Everyone’s Walking Backwards

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone always walked backwards to get where they wanted to go.  Think of the confusion and chaos.  Why would anyone even want to do something so ridiculous? It just seems silly and useless to think about it right?  Most people would even argue that I was crazy for making such an absurd suggestion.  I would probably hear something along the lines like, “Don’t you know how long it would take me to get there?”   Or maybe something like, “I don’t have time for these games.”  So my question is why are so many people doing it?

Many are using a metaphorical mirror daily and don’t even know it. It’s taking them forever to reach their destinations and when they do arrive, it’s either no longer important or worse they’ve arrived to the party too late.  What happens after missing the party?  We try going home but it’s taking forever.  If only we could walk normal.

When I’m speaking to young people about making plans, goals and dreams for their lives, I try to show them how God plays a role in it all.  I have one of the kids go out into the hallway and another child will hide a book somewhere in the room.  When she comes back into the room I say, “I hid a book somewhere and you need to find it but oh by the way, here’s your mirror and you can only walk backwards.”  After the strange looks and giggles from everyone else in the room, the mission begins.  The other kids know where the book is but have no clue what’s really going on.  Time passes on and eventually the long-lost book is found and things get back to order.

I ask anyone if they understood the meaning of this activity, but my replies are mostly only blank stares.  We go through the process of how long it took to find the book and then I ask, “Could she have found it sooner if she had been able to walk forward like normal?”  Of course the answer is yes. Here’s my point I tell them, “Then why are you always looking back and judging yourself by your past mistakes?  How are you ever going to move ahead if you’re always looking behind you?”

In order to have success (and not the world’s definition of success), we must let the past go.  Did we make mistakes?  Yes, of course we did.  Is something we have done caused pain to another? Probably.  Are there consequences?  Most definitely.  Are we going to let those things have control over us?  We shouldn’t.  God’s plan for us is to not live in condemnation and he said exactly those words in Romans 8:1 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

I certainly had a mirror that I carried around for a long time but decided to finally put it down.  It’s amazing when you can get beyond yourself how God can then do His work.

I want to thank Scot Phelps, the Director of A&M Partnership, for sharing this activity with me last year when he provided some training for my work facility.  My hope for this activity is to makes impressions on other people just as it did for me.


What? I’m Smart?

During this time of year Alabama is absolutely gorgeous.  With the warmth of the sun on my face, the cool breeze blowing and a gorgeous view, I realize a dream is coming true.  Here I am sitting on this grand balcony overlooking the campus of Auburn University.  People buzzing around everywhere and the landscape of azaleas is breathtaking.  I’m in college.  It’s simply incredible sitting here among all the other lovers of learning.  I thought I couldn’t do it.

I remember after the birth of my second child, I desperately wanted to attend school but the reality looked grim.  So was I surprised when the conversation didn’t go very well?  No.  But nothing could have hurt more than being told, “You’re not smart enough.”  Words can cut to the core of a person and my heart broke into a million pieces.  Unfortunately, a horrible untruth  would creep in my head and already fragile soul.  Was he right?  Would I fail?  It would be almost twenty years before I really knew the answer to those haunting questions.

God even gave me a true gift trying to convince me of the truth, yet my mind was numb.  An opportunity to learn ultrasound came my way and with the support of great colleagues and physicians, I learned a skill that has truly blessed me for many years.  So why did I still feel dumb?  It’s because your husband’s job is to build you up not tear you down.  I guess that’s one reason after eighteen years we divorced.  The damage ran deep.

In 2009, I married a thoughtful, kind and caring man.  I can remember the conversation vividly when Emory asked, “What are your dreams?”  I told him of my wish to get a college education but still felt like I couldn’t do it.  Of course after explaining my reasons behind my thoughts he said, “Quit work and go for it anyway.  You won’t ever know if you don’t try.!”  After a few months of mental war with myself, I am happy to say I enrolled in fall of 2010.

Fast forward and picture me today sitting on this balcony taking it all in.  Trust me when I say, my college experience means a great deal to me.  Do I see myself the same way as I did a few years ago?  Not in the least because with so much love and support from family, I now live a life of freedom.  I also am happy to say that I have a 3.5 GPA and will be graduating in the spring of 2013. A valuable lesson from this experience has been that while getting a college education increases your knowledge, it doesn’t necessarily have to make you smart.  I already knew the answers to my haunting questions.  I just needed to believe in myself.  I am finally grateful I can see the truth.

Oh by the way, can anyone guess who will receive an invitation to my graduation?

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I’ve been married to Emory for a little over two years now and I must admit, it still feels brand new.  I haven’t seen my twenties in a long time but when I am around him, I sure feel like a young woman again.  Many times we get in bed and begin our nightly chats only to end up laughing uncontrollably.  I’ve never experienced anything like him before in my life (and I’m grateful).  And so this laughter sparked an idea in my head.  The question that needed answering:  Who was going to turn off the light after all the laughter was gone?

Up until this time, the last person in the bed had to turn off the light…..it was usually me.  I think he did that on purpose (smiling).  So I wanted to kind of even out the playing field and this is where my rock, paper, scissors idea came into play.  Of course when I suggested the game, he gave me this what kind of look.  Emory thought I was joking at first and just said, “Turn off the light”.  Well being a woman and wanting my way, I didn’t let up until he played with me.  I WON!  The next night we played and I won again.  I think I beat him the first four times we played.  By this time, his competitive nature has kicked in right?  He does occasionally win but for some reason I can “smoke” him playing rock, paper, scissors.

It has been over a year now and we’re still playing this game and hardly ever miss a night.  To some people, this may seem totally childish and silly.  Is it?  Maybe, but what I do know is that I love my time with my husband and want to make it as special as possible.  Most of our days are consumed with serious decisions like handling a crisis one of our children has created, so this is a time where we can be carefree and have no worries. No matter what the day has brought us, we have a wonderful opportunity to end it on a positive note.

Life is so short and we have a limited amount of time, so I want my days with Emory to count.


A Lesson From My Rooster

I can remember the first time I heard him cock-a-doodle-do!  It was about 3 o’clock in the morning!  I asked Emory, “What is the deal with the rooster?”  “Why is he already cock-a-doodle-doing?” I mean didn’t he know it was 3:00 a.m.?  Emory responded by telling me for the last few years there had been a neighbor that went to work about 3:00 a.m. every morning.  He had one of those trucks that made that “backing up” warning noise, so the rooster assumed everyone should wake up!  I don’t know how long it took me to get used to that rooster.  I think it’s safe to say months……  I probably should also remark that the neighbor had quit driving the truck about a year or so ago before my first experience with my now much-loved animal.  I suppose he didn’t get the memo about the guy quitting.

I can safely say that I no longer hear him at 3:00 am every morning (that sensory adaption thing) unless I’m having one of those sleepless nights.  But like clockwork, he comes around to my bedroom window about 7:00 a.m. every morning to let me know it is time to get up.  I have no idea how he knows that’s my window but he never misses a morning!  Thanks Mr. Rooster.  I especially want to thank you on Saturday mornings.

I came home today and as I sat on our porch watching the sun go down, Emory and I began chatting about our rooster.  I asked if he knew how long our rooster would live.  He wasn’t sure, so I relied on my trusty Google.  Some sites said five to seven years while another said a yard rooster could live twenty years.  Our rooster is about five years old now so either it’s any day now or fifteen years from now. We spoke about how we hoped he would live until he was twenty and where we would bury him if he died before then. Yes, a proper burial is what he deserves.  He works hard all day long taking care of his hen and it only seems proper to honor him when the time comes.

It has been almost three years now since my first experience with my friend, and oh how my thoughts have changed about him!  Bizarre as it may seem, he has taught me some things about life.  His unfailing ways have shown me what it means to take care of someone.  We only have one hen, but he unquestionably performs his manly responsibilities for her.  I watch him find a bug in our yard (yes, they run loose everywhere) and he begins to make this very specific cackling noise and she takes off running towards him.  It is actually quite comical to watch and as many times as I have watched her, I still laugh every single time.  Does he eat the bug himself?  No.  He offers it to her.  Over and over again I watch him continually meeting her needs.  Incredible what one of God’s animals will do for his mate.  No one has to tell him to treat her well; he just knows he should do it.  She doesn’t have to cry, beg or be manipulated into doing something for him.  He takes cares of her because innately he knows it’s his job.

By watching that rooster, I am constantly reminded of how people should really treat one another. If we all focused on the needs of others and not ourselves, we may find happier people with better lives.

Energized Saturday!

I woke up this morning with so much energy!  I knew I had a speaking event at True Deliverance Church today and so I began my day totally ready!  I cranked up Rhapsody on the computer and started with Kelly Clarkson’s new song, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”.  I’m bouncing around the house trying to straighten it to a manageable clean before I leave, and in no time I was done!  I then quickly got myself ready and headed toward the church!

To say the least, I arrive with the music exploding from the sanctuary.  Great!  Not only do I have it playing in my home and car, I can have it at church too! It didn’t take much persuasion by my friend to get me in there.  As I entered the sanctuary, my eyes saw beautiful children praising the Lord and my ears heard inspiring music.  Sometimes I am just able to get lost in the sounds of great music.  My heart began to pound and my mind just wiped clean any other thoughts that I had prior to entering into the sanctuary.  Exactly what I needed since I was about to talk to these girls.  My mind was now ready!  But wait!  What could be more exciting than to have several of the girls coming up to me and greeting me with smiles and hugs!  I have spoken to several of them before and it was great to see them again.  My adrenaline began flowing like a river.

As the teaching began, I asked my girls that had listened to me before, “What is the one thing I want everyone to take away from my talks?”  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to hear them hit the nail on the head by saying, “Making plans and goals for my life!”  Let me say, I am all about empowering women to become better women!  I believe education is the best way to give such empowerment, but not all education comes from a formal classroom.  We (society), must teach our children about relationships, goals, and the like.  Hopefully I was able to provide just a small piece of that today.

My prayer would be that if just one thing could be taken away from my talk today it would be to believe in yourself.