What’s in a name?

The only thing that can stop me in my tracks is God.

I keep my eyes focused on Him, because that has been the recommendation.

It is only through Him I find my measures of success. This work He has started in me will be completed.

I see the obstacles I have had to fight through. The people I still love but were not meant to walk with me in the journey I am on. My mother once told me every journey is not meant for everybody. I would let any one in my life know that, I don’t need to hang on to something that is not for me. If you are not for me please move out of the way so that God can place who He has for me in my life.

Thanks. I pray we learn from each other everything we were supposed to learn, still love and enjoy whatever laughs we shared together. I can assure you if you have ever been in my inner circle you have shared a laugh with me or at me. I am silly. I always have been. I can’t help myself. Now that’s one thing that won’t change.

That way with words, yo.

So. On journeys.

My trip to the track alone I have to pass all the D-boys that think I may be their age. No my friends. I am old enough to be some of your mothers so I speak. I keep it moving. I am never rude. Just because their lifestyle is different from mine does not mean I shun them. It may be my light in the midst of their darkness that may make them want to inquire about what keeps me going. I may be used to drop a seed in their direction. See God gives seed to the sower. I plant He makes it grow. I only do my job. Plant and nurture with the love that he shows me how to love all with. All. yes that might include the drug dealer on the corner. My prayer is that is not his final standing post, and one day He finds a post with the Lord. But that’s that.

I get to the track and sometimes have to ask the unsolicited watchers if they are enjoying watching the game I know they are not paying any attention to. When the honesty comes out that they are watching me I am bold. I don’t feel comfortable with that. Please don’t. They leave. Thank you Lord.

On Boldness.

I am giving my daughter her time in the playground as I finish my workout. Four miles on the track with me on her bike means she can be on the swings as I run the fifth of a mile around her play area and push her everytime I pass her again. A man. Colt 45 in hand wants to sit across from her area while I run. I stop. I look at him hand on hip like oh no you won’t. Not today. He looks behind himself like I can’t be looking at him like that and laughs. Yes, I have always been a joke to the enemy. Anything he can do to get me to be intimidated by his tactics. Well not today buddy. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power. I walk into my authority by having sound mind to pull out my phone to call 311. In the two minutes I am trying to figure out the system by the time I look up in his direction he is on his way across the street.

That’s right. My little sidebar with my Father gave me the boost I needed, but as Jesus often used the word to combat our great enemy that’s what I begin to use as my model. I mean that’s what the word is right? A model of how to find similarities of the accounts in the obstacles we face day to day so that we learn from the victories and mistakes of the accounts given us.

I want Victory.

I will wait on my Victor while walking into my Victory!

Real talk!!

Its funny how Pastor preached on our names being of significance. My mother’s plan was to name me Raven, until she heard my aunt speaking of Radiance. It hit her. That was to be my name. In Hebrew the name that is translated Radiance is Ziv. It also means brilliance or light of God.

My prayers are constantly filled with more of you my God, my Father, my Creator. Less of me. So that everyone that sees me will see Him. I want His glory to emanate from my pores. So forget the makeup. I am going natural these days, after thirteen years of allowing smoke to fill my lungs now one and a half year free of the toxic buildup, additives and toxins I almost don’t recognize myself when I look in a mirror.

The light of God has come through to sweep all that is not like Him out. Of course it is not all out. I will always have some thorns in my flesh but that won’t stop me from planting the seeds God gives me. That won’t stop me from singing songs I make up for him throughout the house. That won’t stop me from raising my arms in praise mid run around the track.

I will bless the Lord at all times. I will try my best to anyway. I will fall down, but I will not stay. I will get back up. I have tasted the victorious taste of deliverance. Smoke blown all in my face and I still said no. No thank you to be exact. Yes, the one thing I thought I would never overcome no longer controls my flesh. “I owe my flesh nothing anyway.”

He works miracles so great! I don’t strive for anything for my glory anymore. I try not to anyway. A simple yes allowed me to be used. I am storing up treasures in heaven, forget the dough I used to love more than I could know. Now I gotta keep seeking first the kingdom. I know he will not leave me nor forsake me. He has shown and proven true to be my source and my provider.

See the bulging disc in my back was supposed to stop me from this walk. The extra strain on my body that causes pain to come out of nowhere is supposed to stop me in my tracks. Whose report will I believe though? I believe God.

So I walk in boldness. I walk in understanding. Who am I? Why the King’s kid of course. My mother named me Radiance. So everything I do now is for his glory. I am not ashamed of my past because I am a new creature in Christ. I use it as a reminder that I NEED God with every fiber of my being. I will not hide from it although I have shut it away. Lock the gates, because I pray I won’t go there anymore, but I get it.

The people it is easy for me to love have lived lives that many would shun and turn them away for. The depth of the secrets are sometimes too heavy to carry. I love and show love anyway.

I know my Savior’s willingness to come for me in my mess. Showing the grace and mercy that the Father extends to us. In the beginning in the very beginning he knew that the inclination of our hearts was bent on bad deeds and evil intent. He loves us anyway. He made a way out of no way for us anyway.

So yes. I walk in boldness. Constantly reminded that I am who the Great I AM says I am. If that be Radiance. If that be boldness. If that be favor. If that be known in far lands. If that be a confidant to the D boy, speaking life to him when every one else considers him a lost cause, then whatever. There is no fear. There is authority. I speak against what makes me uncomfortable and what is unacceptable. They appreciate my candor. I am blunt, even if they can’t smoke me, or get an edge on me. I am real. Really really real. They show me respect. I mean people really only treat you how you allow them to right? Or better yet, how you show them to treat you according to what you accept and how you treat yourself.

There are no obstacles. There are only hurdles. I may fall down, but with time and persistence do I not only get up but gain enough strength to jump the hurdles.

So again as always. I say thank you Lord!Image

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Why Compare what can never be the same?

So I am about to google something about Boston.

I put into the search engine, “Why are Bostonians…” and before I could complete my typing the search engine pulled up.. “So rude.”

I thought that was hilarious.

I could remember being seventeen on those streets wondering why everyone I walked past and spoke to would look at me as if I were an alien with four eyes on my forehead, and three heads on my neck and something else funky going on.

Use your imagination.

I wanted to leave.

I could remember talking to one of the substitutes that would give us a little help in our classroom almost every other month about wanting to leave after I had been there for over five years and still hadn’t become acclimated to the cold climate, not just in the weather but also in the disposition of people.

I didn’t realize at the time that I just wasn’t digging deep enough.

The cold exterior was just that. I have come to know that the people I have left behind were some of the most beautiful and kind people that I may ever meet. Its just it takes a little work and effort before they let you in.

I can dig that.

I realize it is really nothing more than a mask.

I think to the mask I used to wear. Some days I still am fighting to understand who i am so I can fully remove it and all traces of who I have been told I am. But back then I would pretend everything was alright and I had it all together all the while hiding the pain of unresolved issues that I cared not addressed, and would hate anyone who might have been dealing with their own stuff. I would then low key diss, or you know use a facebook status to go after someone in a way I never had the nerve to address in real life to try and make myself feel as if I were better for someone who may have been in a more disadvantaged state than I was.

Its no wonder one semester away from my UIC degree I had to leave. No wonder my ‘perfect family’ fell apart. No wonder my ‘friends’ fell away. Here I was with this self righteous attitude not willing to understand someone else’s struggle. Even those that had to fake it until they made it. Even someone that had a good message regardless to what else went along with it. Respecting someone else’s struggle was foreign to someone who didn’t really have to do much in the way of struggling, not for real. Not when help was just a call away even though many times I would be stubborn and not make the call. It was always an option. Not until there were no more options. Not until facing my struggle created a new life that created in me a new heart and a new love and understanding for people in the midst of pain.

See back then It was much easier to deal with someone else’s stuff instead of my own. Now I just want to get my own self free. Right now I want to love someone but I won’t love someone who is not free to love me, not yet anyway.

Patience is a virtue. I want to carry that trait.

See pain is not able to be hid from a person that has already experienced it. Its like looking in a mirror at who you are, which makes some people shun each other, or who you were which causes someone that is going through to avoid someone that has overcome.

I get it.

That was my regular life. I did not want to heal. I did not want to deal. Now I just want to please God.

It is not easy. My flesh screams at me daily! Thirty two years of doing my own thing give or take and one good year of trying to get on the good foot in the midst of my Savior’s inner circle is a poor ratio for success. The only way I can win in that is in leaning on Jesus and getting all the strength that the word has promised I can do all things through, so He can show me the way. Yeah the struggle is real. I may be a new creature in Christ, but until my flesh is no longer the struggle against my spirit will continue.

I fight still.

Things may appear to be one thing on the surface, but sometimes it takes a lot of work to get underneath. I know one thing that self righteous outlook is gone. I am nothing, without God anyway. With Him I know this good work he has started in me He will complete. I know this joy has been given for my willingness to lower myself to the understanding of knowing that the greater one knows what i need to get me to where I need to be. I mean how can I be humble and exalting my opinions at the same time. How can I boast about what I am able to do when the word says no man should boast on their accomplishments. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.

There is nothing i can do that may not later fall flat. Especially when I am trying to make another feel bad about what they don’t have that I may. Or what I am able to do that they have not gotten a mastery of. Divine timing is how deliverance is doled out. Only God knows our hearts enough to know when we are ready for something. So how could i have sat in self righteousness condemning another when I as an imperfect human sin daily?

I will patiently wait for the stones to be thrown, you. Yes you who has no sin.

Still waiting.

Ok. All is still well.

I am learning. Hoping. If I ever do something in the wrong manner someone will come to me personally and correct me. Let me know something. With boldness instead of sly attacks of the passive aggressive nature. In love. That ultimate feeling. You know. being able to help a person get on the right track when someone has it so all together that they can comment on another’s lifestyle, choices or behaviors. Obviously it is that person’s life work to help people get it together.

I am thankful God never put a desire to do such a thing in my heart. Life has given me a lot of painful experiences. In such a short time. I loved doing me, so I got a chance to learn hard lessons. I share my stories. I hope no one has to face what I have had to, and if they do I hope there is some love in my words to help them heal from the hurts that I am now learning how to do.

I don’t know. Maybe Boston was filled with the most loving rude people I ever met. Maybe it was if they like you they liked you, and if they didn’t they didn’t even see you. They sure wasn’t talking about things in all passive aggressiveness.

It was, “Hey you. Whats ya problem? Don’t make me pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd.” Yeah folk was kinda bold, blunt to the point maybe a little confrontational, but it was straightforward.

I understood it. I just wasn’t used to it, where I came from.

One of the people commenting said, “Guys stay away from Boston.” I laughed harder. Whatever yo. That will always be home away from home. I can’t wait to get back to get me a beef patty with coco bread and cheese from Lenny’s. Real recognize real. It can’t compare to the skyline of my Chi, and for that reason I don’t compare.

Hey how about that for a revelation. Two different things can never be the same. So why even try to compare?

Fat loss made simple

So Sunday will be my seventh week on this weight loss journey and I have been putting in work. Major work. I didn’t even know the name of the work I was putting in until someone on my IG began talking about HIIT training. I didn’t know the way I was eating was bulking the HIIT way, thank God that is over. Finding pants to wear has been frustrating. Thank goodness this is the legging era. Discouragement would not settle in because I was willing to trust the process as one good girlfriend is quick to remind me to do.

So of course the scholar in me must google. Research. Does the mind good.

I have had people ask me, what do you do if you don’t watch television. Well I was off facebook for over a year it definitely wasn’t networking. This single life has been interesting. So no there is no person to take my attention off me and my goals right now, but …yeah (big smile)…

Who wants that perfect love story anyway? Break down shaky foundations so God can re create what He is more than able to make.

I believe God!! Thank you Lord!

I guess the model has been to become the me I have always wondered who she really is. I guess it was about becoming my best self. I am so far away from where I want to be, but so much closer to it than had I not done anything and sat down on my behind focusing on someone else.

Thankful to be this INFP. I guess being in my own world is sometimes a good thing.

Focused.

So research. Key word. Figure out what is the best for me in reaching my goals. Others came before trying to help me get there, but God had to move them out the way so he would get the glory out of my life and situation. Nobody did this but God.

Week seven coming up and I have not been in anyone’s gym. I have had no workout buddies consistently. I have had to get rid of my overeating. Love Love Love for junkfood. I have almost been in complete isolation. No outings with friends, besides the awesome week of my birthday. (big big smile)

I have been trying my best to pay attention and listen. Knowing obedience is better than sacrifice. I have not been on a herbalife routine. I try I forget to take pills. That was a mess, so I researched my own and did my own Herb Life. I have yet to do a wrap and when I tried to waist train I got an open sore in my back. Yes. I asked God to help me, and He has been my one constant. Giving me the strength to put in this work. Giving me the motivation to keep going.

Its like that private time I spend with Him on that track I ask can I make it a little further, just a little further, and I feel the strength that only He can give me propelling me along.

I put in thirty three miles this week. One for every year of my life and I am feeling pretty great. I have another program I am doing as well. So I did that too. Its been a fun time.

I talk to people while I am out and about. Smile and speak. Learning to love my neighbor as myself. I see someone’s struggle and never once do I think twice about offering them a smile and some words to keep them focused on the goal. I mean there is so much negativity in the world. Isn’t it nice to hear someone say something positive and uplifting? I mean even if no words are said a calming soothing smile is sometimes more than one can ask for?

So I dedicate to my commitment to self and my goals. I am now determined to keep the negative experiences of my past behind until it is time to bring them out and in the open. Lets focus on making it. Lets focus on success and becoming the best people we can be!

So I look up HIIT. I have been doing this all along. Its like when God gave me the plans to do it was exactly as the site described HIIT. Now I know what my exercise routine was for. Major fatloss. Major loss of belly fat. Thigh work is more difficult. But the running and walking is helping in a major way.

I hope this is helpful to someone.

Found at http://www.bodybuilding.com

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become a popular way to burn more fat. It’s a training method that has been effective for many people.

FIRST PLACE TUNIT

HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become a popular way to burn more fat. It’s a training method that has been effective for many people.

WHAT IS HIIT?

HIIT is a training idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.

HIIT can be applied to running or to exercises such as squatting. HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before.

“In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently.” It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. (www.musclemedia.com)

HIIT improves both energy systems for endurance:

ANAEROBIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Anaerobic literally means “Without oxygen.” The anaerobic energy system is what provides energy in all out efforts of up to 1 minute. For the first 10-15 seconds, the phosphate pool is used up and after that, glycolysis and lactic acid are involved in the effort.

During 10-15 second bursts, there is a very small amount of lactic acid produced. Rest periods of 30 seconds to a minute will provide complete recovery of the Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate (ATP-CP) system. During efforts of more than 10-15 seconds, a large amount of lactic acid is produced and such efforts are extremely taxing on both the athlete’s muscles and their Central Nervous System (CNS).

AEROBIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Aerobic literally means “with oxygen.” This energy system is utilized during prolonged exercise over a period of at least 3-4 minutes. As long as there is enough oxygen to provide energy, the fatigue that you experience will remain at a low level.

This is the reason why many track and field athletes train at higher altitudes where there is less oxygen. By training at high altitudes, they can increase the number of red blood cells which will help them to perform for a longer period of time with little to no fatigue throughout.

WHAT IS THE BEST HIIT WORKOUT? BE SPECIFIC AND MAKE SURE TO LIST EXERCISES, REPS, SETS, ETC.

HIIT can be used with a few different goals in mind – to lose as much fat as possible while cutting or bulking, or to improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance as much as possible. Diet will mostly determine how these goals are achieved by manipulating calories and macronutrient ratios.

HIIT during a Cutting Phase:

  • 500 Calories under maintenance daily
  • High Protein (40% of total calories)
  • Low Carbs (20% of total calories)
  • High Fat (40% of total calories)

It has been proven in studies that during a low carbohydrate and high fat diet, the oxidation of fat is increased during exercise, especially cardio such as HIIT (more fat is burned). Additionally, fat is a much more highly concentrated source of energy than carbohydrates.

“A review by Hultman (1995) found that during a diet where carbs are restricted and a lot of fat is consumed, up to 70% of the energy requirement (even during high intensity activities) comes from the oxidation of fat (where during a high carbs diet, such activities would derive 80-90% of the energy from glycogen).” (Thibaudeau)

Sample: 2000 Calories Daily

  • 200 Grams of Protein
  • 100 Grams of Carbs
  • 90 Grams of Fat

Staple Supplements:

HIIT during a Bulking Phase:

  • 500-1000 Calories over maintenance daily
  • High Protein (30-35% of total calories)
  • High Carbs (45-50% of total calories)
  • Low-Medium Fat (15-25% of total calories)

Sample: 4000 Calories Daily

  • 300-350 Grams of Protein
  • 450-500 Grams of Carbs
  • 70-110 Grams of Fats

Staple Supplements:

HIIT to improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance, maintain bodyweight:

  • Maintenance Calories daily
  • High Protein (35% of total calories)
  • Medium Carbs (40% of total calories)
  • Medium Fat (25% of total calories)

Sample: 2500 Calories Daily

  • 215-220 Grams of Protein
  • 250-275 Grams of Carbs
  • 70 Grams of Fat

Staple Supplements:

  • Whey Protein [Suggested: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey] (Post Workout and Post-HIIT)
  • BCAA + Glutamine [Suggested: SciVation Xtend] (Pre- and Post Workout/HIIT)

Pre-Workout: 30 Minutes Before
Post Workout: 30-45 Minutes After, Creatine immediately after workout

For all three of the aforementioned options, high water intake (1.0 – 1.5 gallons daily) should be prioritized. Also, you should get at least 8 hrs of sleep daily to help you recover well from the weight training and HIIT.

HIIT WORKOUT – CUTTING PHASE

ARM CIRCLES

General Warm-up/Flexibility Routine

  • Touch Toes – 15 Reps (Touch toes quickly, come right back up and repeat)
  • Lunges – 10 reps/leg
  • Side Lunges – 10 reps each direction
  • Butt Kicks – 25 yards
  • High Knees – 25 yards
  • Arm Circles – 20 reps
  • Trunk Twists – 20 reps
  • Side Bends – 20 reps

WEEKS 1-2

  • Monday – AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday – PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Brisk Walk, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 7 More Times (8 Minutes Total)
  • Wednesday – AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Thursday – PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Brisk Walk, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 7 More Times (8 Minutes Total)
  • Friday – AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday – Rest

HIIT WORKOUT – BULKING PHASE

General Warm-Up/Flexibility Routine (Before every weight training and HIIT session):

  • Touch Toes – 15 reps (Touch toes quickly, come right back up and repeat)
  • Lunges – 10 reps/leg
  • Side Lunges – 10 reps each direction
  • Butt Kicks – 25 yards
  • High Knees – 25 yards
  • Arm Circles – 20 reps
  • Trunk Twists – 20 reps
  • Side Bends – 20 reps

WEEKS 1-2

  • Monday – AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday – AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Wednesday – PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 4 More Times (5 Minutes Total)
  • Thursday – AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Friday – AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday – Rest

I am an INFP 4% of the whole world

So when the Lord set me apart. He truly set me apart. That’s literally 4 out of every 100 people is a person like me. Then I find my male counterpart of course I was overjoyed. I didn’t know too many like me.
I get lonely because I want someone to relate… But I take pleasure in the lack of common place that helps me set a bar instead of conforming to someone else’s.
This article was interesting.
I thought the author knew me personally.
Quite accurate!

INFP Personality

“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.” — J. R. R. Tolkien

Forming around 4.5% of the population, INFP personalities are usually perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy. However, such an exterior can be deceptive; even though INFPs can be somewhat cautious, their inner flame and passion is not something to be taken lightly. People with this personality type are really affectionate, a trait not often seen in other types.

This compassion can be really fervent and long-lasting, but the INFP will use it quite cautiously, directing their energies toward a few selected people or a worthy cause. Idealism is the banner of INFP personalities—and they are proud of it. Unfortunately, it also means that INFPs can often feel misunderstood and isolated as they are relatively rare.

People with the INFP personality type have a clear sense of honor, which inspires and motivates them. If someone wants to get to know an INFP, it is crucial to know what drives them, to understand their chosen cause.

INFPs seek harmony in their lives and the surrounding environment, often feeling dejected because of all the bad things happening in the world and trying hard to create something positive. People with this personality type tend to see things and actions from the idealistic perspective rather than the prism of logic. They respond to beauty, morality, and virtue rather than utility, effectiveness, or value.

INFPs can easily speak in metaphors and parables, and they also have an amazing gift of creating and interpreting symbols; for this reason, INFPs often find it natural to write and enjoy poetry. This personality type does not worship logic, unlike the Analyst (NT) types. From the INFP’s viewpoint, logic is not always necessary. It is also likely that an INFP will enjoy hypothetical or philosophical discussions more than any other type.

INFPs may also often retreat into their “hermit” state (this personality type can easily switch between the “active” and “hermit” states), withdrawing from the world and getting lost in their deep thoughts. Their partner may then need to spend quite a lot of effort to energize and “awaken” the INFP.

INFPs share a trait common among the Diplomat (NF) types: their aptitude for foreign languages is unmatched. INFPs also often become great writers and actors as they can easily reflect and convey their own personalities using the fictional characters. Generally speaking, people with this personality type are extremely creative, innovative, and goal-oriented. They can be great advocates for causes they truly believe in.

Finally, most INFPs have the ability to notice even the slightest hint of good in other people. In an INFP’s eyes, even the most revolting person will have something worthy of respect or, at the very least, sympathy.

This is my contribution to the #endpettinessnowcampaign End Pettiness Now: So that we all make it!

Its about healing.

Its about freedom from moments of hurt pain and tragedy, so that no one becomes the man that scared the life out of me on my way to four am prayer.

More details of the story today grandma explains that he was bleeding from his head. It probably was death I saw on him. I guess the reason it got me so emotional was because the last time I saw death on someone, I had to watch her die once be brought back to life because I asked the all too real question after she told the doctor not to resuscitate her, How am I going to live without my best friend? My true ride or die. My half days in Whole Foods buddy because she had to talk to everyone she met. Such the socialite, loving the whole of society. My whole days in Marshalls because she had to literally check almost every item in the store to make sure she wasn’t leaving behind any treasure. My I can tell her anything and everything, purple lips tell no lies and she had no judgements. My advice that went unheard, because when she told me not to let Roberto go because since I was his first girlfriend ever I would never find another to love me the way he did. Four years later I paid no attention and would have been happy to remain friends with the one man that was my best friend. I was a heartbreaker though. A life far too selfish overly consumed by me.

We reap what we sow.

However, the breakdown was about that. That memory. That sight of death.

I want everyone to make it. I never want to hear of another’s personal tragedy. I definitely don’t want to revel in it. So I tell my life experiences hoping like I heard one person say they want to experience life in the wild before settling down, that if they know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior they never give that up, and if they don’t they get a chance to see that He works miracles still.

One of them is writing this blog right now.

Cause Lord knows. I would never have thought. Never!

So I’m running today.

I get a call. I cannot stop. I know what God has shown me. In the place with the person calling i get so comfortable I forget what I am working towards, so I paused the last time. I don’t want to get comfortable so that God takes away the one that pushes all the buttons in my heart because I won’t stay focused on the goal. We will have our time. Right now its time for this body work.

Its alright, I guess we have to break the shaky foundation down. I need to be a priority. I cannot be an option. I get it though.

I’m too much like a boy to not understand.

I did that.

I played that game very well. Most times score win for Radiance. Its never been checkers.

My analytical mind has always seen the chess board. After all I am a queen and since my job is to be protected by all other players, especially my king then instead of stooping I need to make sure that anyone that wants to be in my life rises to the occasion.

I may have stooped in times past, but only to try and give a person the benefit of the doubt. Hoping to see the best in them. Most definitely never for long. And most definitely not to settle and stay for what I know I don’t deserve just to say I have someone.

I must be protected. I must be catered to. Or I must wait until someone is willing to do so. Its not a one way street. My loyalty is intrinsic. I am truly for the cause as long as the cause is holding me down too.

The dude my mother warned me not to let go played his position. He was a quick study. Being my best friend for over a year before professing his interest in me helped our respect factor. That mutual respect and communication we were able to maintain created the foundation.

I. Me. Me myself and I just couldn’t get right.

Wale made Bad and I wondered had I met him along the way. I mean why was he talking about me like that.

Such is life.

So I see the call coming in. The last conversation we had before the hiatus he reminded me he was no longer going to run slower so that others could catch up and run the course with him. He was going to soar, fly and dare someone to catch up.

I could dig it. I mean after all he is the male version of me.

My beautiful brown counterpart.

I could remember sixth grade. Myself and another student had been accepted to a school up north that would have allowed me to be first in line to get into Lincoln Park High School. It was a better opportunity. It would allow me to grow in ways the language academy I went to never would. I thought about it. I chose not to go. See I wanted to stay with my ‘friends’. I was afraid of the unknown. She went, but since she didn’t look like me I was afraid of what I did not know.

So the next step was to put me in seventh grade math. I dumbed myself down not doing my homework so I could go back to again be with my ‘friends’. These are the same friends that when I reach out to them ignore the extended hand and pretend as if they never saw it. Probably some pettiness of a bitter and vengeful soul speaking negatively about me, especially when I know I have never done anything hurtful to the former childhood ‘friends’. Really though I don’t know what it is. One blogger repeatedly says, “I am not for everybody.” Maybe that is what i have been conditioned to believe so the smell can still be smelled on me. Or maybe it is what it is, whatever it is it is a blessing. See people for who and what they are, love and pray for them anyway but all the while singing Bravo by Ledisi.

“I gotta a new walk and a new point of view

A new purpose for everything I do I gotta

A new rule only real folks around if you are wondering

I’m bout to tell you now see it’s the same pretty face with a brand new smile same (Radiance) but she ain’t walkin shes flying

A new day making big moves

See if love found me it can surely find you

Sing it

Aaaaa

I ain’t even got one sad tear left in me

Aaaaa”

Thats that loyalty though. Love never fails. It really doesn’t. Sometimes we have to love from a far, but it continues. It is real. Now that my Savior has shown me His version of the love I was missing out on all my life, it is more impactful.

Hello how you doing requires little to no effort. But I remember when I was in my hurt and pain. I had nothing good to say, so I said nothing at all.

All is well.

I have learned that the people that offend me the most are the people I am supposed to pray the hardest for. Thats what the word teaches. So I do. It has never been about me. It will always be about seeking God’s help to play my part in the victory that has already been won against an enemy that chooses to keep people separated so that the jewels and gems of wisdom that the Lord imparts on each and every one of us can’t reach its assigned person.

All is well.

So I think to the same year.

Like any crush a crush as an adult a crush as a child a crush is something so innocent. Reminders that it is okay to like some things about that person that reminds you of yourself without wanting to take anything further than a quiet observing admirer.

That year I had a crush.

I wrote a poem.

The first poem I ever wrote was published in the school newspaper so there must have been something to my skills. My ‘friend’ wanted to take the poem and pretend as if she wrote it. I mean after all I wasn’t the thinnest, prettiest, my special contribution was having really long hair for a you know, and who really likes the smart girl? So I couldn’t do anything with it. I guess that was her perception.

So she did. I don’t believe he believed her, but that was the story. We were the ‘fly girls’ the mean girls, the so called clique of our grade so we stuck to it.

I have realized that I have spent my life trying to be a part of, when I was always supposed to stand apart. My mother named me Radiance Jua’Donna. Yes. The apostrophe was her idea. That doesn’t make me better. It just makes me different. Unique. It is in learning to be alone that I have learned how to build up my relationship with my Savior and my Father. Two. Plus one becomes three in one. I guess thats how they show us the model of what a marriage is supposed to look like. Two plus one becomes three in one.

Yeah thats cold!

So. I will always look for the best ways to help another get to their best self, when I love, when they open the door to me. I don’t need to be paid to speak life into a dying soul. If God is willing to use me then I will open my big mouth and speak. I may offend, like prophets of old. Jeremiah was never liked, by the people. But guess who loved him. Thats right. His Creator.

My God. Daddy!

I will not run slower, or do less than what He has given me to do. I will stop giving up on people because they offend me. I just do what needs to be done on my part. I can not control another. I can only control me. So what do I do? I work my hardest to be the best me the world will ever see.

It is only with the reminder of Philippians 4:13. Yes I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

In God’s divine time. In His great wisdom. As he continues to shake me and break me because he can’t take me to a place where my attitude is going to shut down all that He is doing to make me.

Yeah. Its about growth. It is about healing. My hope is that when I get strong like Simon Peter I can go back and strengthen others that have struggled with the things the Lord has given me victory over.

Its not about me making it. Its about all of us making it.

So I sing

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior”  Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

I believe. I can’t be categorized. I am a believer. That is all. Because I believe I love and that’s powerful because love like God never fails.

 

Take Flight!

I knew. One hit of that pillow I was going to be out for the count.

Monday was my baby’s first day at preschool. Foundation. It is necessary.

Anyway we got up at 7:47. Who knows what time we went to bed. We have been doing our own thing, sleeping as long as we want to, no structure no rules. But she needs to start. I need those few little hours to myself so that I can run unobstructed no worries about what derelict of society is approaching my daughters vicinity.

I have to be on alert for her sake. I can handle me. The other nurse assistants use to refer to me as the strong girl. They knew who to call to lift the two hundred fifty pound plus resident into their chairs. My mother used to joke and call me herculessa. The times I needed to use my strength I did not. Figuring people that know you and have relationship with you won’t hurt you, until they do. Strong fragments, still muscles don’t quit.

I digress. I knew if I went to sleep Monday night there was no way I would be up for four AM prayer. So I began to just talk and talk to my Father. Thats all He has been asking for since the beginning, relationship. It is in relationship that He can have my obedience and trust. I do that in human relationships where people fail me constantly  How much more so would I do it once He empties the cups from my past so that I am free to have that with Him. So we engage. Fellowship.

I wonder what to do until it is time to leave. I hear the quiet whisper. Food prep. If you know what I have to do to cook in this place the Lord has given me until it is time to get out while I get me together you know that is no easy feat. But I do.

I have eight ready meals for the week and now it is three AM. Time to leave out.

I call my little sister twice.

No answer.

So I get ready to go to my car. I don’t know about anyone else but I know it is mandatory that I be in the building. No streaming. I need to be there.

I am putting my baby in the car when I see a figure staggering towards me.

It takes a lot to shake me.

My first encounter with an armed robbery I was four. My mother had just come from the currency. The man followed her. He held the knife up to her and I in shell shock watched him grapple with my mother trying to find her money. I stood there motionless until he accidently hit me in the head. The shrill scream that emitted from my tiny lungs shook him and he ran. He had no money. We were safe, again. That powerful voice of a young child made the spirit in him want to flee.

I was eighteen when it was happening to me, alone. No mother close by.

Walking down Monticello off Chicago ave coming from my ‘friends’ job heading to McDonalds two men approached. The one standing in front of me had two guns. They wanted our jewelry. They wanted our lives. The big mouth next to me was talking about how she wasn’t giving up anything. I’m looking at these guns. One directed at me and one at her. I comply. I sneak one ring into my pocket and give him the one of lesser value.

I kept my cool in the face of danger. Quiet calm and collected. I was shaking on the inside, but the motto has always been never let ‘em see you sweat.

However, last night I saw the figure staggering towards me and I didn’t see a man. He looked like a zombie. Half of the top of his head was missing. I just knew I was seeing things. I was shaken. I began shaking.

I do not scare easily. I was terrified though.

The word says For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. I saw something on him that made me shake to my very core. I knew the flesh and blood man, but whatever had a hold on him, whatever it was that was gripping him constantly sending him to the D boy for a fix whatever monkey was riding his coattails put fear in my heart.

I couldn’t think of the scripture that reminds me that I am not given a spirit of fear. I saw that thing on him and I shut down.

I was shaking as I texted my sister to pull up right behind my car.

See my family has made it an open door thing with him and others that struggle with the addictions that are tearing their flesh apart. When he knocks with something to sale, someone is buying.

Now his change is so evident. There is no more family to keep him. After his brother and mothers deaths within six months of each other he is now without family. He is now homeless. There are no more things to steal from his mother to sell to anyone in my family or wherever he can get a quick ten dollar for his fix.

There is only despair. Now there is fear and despair, because as my grandmother keeps the bolt on the door explaining to me that this man doesn’t look the same and is not the same, whatever has a hold over him has him so strong there is no telling what his desperation may force him to do to a 76 year old woman who is often home alone as my 78 year old grandfather is still working his twelve hour days at the job he retired from over a year ago but returned as soon as the company realized no one could replace him.

I saw the figure rushing to the back porch at three Am. I knew I saw half of his skull caved in and as he asked where I was going so early in the morning it took all the strength I had to muster Four AM prayer in a voice of authority and assuredness. Neither of which I felt.

When my sister came and parked behind me, I could do nothing besides rush to get my baby in the car looking over my shoulder to see that he was still standing at the door of my grandparents apartment, get in the front seat and ball my eyes out.

Shell shocked.

Repentant. Of all the meals I cooked for the men that served up death on a platter to give them the strength to stand in their positions. For any money received from this lifestyle. For not understanding that every time a person takes a stand against what is wrong it plants a seed for what is right.

Sorrowful. What happens so bad in a persons life to make them turn to something that they know is going to lead them to their demise?

Terrified. All I saw was death. I don’t know if it was his death or the life he was going to take in his desperation.

I was a mess.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t speak for the thirty minute drive until we got to the Lords house. I would stop crying for mere seconds before I started right back up again.

When the first thing pastor began to pray for was Joshua 1:9. be strong and of good courage. Do not be frightened. Pastor said terrified. I heard the Holy Spirit comfort me. The strength that had left me from that encounter that morning began to slowly return to me.

So much so that after coming home to get three hours of sleep I ran my best mile out of the eight and a half I did in only twelve minutes. I walked into my grandfathers apartment and asked because I had to know if the man that was at the door yesterday had a hole in his head. He said yeah. Someone had busted him in his head. I could do nothing more than shake my head. I wasn’t seeing things, but most importantly God was showing me something. The need to pay attention and stay safe. In our city of too much drugs and so much violence mostly over drug territory stray bullets have no specific assignment. God has not given us a spirit of fear, we have power, somethings we have to use our sound mind over unless we have Neo like Matrix skills able to stop bullets midair. That sound mind allows us the ability to hear the Holy Spirit clearly. Listening is of the utmost importance.

So I put my trust in Him. My God my Father. My Lord and Savior that sits on the right hand of the Father. I won’t be bullied or pressured into doing anything anyone else’s way. The human mind can never comprehend the magnitude of God. So there it is. I respect everyone else’s journey.

I ride the waves knowing that the God I serve can calm every storm and every wind that comes my way. For that I am thankful. I find peace, and my renewed strength is like wind underneath my feet.

Its time to take flight!

Dancing shoes on. Nows the time to rejoice!

I had to be nineteen the first time it happened. Well the first time I can remember it happening.

I was too young to be in the clubs, but my ‘friend’ had an ID that was an extra of hers, and the bouncers really could care less about any picture that was on my ID. They saw me. They wanted me in. I got in. I made it all the way to the DJ booth. Feeling the eyes looking my way. How did she get there the women who had been seeking the attention of light skin long hair record spin one two one two pondered.

I had to pay. A big price.

She asked me afterwards did he? I just nodded abashedly. You know he did. You heard me saying no. I guess it didn’t matter as long as I was the face to get the attention of one so that the friend in tow would look in her direction. It had been like that for a couple years now. It would be like that for years to come.

I walked into my demise.

The second time at the same ‘friends’ place, I’ve blogged about this before. It happened again.

Well first time shame on you, second time shame on me.

I guess I was used to living in shame. I guess that’s what happens when your pride is eaten away with events that the nature of living was the reason for the malodies that afflicted a black girl lost.

Singing along with Nas. Not fully understanding the consequences of my decisions.

In the words of Malcolm X. Who taught me to hate myself?

Fast forward. Yesterday. Resurrection Sunday.

There were no more actions to forgive. They had already been forgiven.

She came to my grandmothers home about three months ago, sat next to me on a sofa space too close for comfort and I am looking up to the Lord like why must you send my enemies right in my face. Why must I exhibit self control?

But He did. A test. And I did. Test passed.

I guess after my praying in a low undertone under my breath asking God to remove anything that is not like Him from our midst, she never returned.

Thank you Jesus. You said anything we ask in YOUR name. We shall get.

She didn’t return.

I can forgive. I won’t ever forget.

I will wear the association with the former pain, as in the pain that doesn’t live here anymore, as a name badge. I will use my experiences to let other women who have been through something similar know that all is not lost. There is freedom from haunting memories. There is freedom from the past.

I mean if you are looking for me in my past, I wish you the best. I don’t live there anymore.

If you are looking for bitterness and regret, well my Lord and Savior asked me to give it to Him and I did.

Now I carry nonchalance like a thousand dollar handbag. No more need to regale tales of Louis V’s I no longer have access to. My strength is now big enough to make me feel like the richest woman in America.

I am rich in strength.

I mean who goes through so much in a childhood that they barely remember it. Loses a father, a mother, to death. Has no brothers and sisters, that I met before turning 25. Says no more than one time, carrying the same scars made me susceptible to the same situations taking hold of me. Countless broken relationships and hearts, and an abusive relationship to top it off just to name a few situations and comes off brushing lint off their shoulder as if nothing has ever affected them ever.

Did it take time to get here? Yes time and work.

See my Lord showed me the model in the Gospels. He showed me that sometimes quietly I may come and just grab hold of his cloak to get my strength, or I may have to ask my friends to climb up the side of a building and lower me into His presence. Whatever I need to do to get to Jesus I do. He is the only one that can present me to the Father. He is the only one that will decide if I have met with approval. Just like He chose His disciples in the gospels. He is choosing. He is deciding.

So I gave him my life. I threw my hands up. I can’t do it anymore. I don’t want the smoking, drinking, Fergie behaviors. No. I want to know my Savior in a real way. That way I can know who my Father is to me. The one that is allowing me to call Him Abba Father. My real Daddy!

So. When one of the women I used to hang with in my teen years sees me and tells me the same woman who heard me say no had just gotten married, I pause.

I smile.

I am truly happy for her.

I really don’t care what she has done to me or has not done to me or my perception of what was done. Its really my fault for being disobedient to God and to my mother. So I placed myself in situations that no woman should ever have to face, but it was my mess and no one elses to be held accountable for.

So I free her in that one moment and then I realize I am free from those situations.

I wouldn’t speak on them if they still held me in bondage, but I must allow God to get the Glory out of my life, because nobody could have cleaned me up like this but Him.

Jesus spoke of a kingdom divided and while my old associations may choose to believe I get my strength from someplace else, the enemy would choose that I stay in bondage and sin. I KNOW God removed those old habits from my life that I no longer crave so that when someone calls me saying “IMY” I can breath easy knowing the love my God gives me can keep me until who He has prepared for me is ready for me and I for him.

Patience is definitely a virtue. I love the fact that He is keeping me. But I had to want it!.

Whooo. Whom the son sets free is free indeed. And I bask in the merriment of my freedom..

So for the former friend, if having a husband was the one thing that was keeping her mind unfocused on God, then I pray that they are able to understand the magnitude of the sacrifice that Lord Jesus gave and allow Him to reign on their hearts. That way a three-fold cord won’t be easily broken.

There is no more room in my heart for hatred and bitterness, and just like that any negative thoughts of my past are like fleeting memories of times past. Like unsung melodies whose chorus is missing I wait to share stories of what i used to believe were trials now I know to be triumphs with others facing similar reminders of pain to heavy to carry.

I could not stop dancing at the altar. I came to church with make-up on. I am sure I had none by the time it was over and racoon eyes to boot. Tears of joy, shackles off my feet so I was free to dance. And we danced. We danced and danced. Everytime I thought it was over I was back up on my feet again. Dancing.

Every night my daughter wants to sleep with me and as I am reminded of her father as she is like him in most ways, especially being overly affectionate. She is such a cuddle bug. She just loves her momma. Usually her reminding me of him makes me push her away. Today I embraced her love.

The freedom I was given today allows me to embrace love now.

I know I am nowhere near ready to date. I let every interested person know not until month X, Y date, 2014Z. Yeah. I’m about to date me. Take me out where I want to go. I want to learn who I am before I try to present some half broken piece of a person to the next. And love her unconditionally to show him the model.

Talib Kweli has a song called delicate flowers. I think he was talking about me “my girl is a delicate flower, a superhero, being a single mother helped develop her powers.”

Yeah. I have much more to add to that list than single mother. So like I used to joke with someone about being an X-Men. I must be something kinda wonderful.

Hey. I know my story better than anyone else ever will. I better celebrate, everything. Every loss opened the door for me to learn how to win, and every hurt opened the door for me to learn how to appreciate my healing.

Lifes a blessing. Its either glass half empty, or glass half full. The only difference is perspective.

Outlook sunny and bright, the same as my disposition most days. For that, Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord we give thanks. Amen!

He speaks to those willing to hear

The run. Something about running just makes me feel as if I am flying. In the wind. The strength is in my legs as they hit the  pavement. A freedom I always wanted but never was able to know.

So I run.

I am having my moment with God as always. I am thankful. My last few days have been so awesome.

I been dancing non stop. I love the freedom of dancing. It’s better than running. My grandmother and aunt sat talking to me just last week expounding tales of my father’s dancing days. He would dance until he busted suits. He would move when the music began and wouldn’t stop until it ended.

That’s me.

So here I am thankful. I am thankful that just yesterday I am able to dance. I am taken back to Boston with the music of my extended family. The people who opened doors to me feed me when I was hungry. My Jamaican friend whose mother owned Paradise and would bring me steak, plantain, boiled banana, rice and peas on our lunch break. Yum. I began to look at the world through very different eyes. The Caribbean people whose festivals I celebrated like I was from exotic lands of loving people.

They left their imprint on me.

My first friend in the city her family was from Montserrat. A small country where everyone knew each other so they embraced me like family. I loved them the same way.

I thought I was coming to help her. I wasn’t prepared for the ways she would be a blessing to me. How easy I was to forget she had been a lifesaver to me in my moments of darkness when she did me wrong. But it was her family that loved me in ways I never knew. It was her who showed me that education could open doors to me I had never known before in her viewpoints and perspectives of Ivy League life.

I digress.

I felt like I was home. Never having been to the Caribbean just finding all the cultures in one in Boston.

The only thing I was missing last night was a beef patty with coco bread and cheese from Lenny’s on Blue Hill Avenue.

I will be making it to Carnival this year!

So here I am running and thanking God for all the blessings He has been pouring onto me and I see a truck with the parking sticker from my church in it. I see the coach. I see the track team.
I instantly think to two Sundays ago when Pastor talked about blessing a track coach. I said is this the group you blessed Lord?
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth began to do to me what He does every time He tells me something is the truth when I ask Him.
I have had so many people doubt the fact that I hear Him clearly that I have begun to doubt myself. So I said Lord I am going to ask this man.

The feeling is steady washing over me in waves. I feel it I am so overwhelmed by His presence that I have to take a pause for a praise break. I lift up my hands and give Him glory. Then I walk up to the coach.

“Hey. Are you the coach Pastor blessed two Sundays ago? And is this the track team.”

See Pastor called for everyone in the church to come and bless this man not knowing he was not going to be able to continue the program for the youth in our disenfranchised and gentrified area. The money was no longer available for them. But God!!!!

“Yes. He said. That’s us. And we have a free summer program for youths 7-18. If you know of anyone let them know. This is one of the places we practice.”

I see a young girl running. Her brightly colored pink shoes caught my attention but her skills were the truth. I felt God again.

I gave her some words and a smile.

See God knows that some of the children that need this program are the same children that need to be off the streets to not be the next victim of a stray bullet in our violent city.

He made a way.

I see Pastor heard God too.

I almost broke down crying thanking God for his goodness. His mercy. His loving kindness. His forgiveness.

I been forgetting about the people and the goodness at my table recollecting on the pain of the past.

I now understand it was what was necessary to create in me a strength most will never know.

I walked away from the park thanking God for my parents. But in losing both of them I have no one else to want to make proud besides Him. My Abba. My Father. My God in heaven who always hears me.

There are some places He needs me to be and things to show me. So I pray that I continue to listen when He speaks and not let ANYONE tell me who I am to Him. How can man define me when they aren’t the ones who designed me?

Yep. Its just like that. You know its real when you are who you think you are. And as I let a man who asked me if I was Muslim because of my head wrap. An eastern star? No sir, the word of God says the only religion that is acceptable to God is the one that looks after orphans and widows in distress.

So who am I? Why a child of the Most High. Thank you Lord. Its only through His eyes that I see a clearer picture of myself.

Sisterhood

I can’t help but think back to last weeks bible study. Pastor explained that wherever we find our most difficult interactions is where our ministry is.

So I think.

It can’t be children. I was a preschool teacher for four years in Boston. My first job turned into a career. I started as a substitute. I had no credentials for teaching but the way I engaged the children and help aleve the fears of the most difficult children was almost second nature to me. Most of my children had seen the traumatic effects of domestic violence as most of them came from shelters so some had difficulty falling asleep during naptime. It was something soothing about me that would cause even the most difficult child to settle down. So much so when my co-teachers would tell me, of the ways in which they misbehaved after I left I would look in shock and disbelief. They never gave me any trouble. But since my capacity for love is so great sometimes thats all a troubled child need is love. An encouraging word, or a smile. Or even just to know they are safe in the presence of an adult since some had experiences of not feeling safe, they knew how to tell the difference. Children draw to me. So where is the difficulty in that.

So I sign up for the childrens ministry. Background check comes back and they are ready for me to start serving, but I hear that quiet whisper telling me no. Not yet. So I wait.

Oh yeah this must be where I belong. The teen ministry. My sister tells me that I don’t act my age. I live to love life, and now that I know my Lord in a personal way I love it more abundantly so she says I am more her age, like twenty five. So maybe the teens can benefit from that bubbly overflowing personality that knows how to deal with the pressures of life and get right back up. But no. When I was supposed to get up for the meeting I overslept. I asked the Lord if it is His will make a wayfor me to get there. I don’t make it.

Ok. Where can I be. Where is the best fit for me. What is the most difficult thing for me.

Ahhh. Women. Other women. Interactions with other women. There it is. There must be a reason that I have missed every single Love sister to sister meeting since arriving at my New Life.

Male relationships as friends have always been easy for me. In fact the oldest friendship I have started when I was but a baby and he a toddler would ride my back. As the years progressed he would torture me with the birds and reptiles that he kept as pets. It was troublesome then, but as adults he became a support for me and I for him. We would spend numerous hours talking life, and politics, and hip hop, and from time to time share a good game of Soul Caliber back when I only had a PS2 in my dorm where most nights he slept right below my bed and neither of us thought of each other as anything more than brother/sister. I would often spend my time building a relationship with his girlfriend turned baby momma as we made the best of tough times.

Yeah. As he said, “Rae-Rae, you like one of the guys only with lady parts.”

Its hard to get caught up in the latest he say she say. I stay on my grind, and I didn’t like to be handed what I could work for. Now I am just thankful for blessings but my I don’t care attitude and nonchalance towards relationships was more akin to a male than a female.

I guess thats why all the emotional crying men would find comfort in me, they would do what Icouldnt. I would rub their backs and love them anyway.

Its not like I don’t want to maintain friendships with women.

I grew up in the house with nothing but. All three floors were filled with women. My mother would throw sleepovers for me, and on occasions she would do the same for herself. It was easy. The women could just walk up to their own homes after a night of popcorn, Anne of Green Gables or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or something equally as exciting.

I grew up believing that I was supposed to love my female friends with all I had. And I did.

Until the first friend I had in my teenage years was doing something in the alley with someone that was supposed to be close to me then had the nerve to want to fight me about it. Ok shut me down. I’m through until I get to Boston.

My first friend there was the oldest of a lot of children. They were all smart. So smart that we spent most of our time on Harvard’s campus once she went away to college. My BFF was there when Tatiana Ali was there and she would often invite me to her freshman seminar with Cornel West. I never attended. I never understood the significance of education, but we spent so much time together like I saw my mom with her girlfriends that her roommates accused us of being another way. No that was what most of our conversations were about, the boys. The boys I was busy not getting attached to with my dudelike demeanor and the boys she had yet to start dealing with. I spent my time making sure my BFF had so much I felt as if I had become her big sister. I paid for not one but two prom dresses while she was still in highschool. Got her her first cell phone, the list ran on, but I loved her. I still do. She will always be a sister to me. We sat crying on the phone wishing life had handed us a different set of cards just this past January as the events we missed in each others lives were ones we never thought we would have to. We thought we were inseparable.

Until she turned 21. Until me laying in a bed next to her and the man that said he needed time to get himself together in order to get himself ready for me. Until that smell hit my nose. Until I looked around and saw them doing something I should never have had to witness.

I ran back to the boyfriend I had just gotten the okay to leave for whom he knew was my true love, because he wanted me to be happy because all thoughts of that rekindling had been dashed by two individuals selfish need to pursue flesh and forget my feelings.

With me in the room next to them thinking I was sleeping when I was merely resting my eyes.

I could expect that from a man. I knew how men operated. Friendships with guys were easy, so I learned their ins and outs and how to avoid getting entangled in their spider web. I knew what they would do if given the chance to a willing participant. Thats what made friendships with them so easy. I dare not be the topic of the conversation I would hear many speak too much about, unless my care factor just dashed all the way to the ground.

So I retreat. I had met so many wonderful women in Boston before my BFF and after the friendship fell apart but I could not get over that to invite others into my heart to risk being betrayed again.

So here I am. Back in Chicago.

When I get back to Chicago the main two women I do allow into my space continually betray me. One waited until I denied her the opportunity to be my friend again when she reached out to me weeks before her son was killed. I missed the opportunity to be used by God to speak life back into her with the words he would have given me, so she took that as her opportunity to kill me and my reputation to any family member or former friend she encountered.

Such is life.

The other woman was the only person who knew where my jewelry was stashed. or rather my mothers heirlooms. She watched me unscrew the bottom of a fake candle and pull out a ring to wear. She claims that I was upset with her because shortly after me being robbed of all my valuables in a home invasion her gas which stayed off because of a balance of over two thousand dollars every year finally had been paid.

It could be a coincidence. But why a thief would leave a box of 24k overlay silverware for a seemingly worthless candle is beyond my comprehension unless they knew what it was they were looking for.

Yeah. I tried this female thing.

I try to reach out.

Then I hear the talk behind my back.

Or the glances in the other direction when they don’t notice that I saw them looking my way but looked away quickly to avoid speaking.

Yeah. I don’t know what it is.

I love. I motivate. I encourage. I pour until I am empty cause it means nothing if I make it and I don’t have a sister friend along the way who has made it as well. And if there can be more than one of us I am thankful.

Someone once told me that the people who we are assigned to offend us repeatedly. The enemy creates dissension so that we don’t ever get the strength necessary to upbuild one another and exist in mediocrity separately instead of in greatness together.

All I know is I want everything God has for me. I know working on my female relationships is going to be difficult, but I am learning. One interaction at a time. I am thankful for who is at my table and thankful that the ones that left have opened the door for what is real to walk through.

I just know that there is more that I can do, and however difficult it may be it must be done.

I sit back to meditate on Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that is was said, ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Yes, tough assignments to carry out, but when I think of all the sacrifices my Savior made to redeem me from who I used to be, I become a willing agent.

I want to be used. So I make the necessary changes little by little. But every small change is a big enough change to make a lasting one. And if you get enough change eventually there is enough sense to take one where they need to go.

I think I am ready to go. No I know I am.

Father take care of me. I’m trusting in HIM…

Tuesday morning I lay on the altar body facing the east not even knowing why I turned my body to face in that direction. My voice is gone. I rarely get sick but running on this track with no scarf covering my throat has left me open. I want to sing but I can’t. I just give God the best glory I can. But I ask for my favor and my direction. I been operating in favor for awhile now. But now I’m living this life in accordance with my request.
After I get up from the altar I feel something that brings me joy. I cannot place it. I just know I am happy. Happy is an understatement. I am overjoyed!!
I cannot stop smiling and dancing. I have no voice to sing with the praise team but I am so over joyed.
So I go home. It’s time to get ready for my birthday. I think of the people I have recently reached out to. I have a King Saul. An enemy that seeks to take my life by way of reputation.
So some choose not to respond. I wonder if it has anything to do with the people who like King Saul seek to destroy my name because of my ability to destroy them.
I find a scripture in 1 Samuel. God rewards the righteous and the faithful. See King Saul has been delivered into David’s hands on more than one occasion but David knows enough not to lay a finger on God’s anointed.
It is in seeking to destroy another that one places themselves in line to be destroyed. That’s what happened to Saul.
My Saul has done so much. Been chasing after me since my youth. I thought I had a first boyfriend until she was kissing him behind my aunts garage. Oh well. But I like David forgive her. She then betrays me by trying to turn my best friend against me. OK all is forgotten when I see her ten years later.
Like David played  music to settle the spirit of King Saul when this person spoke of wanting to kill herself for allowing her husband’s baby to die in her belly because the man that would become her husband told her it was the baby or him. I guess her sitting in one place until the baby stopped moving after she felt her water break was better in her mind than having an abortion. So when  years later she had to watch that ex husband of hers shoot himself to alleviate the pain of his life and no seed to live for because of her selfishness I wondered if the two that plotted to prevent a life from living would be spared for long.
I wonder if that was the reason the man that made that request lost his first born years later.
People see tragedies hit but don’t know the stories of how others operated in unrepentance before devastation occurs.
The year came for my King Saul to turn everyone I knew against me. She lied to my family and anyone who would listen. I thought of the information I had that would have the feds knocking at her door investigating the million dollar home she would never have been able to afford had she not embezzled funds from all those older people at her firm.
I wondered if our peers would look at her the same way if they knew her happy home came from her forcing her husband to leave his wife. The young woman being made to leave her home with tears in her eyes as she knew she was out numbered. His youngest child was being dangled as bait. It was the child or the wife. My Saul made her stand firmly loud and clear.
See houses can’t stand when built on sand and sometimes they get burned to the ground.
I thought to the scripture. No I could not lay a hand on Gods anointed. She must have been special to him for a time and a season. It was not for me to try to tear her down in the eyes of our peers. People can speculate but they won’t hear me laying up gossip on my lips. I won’t kill what I know God will take care of in the end.
So I think of favor.
God rewards the righteous and faithful. I may not ever be perfect this side of heaven but I’ve lived with a servants mindset. Like David. Looking to appease my enemies so they can be comfortable around me. My laughter and love being the harp.
My season of favor started yesterday. April tenth. I turned thirty three. I walked into the resort. Yes I can get used to this. I think I shall.
Then I get forty dollars. Cash? Thanks I’ll take it. I’ll use it to pay for my bday meal.
Then my sister gets a trip to Puerto Rico.
I get one to Jamaica. WORD!?!
Then we both get one to Vegas??
OK. Where is Ashton. Somebody must be punking me. I mean I been wearing this ring on my hand with symbols of travel. I claimed that thing. But just like that Lord?
OK. Next on my to do list is my fave restaurant. And we laugh we enjoy. This season of suddenlies has suddenly turned into a season of favor.
And I want to dance.
Reggae me please. I’m living a sacrificial life. So that means dear friend from work I happen to see when we get there that he not dance too close or put his hands on my behind as we take a picture after leaving. I don’t want to be tempted I want to be kept.
God rewards the righteous and the faithful.
My night ends with getting tickets to a concert. My favor. My God. He knows what I like and provides those things for me. I guess not taking matters into my own hands and knowing he will always be my provider makes for blessings to abound. I mean I do try my best to live a life holy and acceptable to Him. I present my life and my body a living sacrifice.
When who wants a perfect love story called me I had a choice. Let him back in when I’m missing him so much. Or know that whatever God has for me is better than even I can imagine. So that day before my birthday when I was near tears wanting to open the door to him I let my Savior soothe me.
Yes my season of favor. My birthday. Was the best one I ever had. The biggest gifts I ever got. But knowing they could come from noone but my Daddy my Father in heaven made it all the better.
Yes I will continue to tell of His goodness. I will continue to rejoice in my testimonies. I will continue to be awakened out my sleep when He is urging me to get in my word. Or write one of these blogs. He has been faithful. He has cleaned me up. I may be fragmented pieces of who I used to be but I am so much closer to who He wants me to be.
Yes the blessings of the Lord abounds. Just what are you willing to sacrifice for His favor?

Psalm 105:1-4 1. Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name make known his deeds among the peoples! 2. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works! 3. Glory in His name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! 4. Seek the LORD and his strength; seek His presence continually.