Living in the Land of Likes and Followers

When did life become a popularity contest?

I’ve seen some crazy stuff on social media but when I saw this video that was posted for laughs on Facebook, my heart sank.**   Continue reading

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Sunday Sentiments: Dealing With Disappointment

Disappointment can be one of the most debilitating emotional responses to overcome.  Oftentimes it is the people that are closest to you that are capable of the most damage.  Disappointments in marriage, relationships, parenting and friendships are among the most challenging to come to terms with.  In your mind, you envision a certain way things should unfold.  You think that as long as you do your part, everyone else will do theirs.  You trust that what you give is what you will get in return.  Wishful thinking.  If only life’s challenges were as simple as a 5th grade math problem!

I’ve learned to deal with disappointment by accepting this simple truth: “Disappointment is the distance between reality and expectation.” (Joyce Meyer)  Think about it.  What is the reality of the situation and what is your expectation of the outcome?  If your expectation is high, your disappointment will be greater if it falls short.

Similarly, many of us have heard the expression: “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”  We are the only ones we can control.  People will disappoint you but your response will make you stronger!  You can choose to wallow in disappointment or rise above it.  The choice is always yours!

One of my favorite sermons was given by Elder Selena Berkeley in the Bronx, NY and it was entitled: “I’m coming out of Dis!”  It was a powerful message where she encouraged everyone to stand strong in the Word of God and let go of disappointment and hurt.  The Latin prefix dis in itself has a reversing force and negates the affirmative.  Consider disability, disrespect, dissatisfy, dishearten and disown – just to name a few.  Choose to live in the affirmative and come out of dis mess!

There’s always room for hurt and disappointment when you allow people into your inner circle.  It’s a chance we all take as loving, caring individuals who enjoy mutually sincere relationships.  There are things that you would never do as a friend so you expect the same respect in return but it doesn’t always work out that way.  Friendships come and go – the real ones will endure.

Winner

Understand your reality and control your level of disappointment.  When disappointments come, and they will, you can still have joy!

Wishing you Peace, Love and Joy unspeakable! 

 

 

Dear son, I’m sorry most people don’t have integrity.

One of the most daunting tasks I have as a mother is explaining away the disingenuous behaviors of others.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is – there’s no “probably” about it.  There’s an unfortunate downside to teaching my children to be men of integrity, who respect others and honor their words.  They expect the same treatment in return.  Teaching to be good and to do good must come with a cautionary warning: Most people don’t have integrity.


Since graduating high school, my middle son has sought out an interim post graduation program that will help him to develop as a student-athlete. Promises were made by well-known coaches and prestigious institution officials to secure his attendance at an elite prep school only to renege on every promise mid-season and usurp thousands of dollars and time that can never be recovered.  A lawsuit worthy cause? Perhaps.  My first priority, however, is to piece together the broken pieces of my son, his shattered dreams, cast cold-heartedly to the ground and discarded.

 

Image Credit: Jules Jovan

“Son, people are not who they seem, they are just people. Riddled with flaws and self-centered motivation.”

Shall I address the Bronx body shop, where my eldest son took his new car to tap out a dent that a fellow motorist caused while it was parked innocently on his college campus? As if the hit and run wasn’t enough, the body shop swapped several of his car’s factory-installed parts and replaced them with a few “chop shop specials”, unbeknownst to my son.  Several weeks later, there is smoke rising from under the hood. “Don’t worry son, just bring it to the dealership and have it checked out.”  Well, the underhanded work of the body shop was quickly uncovered.  As for his new car warranty, well that was voided based on the unauthorized replacement of the factory-installed parts.  Will the body shop owner ever admit what was done? Of course not. Will filing a formal complaint help recoup the financial losses associated with the unlawful act?  Not likely. The burden of proof lies with you and unless you have video documentation of the theft by the shop mechanic, it is a waste of time. “Son, all people can not be trusted. Research, investigate and choose wisely.  I wish I could protect you from every charlatan, every deceiver, every thief and heart-stealer. My dearest son, I’m so sorry that most people do not have integrity.”

When The Mansion is Really a Sandcastle

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Photo Credit: Emily Miles of Ankeny, IA

We were the envy of the neighborhood, well at least our friendship was.  The joy of our youth was evident in the brightness of our smiles and infectious laughter.  The walls of our friendship were impenetrable, like a mansion reinforced with pure gold.  You were always the beauty queen, I suppose I was the sidekick but most superheroes have one so it never made a difference to me.  Neighborhood acquaintances since birth, best friends since preschool, surely we were a match ordained in Heaven.  How convenient that our houses were parallel to one another, a quick hop over my backyard fence, a little neighborly trespassing, and there I was, knocking on your door.  Sure I was the one doing all of the fence hopping but it didn’t matter, we were peanut butter and jelly, a perfect combination.

It was always fun visiting your house, hanging out with you and all of your sisters.  And the coziness of having both parents around was a welcomed glimpse into my alter life.  Living in a dual income home you surpassed me on the economic scale and getting a ride home from school from time to time was a welcomed luxury.  My mom didn’t drive, didn’t have a car and worked 2 jobs so life was slightly different for me even though I lived just around the corner.  It bothered me sometimes that your mom never let you spend the night at our place but our friendship could not be shaken and I was more than happy to stay at yours.  We were ebony and ivory, “living in perfect harmony” as I danced to whatever beat you played.

How awesome it was to get to attend private school together!  I’m not sure how my mother ever afforded it but I was so glad to have a friend to call my own as we entered elementary school together.  Boys always liked you better, that was a given.  We were just a couple of schoolgirls growing up and being silly.  Sometimes we dated boys that were best friends too just so we would never have to be apart.  Ugh! Remember that boy whose backpack I threw in the garbage because he kept getting on my nerves?  And the one who visited his grandfather every summer and dated nearly every girl in our crew, one after the other? Boys. Yuck!

Academically we were always at the top of our class.  Our dynamic duo was destined for greatness until life as we knew it took a dramatic turn.  I was skipped a grade and you weren’t.  How could they do this to us?!  To make matters worse, your parents transferred you to a different school far away.  My new classmates were horrible.  I often turned to my sister, who was now only a grade ahead of me, for comfort.  You were gone, and I was left sitting alone in a boat without a paddle.  I stayed home sick more times in that one year than I had throughout all of my school years combined.  We saw each other from time to time but life as we knew it was changed forever.  That first year without you was the longest year, at least it used to be.  When you re-enrolled for junior high school we were peas and carrots again – just like Forrest Gump and Jenny!

forrest and jenny

Our celebrated reunion was short-lived.  We were the same, but different.  There were a few noticeable changes in our lives. New friendships had formed, new habits developed, and our common interests were separating.  High school continued on this course with the two of us traveling at different speeds.

interlocking circles

Like interlocking circles, I had my friends, you had your friends, and sometimes, not often, it was just us.

High school nearly killed me, literally.  Perhaps you didn’t know that or maybe you did but didn’t really care.  I’ll never know.  Your new clique kept you pretty busy while I was treading water just to survive.  Graduation couldn’t come soon enough and before long I was on my way to college in sunny Florida.  Our buddy time was further reduced to occasional Spring breaks and holidays but it was always good to see you.  We kept tabs on each other from a distance and good news, as they say, always travelled fast.  Life doesn’t always work out the way we intend it to but we do the best we can with what we have been given.

Transitioning into adulthood we made a few similar choices.  Having our first sons born within months of each other would rekindle the bond between us later on as our children would become regular playmates and even greater friends.  Parenting was our specialty.  Day trips to the parks, birthday parties and barbecues became part of our regular routine – and we loved it!  By the time we were both pregnant with our third child, going to the beach bearing our big baby bellies was the glory of motherhood.  Remember when we took turns spelling words on each others’ backs with sunscreen?  We’ve been skinny together, fat together, then skinny again and sometimes in between.  Happy together, sad together and just trying to figure out what everything means.

Now I suppose a friendship like ours was not meant to last because now we have bad blood, as Taylor Swift describes best.

It was no secret that he was never good enough for you.  Not a bad man, just not good enough for you.  After countless years of trying to understand the attraction, I think we all concluded it was a mystery that could not be solved.  So what do you do when you don’t know what to do?  You go along with the program, just to keep the peace, because life with you was far better than without you.

What appeared to be a mansion constructed with bricks and mortar turned out to be a sandcastle, washed away in the first wave.  Few losses are greater than when friendships crumble.

Sunday Sentiments: Overcoming Offenses

“And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Matthew 11:6  

 

I love the Word of God.  His Word helps me in my everyday life.  This scripture in particular is a longtime favorite.  Although Jesus spoke these words to His disciples over 2000 years ago, His Word still carries a power-packed punch and is a resourceful arsenal of weaponry with very practical uses today.    

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According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “offended”, as translated from the Greek, means “to entrap”, also to trip up, to stumble, or entice to sin.  This message, in context, was in response to the inquiry of the imprisoned John the Baptist who under the duress of his captivity questioned whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah.  John’s faith was shaken for a moment as he must have hoped or expected that Jesus would free him from prison somehow.  It was a reasonable expectation but not part of the Father’s plan.  In simplistic terms, I imagine Jesus’ message to John was: “Don’t be enticed into doubting Who I am because My ways are not your ways.”  When our own faith is prodded and poked, and things are not unfolding the way we hope and expect them to go as Believers and followers of Christ, we are challenged to remain in faith. There is a blessing in remaining faithful.

A practical use of this scripture for me is when dealing with offenses.  People say and do things that offend us on a regular basis.  How we choose to respond will play a factor in our own peace.  “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”   So if I am in Christ, a Believer, a Christian then I don’t get offended – period.  As difficult as it is to reign in my emotions, I purpose in my heart to stand strong in the Word of God and not react unfavorably when people offend me.  “Woe unto the world because of offenses for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!”  Matthew 18:7    Offenses will come.  The offenders will be dealt with.  My hope is in the Word of God and if I stand strong, and take a simple action to walk in the wisdom of His Word, just by not getting offended and allowing my emotions to get the best of me, then I’m one step closer to living in the perfect peace He promised me.  I’m one step closer to my blessing!

Peace and Blessings to all that will listen and take action.

Surprise! We’re going to Disney!

As a single mom, family vacations always felt so out of reach.  In fact, it was not even part of the conversation.  There was always some bill or some “thing” that had to be paid and living paycheck-to-paycheck was par for the course.  We had just survived another New York winter and the birds were beginning to chirp again, signaling that Spring was just around the corner. Continue reading