Feel.

I guess I could’ve chosen another word this month, for July to focus on, but as a Nation, I believe this is where we are. I chose “Feel“.

America is changing. There are many things that have occurred that causes trauma to bring out actions that were once hidden and contained in one space – to open up into the main arena- which often is the community, at large or even small communities as of late.

The mass murders that have occurred over the past few months have caused me to put a few projects on hold and to take take to be present to you feelings, lately. I am not feeling just for myself, but I find myself feelings for others, as well.

The victims, the perpetrators, the communities affected. And I’ve been doing the only thing I know how- which involves prayer, and open lamenting. Open lamenting involves talking about the grief , and the actions and behaviors and losses I don’t quite understand. I choose to feel.

I am still feeling. And possibly will be all year- who knows… Because someone has to. Someone has to make the things people numb out to – be at the forefront. And if that’s what I do by writing, so be it.

Someone has to speak to the pain, the hurt, the challenges, the shifting of this world as it evolves. Sometimes faster than we are changing ourselves. Someone has to respond with love, encouragement, to love this life with freedom even when it seems it’s too risky to go out in communities for fear of being harmed.

I used to live on the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Ok. And this photo above was a place where I considered to be my safe space. When things began to shift and change, I would walk the path alongside the river and it would calm me. Until one day the river overflowed its banks. And it was in my backyard. We had to move. We shifted. And not reluctantly, at all. We just knew it was time. So together, we shifted with the way life was leading us.

Even as things shift and change in your life, find yourself safe space. As life shifts and challenges, you and atrocities happen all around. Remember also what “centers” you. Remember to ” give thanks” even when it’s hard to. Keep a heart of gratitude.

We need to have a certain level of adaptability to life, when things shift. We cannot choose numbness, or indifference, or ” anger” as our way of dealing; because it may cause self- sabotage, or systemic sabotage, or even resentments and hate. We have to tap into where love is. We cannot freeze up. We must feel.

Pray. Cry. Deal with and talk about how you feel about women’s rights, death, loss, grief, murder. Don’t distance yourself, don’t ‘veg out’ on TV.

Feel. Believe. Trust.

Even if believing is a challenge.

Choose to feel. Allow yourself to breathe. Because when challenges sometimes happen , the first thing we do is hold our breaths.

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Mountains… or Hills?

I am in Dansville, New York today. Just left a really pensive session about family, & what it means to me. I admired the atmosphere; being surrounded by mountains on each side. I kept taking in the views, and exclaiming how beautiful the mountains were, and one of the residents of the community said to me: “Oh those aren’t mountains, they’re hills.”

I smiled and said to myself…”They’re mountains to me.” You see, whether they are mountains or hills depends on the person. The power mountains give us – and the power the hills give us – they may be the same … or not .

I recall a time enduring a very difficult season and it was like my drives in my car during this season of my life were instructing me. I was traveling through a small town and there was this particular part of town where I noticed once – that the mountains had reduced in size!

I wondered to myself : “How did that happen!?” And I realized internally, my perspective had shifted.

Just like that.

Sometimes the life seasons we endure cause us to shift and change (snap!) just like that.

Driving those those small towns I had being enduring a really hard season in my life. And the trees and the mountains were so meaningful. They reminded me of how powerless I am, in comparison to the beauty of this world, and God’s power. God was teaching me. Informing me of my perspective. Stretching me…molding me… shaping me and causing me to shift.

I love mountains and I love hills.

The point is, no matter whether they are mountains or hills, they still encourage me. They still inspire my soul. They still make me think about the wonder of this world and how small I am in it,.. and sometimes my perspective, too.

Thank God for shifts.‚̧ԳŹ

Oh, and mountains…‚ėļÔłŹ

Clarity.

On the beach in 2019

Clarity.

It’s not easy to achieve. I mean should we even make it a goal? When 2019 happened, I initially didn’t desire clarity. I asked for something else. In fact, that word is a slight misnomer now, because Clarity assumed its position and took a hold of my destiny like none other .

‚ÄúFor sure, you‚Äôre wrong‚ÄĚ, I said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not time yet, ‚Äú I mentioned as I wrestled with the change and let go of several valuables and said goodbye to friends in the state I couldn‚Äôt believe I was moving to nine years ago..

Sometimes Clarity happens so unexpectedly. We ask for it, then we’re really not ready when it comes because it capsizes our entire world.

Or at least it did. mine.

It was my one word for the year, you see. I didn‚Äôt intend for it to bring all love and light to pass. To highlight the love of family and allow me to make sacrifices that involved severe change. To move me out of my comfort zone and say: ‚Äú Welcome to this New Evolving Space!‚ÄĚ Yeah, rhat was Clarity . But she‚Äôs become the friend I didn‚Äôt realize I had.

When I asked the Universe to give me clarity, God opened the heavens and said: ‚ÄúTake a risk.‚ÄĚ

And at first, I said ‚ÄúNo.‚ÄĚ I thought I wasn‚Äôt ready, so Resistance spread her wings and tried to escape. But Clarity brought her silence and reminded me how ‚Äúlife really isn‚Äôt all about Lil o‚Äô me.‚ÄĚ Sometimes the people we love and the lives we love take precedence, as so it was.

Clarity revisited . 2019

So this year, Clarity – my one word – was sort of disruptive of my peace; yet freeing…surrendering, cautious, yet unconditional , loving and necessary, enlightening and freeing. Yeah… Freeing.

Clarity . (title) On Lake Ontario, N.Y.. in 2017

Yeah, but it has yielded great results , already. The lesson left was to let go of the things we hold unto so tightly because they could free us, almost unexpectedly, if only we were ready for change .

The Value Of The Table.

This is my table at home.

If you have a table at home, it’s likely much happens around that table. Or, if you’re like me in the past few months, things have piled up on it, like books and magazines and … “stuff”.

I’ve decided this year to honor my table, at home.

It’s so dear to me. It’s been in my life now for about ten years, and it’s still holding ūüí™ūüŹĺ strong.

This means to invite folk to sit at it, to do rituals around my table, and to have great conversation around it as well.

It was a few weeks before it was actually up and ‘present’ in my new place. And boy, did i miss it!

I love my table.

It’s wooden and large, and it’s quite spectacular. I’ve had friends there, meals there, great conversation and dinners there with friends and family, and it’s just been a great gathering place for us. Change has happened at that table.
Marriage work, has been a focus – here, as well. Prayers and blessings have been given and good writing has even been accomplished with friends, at this table.

At work I have a table too, and there I receive great wisdom from my peer pastors, presenters and chaplains. Unbelievable memories exist as we determine outcomes around that table, and I gather a certain excitement even before I reach it. I’ve met new people and crossed paths with persons I may have never met had I not sat down and chose to walk this process out I’ll never forget some of those conversations as they have given me a spiritual maturity that has helped me recognize what really matters and makes me fulfilled in life.

The fact that so much growth happens has opened me up to new possibilities, and quite honestly it’s been making me be quite conscious about the interactions that happens around other tables in my life.

It’s so interesting that it’s symbolic for the places we receive, refresh, replenish & re-energize – what was once on a tree, is not something I also use to symbolize my personal, professional, and spiritual growth. The fact it’s so connected to nature and to my sense of peace and ‘groundedness’ are symbolic , as well.

What grounds you? Is it similar to an object, like a table? Is it a place? Or a certain feel you get when you have that wonderful sense of nostalgia?

This is my place. would love to know what’s yours. Just respond below.

I’ll continue to share with you those places and pictures in the next few blog posts.

Below is a pic I took in a park in Tulsa called The Gathering Place. Just sharing because it’s such a big wonderful, table in an open park and invites community, right smack dab in a big, beautiful city with lots of nature surrounding it.

( I also simply adore the fact it’s outside.‚ėļÔłŹūüėČ)

This was the first table I was going to use…at a community park, but I decided to simply use my own.

Chaplain Contemplations: Freedom.

I was trying to think of what walking in my calling looks like. So I began to think about for the first time in my life, my ” heart feels full.”

I mean, I get this full feeling sometimes to the point I cannot even explain the emotion, and then I emotionally feel as if I’m about to explode …with sheer joy.

It’s happened more than once. It really has.

And just recently I looked up the definition of heart”; in the Vines dictionary and found this which so explicitly explains my feelings…

Heart is referred to as:

  1. The seat of physical life
  2. The seat of moral nature and spiritual life
  3. The seat of grief
  4. The seat of the affections
  5. The seat of perceptions
  6. The seat of the thoughts
  7. The seat of the understanding
  8. The seat of reasoning powers
  9. The seat of the imagination
  10. The seat of conscience
  11. The seat of the intentions
  12. The seat of purpose
  13. The seat of the will
  14. The seat of faith

ALL of this.. is in our hearts!! No wonder “out of it flows the issues of life!”

Of our sense of purpose , decision-making , our faith and intentions are all tied up in our heart- even our sorrows – that means everything meaningful flows out of the heart!

That why in that same scripture we ask you to “guard it with all diligence”.

What does it look like for you to guard your heart? It means you watch over everything that concerns your purpose and your sense of well-being. All your hope, all your destiny and all your exchanges in life- with people, friends, family and your children .

What’s in your heart is meaningful and should be kept secured in faith.

Because faith has substance you know. It can take root in your soul and change your lifestyle and change your outlook and perspective in life. It can encourage all those around you and help you to become a more rooted and grounded person.

Selah.

#chaplaincy #chaplainlife #lifeofachaplain

‚ÄúWe Are All Like Trees.‚ÄĚ

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‚ÄúWe Are All Like Trees.‚ÄĚ

I‚Äôll never forget how her face lit up when she said these words. I was in South Africa, Kuma, South Africa, in fact. I was teaching in a classroom of South African teenagers, and I was on cloud nine, (naw ….101..)

Her words were so simple and freeing.

Powerful, yet pensive, contemplative yet colorful.

Description causes me to attach meaning to sometimes things I barely notice. I know I’d always loved trees. Yet the trees in South Africa spoke to me. I remember having spoke to this classroom brill of teenagers and then coming back to a Johannesburg and spending time with my new friends  and their friends. I stood quietly in the backyard just thanking God for the experience of being in a South Africa, eating dinner with such focused and thoughtful people. There was a tree in that backyard that spoke to me.

Inlistened to her words all over again: ‚ÄúWe are all like trees.‚ÄĚ

And  then it hit me: Our strength. Our endurance. The people we are, and continue to become. We dream, we hope, we encourage , we teach.

And yes, I am one of those Trees.

Yes indeed I am.

 

I AM ENOUGH BECAUSE I AM AWARE.

2D278918544E4C25A95045BF2C4CD158-1.jpgI decided to write a new series. I was in a ¬†Celebrate Recovery group and¬† talking about feeling “helpless”. It was a process for me to discuss in group, because as soon as I¬† spoke about why I tend to feel worried and¬† procrastinate on some things, I realized that¬† This vulnerable space I often feel between¬† not worrying and trusting God¬† causes me to¬† feel way too vulnerable.

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I Am Enough Because I Am Aware. 

Aware of what? Yogu may ask.
I am aware of my surroundings, the people I love and even the people I am not all that crazy about. I am aware of where I am going, and often where I am I am aware of the mistakes I have made, and the ones that  I almost made. I am  aware.
Awareness is about being tuned in. Choosing to  listen, tune in and observe. I hear what my soul is saying: My mind will and emotions, and I am  listening to what is right for me.
  1. ¬†What is right, or isn’t right… in my relationships?
  2. ¬†What is right,¬†or isn’t right¬†for me in regard to my emotions?
  3. ¬†What is right or isn’t right, for me ¬†in terms of how¬†I¬†operate in this world?
  4.  Who am I influencing and am I a RESOURCE  to someone else?
  5. 5. Am I really taking a God-honest look and reflection of how I present myself in this world?
Am I responsive to others in my circle?
Do I have a protective circle of adults, friends and  teachers/mentors who  reach out to me, assist me in decision-making and share their lives with me on some level?
Who are these people who help me to stay aware?
* ( You fill them in: ) 
  1. My Mentors:
  2. My Family Members:
  3. My Friends:
  4. My (Adult) Teachers:
  5. My (Adult)Leaders: (both in my life and in the media or books.)
Please note the names and reasons why these persons are significant in your life, today. How do they aid in helping your progress, grow and  become your best self?
Then ask yourself:
How often do you connect with them?
 
As a  young woman who is tuned in and AWARE :
I realize I must be productive, mature, positive, acquainted and alert .
 
I am productive.
I tell you , this one took a while. ¬†I ¬†used to find it hard to stay¬†productive. always learning, absorbing, seeking knowledge… Something was always in the way of my growth and progress for a while. Then ¬†I had to take ownership and make personal goals about where I wanted to end up. ¬†I actually take the time to read daily the blogs of persons that¬†inspire¬†my passions of photography, and of ¬†writing, and self-awareness . ¬†It has¬†definitely¬†made me more¬†creative. Yes,I study my craft. The things I am in good in. ¬†Communicating, ¬†Perceiving, Writing, and Observing. (And those are just a few.) ¬†I wasn’t even aware I was really doing this, until I had a really major epiphany /downfall ¬†in about 1997. It was more emotional ¬†and¬†spiritual¬†than it was mental. Well, I take that back, it was actually very mental.
I ¬†was ¬†in really made aware and I realized how unimportant TV is, to making me a¬†whole¬†person. I thought: ‚ÄúI am a person who is well-loved, ¬†complete, and ¬†considerate of others’ and their personal growth. And i want to give that back to others. How can I do it? ¬†Because when I was struggling, ¬†and my life had fallen apart, I wanted to help others pick backup the pieces. And so I committed myself greatly to that goal.
 
I am mature.
I don’t waste time ¬†on issues that are petty and ¬†issues that don’t matter. I spend time alert to how I can grow to be a better person and thrive in the skin I am in. I ¬†work my strengths. I¬†challenge¬†myself to take on new projects or learn new ¬†skills that help perfect my ¬†work, my calling and my purpose.
 
I  am positive.  I am  one who tends to notice people, point out what is of interest to me, and I compliment what I see. If I see value in them, I note it. I am embrace what they give me, as well.  When negative energy surrounds me, I choose to remove myself from it, because I am clear it will not help me to continue to grow and evolve, and RISE. I know myself. I am willing to share myself with others, as they treat me with the respect I deserve, and I am familiar with people  who have like-passion and purpose.
 
I am acquainted Рwith myself and others.
Why is it important to¬†¬†be familiar ¬†with persons of similar passions, they enhance and direct me ¬†closer to my goals and my purpose in life?¬†Because¬†it’s¬†energizing! Synergetic! I have so much fun being connected to people who ¬†actually love some of the things I love! And we join together for a common purpose, and common goals! It feel absolutely¬†synergistic! Some of the most influential moments in my life have been in the¬†presence¬†of leaders ¬†and deep thinkers who ¬† move me of out complacency and encourage me to be a better person and become more¬†self-actualized.
 
I am alert.¬†I am careful about my relationships and I am careful about who I surround myself with as resource. Relationships can be the most ¬†helpful or the most¬†hurtful¬†aspects of your life that ¬†either help you ¬†to soar, or cause you to become quite defeated. I¬†have¬†learned from enough hurtful relationships, that it’s not worth my time, nor my energy.¬†
Bottom line:
¬†Why invest ¬†and waste time in something that¬†doesn’t¬†help me to be better? I have become so much better as a person because of people who were attentive, involved and noticed my strengths and help me build them.¬†Those¬†who helped me to become, and¬†¬† and¬†invested¬†in me.
 
I am appreciative. ¬†I am aware of when I need to be grateful and practice gracious living. I used to always pray for humility. I believe I used to know that being the babe in the family made me less aware and less conscious of the need to be aware,¬†because¬†everyone took care of me and things for me.¬†I know , that I was a very ¬†hard time in my life, right? (I’m being sarcastic).¬†I was really blessed to have¬†people¬†care for me in ways completely undeserved, but I also know that I have to begin to get over myself. Being so important at a young age, made me take things also for granted, and I needed to grow up. So I had to ¬†learn¬†to be grateful, and ¬†it took a while to learn that. I ¬†began to use prayer as a¬†vehicle¬†to¬†help me.
When¬†I¬†am¬†UNAWARE, here‚Äôs what happens: I¬†neglect myself. I ¬†tend to do things that dont help me to grow, nor thrive I tend to not care about anyone, even myself. When I am neglectful, I am ¬†talking too much, and not listening enough. I am full of myself , when I am ¬†neglectful. More ‚Äúme‚ÄĚ than needs to be.‚ėļÔłŹ I ¬†tend to not ¬†be very thankful either, when I am¬†full of ¬†myself.
 
Have you ever been more concerned about yourself than what‚Äôs really important ?¬† It’s not just being conceited, either, I tell you… it’s being like a glutton. ¬†Consuming and wanting¬†something¬†so bad you’d do anything to get it. Quite honestly, that may involve being out of control. Immoderate. ¬†I don’t like that feeling of being out of control. It makes you feel small, and¬†insignificant. It makes you feel like you are not very important and… I don’t think we are well-liked ¬†when we lack self-control. With every ¬†act of ¬†pride, a lack of self-control follows.
What self neglect can look like for me:
 
when I am UNAWARE, I don’t take CARE OF ME.
– Not eating healthy –¬†(eating too much junk food)
– Not resting well –¬†(staying up all hours of the night)
РNot spending time with people who appreciate me, or my time. (being with inconsiderate persons)

When I am UNAWARE, I am Negative.