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.

Hard Pressed But Never Destroyed

January 4 2013BMy best friend and I not only shop together, call and text but we also pray together and share scriptures when needed.
So, today I’ve been praying for a specific need because that was her morning text. This afternoon she called a bit depressed and perplexed. I did what a friend does: I listened, agreed, offered comfort, listened some more, offered a bit more advise. When our silence grew deafening, the only thing I knew to do was pray over the phone for her in her ear.
She’s a praying woman and I know she will find her answer.
Afterwards, I began trolling through a list of things, although I’m supposed to  finish a chapter of my novel and send out two resumes. I was growing weary at the writing, and daunted by the task of job hunting. In my list of things, I found the following devotion that represented the day, ironically, I’m sure my best friend sent it to me on January 12, 2012.

Hard Pressed, But Not Destroyed

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, We are preserved not pickled! 2 Corinthians 4: 8 to 9 (NIV).

The Message translation of the Bible says this ”We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us in trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us our lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!”

When the sailors of old faced the worst of the storms, they would call out to encourage one another with this statement of faith, “Hold fast”. When the wave buffeted against them and the winds howled and the storm raged, and it seemed like everything was against them, they would call out, “hold fast”.

Ephesians 6:13 – 14  (NIV)  says, “and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then”.

At times we may feel like we are going through the mill, and we are having a hard time. That is the time you need to hear these words “Hold fast! For the storm will not last forever.”

Notice if you will, that no matter what life throws at you, no matter the circumstance, there is a  “But not” from God, but not crushed, but not in despair, but not forsaken, but not destroyed! -Because God is an awesome God. We are preserved not pickled!

Remember the words of the Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 4: 8 -9 (NIV)

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

No matter what we face, not matter how difficult the storms of life, it will not last forever, we will be preserved not pickled. Because if God be for us who can stand against us? Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.

No resolutions for the new year

ImageResolutions for the New Year: none, nada, rien,
That’s right. I’m not vowing to lose weight, eat healthier, budget my finances, organize my home, go to church more, read the bible daily, or  keep in touch with more friends and family.
That was 2010, 2011, and 2012 resolutions. If I haven’t made progress by now, resolving to do those things in 2013 is a waste of energy and sure to cause depression.
Instead, I plan to be me living footloose and fancy free with a ton of fun in my bones.
In the words of Alicia Keys… This girl is on FIRE!
In the paraphrased words of  Ecclesiastics 3, 2013 is time to birth something new, a time to heal, to build, to laugh, to dance, to embrace, to love, and a time for peace, a time to be silent and a time to speak.
…there is nothing better  than for us to be happy and to do good while  we live.
 
So let’s eat, drink, and find satisfaction in all our work and play.  This is the gift of God; the only resolution for me today, tomorrow, forever.

Faithwalk: What happens when women talk?

 

I

“I can do the job better than those with Masters and Ph.D.s,”  the woman said.
“A woman who has a degree and has stayed at home to raise a family is usually the best candidate for the job,” the other woman said.
“They have more time, more organized, and career-driven.” Woman looked at text iphone message. “After raising kids,…”
“And caring for parents,” the other woman interjected.
“Less life interruptions,” the woman said.
“We’re better candidates, volunteerism and community service alone is major experience.” “You have a Masters,” the woman said. “And even freelance experience.”
“Yeah, but a Ph.D. got tenure track, not me,” the other woman said.
“Does she have children?”
“Two toddlers and a baby on the way,” the other woman said.
“I can’t imagine trying to take care of my babies and a full-time job,” the woman said. “But I made the sacrifice, family first.”
“Our life is in God’s hands,” the other woman said.
“His plans are always better than my plans.”

II

Two days later the women talked over the telephone.
“Speaking of plans have you been writing down your ideas?” The other woman said.
“Not really, working two jobs is exhausting,” the woman said.
“Do you know if you write things down it happens?” the other woman said.
“Please, Girl,” the woman said.
“I’ve been journaling for years, but last week I started rereading old journals and…”
“What did you find?”
“A list I wrote in 1999 and all things happened. Even you, a dear friend that I could trust,” the other woman said. “That’s not all. After the divorce I wrote a letter to God describing my next husband.”
“Did it happen?” the woman said.
“Money, homeowner, no kids; but he was creepy.”
“So sometimes we don’t know what we want even if we write it down, or not,” the woman said.
“Taught me a lesson, I need to leave room for God,” the other woman laughed.
“Did you throw that list away?”
“No, I crossed it out, and wrote Lord, you know best.,” the other woman said. “Now, when I look at that page in my journal, I’ll know who’s in charge.”
“Good way to look at it,” the woman said.
“I did have a fabulous summer traveling, and that was one of my prayers…that I wrote down.”
“Maybe I’ll try it.”

III

Three weeks later, the friends talk again.
“I got the full time position, a raise, and the company is paying for me to go back to school.” The woman throws her hands in the air. “Oh, my daughter is engaged. She’s waited for that man to propose for three years.”
“I’m happy for you.” The other woman smiled.
“I did what you said, I wrote it down.”

33 Days of Prayer Journey: Day 16

Dear God, I confess that I do not always trust your timing and attempt to do things my way; I do not remember to rely on your promises although your Word says you “will never leave” or “never forsake me”; however, when the dark valley gets lonely I wonder where you are in the midst of my confusion and the chaos. I confess that I do not always wait for your answers, and sometimes grow angry when your answer is not what I want to hear. Forgive me.

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: Sign of the Times

Inspirational wall décor is everywhere: Facebook, Pinterest, Tweeter, souvenir shops, department stores, kitchens, living rooms, and offices…the list goes on. These words remind us of the small things like cherish, love, and embrace every moment of life and the people in our lives. I’ve posted a few on Facebook, and wondered if people really are doers of the sign of the times. Then I simply thought about me, since I can only speak for myself.

So when I posted the sign with these words: RUN, CREATE, PUSH, KICK, ASK, CHANGE, GIVE, OPTIMIZE, SEARCH, SEE, WRITE, DREAM, SPIN, HEAR, FLY, DESIRE, and MOVE—I was on a hiking vacation in Virginia. And when I reread the words, I realized I had lived these actions. Why? I was walking on the path of peace knowing that no one can bring me peace but me, which meant I had to face realizing I may not be perfect, but I’m always me. (My cousin Eugene commented on my Facebook that always being me meant: I’ve always been crazy.)

Imagine a sign coming true. Who knew my DESIRE to travel this summer would place me on the seashores of San Diego and offer me a DREAM of living on a houseboat for a year? How crazy is that to live on a boat and can’t swim? I guess that means swimming lessons this year. Well, if I PUSHed myself to stay on the MOVE during my first seven-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park, where I CHANGEd my mind about the importance of maps, I can learn to swim. Electronic gadgets don’t work above 1800 feet, and sometimes there’s a fork in the road and only a map will help you choose the right path. Speaking of the right path, after the second hike I could SEE how hiking was like a faithwalk through rocky terrains, noises in the brush, lonely trails, and maps as guides.

After leaving Virginia, I decided to CREATE the same intense exercise routine at home. In VA we, Sharon and I, went hiking, and walking, attended a kickboxing and Zumba class as well as yoga and pumped iron in the weight room. I’ve been home for ten days and have taken two Zumba classes in which I had to SPIN and KICK and then ASK myself what was I thinking when I couldn’t RUN out of the class that was like a bad movie thinking it’s not over yet. I ‘m sure I should GIVE Zumba another try, but when one is directionally challenged she, meaning me, needs to HEAR the instructor count and point. I’m proud of myself because I didn’t FLY off the handle and criticize. I considered it OPTIMIZing  my exercise benefits. After all, I purchased a discount ticket for 10 classes; eight more to go.

Living the signs of the times has offered interesting stuff to WRITE in my journal. In the words of author Maud Hart Lovelace, “Isn’t it mysterious to begin a new journal like this? I can run my fingers through the fresh clean pages but I cannot guess what the writing on them will be.”

Until next week: dream, scream, love, take a long hot bath, live abundantly, just let go, and be.