Dear Cassidy,     Well, it has finally arrived. March 23, 2017…a day that I honestly have never looked forward to; but, one that I will forever cherish. This is the day that you would begin a new stage in your life. The day that you would become a teenager. So, goodbye childhood and hello modern day I think I am an adult. You were my first born and my only daughter. And, to say the least at 5:53 p.m when you made your presence known to the world all those years ago changed the life that I knew and how I knew forever. It has went by remarkably fast. It was just yesterday you had your first smash cake on Irvine View Apartment yielding to a beautiful spring day in your little red wagon. Now, here we are. Embarking on this journey that is unchartered territory for the both of us. You are learning how to become a teenager and I am learning how to be a mother to one. Because let us face the facts as they stand, how hard it is to in fact parent myself because you are just that. You are the better, more modern version of me. You are truly the simplification yet complex reason that my heart beats outside my chest yet one of only two that know the sound of it from the inside.

I am writing you this letter as part of your gift because whether you realize it or not right now, this will be the one thing in your gift bundle that will be most cherished. If not today, then one day… and yes, I will keep a copy always on hand because truth is responsibility and organization is not on the top priority list of you my child. You are just trying to find your way in this world and find your place and I totally get that. I am your mother but I do the same task every morning as I awake hoping that God will help me define who I was meant to be a little more. So don’t sweat it; it don’t always work out perfectly the first round and may take you some years to figure this one out. 

You have not turned out as I expected but you have turned out exactly as I would have dreamed you would. And, when I see you taking on the world and being the fiercely independent little woman that you are growing into all I can do is smile. Maybe, just maybe all the prayers that I used to recite and the lullaby that I used to sing to you many year ago made it through heavens floor because Cassidy you are undoubtly an answer to every prayer that I have sent up. I could never imagine having a more perfect daughter than you and I believe that is why God gave me only one. Even outside of your being hard headed, stubborn and delightfullly unrefined there could never be room in my heart for another daughter as perfect as you. 

One thing that you have taught me, and you have taught me a lot in your few years on this earth is that in fact motherhood has became the most tough yet beautiful rewarding privelage that a woman could ever desire. And, one day (not for the next thirty years, but one day) you will hopefully understand this as you sit down and begin to pen your thirteen year old a letter as well. I have made a lot of mistakes and have been no where near the perfect mother that you deserved, and you will soon learn you will make your own as well. Some small and simple whilst other not so much; you will however begin to understand is that it isn’t about the mistake that you make but about how you handle it. And, that my child, can make a lot of problems and situations so much different on the scale of one to uncomparable. You won’t always like me but that is a mothers job. But, I will always be there when you need me, whenever you need me. You come from a tough blooded legacy that most could only wish for. You was the only one to complete the first four generation of living VanWinkle women. You need to embrace you heritage and learn that it will always be there. Always trust your gut and know that your core being will never let you down.

Your no longer a child, I understand that. But, you are far from an adult. You will learn so much in the next five years of your life. So, dont run from being a child these are the years that you will never get back. Cherish and behold these moments. People will be mean and ugly; you won’t understand why, but somehow be you and always find the positive in everything… accept change. Persevere. You will always need us and we will always be there like I said and this is not defined by how many times you huff and puff and slam the door.

Be Bold. Be Humble. Love and be loved. And, never forget about Brian and to include him in on things no matter how much it seem like you two are born on different planets. He is your little brother and he was sent after you in this life so that you would not only have protection from the mean world but that you would also always have a best friend that you can count on. Aside from your number one fan that you call Mom. Navigate the world and always find your True North. Plant seeds and always bloom were you are planted. You can always trust that your bloom will bend but never allow is to break. Be Strong and of Good Courage. And, baby girl, always remember your are the answer to someone’s dreams. 

Now, to leave you with some nuggets. No, not the twenty piece from McDonald’s but in fact nuggets of knowledge. Have faith. Treasure, cherish, feed and use it. Daily!! Always know that all it takes is the faith of a mustard seed to move a mountain. But, never turn the mountains into molehills. Time is delicate and they just aren’t worth it. Have wisdom. Always remain searching for understanding and never let the questions be answered with an “I Don’t Know”. There is always an answer you just have to look in the right places. Show compassion. You have a heart of gold sister. Find what you love and use it. Don’t ever stop shining your light in the darkest of days. Because, darkness will always take running from the light. You will one day learn this as well; but for now, just trust me. Grace, and this is a big one. You will be tried and tested more times that you can lace your shoes or decided Harley Quinn or monster high. So always be graceful and share what you have been freely given. Exercise your strength. You are a warrior!! A warrior princess at that. You never give up no matter what. Call it stubbornness or whatever. I choose to say the red headed daughter of Crystall gene. Good or bad, you don’t give up. You have to take them both together and your trials and bad times will define who you are in the good. Unspeakable joy. This is natural for you. From the moment you was born, you was sprouting joy into the life’s of those around you. You are a beautiful spirit that has a kind heart and endless potential fo greatness. Do something everyday that makes you happy and never forget to thank God for your blessings. And, always say your prayers cause I promise He is listening. Always be kind and laugh often and be selective who your trust with your heart because not everyone will always have pure intentions with you.

You will one day see that the things that you think are dire today will not hold a penny of importance in ten or fifteen years. You will soon be able to drive and earn taxable dollars from a job. You may decide today that you want to be the star student as Paul Mitchell Academy but then in the next decade want to be a teacher, nurse or scholar. But, always do it with the best you and you will never fail. I love you my daughter and I will never forget all that you have done for me. Because even though this your natural birthday it is mine as well. Because the day that You where born is the day that I was born too. I love you baby girl. Happy birthday and don’t forget to smile even if you have to kick and scream all the way back home. Thanks for always being there and always calling me mom. Love you my princess, my rockstar, my everything.

The Greatest Halftime Speech

Have you ever just been down and out, needing someone to send encouragement your way. Just the words; meaningful, containing just what you needed in that moment of defeat.

Well, guess what!!! You have happened across the right post at the right time. I know exactly what it is being down, what it is like to be

BEAT DOWN

BROKEN

USED 

ABUSED

And, I am here to tell you that it don’t last forever and it will come to an end.
Can you just hold on for a one moment longer.d30d5e627a846ad413bd18e74c4f111f Just stretch one more inch. I know that it is hard and probably the most unacknowledged thing that you feel like you can do right now, but I promise if you can just make it through to the end that you will know that

1.) You are not alone

2.) It is possible

Sometimes, it just take that one person and that one moment of trust to know that everything will be okay. I have a story to tell and I tell it everyday when the Good Lord says awake. For so long, I laid in a slumber.golden_slumber_by_violscraper Asleep in my pain and devastation for the things that I was living through. I never thought there was an end. I never thought that I would ever rise out of the valley and make it to the mountain top. However, guess what

HERE I AM…..GOING FULL THROTTLE

Do you know how often that a team would be playing in the sports realm would be on a losing descend. They would not only be losing to the rival, but they would be losing all hope and light there would ever come a victory in all the debacle of what their current situation. I mean we are talking a 21-3 slate at halftime for Superbowl LI, in which the Patriots came back after halftime and marched on through with a 34-28 victory¹. And, what about a 24-0 chance of winning for the Philadelphia Eagles as they faced off against the Washington Redskins in 1946¹. They took that game and turned it around to a 28-24 triumph after halftime. wireap_e9d0661c52764775bc36e238e7e15ff0

Isn’t that how life feels sometimes. 

You feel as if there is no chance. No way. No how.

Well, I can attest to the fact that there is more. There is something more out there. There is a perfect halftime speech waiting on you. And, before you know it you will be the one that is giving this “up-to-do, getting it done. one way to encouragement” speech. I know this because it happened to me.

I had given up all hope. I had no thought of ever going on and I was going to end it. There was nothing but shadows and defeat in the game. And, this game was not only a game it was my life. I was playing so hard looking for the solution and looking for the answer, that seemed to be right in front of me the whole time. Was I blind? How could I have missed it. I had a husband who was willing to go to the end for me, but I left him lying there in tears. I had a best friend who was committed to seeing the best me, but I left her playing in the park by herself. And, I left a God who was bigger than all of that is my closed and dusty bible under my bed. And, I failed myself before I had even began. A story that needed to be told but I didn’t want to have any authorship in the matter. I was too ashamed. I was terrified, and I was laying in a pile of self-doubt and loathing pity. What was I to do?

Listen! Listen!Listen! that is what I was to do. I had this calming voice in my ear saying this is not the end of your story. This is not the bottom of the barrel. This is not your defeat, you just got to get up. Slowly, that is where I began to lift my head up and never will I forget the moment that I felt freedom and liberty.positive-words-colour1 Something that Jesus had been trying to get through to me, but I spent so much time running and falling that I could just never pay attention to what He had to say. And, I vowed that one day I would tell my story that I would reach out to someone who needed me, like I had needed someone in that day. Someone who would know exactly what I was going through. Someone I could trust. Putting it SIMPLY, SOMEONE who would just LISTEN. Now, it hasn’t been easy for me. To tell my story, and to share some of the most heartbreaking details of my life. Far from easy. But anything that comes easy isn’t worth it in the end. It is in the struggle and the valley that you learn the most. And, sometimes, I feel as often as I have visited those valleys I should be a champion to excel in these things. But, I know that without God beside me that this would have never been possible.

God stepped in for me on that cold September day and said Come as You are and it was up to me to listen. I didn’t have to be perfect. And, I didn’t have to be all put together because that was His job. He was going to work through me and turn everything around for me. He was going to take this mess that I had made by self medicating and running away; He was going to take and turn it around and make a messenger out of me.

And, there I stood against all odds. 

It seems that when you are in the position such as this that it would be easier to run as to fight. But, this day I knew that I had a lion on my side. But, not just any lion. I had the Lion of the Tribe of Judah standing before me helping me through this and in that moment                          HOW COULD I EVER UTTER THE WORDS DEFEAT FROM MY LIPS?

Daniel never gave up as he was about to face the mouth of the lion. David didn’t back down from the over-sized Palestine. Joseph never backtracked from the pit that day. Job would never conceded to satan nor did he agree to curse God. And well, Crystall (that’s me) will never hold in the battles that I am going to face through the wiles of addiction, or in the conditions I will go through as I stand in the face of adversity. I have the same hope for you as well. I believe in you even if you can’t believe in yourself. I hold hope that no matter how down you are in this moment, that tomorrow is a much different day.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Mostly gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, n reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

And, that is how I can positively, without a doubt hold on and say tomorrow is a much different day. Are you ready for that day? Are you ready for your story to mean something, instead of always being considered a statistic. Someone who will never amount to nothing more than what you are (or at least that is what the world wants you to believe). But, somewhere down deep you are craving more than what the world says you will be. You want meaning. You want it to be definite in your future. Then just look up and lift them eyes.

“Prove I ain’t got the conviction of what I do. I do what I do because I do what I do. Because I am built from something and man didn’t create it.”

~Ray Lewis

*speech to the Miami Hurricanes²

“Great moments are born from great opportunity….if you play them ten times they may win nine but not this one.”

~Herb Brooks

*Miracle²

“LEAVE NO DOUBT”

~Bill Stewart

*West Virginia Coach²

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I vowed on that day when I knew that God gave me a story to tell, a story to heal that it one day would be the greatest halftime speech every heard. It may still have some tinkering needing done but I will never give up and I will never back down.
God gave me a job to do and I am going to do. Even if all the odds are stacked against. Even if the enemy says there is no chance. I have God and experience on my side and that is all I will ever need. If you feel like this is your time. Your time to tell your story, or you need help getting to that point just send me a message and I will gladly help you through your tough times I will pray for you I will do whatever it takes to get you on the road to your biggest Superbowl victory that you could ever anticipated.

Until next time, always take life with a good ole glass of sweet tea and a slice of faith

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¹Greatest Comebacks in NFL History

²What are the best locker room speeches of all time?

Courtesy of : Against the Odds

How do you??

After a great service and fellowship at church today, we decided to head to the park and enjoy the spring winter weather. It was still a little chilly; but an amazing day none the less. Really no complaining on this end. God chose to wake me up this morning, allow me to have another breath, food in my belly and soles on my feet. So REJOICE and be glad in it. When driving around the small town of Berea, and watching and waiting. Stop signs. Lights. Traffic, I was proposed a question. A question that at first didn’t really think much on but then I stopped, really thinking about this question. HOW DO YOU MEASURE GROWTH?? As I begun to ponder on what was proposed, I really wondered how do you? Growth? How can you really measure something from the beginning to the end; the start to the finish or even empty until it was full. HOW DO YO MEASURE GROWTH? A very probable question with many open ended answers. And, many open ended answers that could offer many solutions. Would I find an answer suitable to the question that was asked or would I be left in a wonderous state of mind. Was there such a way, and was there such a method that could define if something really had grew.

On July 14, 1868, Alvin J. Fellows of Connecticut has recieved his patent for a common tool we use today around the house, in the barn, and the garage. The Tape Measure. He had gotten the idea that was marketed through Great Britain by a hoop skirt maker who had seen a fading in the market for the once illustrious garment. Wondering how could he regenerate the use of the metal and make a market for what he had lying around the garage. Seems like growth to me. Use what is in the books, history or past to make better and ascend from. 

A destination we once where at but no longer are. Time. Travel. Life. Marriage. Degrees. Children. Sobriety clocks. GROWTH. Over the last year, I have experienced growth first hand. In the beginning, I didn’t believe that I would be able to succeed. And, I am not sure much that I have. But, I continue trying. I can for say that the person I once was considered to be I definately am no longer this day. And, by any means necessary, I give all the glory to God for all that He has brought me through, and all that He has allowed me to accomplish. But still, how you measure growth? In the ways of explanation and reason, is there honestly a concrete and suitable definition to explain growth? Is there something tangible that would say I am no longer the person I once perceived myself as. Object A is comparable to Object B by physical appeareance but in the area of internal capacity and growth, there is no definite corralation that Object B ever began as Object A. So, HOW DO YOU MEASDURE GROWTH? 

It has come to a day where they measure through machines, they check your success of children through a proficient distinguished growth model, they find these more efficient and time effective ways to say if you are the same person today that you were yesterday and predict are you going to be that person tomorrow. Is this actually possible or is this lazy man way. The way of saying I don’t have time to invest in your growth. That I don’t care about points b,c,d as long as you get from a to e. Do they really care at all. Sincerely and with all due diligence. Before, I would have said okay. But, after this past year and living it I don’t think so. So, HOW DO YOU MEASURE GROWTH? 

For me, measuring growth has been so different. It has been the steps that I took to get to the alter that February. It has been the temptuture of the water when I went down and took the precious life-saving name of Jesus. It has become the days I count up addiction free, which is currently setting over 15 months. Growth has been being able to ask for forgiveness in places that I once thought that I didn’t need to be forgiven for because I had never did anything wrong. Its all the countless nights, I have sat up in prayer and reading the Bible instead of chasing a lead on a pill or trying to find a bar to fit in at. It is the miles I am willing to travel to walk with God. All the places that i would go in the world for Him just to make sure there is someone who now knows who He is. It is not in the friends that I have lost but the family I have gained. It is not in who I used to be but who I am designed to become. So, as I sit behind a screen trying to take the lead on the next sentence or step, I realize that growth is all in th person who is measuring it. After all, is a quart of oil for the car the same as a quart of milk for the baker. By definition, yes it is the same, but by vision it is in the hand of the beholder…what has been a mountain of defeat for one may be just a victorious molehill for the next And, that is HOW I MEASURE GROWTH

I leave you with this today because I am interested in knowing you better. HOW DO YOU MEASURE GROWTH? Where do you see your success. Where do you see your mountains and molehills, your victory and defeat. Is there something that you thought you wold never do that now is just informative in your everyday action. Please let me know. And, until next time always take life with a good ole glass of sweet tea and a slice of faith. Be Blessed and less stressed.

REJECTION AND BEING UNINVITED

Hey guys!! How we doing tonight?? Just wanted to check in on everyone and see how they are enjoying this fine Valentiines early morning. I supposed I should be in bed, but hey who needs a sleep patten. They are over rated. That is me being eve so sarcastic. Lol. I actually just finished touching up on a book I started this week…. Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst and let’s just say it is great. Have any of you guys read it or started it. Rejection is a hard place to live and I in fact have lived there for many years now. When i ran to my cave to hide i ended up dwelling in the cave of rejection. And, trust me it is no fun. 

During one of the videos for the OBS, Lysa proposed a challenge in which you spend time with God and ask Him to reveal to you the one lie that has stuck into you and become a liability in your road of being uninvited. And, it was like a ton of bricks fell on me and released all at the same time. God checked me instantly with what I had been holding in this internal box of rejection by a lifetime. I mean there has been a lot. But, one just stuck out to me so definable that I didn’t even realize was still a problem but I guess sometimes things just have to be brought to light. And today I want to talk about that. I will leave the person said it in anonymity because I know who she is ad I would guess tat se know who she is but no need to. blast that. For that is between me, her and God. 

I was of young age and had went out to eat with some family and friends; I still remember everything about that day. It was very beautiful spring day after just had open the new co mixed A and W/ Long Johns so it was amazing day or so I thought. Until this day I don’t know what led to the events that would proceed our lunch date but they are something that has stuck with me until today. This person who I loved very much started refusing at me, and like I said I don’t even recall these reasons. But, she began to berate me leaving off with this statement that would forever change me and my trust for people. After what had seemed like hours of telling how miserable of a person I was and wrong I was, she left off with statement: I ne’er want to see you grace the funeral the day that I die. How could you say that to any person, let alone a child. It would forever change how I looked at people like I stayed but especially female variety. But, I am not here for that reason. I am not here to wallow in that bitter moment or self pity. Not at all. 

That day gave me a feeling of rejection that I dont think I could ever begin to describe. And, because I didn’t properly deal with it in that moment as i should have it has followed me into my adult life. It has always harbored a place in the back of my brain that said Crystall you are not invited. You are not welcome. Not here, not now, not even in my death. Now, what was i supposed to do with that. I know that this will be a long road to recovery now that I’ve discovered the lie for what it truly is. 

Have I been able to forgive this person for this rejection, no not yet. Will I ever be able to? Yes!! Why, because that is what Jesus did for me. I found freedom in His name and forgiveness in His love. And, who am I to withhold that from someone else. 

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.                                         Mark 11:25

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.   Ephesians 4:31,32

So, it is a given that I will definatley forgive this person. I will do it for her, ad I will do it for me. I cannot continue to let this hold a place over my life that, unknowingly, it already had. That is not a healthy place to reside for either of us. She may not remember, being that I just really thought about it today almost 15 years later.However, I now that somewhere it is still there. And, I pray that she can forgive me for whatever made her say that statement that day and I pray that she can forgive herself for all the bitterness she holds.

I am looking forward to reading on in this book and finding how to untangle this rejection that has been left in my life. I am looking forward to meeting back here with you and hopefully sharing thoughts and ideas with you.  And, if you havent picked up this book, I recommend (just based on first three chapters) that you give it a shot. Until next, always take life with a good ole glass of sweet tea and a slice of faith. BE BLESESED LESS STRESSED

Dear Mrs.Lysa

Mrs. Lysa, First off, I want to take this time to say thank you to Holly for being Mrs. Lysa’s assistant. I am sure this has been a great experience for you and I am sure she is very appreciative of all that you do. By just reading and seeing the life that she has, I know that I am grateful that she has help.

 Now, for my intentions of this letter. I want to say thank you for taking time to write this book. I don’t know why I picked up this book or how but it had a deep confounding bonding in my heart. First and foremost, because God is my first love and you have showed me indeed this was my Best yes by asking Him to not only be my God but to be my Lord God in all aspects of my life, being that surrendering has been one of the areas that I am currently working more on and is my goal for 2017.  

 As I said, I don’t know or why I picked up your book and completed it which has been unusual for me ( making time to do such) but I did and since I have I began to see more that what I was missing. You have given me inspiration to find my best yes. How can my best yes bless someone else. What can I do for others? Where would God trust me enough to use me. And, when asking for direction, look for His instruction. And, that was brought to light by the words you spoke directly to my heart. I would have missed a wonderful opportunity to use that yes to speak Romans 8:28 to my daughter as she was being bullied and being referred to as stupid or the vicious “r” word. I would have completely overlooked such a moment that would trigger not only a smile on my daughter face from the understanding and love but the trickle down as now my son wants something from Jesus for him as well. And, had it stopped here, it would have been worth everything, every penny of that would have been my treasure but no.

 You see it was last night that my husband and myself had one of those detrimental arguments in which words where exchanged and I, too would have just rather sat at the coffee shop drinking coffee (which I don’t) explaining and rationalizing why I was right and having slurry of reasons why he wasn’t. But, I forced through along side him and read my book tonight. And, low and behold there it was…. what I feel was the sticky statement of a lifetime….. Together, is a really good word. Together is what we need when we hit tough patches in life making decisions when life is making you cry shouldn’t be done alone. And, there it was staring me in my face. Not, what I done wrong but what we could do right together. A growth mindset. So, behold, from one Sister in Christ to another I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this book. And, now I can’t wait to start my next read from you (Uninvited) and hope that it to is just revealing. And, thoughtful with a lot of teaching points.

 I hope to one day carry wth me what you have as I pursue my passion that I feel God has gave me through my writing. Today, I may just be a blogger but tomorrow all could be different. I hope to one day have he chance to attend your conference that you have taken time to share with 650ish women on speaking ministry and such to learn more about the opportunity and the obstacles. I don’t know why I wanted to share this all with you but I know one day it will be well worth it. And, I hope and pray that you will hear those prized words I myself seek to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant”

 Until the next time, you and your lovely family is in my prayers and always take life with a good ole glass of sweet tea and a slice of faith. Be blessed and less stressed.

              Sincerely,

            Crystall D. Barrows

The Lesson I Learnt on The Walk

Yesterday, I decided to go on a peace walk. Lingering through the day didn’t know what to make of the chill in the air. Could it already possibly be time for the fall of the leaves, the steeping of hot coco and time for the hayrides. It just seemed like there was such a rush to get to the amusement parks and swimming pools, the need for an ice block fan. But no, here we are. Hoodies and boots. Oranges and yellows. So, i walked to take it all in. And, glorious it was. I wondered up Dove Street onto Ryder and there I saw a woman. Just nimble and humble in her ways. I just took in the view of what that moment had to offer. She silently lagged her groceries across the road, loneliness at it best. I wondered if I could help. That is when I watched the truck speed by offering no help. One by one they passed, hardly even slowing down. But, she continued to walk on across. Almost, as she hadn’t even noticed the business of the day at hand. I began to put fuel in my step. I must help her. She can’t do it alone. I sped up. I got to her, just as she had laid her baggage down on the sidewalk. I was to late. Defeated.

“My child, what is wrong” she implored of me. I didn’t even realize that she had looked past my panting huff. I tried creating a diversion for i didn’t want her to see my lack of suffiency mix with my need to want to help her. “My child, what is wrong” boldly she stated, as if I even stood a chance of ignoring her this time.

“Nothing, ma’am”, I said with tears in my silent cries of my heart.

She began to talk, and I courageously listened. “My child, when you have been present in the world as long as I have. When you have had your attendance check marked on the roll call sheet for all these dates, you learn how to read people, dear. And, you child, are spreading a different view then your mouth is speaking. So I ask you again?

“Okay, okay you got me.” Not as if I could hide it any longer. I mean I think the only one I could properly confuse was myself. That one right there was naive at best, that she could hide all these emotions behind one big and bright smile. ” I guess I just truly get upset at how the people past you on by without the offer of respect as you crossed that street. Not one pause. No one stop. Or even a pause to ask if you needed help. It frankily is not something that sits well with me. I am so beyond blessed that I was raised with hospitality and respect, not forgetting that I am to respect the little as well as the big, but, ma’am it is times like these that they make it so hard for me and my upbringing. That is just alot.”

“Well, honey” she said at best trying to calm my spirits. “That’s the thing. People are not at all once what they were. They have a different character makeup than you are used to. Where you see lack of respect, they see time consuming. And, where you have saw rude and disrespectful, they just see normal everyday life!”

“But ma’am,” I felt myself wanting to explode ” why, how, when”

“My dear child, you have to understand that times are different, and they change. We’re all a little different, and as we go into the next time period if we don’t carry what we learn, it will be lost to the times. It would just be merely a fraction of time that only carries mementos, not lessons. You have to want to carry on these things. Your parents or authority figures have to want it to go on with you. And you have to want it as well. You have to be willing to receive as well as have the abitly to give. It is a process, and somewhere along the way these little impacts have lost the pizzazz they once used to carry”

“What do you mean by that ma’am” I inquired of her “Pizzazz”

“Well, darling haven’t you ever heard of pizzazz?!”

And by this point I knew that she was going to tell me and was nothing but ears. I was intrigued, almost beguiled by these jewels that she was going to deposit into my bank. I knew that I would be able to retrieve this information and use it one day. I just had to eagerly listen, ACTUALLY LISTEN to all she had to say. I had to understand that she had stories to tell, and not just dilapidated moments of confusion. After all, she was able to get back and forth from the store with all her baggage, better than half the athletes I knew in my neighborhood. They often used bikes, and skateboards and more recently hover boards (who would have thought) instead of their two feet, one step at a time.

“Well, my dear, do you have some time for me to talk to you?”

“Why yes, yes I do!!” I said, almost to the point of being exclamatory.

“You see growing up, we knew a lot (or so we began to think) and probally saw more than we should have. We knew, as we grew through the years, what true hate, despair, and loss was. We were recalling on the War that was hard to mention. A time we didn’t want to revisit, but we must if we want to remember the pain and sadness it brought. It was a scary time, my dear friend; one that I hope you never have to visit or know” she began to go off kilt in her voice, as you could adamantly hear the sadness, ” But, from the pain and the despair, we also learnt what it was like to love and hold on. We knew and believed if we could hold on for a couple more days, a couple more months that this would soon all be over and be done. We would be counted lucky if we were able to ever hold our loved ones again; much less see them. There was so many that was lost to the enemy, lost to the after effects and sadly for them, nothing was ever the same, ever again. I don’t think you could ever count what was lost to this war, at least if you counted more than monetary devices. By watching our fathers, our teachers, our brothers, our preachers go into a place no man could ever describe. Almost an environment, where you would be man encountering beast in order to survive. And, by doing this the men and women who were serving our country, left us in charge here. We had to hold on to what we could. We had to pull together for the greater good, even though it seemed minimal at best”

I thought it was time to give her some air to breathe, so I was trying to come up with some sort of question. Anything, in that moment!
But, I don’t think nothing would or could sway her from the place that she had gone. I am honestly not convinced that she ever did. I don’t think that I could ever imagine being in such a place. It sounded awful, dreadful; not understanding how she could have ever fought through it, so I simply implied, “How did you?” 

“See, my child, that is what you are missing. That is where the world is missing out on one of the most important life lessons they could ever gain. God never promised you that this life would be easy, nor did it say it would be hard. He simply told you it would be possible. It would be possible to hold on and get through. It is all in which set of glasses you chose to look through. To observe and see the life that God had handed you. I am not saying that I didn’t want to give up, didn’t want to run and hide, cause I did. Oh, dear you have to understand something. When I saw that Buick come rolling down the driveway that Saturday afternoon in April, I knew it wasn’t the local Girl Scout troop trying to get me to buy peanut butter rollouts from the yearly collection. I wasn’t that naive. I knew that my sweet Matthew Gregory hadn’t made it. That he had gave his life for something he considered so valuable. Something that money, prestige and pride could never buy. He gave his life for freedom. The freedoms that many take for granted each and every day. And, I had to decide what to do with that. Was I to take and hide my head under the covers and hide from the world as I knew it. Or, was I to pull myself together, count it joyful and take this event and make sure that my dear husband didn’t die in vain. That what he stood for wouldn’t be trampled on in the mud of violence, hate, and misguided fortunes.”
I just simply was in awe at what this little lady had told me on the street that day. I counted myself privelaged to be able to talk with her. And, as I helped her the rest of the way to her destination, I was thinking that she was feeble and in need of assistance. But, truth be told, she was stronger than I could have ever imagined. To take that hurt and pain, turn it upside down and make something positive out of it. How? I don’t think if ever confronted with this situation that I would be able to ever smile again. I am not sure that I would have wanted to. But, that is what each of our life are meant to do. We are each meant to leave a mark on the world that we cross into each and everyday. We are to pick up a cross, and bear it DAILY!! We are to take each moment and make it count for something positive. And, when passing someone on the street smile, say thank you or lend a helping hand; for in the world of such blindness, you never know what insight one may have to offer.
So I think that is all for tonight. And, until next time have a good ole glass of sweet tea with a slice of faith. More blessed, less stressed!!!!

Conversation of a mirror

     It was lonely. Saddened, despair, disarray. As it just hung, there on the blank wall, it couldn’t seem to pull the feelings together into one thought. What could it say to make her feel any better? She had became so acquainted with it, but not the intentional use wherein it was invented.  If it had the ability to use verbal cues as language it would have a foliage of tears that never was able to speak. There had become  no way to unbandage the hurt. All the miscues that the world had placed on the mind of its only friend. She had indeed become the only one who intentionally spent time as it hang on the wall. Day in, day out; she would speak to it as if it were human, as if it could understand the thoughts that she had. However, it didn’t. It could only understand the pain and the emotion that she (its’ only friend) spoke everyday. Sadly, it would wonder did she open like this to the world? Did she speak in such volumes of pain as she did when she spent hours with it? How could they not see what it cried for on a daily basis? What did they see that they could possibly allow this to go on? Here, it was an inaminate object and it alone spared more love for her than the world she occupied. 

She often shared memories of good times; and she would then  talk about the moments of success. She remembered her Barbie birthday so clearly on that warm fall day. It was a prized possecion to her. She held onto it dear. Tightly tucking into the folds of her heart nightly. Days spent with Chandeclaire and how she used heroics to save it from Jake the ripper. Howbeit, it was to late for Monsoon and Daisy. She declared that she would save the world from the viscous essence of kill or be killed. But, somewhere along the way, those were often foreshadowed by the here and now moments that came more frequent. She was often the one who suffered the fate of Monsoon and Daisy. She was the one felt like she was swallowed up by the snake in the backyard of her own home. She had lost her will to fight because she had forgot what she was fighting for. It was moments like this, as it hung on the wall, that it feared what irreversible damage this was all causing her. Down deep in her soul, she longed for clarity as to Why? How? When? And, it was there in those moments that she could no longer breathe, and could only speak with the tears that flowed down her fragile face.

It remembered the day that she bought it to hang on the wall. It has had many homes since, however, she would never allow it to be repossessed. She felt most at home when she looked at it,  when sharing and spending time just gazing, or time singing.  It was in middle school that she had this obsession with a certain longed hair boy band. She could count the beats word for word, the pentameter, the rhythm, the harmonic balance. How she longed to one day to have a little girl she could give the iconic name Madeline or Lucy!! It remembered it so vividly, how ironic that it would be an album that would sale ten million copies worldwide while being named the middle of nowhere. And, that is often where she found herself; the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the middle. A place where half didn’t see and the other didn’t care. And slowly, the tears would saturate her eyes and her thoughts.

Oh, how It had so many hopes and dreams for her. She would spend hours amped; roaring for events in life that she faced not caring what was to come. She was a warrior but It didn’t understand what happened. What happened to the little girl who had all this passion, all this love that she could storm the world and conquer ever villain that was wrote into her timeline.  She carried the pain as if it were ammunition for ever battle that she would face. Her own verision of David and Goliath. The one where she would be the heroine taking down the giants of pain, bullying, abuse, fear and terror.  Nothing would ever dreamt of having the strength or courage to steal the joy, her love of the world. Her passion. Her composure. But, then something went terribly  wrong in the life of Its only friend. 

It had held so much fear in it watching her personality change. But, it was just another inaminate object. But, beyond the glass, the shimmer and shear I too, felt like her. No voice. No choice. Only the ability to deal wth the things as they would unfold. Never understanding why the days had became so harsh. It wasn’t like it had become a multiple choice, she could determine what to do. Sh could only sink or swim, fly or crash. And for so long, the effects of the actions had began to deter the warrior princess that It had saw her as. Now, the only choice it had was to hold on and just be there when she wanted to share. And, for a long time; quite awhile she would hide. No more singing, no more dancing. Only crying and sleeping, but It hang out there for her because i knew that she would be back. She would need someone to talk to and it knew that it would give her exactly what she needed. Someone who would understand, someone who would listen without the fear of judgment. Cause lets face it she didn’t fit into this world that had became so cruel to her. And, she would often reach for a hand that was never there. And, it longed to be able to be there for her. Be happy for her. Be sad for her. Just hold her in her darkest moments that had seemed to be so many.  

For hours, she laid there in her tears screaming here we go round again. Why does it have to be this way? Never could she seem to find a place where she was warranted. Or even if she was wanted. No one seemingly could ever have time to pencil her in. Where was she going wrong? And, finally it saw that she was  really beginning to have enough. She needed someone, someone who wouldn’t  demand everything from her but was never on location for her. She began to look down deep and search for the warrior that she once was as a child. She vowed that she would go into this world and search for her One True Love and she knew exactly who He was. She had longed for this acceptance for so long that she din’t understand how she had been so blind. She hadn’t seen what was in front of her the whole time. And, she slowly began to reach up. It wasn’t easy for her; probally harder than one could ever imagine. But, she knew do or die. And, this is where we are today. She is still fighting for what she believes. She is still holding on and trying to undo the damage. However, there is a big difference in now and then. She is trying. She is caring. And, she took back her title as warrior princess. We still have those long conversations throughout the day but happily reporting that we no longer share the sadness and despair; but joy and love. We also no longer do them alone. She began sharing with her new found friend. One that always makes time for her no matter what the world says and truly cares about her as she is. For she had discovered her One True Love 
And, I am sure that if It can say anything about the journey it had hanging from the wall it would say this

I may just be a object on a wall. Just a mirror but I see and know more than You think.  For the person that you are talking to when you are talking to me, is well…..YOURSELF!! You wll always know what You need internally even if your flesh don’t want you to have none of it. God will be your anchor and He placed  objects in the world like me just to give you something to talk to when you don’t feel like no one is listening. But, He is always listening even if it just through the mirror on the wall. So, go ahead and claim your warrior status, know that you are not alone and hold on. Count it all joy in everything you are going through and always remain true to yourself. the world will beat you down but He will build you up and restore all things to you . You just have to have faith and hold ont what You know and believe.   

                                                                                                                                                                 ~the mirror, your friend

               

Until next time have a good ole glass of sweet tea wth a slice of faith

She Would Change the World, even if it were only mine

Today, my heart is heavy.e28e3031420083-56059b68ddfc6

It is burdened and wants to cry out for my Father. Abba, help me make understanding of the things of this world. Help me to begin to unravel the conceptual thinking of people on this earth. Sadly however, I keep coming up empty. I am not sure that I could ever be able to understand but, for the future and well being of my children, our children I must try to find agreement in my Spirit as to the whys, what’s and how’s. But, first some background. I remember everything about that day. The briskness of the wind as it collided with my skin while walking around the block, the blue basketball shirt and black pants that had seemingly grew seven times to small, the shriek of the ambulance and the fear of the events as they were to unfold. The love in the air as the world we knew was about to change for so many around me and the sickness of my belly as it had begun to do flips as I understood that something was definatley wrong and no one wanted to listen. March 23, 2004, 5:53 p.m., Tuesday. 57389f6e97ab174bdcac5f22dc2c8556The day that my daughter was born. My first child. My princess. My everything. I was only 19, and didn’t know very much about being a mom. However, I knew if this little girl (who weighed all of five pounds and five ounces) could change the world of me, then she one day would change everything in the world of her. I didn’t know what God had in store for her or me. I am not sure that I was supposed to know. I just know that with all my heart that He had a purpose greater than I could ever have imagined for the dynamic duo of redheads. It would just take me sometime, well, a lot of time to figure it out. And, I think I am still working on that one.
As I said, I had a burden in my heart and for a minute got confused; thinking it was all the Raman noodles I had been loading up on over the past few days. And, they say carbs ain’t fulfilling. But, anyways that is my lame attempt to try and break free of the silence that my heart feels. It is incredibly lonesome feeling scared, and intrusive in this lone world. Today, after watching my daughter become upset because she is feeling eradicated from the world ( as she knew it) leaving me questioning what did I do wrong. I have not even began to realize that there was something far more deeper going on that I didn’t understand. Or, did I? Probably more so than I ever would have wanted to imagine. The goal of a mother or father has been and probably always will be the want and desire of wanting your children to succeed. To do better than you ever imagined you, yourself could ever do. But, the pressures that they often are succumbed to are rather harsher than we could have ever imagined. And, today, as I sadly watched from what felt like the outfield as my daughters heart crumbled right in front of me, I could feel nothing but helplessness.
After reading an article on Pacer.org when trying to find answers to how could i help what could I possibly do. Finding statistics showing that more than one out of every five students report being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016) or that the reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%) (Davis & Nixon, 2010). When it is your daughter, when it is your son these statistics don’t seem to even matter in the moment. I had often experienced bullying growing up but I never used my voice at all. I chose to be reactive instead of proactive. And I thought that I would never have to face this demon ever again. But, today in the middle of that living room floor as my daughter’s world came crashing down around her, I was staring the demon right square in the face. And, I was left feeling as I never dropped it off. But, this time, oh this time it was not going to win. It was not going to stare my daughter down and place a threat on her; making her feel worthless and as if she amounted a hill of beans. No, not this day!! Not this daughter!! Not this mother!! 8ab6038e92c467b9a16c573b631b8d18

She was broken, shattered, irreplaceable. My princess, the one who I thought could change the world. The one I still believe could do exactly that. She hasn’t even experienced the best years of her life. But, here she was wanting to give up, throw in the towel and not even finish the few years she has left. As her mother, what was I to do. I wanted to help her so bad, but everything in me telling me this was a life lesson that would make her stronger. I am not going to lie, as a mother instantly my flesh wanted me to react. My daughter is sitting here telling me behind a camaraderie of tears that she was being called stupid. The ignorance of people using the vicious “r-word” when describing her left me wanting to do the carnal thing. But, the kingdom woman in me did the only thing I knew to do. I went to my Father, my Counselor knowing that He would give the answer I needed, I desired. God what was your purpose in this. What am I supposed to learn or what am I supposed to teach. Please, Father help me help her.

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And, see that is the great thing about the great God we serve. When you call, He answers!! Sometimes it may not be always as you wanted or intended but today it was a right on time message from a right on time God. And, luckily for me, today I had my spiritual eyes and ears in tune because I believe God gave me a job to do. And, the way I would respond in the next two seconds would send tremors into the future of the way my daughter would or could view things. Would I tell her to react and beat them down?  Or, would I tell to sit back and take it like a champ? No, I would do neither. God wouldn’t want me to act out my carnal desires . It would not be the Kingdom woman thing for me to do. And, I didn’t want to be caught with my Holy Ghost on vacation and contribute to the soullessness of the situation that I found around me. I did what everyone should have been doing all along. I took the time to teach a lesson to my daughter that I hope she will always be able to remember. One that she may pass down to her daughter one day. One that when the kids start in on her she can say hold I got something to say to you. And, it went a little something like this.

 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 KJV

My daughter. She was created for Gods purpose and plan. Nothing of my doing, nothing I could have changed. I knew that she would be used to change this world. Even if it is just a circle of friends, ones that she could show there is a difference in proactive and reactive. That all because you are bullied doesn’t mean that you have to respond. The choice that you make today could effect the life you live tomorrow. Good or bad, life or death. We have a choice to speaks these words that could forever alter the universe because God loved us so much that He gave them to us. And, I believe there is no greater purpose than sharing the Love of God with one another instead of the hate of the enemy. It shouldn’t matter what you look like, or your socioeconomic status. Where you were born, or what special ability you have. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. And, with sometime, work, a whole lot of prayer I will ensure that my daughter will be a builder not a demolition  team.

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My Daughter will Be a Builder

So, to the one or several who have set out with a goal in mind. Thinking that idea somewhere along the way, it would make you somehow tougher, stronger; that it would make you smarter or even maybe gain you popularity, allow me to share some advice with you. The people who are cheering you on while you do these things you refer to as funny, are indeed never your friends or do they intend to be. A friend is someone who would stick up for someone in the face of the pain and the struggle. someone who would watch out for someone when the tough gets going. You may think it is hot and awesome to do these things now but what of the future. One day you will know what you did. And, I leave you with one question what if this was your daughter? Your son? Brother, sister, cousin, whatever. What if? it may pay you to get a friend or two like the ones you are bullying. They may teach you a thing or two you are definitely not learning. Until then, I will continue to pray for you.child_praying I hope that what ever you are going through, whatever that is causing you to lash out at the people will come to a close. I pray that you start building up instead of tearing down. And, when you see someone making others feel worthless, that you will teach them what worth is. It is taking me a lot not to lash out at you and not want to hurt you, but there is enough hurt in the world we need no more. I pray that you find peace and comfort. And, that you can reach out to someone in your time of need and can find what friendship truly is. Maybe even my little warrior. She will show kindness in the face of adversity. Love in the view of pain. And, success in the midst of the storm…. why? Because she was created for His purpose. She was designed to be more than a conquer. She was born to change the world.

Until next time be blessed and less stressed and always take life with a good ole glass of sweet tea and a slice of faith

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courtsey of  Speak Out

What’s In the Bag of a Jesus Chic

I decided it was time to spring clean my bag, even though it is near thirty degrees outside and not even close to spring. And, while doing so I decided to share what is in the bag. Sometimes it is crazy cause I never know what I am going to pull out of that thing. Wondering if during Fall Cleanup it will be the kitchen sink. Never hurts to have portable clean on the go, right? So, here we go… diving into the jungle of the unknown, the labyrinth of such an such, the bag of the Jesus Chic!!

Well, here we have it. The “familial, can’t live without, no need for a gym memebership when you carry this every where” bag. This has been my trusty bag for the past year. And I say trusty because it has been dropped, kicked, threw, tripped over, fell into and even slept on and in (ode to the Duchess of Barrows) bag. I actually think it was meant to be a beach bag but it ain’t like I was going to the beach in the near future and Walmart had it going on for two dollars 💵 where could I Ever go wrong there.

First up, the most important part of my bag!! The part that I absolutely can never live without…. My King James Study Bible, pink and brown leather. This was actually the greatest gift my husband, Jeremy, could have gotten me last year. Or, even in all the years we have been together. This was his contribution to my recovery and became know as my One Year Recovery chip. It has been my lifeline, my conversation starter, my answer to all the problems and solutions. It is my real world world text messaging app to my Savior Jesus Christ

Next up,we will find in the bag of Goodies….

My New Strongs Exhaustive Concordance. This thing can get pretty heavy, but the knowledge it carries with it is is worth eversingle puled musle and smashed toe… for the times when i need be reminded what some agape love is I have it at my finger source.

Then we have the current liaison of media that I find myself in… it is “A Woman and Her God” insights from Beth Moore and other authors. It has been a great read, the we have Sarah Young’s “A Jesus Calling” and Sheila Walsh’s ” 5 Minutes with Jesus“. I always find time in my day to be sure o sit down and spend some time with these ladies cause these reads have been really great. Ya’ll should check them out sometime. You can find them at your local library if you just want to take them fo a test run. 

On through the maze of stuff we have something that I also can never be without……my pen and my paper. Have to always make sure that a million of these are on hand. And, out of the zillion and ones I have, I find it so hard to make maybe a third of them noteworthy for Sweet Tea. I may find something next year that I jotted down today and post it and that is why I love having so many. Never knowing wat I might find, or the growth that Jesus has helped me acquired through the days and weeks. 

Next, I have something that I also find so very important to carry with me at all time… TRACKS it is our door hangers from church. I always want to have these on hands when I am casually putting in the one liner heard round the world from my mouth..want to come to church with me. I had previously posted this is my goal in Life and it is what Jesus requires from us and He don’t require much so I must always be prepared. 

 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

Acts 1:8

I think we are finally rounding the bend…we are coming to the bottom of the bag… It feels as if it is cut lighter now that we are reaching the bottom, but the impact things have left on me will never be empty

 We have he bottom…i think there is some peppermint wrappers in there, some nails, a three hole punch, and then the last picture… we have a water bottle, deodorant, hairbrush, bobby pins, scarf, an keys…and if you have ever been to an apostolic church you know that you can never have enough of some of these things cause you a Jesus loving, devil stompin, pew walking tongue talkin, Jesus chic and you keep the store sold out on Bobby  pins, deodorant, water and scarfs. So there you have it my Jesus chic bag… just insight on my daily grind and gym memebership. I hope until the next I’ve, you take life with a good ole glass of sweet tea with a slice of faith 

My First Award

Today, when checking comments on my blog I found out I was nominated for my fist award… 

Versatile Blogger Award!!!!!!!!!! This is me casually doing backflipping on the screen, lolololololololol!! But, I want to thank you artsycrystal for recognizing my blog and what I am trying to convey. It is well appreciated. I highly recommend that you go over and give her a check out being that she is a recently new blogger on the scene. She is going to do great things with her platform.

RULES

You have to thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog! (Being kind)
Link the nominees and inform them about their nomination (passing the love, that was given)
Nominate at least 15 bloggers of your choice (At least)
Share 7 facts about yourself (being truthful)

So, I find it very hard to come up with some facts about me but i will try…..so without further ado here goes…..

1. I am a Jesus Chic… I ove God with everything in me and want to share His message with the world

2. I am a country girl. I would rather have spent time out on the farm with a gun or bow in my hand then in the house

3. I want to help others. Sometime my best quality is also my most downing

4. I am special as a unicorn  I have red hair, blue eyes, and freckles… aside from the beauty of my children we are the only ones in our lineage

5. I had three sets of teeth

6. I want to write a book one day that carries the title of my blog

7. I want to travel all the states and th world but currently have hardly any states under my belt.

And the nominations go to…

woman for Jesus

Simple Ula

Southern by Design

SDC

Okoto Enigma

Girl after God

Following Him Beside still waters

Goodnight Already

apostolic girl

the wishing well

wally fry

saved and blessed

pretty in playdough

simply etta

jay colby

Thanks again to artsycrystal for nominating me. And utmost respect and all to my readers and followers. You all be blessed now ya hear

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