Thursday, April 30, 2020

Waymaker: Finding Peace through Song

So I was on my way to having a pity party today, then I came back across  a song that I’d shared on my Facebook page. I listened to the song again, and in the song, God spoke to my spirit.

I was really ready to give up. I get so tired of not being able to breath like a normal person because of the way that pollen affects my asthma; and I can't seem to eat anything without getting sick due to a digestive disorder that I’ve had since I was a child.

Honestly, it's been hard enough having to deal with the COVID-19 self-quarantine since I'm one of those people considered to have a "compromised immune system" and am more susceptible to the Coronavirus, so I can't even go get myself a cup of coffee from Starbucks, something that always relaxes me.

And I was beginning to hear that voice of fear that comes to kick you when you're down. I was not suicidal, but I was feeling very hopeless.

Then I listened to a version of the the song "Waymaker" sung by a man who's grandmother posted to Facebook him singing the song. I had hear it before, but it affected me differently this time. 

The first time I heard the man sing the song, I was simply in awe of his singing ability.  His voice was like that of an angel.

This time, I was in awe of how God spoke to me through it. This time it gave me incredible hope.

Tears fell down my face, and hope began to spring up in me again.

I know I have a purpose in this life, sometimes I doubt what it could be but I’m sure of one thing, it isn't to give up.

I feel God calling me to share something with the world; I’m pretty sure I know what it is but it’s been so difficult putting it into motion, because emotional scars of the past never really go away. Like physical scars,  they just fade.

I’ve had friends tell me to write a memoir, that my words might help change someone's life; it could provide healing even to those who have also gone through the same trauma, but not yet healed.

And I’ve started writing a memoir; but finishing it a different thing altogether.

But after listening to the words of the song again, I no longer felt compelled to literally crawl into bed and have a pity party. I felt encourage, by the entire song. But these words spoke to me the most:

Way Maker – God can and will find a way to heal my physical pains and get me through the mental hardship that makes finishing my memoir so difficult.

Miracle Worker – I don’t  need to know how God will do it; I just need to trust (and know) that he can.

Promise Keeper – He won’t break his promise to me. I will get it done.

Light in the Darkness – In those moments I want to stop writing, he will get me through them, I just have to call on him. In this instance, I called on him by listening to this song, which felt more like an uplifting sermon. 

I didn’t just listen to the man’s amazing voice, I listened to the words. And as the tears streamed down my face, I felt God say to me: “Stop worrying, you've got this. I’m here for you and I’m not leaving you. Keep pushing through.”

And I will. I will continue to write and work on my memoir, but without prayer, it may years before I finish. It’s already been two years since I started. So keep me in your prayers. Because I can’t do it with my own strength, I can only do it through the strength God puts in me.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

FRIDAY FEELING: Peace and the Process

As I sat in my new luxurious office chair, munching on my pesto cavatappi from Noodles & Company, I relished in the delight of having a quiet day off. I was working from home and had the house to myself, -- well provided my 25 year old nephew wasn't in his room in the basement still asleep as usual. But even so, it was delightful!

I had become so frustrated with not having more work from my client (I was barely making 10 hours a week). But then a lightbulb went off and I realized that I should take advantage of the extra time to work on my apply to writing contests and/or fellowship --  something I've put off for nearly 5 years because I was so focused on finding a full-time job. But I've realized maybe I'm not meant to work full-time; health wise, it's becoming harder for me to do the commuting rat race of taking a bus and subway to work; my asthma and other health issues leave me with limited physical energy and I get so much more work completed working from home. So I'm just going to work freelance until I find the perfect full-time communications job. 

Besides, If I can find a great fellowship, that would actually pay me for two weeks or longer to get my memoir or cozy fiction novel completed, that would be MAR-VE-LOUS!

But it's not just applying for a fellowship that I need to work on, I have so many different projects, I don't know which one to tackle first. I started the previous night applying for more freelance projects. There was the pitch letters to business owners for newsletter services; a real estate friend of mine told me that realtors can use this service and I realized other small businesses are willing to pay for it after I met the owner of a coffee and kombucha drink café at a farmers market who was interested in having me do a newsletter for her. So contests, fellowship applications and freelance proposals. Good grief - it's exhausting just thinking about it.

So I chose to begin first on working on my children's book blog, where I review culturally diverse picture books, because, let's be honest. it is so much more fun! It was in need of serious updating as I haven't posted much on social media or a new post this month. However after I finish that, I will get to work on the big girl projects because I'll never get noticed widely as a writer if I don't get a fellowship, that I am confident will ultimately lead to getting published - at some point. 

So that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. I have every confidence things will turn out magnanimous (I'm channeling my inner Ann of Green Gables). Peace out.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sure, I can do that!

"April, would you lead us in prayer to close the meeting?"
"Uh, ok." I said timidly, beginning to pray a prayer that was a little befuddled if you ask me.
I'm not a timid person, and I don't usually get nervous when asked to pray.

In fact my brunch girlfriends always insist that I do it. I don't mind. I love doing so. However tonight when the committee head of our 75th anniversary committee asked me to, I was taken aback.

I hadn't probably attended a meeting in about a month, and in truth I didn't want to attend tonight's. I was moody and not feeling energetic at all.

But knowing that a newsletter would have to go out tomorrow, I knew it was important that I go so that I made sure to find out what needed to go into the newsletter.

A pleasant surprise that came out of the meeting was when I told them I hadn't RSVP'd for the Fall dinner because I didn't have the money. The woman in charge of securing the meeting location and logistics, quickly responded "you're going."

They didn't mind giving me a complimentary ticket at all. I was so embarrassed to have to ask, but as soon as I said I'd been unemployed for a year and just didn't have the money, they quickly made it clear that they wanted me there.

"You've done so much to help the planning." My sister in Christ Susan told me, speaking of the mementos I designed and ordered and the biweekly newsletter that I write and send. She made me feel like I had done more than I felt I had. Admittingly though, there have been times I felt like I was working a regular job, but I've enjoyed it a lot. My ADD has just made me a bit crazy at times having to attend the meetings.

It was good to know that they have truly appreciated me and the time I have put into planning for the church's 75th anniversary.  There had been times I've felt many of my ideas have been shut down and that I wasn't appreciated. It's an experience I'm looking forward to seeing the end when we celebrate the anniversary in October at our formal dinner. Just goes to show, when you see things through, God will see you through  - obstacles and all.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

When God Speaks, Listen

I've been unemployed for over a year now. It's been a hella difficult year, and at times I have tried to understand why God has me going through this valley. I've been unemployed before, but never for this long and it's taken it's toll. After having a friend for church pray with me last Sunday, and dealing with the death of a family friend who's funeral I attended this past week, I feel like I'm about to come unhinged. But fortunately God sent a long lost friend to me yesterday to remind me that He hasn't left me and that I'm not alone.

So now I have to deal with something I've been fighting with for over a month now. I've been hearing God speak about something I thought about two months ago but abandoned the idea because it was something I just didn't want to do. It would be too painful and I didn't think it would be advantageous at all.

I find myself waking up every day hearing God tell me to begin writing  memoirs - something that scares the beJesus out of me. I've thought of it before, but my childhood memories aren't all exactly all happy, so I'd rather not relive painful memories. But God won't stop telling me to do it.

Oddly enough, about two months ago, I read a post about why it's important to write about your life because what may seem uneventful or boring to you may be helpful or even educational to others.

So today I decided to mention the idea to a friend who takes me to church. I told her about some of my childhood experience, and she thought that some of what I mentioned would be great reading -  even movie potential. I've heard God say this too, but I find it pretty hard to beleive.

What I do know though is that I would like to say goodbye to much of the painful memories I've been holding inside for over 17 years - scars from high school, heartbreak and even abuse suffered as a pre-teen. So I've decided to surrender, and just do it. Whether it makes it to the bestseller list or a movie screen isn't really important; what is important is that it will allow me to release painful memories from my spirit.

This is especially important right now because I'll be moving half-way across the country to Arizona soon - in the next 3 to 6 months, and before I start this new chapter of my life, which is sure to be an adventure - I want to release my emotional  baggage.

I admit I'm afraid of some of the reaction s some will have, and some may not be happy with some of the things I reveal, but they will just have to get over it - just as I will have to. Because as a woman of God, I'm ready to be done with fear and regret and welcome peace and hope back into my life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Feel the Burn!

It’s been a long time since I went to the gym and came out really sore, but today was one of those days. I had a session with a personal trainer and he really worked me. He especially worked my thighs, and let me tell you they are BURNING! Afterwards my legs felt like rubber, so I got on the treadmill, and I decided to walk on a higher incline since I will be going hiking Saturday.

Everything was going fine until I decided to close my eyes for 2 seconds – just 2 seconds, but that was enough time to send me sliding off the treadmill, and I landed right on my butt, in front the other 50 or so other people working out in the gym.

Why did I close my eyes? I was watching a news program on one of the gym's huge wide-screen TVs, and the headline on the news program read that Robin Roberts of Good Morning America had been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.

I was upset by this, knowing that she's already overcome cancer, and felt the need to say a prayer for her. I wanted to say the prayer right then and there because I worried I might forget to do it later. Big mistake! Next time I'll know to hit the pause/stop button before closing my eyes on a moving treadmill. That would be the common sense thing to do, right?

Yes, but the thing is, I’m really good at balancing myself on moving subway trains without holding onto anything, and I can easily walk on a balance beam, so I figured the treadmill would't be much different. I mean, I can do the yoga tree pose standing on one foot for like three minutes! So I didn’t think the treadmill would be that much of a challenge. I was wrong.

I’ll be back in the gym Wednesday for another personal training session, and hopefully – I can pray - my thighs will have stopped burning by then. If not, that's okay, it'll be worth it when I look in the mirror 6-8 weeks from now and see how toned I am. Yeah baby! I'm going to be forty and fabulous and smokin' hot, LOL.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pollen is not My Friend

The last week and a half has been a difficult one for me. I went outside almost two weeks ago to go for a walk. I didn't even make it to the corner before my lungs started to hurt and I had trouble breathing.

Next thing you know I have the most severe allergy attack I've had in over 17 years since I was diagnosed with asthma. I inhaled my rescue inhaler like it was oxygen for the next day, but then when it got to where I could barely talk, I went to the allergist. That was no picnic either. She proceeded to berate me for not coming in sooner or going to the emergency room, and then said "that's how people die." And then she said I didn't try hard enough to breath into her little machine that tells how bad off my lungs are. Hello? I am 40, not 4. Don't talk to me like a child.

So she puts me on prednisone for 5 days to stop the swelling of my lungs. I get to where I can talk again but am still walking like an 80 year old. After 3 days I'm still coughing, so I call the allergist’s office and she tells me to go to the emergency room. So I unwillingly go and the doctor tells me I have Bronchitis, which unbeknownst to me can be caused by air pollution, which in this case was the pollen. He puts me on antibiotics for 5 days and I go home. I'm on so many medicines - anti-inflammatory pills, antibiotics, Zyrtec, Sudafed and some prescription nose spray, that to say I was a little loopy is an understatement.

Oh, and I forgot the best part, I now have to wear a mask every time I go outside so pollen doesn't get into my lungs. This has been real fun. I've gotten all kinds of fun looks. Here's the thing, I know it's not normal to see someone wearing a surgical mask outside, but people are looking at me like I'm Hannibal Lector. Don't they know what the pollen is doing to people? I guess not. It's a crappy deal, but it's either that, or get swollen lungs again.

So even though I feel better, I still get winded easily and even having my mask off for two minutes to get into a taxi today have my chest feeling tight again. I realize I need more than just medical attention, I need supernatural attention. This morning I texted all my best friends to pray for my healing and am going to call my church to get on the prayer list - because this thing has got to go.

I've seriously thought of moving to Arizona or somewhere where pollen isn't as prevalent. Either that or allergy shots. I'm kind of a holistic type and really hate the thought of shooting toxins in my bloodstream, but I may have to do it. It's either that or hang out with the lizards and the cactuses in Arizona. It may sound extreme to some, but I don't ever want to experience an attack like that again. And if moving to the desert can prevent that, so be it. I'll just have to take a trip and see what the state has to offer. Stay tuned! I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Whitney's Gone

When an icon dies, it's unreal. When I heard of Whitney Houston's death, I immediately thought, they must be wrong. They got it wrong. Rumors of celebrity deaths happen all the time. But unfortunately, this time it was true. Whitney Houston is dead.

I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. Not only was Whitney just talented and beautiful, she was larger than life. This was a woman who broke the Beatles record of having more consecutive Number 1 singles in U.S. history. A singer, actress, model, mother, and most importantly, child of God.

Yes, some liked to focus on Whitney's downfalls, rather than her amazing achievements, but the fact that she was a woman of God, should not go unsaid. Yes, she had flaws, but who of us don't?

I chose and still choose to focus on the larger than life Queen of the 80s and 90s that she was. A melodic, angelic singer that used her God-given gift of voice to make the world sound more beautiful. She was Every Woman, and she had more than 'One Moment in Time' and boy did she shine.

I'll be dancing and singing to her music as long as my legs and voice allow me too. May her music and her memory live on forever in our hearts.

Goodbye girlfriend. May Heaven's light shine on your face and the angels sing as they welcome you into the pearly gates.

Rest in peace Whitney.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Treats are not my friend

Oh my goody gosh. It’s cookies and chocolate and fruitcake, oh my! I told myself I would not eat any holiday treats until Christmas actually arrived. I’ve actually been able to do this the 30 days before Halloween in the past. But as for the winter holidays, not so much. It’s not exactly easy because cookies and chocolate are everywhere!

For example, when I went to work Friday, I was determined not to eat any bad stuff because I wasn’t craving sweets. But then a Harry & David package comes to my office that I have to sign for because my Executive Director is out on maternity leave. So I take the gift basket out of the box and set it on her desk, thinking the staff and I will go through it Monday when we have our staff meeting. But then a co-worker of mine insists that we go ahead and open it.

So I’m thinking, no problem. All I saw was some weird cherries and pears and some peppermint type candy. I’m thinking I’ll have a pear and that will be the end of it. No guilt related eating would take place. But what do you know? We open up the basket and there’s peppermint bark and truffles and caramel popcorn – oh freakin’ my! And it doesn’t stop there.

My co-worker Susan notices the tin that I also put on the ED’s desk. I wasn’t going to open it but she emailed the ED for permission to open the tin, which was granted. So we open it and discover assorted chocolates including chocolate and almond covered toffee. I did not panic about this at first because I had forgotten my toffee addiction that I had in my twenties (I must have eaten a Scor candy bar every week). So I take a bite of the oh-so-buttery toffee and oh-my-gosh – it was like someone poured buttery goodness in my mouth!

I end up eating not two or three of these candies, but five, along with at least three other types of chocolates, one huge piece of peppermint bark dipped in milk chocolate, and oh yeah – a pear. Now I feel like someone poured a pound of cement in my stomach, not chocolaty goodness.

As I begin to wallow in guilt, I also begin thinking hey! It’s okay! This is what adults are supposed to do during the holidays, eat goodies. Kids have toys and we have chocolate, cake and cookies. What’s the harm in that? Especially when I am normally good about eating healthy. I typically eat these types of treats only when they are sitting right in front of me. I don’t buy them for myself. And since I stay away from fast food and don’t eat fried food at home, it’s ok if I stuff myself with holiday goodness.

So I decided that instead of feeling guilty, my new holiday motto will be peace, love and good chocolate for all. God bless us, every one!