People-Oriented versus Goal-Oriented

goalMy mom and I sat at the table eating lunch. She began talking about one of her friends. Disinterested, I asked why she was telling me. As the words tumbled out of my mouth,

I wished I could take them back. She frowned. She tried to explain.  I stopped her.

See, I’m a goal-oriented person, deadlines, results and timelines. How can I help you propel your dreams, and how can you help me? If you’re not in that sphere, I’m disinterested. How much can we produce? What do we plan to achieve? Otherwise gabbing about others is gossip. As the adage goes: “If you aren’t part of the problem or the solution, its gossip.”  Proverbs indicates, “whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps things covered. Do not associate with a simple babbler” (11:13, 20:19).

Now, my mother was neither slandering nor revealing secrets, simply prattling; concerned about this person, and sharing her distress, which I knew would later disclose something I cared not to hear. She’s people-oriented, creating social and emotional ties.

God is still working on me.

I explained: “As a goal-oriented person, personal matters are not usually my concern. What is the task at hand? I focus on the goal.”

God is still working on me.

As an instructor, my aim is to lecture, encourage, coach students in rhetoric and composition. I don’t have time for excuses—my printer doesn’t have ink, Internet was down, I broke up with my girlfriend, I’m overwhelmed with other classes. My concern: when can you hand in your assignment? How can you improve your writing? I don’t give busy work every task is a building block.  It’s about production and achievement.

God is still working on me.

My heart belongs to a man that’s taking way too long to put a ring on finger. When we talk, I prefer discuss: how much money have you saved towards my ring; if we live as one, where is relocation. I want dates and schedules, what is your plan not speculation or hesitation. God is still working on me.

I realize God is still working on me because I’m learning to create friendly relations and more concern for people. Perhaps, that is why I was chosen for a few titled positions requiring human interaction, opening channels of commutation, loving others through their distress, and working with the oppressed. Only God knows how to mold and shape me. Knowing I’m goal-oriented I have to remember: We should make plans – counting on God to direct us (Proverbs 16:9).

The student: Ms. Hooks, can I speak to you about why I didn’t finish my paper?

I shake my head no.

The student: I’m not looking for sympathy.

I shake my head no, again.

Class ends, he approaches my desk. I look at him.

The student: I broke up with my girlfriend this weekend and couldn’t concentrate.

I shake my head, saying Adele the singer, recorded hit songs when relationships ended badly. Use your break up as your muse; finish the essay.

God is still working on me.

Watching and Waiting

I’m in the season of waiting and watching. Waiting for the cold days to become warm, the bare trees to blossom.


During these moments, I am anxious and excited, knowing the winter is a time of death for something in my life to come to an end. Perhaps a relationship I thought was worth pursuing, a job, a book idea, even a sinful habit.

Now spring is in full bloom–a time for new beginnings. I am filled with fresh hope and vibrancy like the buds and blossoms brightening the days.


As I watch buds open, flowers bloom and pedals fall, I expect good things to lie ahead because this spring, which seemed to take a long time coming, is the opportunity to see God initiate new things in not only me, but all who believe.

Are you watching and waiting?

The Return of Angchronicles

ImageMy mother taught me that if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all. Hence for a few weeks angchronicles has had nothing good to say. Not because life is not good. I wake up every morning, sometimes later than I should, have food to eat, not always what I desire, and have real friends who love me.

Having true friends is important. The type who are honest, make me think about my actions, and are sometimes more enthusiastic about the things in my life than I am. And lately, I have not been enthusiastic. If you’ve every met me in person, you would understand. For instance, I responded to a Facebook message regarding an online women’s fiction group. When I spoke to the woman on the phone, she immediately said, “You’ll be great, you’ll bring so much enthusiasm to the group.” Here the kicker, she and I met once at a conference during lunchtime, 45 minutes. I was floored; didn’t realize my excitement rubbed off.

But lately, I have not been high-spirited simply because I seem to take two steps forward and three steps backwards. Ever been there? And although, I am a praying woman, righteous only because of Jesus, I trust that these obstacles are God’s way of showing me he’s in charge, not me. Despite whether I’m on the mountaintop or in the valley I have to trust him. I do. Yet sometimes my zeal wanes.

When my zeal wanes, I keep a low profile. Those true friends, I try to limit my conversation with them. They will detect my vanishing fervor. They will try to encourage me. Sometimes, I don’t want to be encouraged. I want to waddle in my self-pity. Have a pity party. Woe is me. However, if I can’t be revived, then how should I expect to revive others with my words? Hence, no blog post on angchronicles, which saddens me.

And God’s been dealing with me because even if one person likes a post, I have lifted someone’s spirit. That’s my call, that’ my job, that’s my ministry with my words. After all, I am a literary artist painting pictures as a writer, speaker and workshop leader.

But I did not come to the conclusion without introspective musing. From the reflection of the devotion “The Place of Exaltation,” I discovered sometimes I cannot and will not be on the mountaintop. Those mountaintop experiences are for inspiration, moments when God builds and mold my character. Upon my descent, into the valley where ordinary things happen, I must prove my stamina and strength that is the true test of my character. In which, I should have something good to say at all times even if I took three steps backward.

So stay tuned for angchronicles weekly Tuesday post.

Faithwalk: Words of Inspiration

When I hear or read profound statements, I write them in my journal, post on Facebook or type on my iphone notepad. So this week, I’ll share a few:

  • I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. –Edward Everett Hale
  • You have to know you are somebody because when others know you are somebody they will respect you; yet if you don’t know that you are somebody others will treat you as a nobody.
  • Trust becomes a verb when you communicate to others their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.
  • Be a girl with a mind, a woman with attitude, and a lady with class.
  • Being powerful is like being a lady; if you tell people you are, you aren’t—Margaret Thatcher.
  • Never envy the success of another… you don’t know how much she had to sweat to get there.
  • If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends; succeed anyway

Faithwalk: All by myself

This year’s challenge is to network. Not only via online social networking, but face to face. In addition, I must not socialize with the person or persons I know. Of course that is not networking that’s cliquing. I’m not good at the networking, probably because I have high expectations. I expect a follow up response to my hello-we-met-at-such-and-such.

So, tonight I attend a fundraiser for the House of Hope at a wine bar all by myself. My friend who invited me is out of town. She reminds me to go and that I will know one person in attendance.

I really don’t want to go all by myself so I invite at least 10 or 12 women friends via email. They politely respond: Tuesday is late night at work, or other commitments. Although two ladies will donate to the cause.

I go anyway; for the ladies who did not respond, and to support the cause in person. I walk in and I’m all by myself. I want to donate and walk out the door. I look around and do not recognize anyone. Everyone is cliquing.

Prior to entering these doors I prayed: God if there is someone I’m to meet show me.

I get a glass of Merlot, and introduce myself. Conversation is stiff. I move to another circle. One woman says she recognizes me. Her face looks familiar to me, as well. We begin talking and sharing common ground: divorce. I take her card when she has to leave. She says call me.

I see the one recognizable face; we hug. Then she returns to her conversation. I’m all by myself, again. I take a breath. Then move across the floor to chat with two ladies.

Another common bond. One lady says she came tonight hoping to meet a writer. We talk about writing more than our divorce. She takes my card, and says, I will call you.

Being all by myself was quite delightful and a pleasant evening out. I made three new contacts for three different projects I’m working on. Maybe the face to face networking is not so difficult, after all.


Still thinkin

List of quotes, aha moments, and sayings that affirm and confirm one’s surroundings:

1. God will not apologize for destroying Sodom and Gormorrah; so He will not tolerate same sex relationships and man made rules to unite these couples as one.

2. A leap of faith means not becoming a prisoner of memories; regret is an illogical emotion.

3.Divorce simply offers enlightenment: to take responsibly for your faults and to show your strengths. Sometimes those faults, seen through another’s eyes, are your strengths–diluted.

4.Loving someone means seeing them for who they are not who you want them to be.

5.Can we label life’s circumstances as good or bad? For example you plan a car trip, and the car breaks down. You take the car to the mechanic and he says good thing you brought the car in or it would have caught on fire. Bad for inconvenience or good for protection? Maybe you reconnected with an old flame. Three months of text messages, last night phone calls, and facebook chatting. One weekend jaunt leads to a eight-days of living together. On the ninth and tenth day, you realize this is not the person you want to spend your life with. Is it bad because dreams were not fulfilled, or good because God directed your vision?

6. I have trusted in your mercy. Psalm 13:5

7. Breaking up is hard on the person who makes the decision.

8. Marriages come and go, but divorce last forever.

Been thinkin

So many marriages crumbling. Husbands and wives deciding its better to be apart than together. And based on statistics, it matters not the length of the union, culture, race, religion or children.

Most often it is the children that suffer. They are resilient, but they suffer the loss of trust: parents promise to nurture and love them. They deny the break up. They grieve the death. And finally, as long as the parents remember they are divorcing each other not the children, they accept the division, moving on with their own lives. Reality: children, young or adult, do not always get over the divorce of their parents. Sometimes they imitate one of those parents.
Truth: divorce hurts each family member, but you must rise and soar above the pain.

Simultaneously, one spouse also suffers. They grieve the break up wondering what the other is doing. Angry the other has moved on: soared above the pain–and they wonder should I have stuck it out. Or they say I am better off without him or her. All that I’ve wanted to do I will do or not. It becomes sweet liberation. As one divorce woman of six years says, “you look around and see that you’ve been sitting in the dark and turn the light on.”

what does one really say

Just sitting here reading my second student essay, wondering if she plagiarized, and dreading the process of searching the Web to uncover my suspicions.
The one aspect of that steady paycheck that I am not thrilled about. Why would a student cheat? For this particular student its all about getting an A, so she can transfer. For the student I caught weeks ago, juggling too many task and adapting to America.
Whatever the reason cheating on a paper, your spouse, your taxes, your diet give little leverage to your integrity. And sure each of us have cheated on something or somebody for any number of reasons. Yet the result is always the same: embarrassment and shame.
Therefore, put your best foot forward, use what you know and don’t cheat. It’s trifling.

still pondering things

That I should let go. Wondering if I will mentally grasp the concept of exercise as part of my lifestyle again. I read in a morning devotion, we think about past events: successes and failures, but we should not linger there. Instead know God has ended that journey to teach us and show us what he wanted something better for us.
So as I lament the death of my relationship with All Sport, creme de la creme of health clubs, I await newness. And I will shout to the world that the God I serve always delivers the unexpected, which is better than expected.

just thinking

That I should get back to prayer journaling, exercising, creative writing, reading, and planning: sharpening my saw.
Once upon a time I was obsessed with Steven Covey’s concept of sharpening the saw: spiritual, physical, mental/emotional, and social. Those days were consumed with attending bible study and prayer groups, running and weight lifting, reading about writing, writing, and lunching with friends.
Nowadays, (6 months +) I have not consistently exercised and have gained 10 pounds. I don’t write; I’m too busy grading papers and preparing lessons. Although, if it had not been for sharpening the saw (STS) yesterday, today I would not be grading papers for a steady paycheck.
When I think about STS, my prayer life, my relationship with God, my mother, and my best friend have improved.
Therefore, I should look forward to STS if I just stick to the plan (which I started 6 weeks earlier): 3 days a week, 30 minutes a day exercise my body and my creative writing muscle.
Let’s see what happens…as I rejoice in writing this blog entry.