Archive for June, 2013

Cleaning Out My Closet ~Venus

Hello everyone! Over the past couple of months, I’ve been doing some serious closet cleaning. I’m not talking about my personal closet at my apt but my spiritual closet. As many of you may or may not know, I’ve been single for a little bit over a year (a year, 2 months, and 2 days to be exact lol). I seriously thought that all of my issues were dealt with and that I was good. Nope, not the case! I’ve been dealing w/ loneliness, getting over an experience that I dealt w/ my senior yr of college, healing from past hurt,  and healing from past relationships to name a few. Facing those things haven’t been easy.

I think the biggest lie we can tell ourselves is that we are ok when we aren’t.  It’s essential to do a heart check and make sure that you deal w/ the issues of your heart. I know that one of my defense mechanisms is suppression.T here are other coping mechanisms besides suppression. If someone or something hurts me real bad and I don’t want to deal with it at the moment, I suppress it .  According to dictionary.com, suppress  is ” from Latin suppressus  held down, from supprimere  to restrain, from sub-  down + premere  to press”. What happens with suppression is that you constantly push down things internally that hurts you.

I’m going to give a quick example related to suppression.  Imagine that you have a hamburger. Let’s say that the hamburger bun represent your heart and a hamburger patty represents an issue (stay w/ me here lol).  So let’s say that your issues are abandonment, loneliness, depression,  anger, and trusting people. Those are 5 issues right there. So imagine that there are 5  hamburger patties stacked on top of each other. There are 5 issues that are being piled on top of each other in your heart.  Now let’s add more issues such as sex addiction, low self-esteem, and unhappiness. Now you have  a total of 8 issues that you have to deal with. That’s a lot right?  Think of suppression as a form of  procrastination. When people procrastinate, they often put off things that are important. So with suppression, you’re putting off those issues you need to deal with. You tell yourself you’re going to deal with it and you continue to put it off. Well guess what? You can only put off things for so long  until you have to deal with it. The more things you suppress, the more you have to deal with.

Suppressing things isn’t healthy. For me, the things that I suppress are often triggered whether it’s by a song or something that someone says to me. When those things are triggered, it’s not good. Depending on how bad the issue is, I could go into a depression (which isn’t good either). It’s just better to deal with things right when it happens instead of dealing with it later. Yes, it will hurt but you’ll be better off .

I heard on a teleconference bible study that I was on a few weeks ago that the enemy tries to keep us bound by our issues. He knows that if we don’t deal with them, he got us!  The speaker of the call made an analogy of issues being like a chain. Every time you try to break away, you can’t because your issues are chained to you. Every where you go, your issues go with you. Please pray and ask God to show you those issues in your heart that are hidden deep within. Ask God to break the chains that have you bound!  Pray for deliverance! I can honestly say that God is really healing me and he is making me better. There isn’t anything to painful, that God can’t heal. You want to be whole without voids!   Deal with your baggage! It’s time to clean out our spiritual closets ya’ll!  God bless!

~Venus

P.S. I apologize if I was repetitive in this post. I sometimes don’t realize how many times I have used a word..lol..I hope that my post was able to help someone and also was easy to understand. The assignments that my mentor and life coach has given me have allowed me to do a lot of self-evaluation. I think that those assignments have been the biggest thing in helping me recognize my issues.

I did a few radical things this month. I bought my 1st Dunkin Donut (key lime pie)! We recently had a Dunkin Donuts open in my area.  I was so happy! I made turkey burger sliders and a casserole for the first time! I made a casserole that had chicken, alfredo sauce, rice, mixed vegetables, w/ a breadcrumb/panko/cheese mixture on top. It turned out good! The inspiration for the casserole came from Stouffer’s Grandma Chicken Rice Bake that I tried. I was like I’m so going to make my version of this! lol! I also joined Plenty of Fish w/ my female friend. She didn’t want to be on there by herself. She had to do a lot of convincing. lol! The website is ok.

My grandmother on my dad’s side passed away the Thursday before last. Her funeral was on last Monday.  I didn’t attend her funeral but I did see her at the funeral home last Sunday. She looked beautiful! Please keep my family in your prayers!

-I know that this isn’t a Christian song but I like it! lol! I couldn’t think of another song to go with this post.

We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar – I love this poem! It’s an oldie but it’s good!

Spiritual Spring Cleaning – A must read article!

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Be the Best YOU Can Be! ~Venus

Hey everyone! So based on the title, you’re probably already know what this post is going to about. As some of you may or may not know, I work in food service. When I got hired w/ my job I began as a cashier. At work, I get bored a LOT! I don’t like to stand around and not do anything. So when I get like that, I find something to do. My managers get on me all the time about staying at the cash register, but I really can’t do it..lol..I have to find things to stock or clean. I just CAN’T stand there my hold entire shift. What I began to do with my boredom was going to the other food stations and learning what my co-workers do. On the side of the building I work in, we have a pasta/pizza station, a flatbread sandwich station, a  soup station, a homestyle food station, and a fajita/Asian stirfry station (it used to be a salad station). I learned how to work each station. I even learned how to prep for some of the food stations!

Once my managers noticed that I knew how to work the other stations, they took full advantage of me. lol! I would get pulled sometimes to work certain stations. In the spring semester of this yr, I was moved from being a cashier to working on the line (a food station). I was kind of disappointed to move because I liked being a cashier. My job hired new cashiers and I had to train them so they took my place. =( However, I knew that I was capable of doing the work each station. I became what they call a “floater”. A floater is person that move from station to station assisting others that may need help. A floater also relieve people for breaks. Most people probably wouldn’t have bothered to learn how to work other positions. How can you be flexible and grow if you don’t know how to do other things?

I know you may be wondering what is the point of me saying all this..Ok, I’m going to get to it! lol! Whatever job you have, be the best you can be at it even if you don’t like your job! Not only know how to do your job, learn how to do your co-workers job. You never know, your boss might give you a promotion! Trust me when I say, managers notice hard work! A lot of people at my job tell me that I’m a hard worker. I take my job very seriously even though it’s not my dream job.  I try my best to be on time for work. There only have been a few times that I’ve been late to work (it hasn’t been often)…lol. Most people at my workplace know that I do my job. If  I have to stay late to make sure that my area is stocked and cleaned, I will do it!

Let’s transition for a moment. I’m going to give an example of someone outside of myself (lol) that was the best he could be. His name is Booker T. Washington (my high school is named after him). I’m just going to give a quick story about him. He was born a slave. He was a hard worker. One of the jobs he had was being a janitor while he was attending a college. He took his job very seriously. He ended up getting a scholarship to his school by the founder/headmaster. The founder/headmaster saw how hard he worked!   Booker T. Washington was also the founder of Tuskegee Institute (Tuskegee University). Here is a link to learn more about Booker T. Washington: http://www.biography.com/people/booker-t-washington-9524663?page=1

I believe that hard work  pays off. Even though I work in food service right now, I know that it is temporary. I don’t plan on staying in food service for the rest of my life..lol! I have a degree and  I want to work in my field one day. I have a heart to work in Social Services. I currently volunteer w/ a clinic that provide services such as free testing for pregnancy/STI’s and free parenting classes. I also am a director of two programs in my sorority.  I know that God will bless me w/ a career in his timing. Until I get my foot in the door w/ my career, I will continue to work hard and develop myself. Even when God does bless me, I will continue to work hard. God bless!

~Venus

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Dire Straits Part 2-Audrey

It Is Not Ours to Wonder Why

I have tried to stay upbeat. I know that with God on my side I can do anything. Sure I have agreed I could do with a bit of luck and some good vibes. But I have not lamented to god “Why me?”
I hate this. I know people who do this. For on, it’s selfish. As if God has taken time out of his busy schedule do deal you a bad hand. He’s nor up there saying. “Audrey, you gossiped, so I smite you.” This doesn’t happen. He answers my prayers when I come to them with them, not based on my daily sin tally.

I refuse to let my health get me down.  I have numbness in my feet and pain in my legs. I have been tested for things but they have no idea what is going on. No MS. No Stroke. No Lupus. I feel like an episode of House. I know that I am patient and pray that God will find the answers. He isn’t punishing me.

I have tried not think “Why me?” I have sometimes thought about how I deserve and don’t deserve things, but then I realize I must lose this idea and let God handle everything.

I had another aunt die recently. While I was in the hospital in fact, I had not spoken with her for a long time and had pretty much written her off. She had done horrible things to the family, and I refuse to let her in my life to wreck more havoc. I try to remember when I was little, before she did those things. I mourn that person but had trouble bringing up the sorrow; I had mourned for that woman since she changed. In fact, I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. I felt sorry for her dying alone and unloved.

This is why I don’t ask “why me?” Why I focus on others in life. Why I focus on love. I don’t want to end up like my aunt. Alone with people mourning for a woman I was twenty years ago.

This seems harsh, I know. I decided a long time ago, love propelled life and I should cut out the haters. This made life better for me and those around me. So when, I get troubled dished out, “I say brining it on. God and I will figure this out.”

I trust God to bring some easiness and happiness my way. We must all go through times of plenty, times of need, times of hurt, and times of happiness’s. It’s not mine to wonder why, but mine to do or die.

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Dire Straits Part 1~Audrey

It’s a Hard Job Life

I have had a tough two months. Family deaths, hospitalizations, work stress. The works.

Each day I put my feet on the ground, smile, and move forward with my life. And each day I pray for health and thank God for my blessings.

Let’s start with the first issue. Work has been increasingly stressful. Personalities and ideologies clash creating tension. This leaves me not wanting to go to my job even though I love the work I do with the children. Then my mother went into the hospital the same week my aunt had a stroke. My aunt, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer, was quickly released and on her feet. My mother was in ICU for two weeks until they decided it was ulcers causing all her problems. As things started to get normal, my aunt died sending the whole family into turmoil. My boyfriend decided to take me away from the stress and whisked me away to Atlanta to see where they filmed The Walking Dead. But the trip wasn’t much fun because I had an abscess tooth that was killing me. I had scheduled a root canal and the three days later, I was in the hospital. I was dealing with numbness in my hands and feet as well as pain in my joints. In the ER, one hand didn’t even respond to the reflex test.

My biggest blessings have been a strong support of people who brought me lunch, sent prayers, and helped me walk to the bathroom. I have been given the gift of coworkers who don’t push me too far and a boyfriend who doesn’t flinch when it comes to helping me do anything I need.

Each step along the way I have thanked God. Thank you for helping my mother heel. Thank you for not letting my aunt suffers. Thank you for Jason being there after the hospital kicked me out.

I know I am not being punished and that God is giving me gifts through these struggles. I have generally kept and upbeat attitude. Job went through worse and was well rewarded for his trouble. And my faith will never waver.

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What Would You Do IF You Were Not Afraid-Renee`

My bestie and fellow Radicalin Gem, introduced me to this wonderful group called Lean In [you can learn more by visiting: (http://leanin.org/)]. The purpose of the group is to encourage women to Lean In..push themselves farther than they originally thought possible. The site shares stories from some incredible women (and some men)- it’s so encouraging. So much so that I actually bought the book on Amazon.

I was always taught from a very early age to dream and dream big. That I was capable of doing and excelling at anything I put my mind to…and then I grew up. As you grow you get the bumps and bruises of failures that can make even the most die hard person turn timid. I had a dream of helping people..but I had no idea what that dream would materialize into. Then I had my son and what was practical was making sure he was taken care of. So although I was working in my field doing things I loved..I didn’t allow myself to dream bigger, because now if I failed the cost was too high.

Now that I am married, and thank God I am married to someone who encourages me to think outside of the box and constantly tells me how capable I am..the dreams I once had are being reignited. I have live in support. My family and HIS girls are awesome, but you can hide certain facets of yourself when you’re not living with someone. Living with someone gives opportunities for true intimacy and a closer inspection of ones flaws. SO for me it is incredibly inspiring for someone to know my flaws so intimately yet..still tell me, that ME..little ol’ ME, can really do something amazing.

In fact, Isn’t this the story of God’s Love for us? God knows me more intimately than anyone-from the number of hairs on my head to my very thoughts..good, bad, indifferent HE knows. YET, He still says and shows me He loves me even at my most unlovable moments. 

Love can inspire people to change- Love can give people the wings to fly even in the most tumultuous weather.  With that being said; I am now focusing on what would I do with myself if I were not afraid? How would I live my life differently if I didn’t have fear weighing me down? This question is honestly the crux of this entire Rad7even journey- building a more personal relationship with Christ so the cares (and fears) of this life won’t hinder us from our divine purpose. Now that this has finally crystallized (it only took two years LOL) I am looking at this journey from a different perspective..with less of my will involved and more of my Spirit… who knows where this will go.

Leaning In,

Renee`

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Misconceptions ***Danielle***

I think in life, there are many misconceptions. My biggest misconception has been that I would get a job, a salaried job, that  I would feel fulfilled in. When I got my bachelor’s, I didn’t really job hunt because I knew I was going back to get my masters and the doors would be busting wide open for m. It didn’t and hasn’t happened that way for me. I’ve applied for jobs, some where I felt has my name on it. Then I get that awesome (see my sarcastic face) rejection email, letter, or postcard and no matter how you psych yourself up and that it would be okay, no matter the outcome, it still hurts. Yesterday, I received one of those letters. 

Starting on this radical journey has really opened my ears and eyes to what God is telling me. IT comes from any mode of media, a book/magazine I’m reading, a billboard, tv program. This past weekend, Oprah had Susan Surandon  on OWN’s Master Class. One of the topics that she covered was on rejection. She said, that whenever she got a rejection call from a movie, she would still celebrate, a meal or whatever her budget would allow. She said that failures need not to be looked at as a bad thing. So when I received that rejection letter, I felt myself reverting to what I know which was to fill that sadness with as much food as I could possibly hold but I had to literally ground myself–make myself conscious of what I was thinking about doing and the possible ramifications. I decided to do something Radical:  I rewarded myself for getting a rejection letter. I took the envelope that the letter came in and wrote: “It only takes one YES!!” and I exercised.

Life is full of misconceptions and when your blinders are taken off of different situations, don’t feel defeated, root yourself in God and know that his timing is perfect. It’s not always about the destination but the journey it takes to get there.

 

Still Pushing, 

Dani

 

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My Questions to God- Renee`

There have been quite a few things that have happened over the last few weeks some good, some not so good. The “not so good”  has lead me to a place of questioning.

I read the news online quite often and I often times read the comments after news stories. The comments sometimes are humorous, but some border on disrespectful and down right hateful. I have noticed over the last several months when tragedy strikes ( a shooting at a school, tornadoes ripping through communities, children dying of cancer etc) the most common questions I see are: 1) where was God and 2) IF there was a God why would He allow such horrible things happen to people who are seemingly completely innocent.

I don’t ask where was He, but I do ask..why? God, who is all knowing and all seeing; why would you let a child die? Why would you not stop a rape, robbery or murder? why? Those are hard questions for me to even try to piece together. 

When I was younger, my dad would always warn me about questioning God and He would point to God’s answers to Job’s questions (Job 38-41). But honestly, I think it’s OK to ask Him questions. If God is to be seen as a loving Father-I think He would want me to come to Him with everything..and sometimes although it is painful. I think He would even welcome my questions. I have asked God these questions every single time i see these atrocities. And I don’t think I am any closer to the answers just yet. But I will keep believing and researching until something clicks. I know that He has given us all free-will and unfortunately not everyone on this planet uses that gift for good. I know that if I believe in God I must also believe in evil; that there is darkness as well as light in this world. 

In those times of tragedy, I also see people who stand up, those who risk their own safety to save others. Those who donate money, time, effort to help people piece back their lives. Maybe this is where God is; maybe He’s the hug you give to someone hurting when you just don’t know what to say, Maybe He’s the bread you give to someone who is hungry, Maybe He is the patient worker to a child who can’t find their mother or father. I don’t know. Maybe God is everywhere including inside of us..and He uses us in times of devastation to be His arms, legs and heart. I know this answer sounds oversimplified to someone who doesn’t believe; it actually might even sound like nonsense. IF God is all-powerful then why not stop all these things from happening in the first place?

The only other thing I can offer is the Bible. During the time Jesus walked the earth performing miracles some still refused to believe.Even those who followed Him at times were not able to perform miracles, because they lacked faith (Luke 9:37-44). I don’t have all the answers-I never claimed to. I know that annoys people who don’t believe and they see “faith” as a complete cop out. But honestly science does not have all the answers, but people still allow for error with them. Scientists have time to do experiments and collect data and even then it might be inconclusive. The same thing with faith; I cannot prove to you without a shadow of a doubt that Heaven is real; that reading and studying what I consider the Word of God will change your life. All I can do is give you evidence (or what I believe to be) evidence in my life. There are things in life we cannot explain; I have no idea where the dinosaurs were when Adam and Eve walked the earth- I don’t hide that. All I can say is I believe that all of our questions will be answered one day. Maybe not in this life time. But in my walk with God; I believe that in the end the nonsense will make sense. I can’t tel you why or how..or even if something bad happened to me that I wouldn’t be mad at God, because I’ve been mad before. BUT I can say that above all..I honestly choose to believe that this all..everything good, bad, crazy..is for some reason above my own process. I hope I get the answers I desperately crave to have now..that would be awesome..BUT if I don’t.. I will hold my questions until I see Him face to face

Renee` 

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