstances may have changed over time, his faith has remained the same…God gave him the dream and he has decided to trust God!

This has been an area of real struggle for me.  I’m not one who dreams big…I’m pretty certain that I dream within reason, but if one thinks long and hard about that, the question arises, Am I really dreaming?  If a thought doesn’t take me away from my present reality into the promises of God for my tomorrow, am I dreaming, or am I merely thinking about future possibilities for my life.  It’s something to consider.  For me, I would argue that my dreams are more likely to be classified as extended thoughts on this life of mine, and not true dreams because dreams lift us out of our comfort zone and cause us to put real action to our thoughts, that’s territory that I haven’t fully submitted myself to yet.

I’ve learned that big, bold, daring dreams won’t let us rest.  When a dream has truly taken root in our lives, we start praying about it and earnestly seek God’s face for guidance and direction.  When dreams really take root in our hearts, we stay attuned to opportunities and experiences that will push us closer to fulfilling that dream.  When our dreams drive us, we don’t get deterred if we fall a time or two or three, no, we keep on getting back up over and over and over again because we’ve decided that our dream must become our reality, and we know that our God is too big and too awesome to fail!  We learn to look at the dreams of others being fulfilled and we start speaking that thing over our own life…we start saying, “I don’t see it yet, but I know God’s going to do it.  My season might not be here yet, but I’m going to work like it’s already here.  Even if I’m going through, I’m still trusting God for greater.”  That’s what those who dream big think…they dream it, they pray about it, and they earnestly believe it.

I don’t think I’m that kind of dreamer yet, but one day, that’s who I want to be…a big and bold dreamer!  I want to go beyond thinking about crazy and impossible things, and start walking in them!  Back to this dreamer that I spend lots of time with…

Several months ago, he told me he wanted to start a non-profit that would serve senior citizens.  I didn’t think it was the right time for him to do this, I’m a bit traditional and I tend to think in a very linear fashion.  From my perspective, he was skipping from A to Q or R or S, and forgetting about everything in between, but despite my complaining, he never stopped pursuing his dream.  And, this weekend, he will be partnering with an organization to host his first outreach event with a group of low income seniors.  They will be serving a meal and providing an afternoon of activities for a group seniors who reside in a low-income housing facility.  It’s not the fulfillment of the complete dream, but it’s a step in that direction, and more importantly, it’s proof that if we dream big, pray hard, and believe, God will use our faith to do the seemingly impossible!  Not only am I proud of my guy for sticking to his dream and going through the challenge of the process, but I am encouraged by him to dream bigger in and for my own life!

Until next time…be bold enough to dream big dreams!

A normal blood sugar level!!!!!

Welp, today was the day when I went back to the doc to get my blood sugar checked.  I was nervous…real nervous because I haven’t been eating as healthy as I would like.  I started to skip the appointment, but after the stress of this week…I opted to just go and get it over with!  And the good news at the end of the day is…my blood sugar level is in the normal range!  Thank you Jesus…I didn’t want pre-diabetes or diabetes to be the end of me!  I still have work to do…cuz I haven’t lost too many pounds and I’m not back in the exercise groove that I want to be in, but this is just the good news I needed to hear today!

I’m reminded that even on a rough day, in what feels like one of one’s worst weeks in a long time…there’s still a reason to smile!

A Moment…

I had a very real moment tonight that I’m not all that proud of.  I was sitting in a church service with some fellow AMEs and a random Caucasian couple walked in and joined us for service.  At first, I didn’t think much of it, but then real feelings started bubbling up in me.  I had a flashback to the Charleston shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church.  If I’m completely honest and dangerously real, I sat in tonight’s worship service thinking, “I need to keep my eye on this couple, they just randomly walked in with jeans and t-shirts, and I don’t know them…I don’t know why they’re here.  If something happens, let me make sure I know my escape route.”  My mind started racing thinking about us being a group of AMEs gathering for worship being visited by some strangers, and I felt my body getting tense.  Despite these thoughts being real and honest, I was so ashamed of my response.  This couple came in and were welcomed to join us in worship, they sat and listened to the sermon, and graciously joined in the altar prayer, they did nothing wrong, but they made me uneasy…shame on me!  I’m a Christian…I’ve never been one to discriminate, I have friends of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and faith traditions…it’s not like me to push someone out because of outer appearance, that’s not me, and yet tonight…IT WAS ME!

After sitting in the service for a long time, I had to walk out for a minute.  I just needed to breathe, I just needed to deal with the emotions that were stirred up inside of me.  I was feeling overwhelmed.  The truth is, I don’t know how I should feel about my response.  Without a doubt, as believers, we are called to welcome all in, the friend and the stranger, but in today’s society, sometimes that’s not always easy.  I recognize that my faith isn’t as strong as it needs to be all the time…sometimes I fail!

So, despite my response, I’ll just view it as an awakening and enlightening moment in my life! Next time, I pray I do better.