10 Ways to Display Grace

 

Grace has been defined in many different ways. When we talk about God’s grace we think of His giving us His Son for our salvation. My favorite definition for God’s grace is: God giving us what we don’t deserve. We deserved the punishment of Hell, but God graciously bestowed on us the gift of His Son. So knowing about God’s grace causes us to seek to know just how to show grace to others.

1.Showing Grace With Words

When speaking with people you should use words that are kind and gentle. Obviously there are times we need to correct other people, but it never has to be done in a hateful or mean-spirited way. Find a way to gently say what needs to be said.

Can you help someone in some small way?

2.Look for the Needs of Others

Can you help someone in some small way? Holding a door for someone whose arms are full can be a small action that helps in a great way. If you will seek out little actions you can do for others it will help you become a more graceful person. Don’t just look for opportunities to fulfill monumental needs. Our ability to change other people’s lives with large financial donations or heroic actions are seldom within our grasp, but we can affect people every day with simple kindnesses.

  1. Respond With Grace

Have you been criticized by someone? Even unjustly? You don’t have to let others walk over you, but you can respond in a gracious way. Accept what they have to say and thank them for their input. The news they bring you may upset you and hurt you deeply. The way you respond can help the healing begin immediately. A quick response with anger will leave you seething. But the sooner you can respond with a smile and a calm spirit the sooner you will be able to see the truth in their words and make the changes that need to be made.

4.Graceful Presence

Take opportunities to be with someone in a time of grief. They don’t need you to deliver some special speech or do anything grand for them and the family. Your presence may be all that is needed to show you love them.

Funerals and hospital stays are times when you can make a quick visit that will leave an impact in someone’s life. You don’t have to spend hours with them, but they do want to know you care and that you are thinking of them. Even if it is just a 10 minute visit, stopping by to say hello can mean the world to them in their time of physical or emotional pain.

5.Forgive With Grace

When someone asks forgiveness, accept their apology graciously. They have come to you humbly asking for your pardon. That is not a time to tell them why they should have done so much sooner. Nor is it an appropriate time to correct them and tell them how they could have handled the situation better. If you are in a teaching or authoritative position over the person and you need to give them advice that will help them in the future, separate your advice from your forgiveness. Allow them to see you have accepted their apology and then later share with them the correction and direction they need.

6.Learn to say “I’m Sorry.”

When you make a mistake, swallow your pride and ask for forgiveness. Maybe they wronged you in some way but you responded inappropriately. You can ask them to forgive you for your response. Remember grace is giving to the other person what they don’t deserve. Even if, in your opinion, they don’t deserve an apology, you can ask their forgiveness for your wrong response.

7.Keep Short Accounts

When you need to apologize, do it quickly. Don’t keep a running total of how many times they have done wrong towards you. Forgive, even if they don’t ask for it. Grace can go a long way to repairing a relationship if you will respond in a loving way, even when they don’t.

8.Clean Up Your Language

Beyond using gentle words with those around you, be careful how you express yourself. Do you have some words in your vocabulary that shouldn’t be there? There may be some words you say that aren’t really “bad” words, but the way you say them express the same feelings as your co-worker’s curse words. Be careful with substitute curse words. Even if you aren’t saying the same thing, you mean exactly the same emotions as others who use the real words.

9.Say Thank You To Show Grace To Others

Take time to say “thank you.” It doesn’t cost anything, but it can show other people gratitude and grace. Write a simple card expressing your appreciation for a kind act on your behalf. You can make a difference by putting a “thank you” on your lips and a card in someone’s hand.

8.Take Interest in Others

Certainly it is appropriate to respond to questions when people ask you about yourself, but try to ask a few questions of your own and learn about other people. Let people talk about themselves—then be interested in their response.

Have you seen the movie Fireproof? The man in the story wins his wife back and repairs his marriage by acting graciously towards her. Her actions and reactions were horrible, yet he continued to try and be gracious. Their marriage was restored because of the gracious actions of the husband. Who can you be gracious towards today?

Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”Seeds of Faith

The Journey Back

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The journey back to you is always the longest journey.  Miles and miles you travel to find your new normal.  2015 has come and brought with it many new changes and insight.  If you are like me you are trying to navigate your way to a new place in life.  You’ve sworn that this year will be different.  You’re going to be more organized, you are finally going to lose those last 10 lbs (40 lbs) for me.  Maybe you’ve purchased a 2015 journal, and a super fancy  organizer that is sure to put you one step ahead of where you were this time last year.  Sadly, you’ve come to realize that you  haven’t begun to add one single entry.  Let’s face it.  Life happened, AGAIN!

Last November I had a spiritual moment.  It consisted of being thankful for a month.  I knew at the beginning of the month that I would be more appreciative at the end of this 30 day journey.  I enlisted my bible study group and another group that I belong to.  So for 30 days with one group and 21 days with the other we became grateful.  Boy, I did not have an idea how this would change my life.  I learned that being thankful is hard work.  So, after the first days of thanking God for my husband, kids, house, family, church, life, health and strength.  I ran out of things to be thankful for.  I was really coming up empty.  Why, because I never really practice being grateful.    It sounded so good at the beginning doing the grateful thing.  Who could not be grateful for 30 days?  I found myself looking for things to be grateful for.  It was hard.  It felt like I was cheating because I just randomly started thanking God for anything just to fulfill the obligation.  How could it be such  a struggle to thank God for what I have?  It should be easy, right?  That was the problem, I was focusing on the things that I had. I learned  it wasn’t about being thankful for the things that I have, but being  thankful for the things that God has done for me that allows me to be a partaker of this space.

This may sound crazy, but one day I remembered feeling my fingers as I woke up.  I began to trace my face with my fingers.  I raised my arms and breathed deeply.   I quickly said God thank you for the feeling in my hands. It was if this was the first time I was introduced to them.  It opened the door to the many things I ignore on a daily basis. I suddenly became aware that my feet work each day as I step out of bed.  I was conscious of everything around me.  The sun didn’t shine differently this day, yet it appeared to be made just for me.  Each day, I began to wear gratitude. Believe it or not, I didn’t just learn more about my gratitude I learned more about the  abundant grace that God affords each of us.  I look at life more differently.  I appreciate the most basic things and I marvel at the many things that bothered me that is no longer  on my radar.  I’m more patient with others and long lines are just that; long lines.

As Leading Ladies in the world we create our roads lead to many different points on the globe.  Whether you are a busy businesswoman, single-mom or a stay-at-home mom we have navigated our lives to adapt.  Why not give yourself permission to detour?    That’s why I am doing.  I’m creating new lanes and new avenues.  I’ve decided to live off-script now.  I’m no longer bound by what society dictates for me.  I’m no longer confined to the constraints of psuedo-christianity.  I am the best me!  So, no need to put me in a mold for others.

I pray that 2015 is all that you are willing to let it be.  The only limits are the limits you put on yourself.  For me, the sky is a limit.  I’m going beyond that.  Will you join me?

Organic Sista

A Season For Colds & Flu?

 

For the past two months I have been dealing with a cold and a dry persistent cough.  Each cold has occurred after flying on an airplane and has left residual symptoms.  Well, today it got me to thinking after receiving an email about coughs.  In American we have declared October to May, Flu season.  Wow!  A whole season dedicated to being sick.  Only in American do we do this.  The more I thought about it.  The more I wondered why flu gets a season.  We don’t have eczema season or broken leg season.  Yet, during the summer we see a rise in eczema and in the spring we see more kids with broken legs (sports related), but we don’t call it a season.  You know why?  There is no big money in eczema or broken leg season.  You see it would be hard to get the shelves of our drug stores lined with broken leg or skin rash treatments because we don’t have a wide variety of these options.  There are only a few creams that typically treat eczema and a broken leg requires a cast.

Who ever created “flu season” was a marketing genius.  If we fool the people into thinking that there is a season for it, we can create a wide variety of drugs to treat it.  This marketing strategy is so genius that we have created medication just for the signs and symptoms of cold. Think about it, in no other condition do we treat just the symptoms per se.   As a naturalist, I look to natural remedies for cold and flu, but the last time I got sick, my hubby threatened me and I caved in and went to the drug store for a cure.  LOL.   It had been awhile since I’d been on the cold/flu isle in the drug store.  When I say my choices, the look of sheer panic was in my eyes.  How could I choose?  There were too many medications to choose from.  If I chose the medication with dry eyes, runny nose then I wouldn’t be treated with the one for the dry cough.  If I got the medication that had cough suppressant, sneezing and itchy nose, then I couldn’t get the one with the aches and pain.  And let’s not forget whether or not I needed with sleeping aid or without drowsiness.  Now why would I want to be drowsy with the flu?  Wouldn’t I want to be awake or asleep?  Somehow being drowsy with the flu would probably make me feel worse; to have the flu and couldn’t sleep would irritate me more.   I settled for the Tylenol Theraflu.  It was back on the market after being removed and this always made me feel better years ago even if it did not do anything to treat me.  It’s like chicken soup.  Somehow it makes you feel better taking it when you are sick.

As I began to read the email that I received about the different kinds of cough, I begin thinking about my own persistent cough.  It has become a growing concern for me as I interacted with the public.  My coughing has become an attention grabber, especially at restaurants.  With the anxiety level of everyone due to Ebola, I am looked at more suspiciously as my coughing spells takes center stage.  I can’t explain to everyone that looks at me that my coughing spells are a side effect of a new medication that my doctor put me on to treat another condition and that while I have discontinued that medication that I have no guarantee that this cough will go away. Thank you modern medicine.  I continually fight with my family, friends and doctors when it comes to treating certain conditions.  My answer is the same, a cold and the flu will go away if left untreated.  For those of you who will say that the cold will turn into the flu if left untreated, this is not medically true.  A cold is a different virus from the flu.  The cold does not mutate to the flu.  The flu is the flu.  Our society has been filled with unfounded beliefs and because my grandmother and your grandmother do not hold MD degrees then their old wives, homebrews, and concoctions cannot possibly work.  Never mind the “white lightening” that your grandmother gave you that cut the cold in half the time and as we say “pulled the cold right out of you.”  Or the gin, lemon and honey that stop you from coughing up a lung.  Who’s to say that Echinacea didn’t treat the cold that you had or the cold liver oil that made you spend an evening in the bathroom wasn’t therapeutic?

Since we don’t have a cure for the cold conventionally or homeopathically, your choice of treatment is whatever works for your body’s chemistry.  I personally believe that virus/bacteria in, virus/bacteria out.  If some foreign or toxic substance has invaded my body, I try to employ every avenue to rid my body of it.  For me the pathway to least resistance is to remove through the bowels.  Whether it is an enema, colonic, vomiting the key is to remove the offense from the body. Supportive care with something that will soothe sore throat (honey) and relieve congestion (aromatherapy) and balanced nutrition (chicken soup) are my go to remedies.  I haven’t bought into the Flu season.  Just a few weeks ago, a friend and I attended a craft fair and you wouldn’t believe someone was there selling flu shots.  I’m like; you have to be kidding me.  Really?  A Flu shot at a craft fair. It really is big business.  I can’t go anywhere or watch television without someone urging me to take a Flu Shot.  This is big business and we all are embracing it.  If each year there is a new strain of the flu virus, please help me understand that by injected the strain from the year before will help me with the new strand for the current year.  (Buyer Beware.)

Here is a  really cool, free way to prevent the cold and flu.  WASH YOUR HANDS!  This has still proven to be the most effective prevention.  These viruses can only infect if you place contaminated hands in eyes, nose or mouth.  So take the extra precaution and wash hands.  When coming into contact with inanimate surfaces clean the areas and then disinfect.  This is important and why I will digress for a moment.

Hand sanitizers are not efficient at keeping you protected from colds and the flu.  Hand sanitizers are usually made with alcohol and gel.  The alcohol is the only active ingredient in the sanitizer.  The gel and the other ingredients are just fillers.  To effectively clean the hand the sanitizer needs to be at least 62% alcohol. While many say that they have 62% alcohol one must argue that with all the added ingredients are you getting at least 62% alcohol. Additionally there is a required time that it has to be on the hand in order to clean.   All bacteria may not be dead.  This will give you a false sense of security.

To enlighten you on a much needed conversation, there is a difference between cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and antibacterialization.  For an object to be disinfected or sanitized is needs to be cleaned first because these types of cleaners work best on clean surfaces.  So the surface area needs to be cleaned first.  This is why I struggle with hand sanitizers and to the dismay of my friends who know that I won’t accept hand sanitizers at lunch when offered because I know the truth.  I would much rather use soap and good fashion water.  The CDC maintains that hand sanitizers are good when soap and water are not an option.

To get back to my coughing situation, I found myself in the store after a gentleman darted his eyes at me in a restaurant and with his eyes said do you have Ebola. I was out of town this past weekend and did not have my usual homemade remedies.  As I perused the shelves at Wal-Mart ( I was out of town)  for a cough suppressant I was paralyzed with what cough suppressants to take.  I mean I literally couldn’t make up my mind because if I bought one bottle that treated this type of cough then I would I miss out on the other benefits of the other medication.  What is one to do in situations like this?  I closed my eyes and I picked one.  What could possible go wrong.  All of them must work since they are on the shelf, right?

It never occurred to me during this pressure to take a cough syrup that I was trying to treat something that I already knew the origin of.  I was trying to suppress something that I know I should never suppress.  A cough is a God designed event to get rid of something that is in the respiratory tract that should not be there.  Why would I cave into the pressure of pleasing someone else at the expense of my health?  How many of us flock to the drug store because we do not want to be one coughing or sneezing at work.  We all know that it is annoying to others.  Rather than sympathy, we excommunicate others and treat people like they have the plague when they have the flu.  As I sit and type, I’m thinking that a cough is a reminder that God built my body to heal itself.  I’m also reminded that my cold or a cough doesn’t make me sick.  It’s just a condition to my environment.  So, I am not in a season.  Because I don’t live in a bubble, things happen.  I won’t give a cold or flu the credit this year.  In fact, I will largely ignore it.  Just because it’s here doesn’t mean I have to acknowledge it.

Organic Sista

Certified Grade A Shea Butter

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The 12th Annual International Shea Butter Convention

The 12th Annual International Shea Butter Convention

 The American Shea Butter Institute hosted its annual Shea Butter Convention this past weekend in Atlanta, GA and I was there.  I taught a class on the advances of Shea Butter beyond skin and haircare.  In the United States, Shea Butter is only used for cosmetic purposes, but there is a wide variety of other uses of shea butter.  Did you know much of the chocolate that is produced in Europe contains shea butter?  Shea Butter has similar chemical properties of cocoa.  There are many edible oils that are produced, imported or exported in the USA, sadly shea butter is not one of them. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has rated shea butter as GRAS or  “Generally Recognized as Safe”  and  can be used in confectionery coatings or fillings, in the US, but using it as a viable alternative in chocolate has not been fully explored.    While Europe has used shea butter as an  alternative to replace cocoa  in ‘chocolate’ products the US has not followed suit. In fact it  has not allowed it.  As one of the most versatile oils, shea butter represents only  1% of shea butter  that is currently marketed for edible oils for use in Europe and Japanese markets.   America’s 100%  use of shea butter is only used for the cosmetic industry.   What an under utilize resource for the US.  Despite its wide appeal  shea butter competes with many of the new “organic oils” that come into popularity each year and are far more inferior than shea butter.

So as one of the presenters and formulators chosen to discuss the use of 100% grade A shea butter,  I was so excited to contribute to the scientific advances of shea butter.  Many people do not realize that about 95% percent of shea butter imported into our country is uncertified, refined, and often filled with mold, mildew, fungus and  bacteria.  There are no standards set forth in the US about shea butter.  That is why it has been a mission to get Grade A Shea Butter standardize in America.  In my lecture, the Advances of Shea Butter Moving Beyond The Cosmetic Industry, I urged industry leaders to adopt, pass laws, write congress to get better protection for what we put on our skin.  Represented in the crowd were people from Nigeria, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Ghana.  Many of these delegates were producers, importers, exporters and buyers of shea butter without formal knowledge of purifying shea butter.  To date, I still have people thinking that shea butter comes in a large shell.  Little has been done to educate that public at large.    It was the first time that anyone had presented value added shea butter for industrial uses.

I could never know how prophetic my presentation would be until I came home after the shea butter convention and received a recall letter in the mail.  The recall letter was from walmart regarding the recall of the Simply Right baby wipes where they found bacteria in the baby wipes.  How in the world did that happen?  The reason why this is so personal for me is that at the convention one of the products  I presented a household use for shea butter.  It was a shea butter disposable wipe.  I had explained the harmful chemicals in baby wipes and other disposable towels.  I exposed that many  antiseptic wipes do not contain enough ingredients to be labeled anti-septic and that the baby wipes  we put on our children do very little to protect and clean their bottoms.  My “invention” or formulation was a heated device that warms disposable shea butter wipes.

As a formulator I always looking at new ways to create or improve existing products.  At the office, I use baby wipes as an easy go to product between clients or patients.  I am glad that my peers and other professionals thought the wipe was a great idea and great contribution to society.  I save the medical cream formula for another post.    As I presented this product and others (can’t disclose due to proprietary information) industrial uses for shea butter was born.  With a little know-how, we can all leave footprints for a better society.  I just happen to think that shea butter is one of resources that is underdeveloped and underutilized.  The possibilities are endless.  If anyone had known how corn could revolutionize an industry, I’m sure that they would have done more to keep it under wraps for themselves.  I’m glad that I am at the forefront of shea butter.  LET THE SCIENCE BEGIN

Organic Sista

Expect the Unexpected

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EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

 

I wonder how often we believe that God will do just what he said.  As a rule, we trust God and we inherently know that he will never lie to us.  After all the Bible, tells us that he is not a man that he should lie.  So, I find myself this day, questioning myself.  Why am I so surprised when God does exactly what he says he is going to do?  I’m putting my faith on display here.  Do I really trust God?  If so, why the look of amazement when that which I have been hoping, praying and believing for has been performed at the hands of God.

I was recently brought to the book of Matthews 25 for an explanation to my questions.  Matthew gives us a recounting of the ten virgins.  Five were wise and five were foolish.  The foolish virgins carried oil to meet the bridegroom, but didn’t carry enough oil.  The five who were wise were wise enough to bring enough oil to meet the bridegroom when he came.  I’ve read this passage several times and it has always been easy enough for me to decode its meaning.  It’s simple, we must be prepared. However, this latest time that I read it.   I have viewed it differently.  I’ve always thought the foolish virgins were just unprepared and not necessarily foolish.  How many of us have not fully counted the cost, or underestimated the amount of something?  I truly felt sorry that these foolish virgins should have been given a little mercy; after all they did come with some oil.  So why penalize them so harshly?

Well the truth of the matter is that they were foolish.  If we examine it more closely let’s look at what we know about this story.  Firstly, they knew that the bridegroom was coming. Secondly, they knew that they needed oil as they awaited his return.  Thirdly, they should have noticed the other 5 women taking more oil with them than they carried. Fourthly, since they did not know the exact timing of the return of the bridegroom they didn’t prepare properly.  Finally, they never considered rather than asking for the other women’s oil to meet the bridegroom that they could have asked one of the ladies can I walk with you on the journey to meet the bridegroom.  Hey, why did they need individual lamps?  Can’t one lamp light the pathway for two?   None of the five ever considered partnering with the otherwise women.  If they had combined the oil of each other’s lamp their supply would have lasted twice as long. By the way, if I saw the bridegroom coming.  I would have found him in the dark.  I’m just saying.  All of this made them foolish.

As Christians we too are foolish.  We are not prepared for the bridegroom.  On one hand we say that we want to be with Christ.  But, if given the opportunity to die, we will choose to live.  No one wants to die, but we all scream we want to be with Jesus.  We will go to drastic measures to remain on planet earth.  To receive Christ’s return we must expect the unexpected.  If we are not properly waiting for his return, how will we ever go back with him?  Will he find us without oil?  Or, will we have our lamps trimmed and eagerly anticipating his return.

As a little girl, I dreamed of the most perfect fantasy wedding.   I believe every woman has dreamed of that magical day.  As I grow deeper in Christ, I have shifted the fantasy to a spiritual dream wedding when I prepare myself for my groom.  Jesus has promised to marry me and take me away.  His love for me I still am trying to understand.  Why would someone love me before the foundation of the world?  I’m so amazed at being one of his created being.  It means that all the times that I felt unworthy, un-pretty, unnecessary and “un-normal” that I am the exact opposite of all that.  Of all the things that God did not create I WAS NOT ONE OF THEM!

So my very existence proves his love for me.  Every cell in my body marks the artistry that he used to create me.  My eyes, my nose, my face, my legs and my hands are all created for his glory.  So today, I remind myself can I expect the unexpected.  YES I CAN!  I am collecting my oil.  I’m predestined to be prepared.  My name, yeah, it’s written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  I’m blood bought and my groom awaits me.  Who wouldn’t serve a God like that?

Why You Should Stop Being Nice

I received this in my inbox today from my dear friend Denise Mosely of GirlPower and I thought that rather than post today that I would share this with you.  Reading it definitely gives the reader something to think about.  Thanks for the inspiration Denise via Tammy Straight.
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Why You Should Stop Being “Nice”
Have you ever had someone tell you you’re nice?
I have to be honest that I’ve never really been a fan of that word.
I mean, sometimes we can be nice. I have definitely been nice before.
Like the times when being honest is just too hard. Or when I have a hard time just being quiet. Nice pops out.
Nice is pleasing. It’s appropriate. It makes us feel that we’re doing the socially acceptable thing. The nice thing. Saying hello but not really meaning it, pretending excitement when we’re annoyed up to our eyeballs. That’s so niiiiice.
Blergh.
Kind is totally different.
When I looked up kind, because I’m a word girl and words matter, it said kind is a fundamental nature or quality. Kind isn’t superficial or forced or easily turned on and off.
You can’t fake kind.
You can fake nice. And maybe that’s my aversion to it – I’ve seen a whole lot of nice to the face, mean behind the back and I’m way beyond over it. There is no room for toxic people.
I want to be kind.
I want to say something and mean it. And if I don’t mean it, I won’t say it just to be nice. 
I’ve noticed we’re not all that accustomed to accepting compliments given in true kindness. I’ve noticed people tend to respond, “oh that’s so nice of you to say.” And it twists something in my stomach a little bit so I tell them, No. I mean it. I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true. 
And I wouldn’t.
I’m not very nice.
I won’t lie to your face to get through a moment. I won’t.
But I will be kind because I mean it.-Tammy Strait

What Label Is On The Bag You’re Carrying?

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Have you ever had one of those days where you feel the weight of the world is upon your shoulders?  You have way too much to carry this day and someone walks in and says, can I share this with you.  You know from the last syllable that came out of their mouth, the answer should be no.  However, you say politely yes, because anything else would make you Un-Christian or not Nice.  You have been taught that good girls are nice and nice girls are good.  I often see women carry the workload, burdens and cares of so many others and yet they are surprised why they cannot manage the problems of their own.  The management systems that they have set up for others never includes them.  The protocols to love yourself, be kind to yourself and receive to yourself was never written in.

I was one of those women (still in recovery).  If you tell me your problems, your dreams or your impossibilities I am able to see past all the obstacles and teach you how to maneuver past them.  I am good at visioneering other people’s life.  After all I’m analytic and an astute researcher.  My entire adult life has been assessing one situation from the next and finding out the missing parts.  It is what makes me good at work and ineffective at allowing things to progress through the natural course.  I’m good at figuring things out. There have been times that I’ve been so preoccupied with the events of someone else’s life that I didn’t nurture the events of my own life.  So when I tell that I love carrying the bags of others it is not to be a servant/leader, it is to ignore my life.  Life for me is a spectator sport.  I love to sit and observe the lives of others.  For many it’s being nosey, but not so for me, I am truly an observer and a fixer.  Olivia Pope doesn’t have anything on me.  My career has taught me much about problem solving and I am the go to person for  my family and friends.  They often tell me that I always seem to have the answer.  Now, I am inclined to agree with many that I am just that good.  But, the truth of the matter is that if I can find the missing parts in your life and help you connect your dots, then somewhere I matter.

All of us on planet earth seek validation in some area.  I just choose to carry  the load for others.  What’s shocking about this is that I’m not an easily approachable person.  At least by the looks on my face, I’m told.  But, in me there resides a truth that many people connect to.  I’m very transparent.  I live intentionally and for the most part, I don’t change.   And it’s  not that tell all my business.  In fact, I’m deeply private.  But, there is very little pretense in me.  In my former job, co-workers would always gravitate to my desk to tell me some of the most deepest secrets, escapades and darkest sins. I held them all in.   What had not occurred to me is that for  years I carried their burdens.  I am much to strong of a personality to show it, but I held onto these bags of people as comfort.  I always felt powerless when I couldn’t fix their lives or problems.  The weight of this had  become such a problem for me that in the last few years if someone said can I share something with you, I, added more weight.

I found myself on the corner of despair.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me.  I felt heavy all the time.  Then, the fatigue set in.  I felt guilty that I didn’t have drama in my life so many people shared.  But I felt like I had been through several divorces, family members on drugs, unemployment, sickness and disease and betrayal to name a few.  But, thankfully, none of these were my portion at the time.  It was the burdens of others.  Slowly the walls of my mildly perfect life began to crumble.  I didn’t have the strength to carry my own bags.  I was depleted and bankrupt.  All the deposits I had made in the life of others didn’t grow any interest in the bank account of my life.  In fact, I had overdrawn on life completely that when my world spiraled, I couldn’t cope.

When you board a plane the flight attendant gives you the safety features of the aircraft.  They also tell you in case of an emergency to put on your own oxygen mask before you help others.  That’s it!  I had failed to put on my own oxygen mask.  Like a flood, every negative thing that could happen came fast forward in my life.  Death, sickness, business and personal failure, separation, and an attack on my son was my new normal.  Each day started out with what dragon I was going to slay. The attack was so heavy.   I prayed for strength and it seemed as if my prayers went on deaf ears.  I knew God was listening, but I didn’t know if he was speaking to me.  It was the darkest hour in my life and I wanted death to relieve it.  I never contemplated suicide, but I know what wanting to die feels like.  I thought no one has ever experienced this level of pain.  Sadly to0 many others do and much worse than that of what I experienced.  When I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.  I dared not question God, why, but I wanted to.  I just needed to know how long the pain would last. My suffering finally came to halt when one night I found myself in the middle of my living room floor screaming at the top of my lungs, “I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE!”  It was the most horrific cry that I have ever cried.    My emotional pain had become physical pain.  I needed it to end and I needed to end right now.  I asked God to not allow anything more on me than I could bear.  I WAS DONE!   It was at my lowest, that I realized that I had surrendered.

It never occurred that during my 2 years of process that I was still holding bags.  I was still carrying bags of  pain in my stomach, grief on my back, disappointment in my eyes, hurt in my heart, fear in my walk,  unworthiness on my head and guilt in my two hands and unforgiveness in my veins.  Only God could free my life of torture.  My restoration didn’t take place overnight.  Healing is not an event, it is a process.  My journey is taking me the scenic route.  It is putting me at the foot of the cross.  I find that it is the only place where I can lay down my ego and begin to trust him.  I’m learning the hardest lesson and that is to trust him more and more each day.  I would love to tell you that I have made it the finish line.  But, the strong willed, don’t-need-nobody person still lives in me and has yet to be crucified.  My submission to God hasn’t created full crucifixion yet, so I remain in process. I remain hopeful.  He is faithful to perform all the necessary training that I need day by day and experience by experience.  The good news is he will do it for you.  On the cross he whispered my name.  Who wouldn’t serve a God like this?

Organic Sista

Simmering Spices

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Simmering Herbs

I always love the smell of fresh linen, fresh herbs and simmering spices in my home.  Some of the herbs I grow in my garden.  I planted a Rosemary bush a few and it grows in abundance.  So I am always trying to find recipes and formulations to use it.  This is one of my favorite recipes for room scent.  Those who visit my house are always looking for a candle or a plug in as the source of this great smelling fragrance in my home during the fall.  But, they need look no further than a small pot on my stove the fills the air with such a warm fragrance.

Recipe

1 qt of water

4 Sprigs of Rosemary

3 Slices of Lemon

1/4 tsp of Cinnamon of clove

or 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Simmer on stove at a very low temperature.

Organically Walking

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This is the image of my journey last Saturday as I walked with my friend Diane in the cool of the morning.  I had awaken to a sudden burst of energy.  I was anxious to get out.  This is also known as a “new high” for people when they first start or restart exercising.  I was so excited this morning that my body wasn’t aching as bad as I thought it would be from the previous day of bootcamp that I thought I would try my luck at this exercise thing again.  As I journeyed through the park, I put on my favorite gospel music and I began to dance.  Now this is new for me.  I’m not shy anymore, but I am reserved.   In my car I am subject to dance like David danced, but never in public would I do such a thing.  I don’t know if it is the fall weather that I enjoy so much or the fire that it stored up in my bones when I hear music.  Whatever the reality is, I’m heading into unchartered territories.  Some might say that I am reinventing myself, but I lets just say that I am reimagining myself.  But, I am Happy, Happy, Happy.  In fact, I think I will download the happy song from Pharrell Williams because we are both HAPPY.

The fellowship with Diane as we walked our 2 1/2 miles was filled with Diane telling me everything inside and outside her life.  (You just gotta love Diane.  She will give you all the details).  But, as we walked along this pathway to health, I stop my thoughts just to observe this sister friend.  In the most pivotal times in the past two years, I realized that often times when I looked to my left, she was there.  When Leading Lady Lashanda died she was there to experience the pain with me.  Diane was also  right there as a supporter and encourager with Lashanda as they FORCED me to start a natural company.  Then, when my sister died two months later.  It was her, at the hospital as I agonized on whether it was biblical to remove my sister from life support holding my hand.  For all the years that I didn’t have close female fellowship, I looked over at Diane this day, and saw sisterhood magnified.

We are two totally different people.  I’m more cerebral and she is more spontaneous and aloof.  Yet, she gets me and allows me to be my quirky, nerdy and don’t-fit-in self. I allow her to be her and I love it.  She has taught me so much and I’ve known that there has been a purpose in our friendship.   How lucky am I now that I am removing myself from off the grid to know that she is still my friend who didn’t take it personal that I took a break from life.  I began to calculate some of the additions to my life and I realized that God has added Diane and for this I am grateful.  The past two years has allowed me to see God and gratitude in so many things that I would have casually dismissed or flat out ignored.  It is easy to see the beauty in nature and people when given the time.  But, it is much more special when you can find gratitude in someone calling you, a friendly text or last week a friend calling me singing Stevie Wonder’s song, “I just called to say, I Love You”.  I had sung this to Deanna (off key of course) one day and it gloriously made her day.  The day that she left it on my voice mail, I realize that you do reap what you sow.  It came at a great time, HARVEST TIME! I play it over and over again.  Her voice is beautiful.

The rest of my day was filled with such wonder and awe.  I went to a baby shower of a neighbor and the joy of a newborn filled the atmosphere. The baby clothes are so cute and all the new stuff for babies is amazing.   I can’t remember a time that I have looked in the face of a baby and it didn’t make me smile.  In fact I have several people that just bring joy to me.  Several years ago, I met three kids that inspired me in such a strange crazy way. I met them and I instantly knew that Charity, Nasia and AJ had destiny written all over them.  They carried that “It” factor and I knew greatness resides in them.  To this day, I carry pictures of them and when my day gets a little low, it is them that I can always look at and I am instantly uplifted.  I believe everyone should have someone that instantly picks you up.  I’m glad I do.  They represent the future and possibilities and I’m the better for it.  It doesn’t help that they think I’m the coolest.  In fact, Charity calls me her favorite big person.  Guess, what?  She is my favorite little person.

My day ended at an event called Judgment Journey.  It is a 45 minute walk into the End Times.  This reenactment of the end times is just what I need to strengthen my faith just a little bit more.  We could all use a wake up every now and then especially in these perilous times.  The state of our current condition in politics, medicine and war, we could all use a little more Jesus.

 

Organic Sista

 

Journey Back to Wellness

OrganicSista01

I’m back on my journey to wellness. Yesterday I started fitness training to get rid of unwanted pounds, but really to deal with some health issues. I’ve gotten off track for the past two years and my journey back to health will be daunting. But, I am determined this time to not let Life get in the way. My first day in the class about 20 minutes in the class, I felt faint. My heart rate climbed and I knew I was headed for trouble. What a minute! There is no way that I could be this out of shape. What happened to muscle memory all my trainers before told me about? Someone need to talk to my muscles because none of them remembered anything about training. My new trainer was excellent. He didn’t push me, in fact for the first time in my life, I knew I needed to stop and that I wasn’t going to pushed, forced, screamed to continue. This has been done to me so often in personal training and other classes. This time I listened to my body. My new trainer, knew that I needed a break and he actually forced me to admit that I needed a break. That was different.

To start things off, I am double dehydrated. Did I mention that I hate water? I had not drunk the 24 hours before which is a no-no. I am also on a medication that has diuretic properties (yeah, for someone who doesn’t drink water). So you can imagine how that is working out for me. Finally, I have diabetes. What in the world was I thinking. I hadn’t prepared my body at all. I recently had a conversation with my physician. Oh did I mention that I doctor myself. I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. The last few months my diabetes was out of control despite my best effort and I finally surrendered and went to the doctor. I knew that she would tell me about diet and exercise. What doctor doesn’t? Any who, I purposed to start back exercising. I had already adopted healthier lifestyle, but I know for my particular body, I get healthy through exercise. I know that I can pretty much eat what I want when I exercise. My body just responds very quickly to exercise. So when my very next door neighbor of 6 years (whom I just met a month ago, I’m so embarrassed) told me about a personal trainer, I said, Oh! Here’s your sign.

I’m a type A personality so to not finish the class would have messed with my psyche all night, not to mention my neighbor Catrina had been so kind to allow me to come with her. But, I will tell you what happened to me yesterday. I walked out of my comfort zone twice. I started taking control of my health and I started building on a friendship. This isn’t just health, that’s wellness.

I woke up with anticipation. This Fall weather makes me feel so excited. It’s a season of health and love for me. For some strange reason, the Fall makes me want to fall in love again. Hopefully in a few weeks that will be less of me to cuddle next to as I set reasonable goals for weight loss. I have purposed to detox the first five days of each month until the new year and then I will do a 30 totally body detox. I’ve done a detox every January for the past few years. This, I believe jump starts my health for the year.

On my way to work, I got excited all over again as I heard nature talking to me. I will find time to create space in my head for meditation and for walking in the park again. There’s something to be said of walking in the park on a Fall morning that is so peaceful. My respect for nature has returned. I see God in it’s beauty and his amazing ability to make the earth sing as I walk along. Happy Organic Thursday!

I am the Organic Sista. I am married to the sexiest man in the world and the mother cutest kid in the world I call “Beetle.” I hate to edit and it somehow’s throws off my organic nature (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it). I’m at my best when I’m making natural products, gardening, crafting and reading the Bible.