The people celebrated the apostle. They were the physical signs of his works. He was the shepherd made after God’s own heart, to lead us with spiritual understanding and knowledge. The people in his wake are simply the products of his mission.
The apostle’s choice were stricken from him the moment he said, “Yes Lord.” He no longer decides what he wants to do for himself. He no longer decides the manner in which he will live his life. For his life is forfeit to the one true God. His actions and his steps are ordered thru God and conveyed by the Holy Spirit.
In a sense, he has completely sacrificed all that he has known to aid in the battle for souls. He is the first on the battlefield and will be the last to leave. We stretch our hands towards him and pray for his protection. He goes forth to do the work of God. He goes forth against principalities and spiritual wickedness in high places.
But whenever the shepherd grows weary, he shall only need to look back. Not only to see how far God has bought him, but to see those who follow him faithfully he leads them to Jesus Christ.
Once upon a time, each year after Christmas I would make my New Year’s Resolutions. I would write them down, prayer over them and create an action plan. They would usually be the same each year. Lose weight, spend more quality time with older relatives, save more money, eat better and workout at least 3 times a week. I will not bore you with the details of the action plan that went along with each resolution, but know that it was extensive. The action plan was my fool-proof way of ensuring that I would succeed with my New Year’s Resolutions. And I would succeed too. The first 4-6 months of the year were amazing. I would knock those goals out of the park! But then I would become lax. I would become too tired to pursue those resolutions any longer. And finally, I would settle and become satisfied with the Partial New Year’s Resolutions.
The one day I realized something. I wasn’t creating New Year’s Resolutions. There was nothing new going on that I needed to work on. There was nothing that I needed to “RE”Solution. What I was doing was simple. I was creating a year long to-do list for myself. Think about it. There’s a list and the action plan full of things that I needed to do and how I needed to do it. It’s just an long to-do list that will take me approximately 1 year to complete. It’s just a huge project on myself that I have to do all alone, no group work.
My life is busy enough without adding an annual to-do list. I have enough on my plate with 4 kids, a hubby, a full time job and not trying to lose myself in the process of living. I don’t need to add anything else to my plate. In actuality, I could benefit from removing some things. So for the past 2 years, I have creating New Year’s De-solutions. Instead of creating a list of things I need to do in order to “better myself,” I created a list of things I won’t do. It’s not a to-list, it’s more like a To-Don’t list. This To-Don’t list doesn’t need an action plan or anything. There is no action to be had. All you need is hard will and determination. Here is my past New Year’s De-solutions, aka The To-Don’t List:
-Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love. (Life is too short. You don’t want you last fleeting thoughts before death to be that you should have ate the cake and not worried about the calories or carbs.)
-Don’t arrive to work early. (Out of the 24 hrs in a day, you already spend 1/3 of them at work, another 1/3 sleep (hopefully) and the last 1/3 doing family-stuff like cooking and cleaning up after kids. Don’t give them a bigger piece of your day. Because if something would happen to you, your job would be posted before your funeral. Nope, definitely don’t arrive to work early, just on-time.)
-Don’t try to fix things that are broken. (Whether it’s broken relationship or a broken item in the home, maybe it’s broken for a reason. Let it be. Que Sera Sera!!!!!!)
-Don’t limit your time on social media. (You enjoy those things so keep doing them. Facebook is great read while using the bathroom. It helps when ignoring the questions the the kids are yelling through the door while Dad is readily available. SnapChat filters are amazing and fun. I love the glow they give my cheeks. Instagram is like an electronic photo album. But the photos are live, kind of like the photos in Harry Potter.)
-Don’t try to stop cursing. (There are only some adjectives that can be used to describe certain situations or reactions. Saying “oh fudge” or “fiddlesticks” just won’t do those situations any justice.)
Next I’m going to start working on New Year’s Resolutions for other people and I will pass them out like candy. It will contain a list of things that they can do for me for the New Year.
Someone recently asked me if I needed my man. They went on to say that I'm a strong and independent woman...and that she didn't "need" her husband, but she "wants" him and that means much more. She said some more stuff, but I was so caught off guard that I didn't really hear the rest. I pondered for a long time.
Do I need by husband? Do I want my husband? Are those my only options?
So I thought....and here's what I concluded.
I need food. Without food, I will die. Period. And once I'm dead, food is pointless. I need air. Without air, I shall surely perish quite quickly. Once I'm dead, I will no longer care about air. I need for my body to work properly. It is the only vessel that can contain a human soul.
I want a gold necklace. I can live with or without the necklace. (Although I really do want one.) I also want about $1,500 more money per month with a hefty savings and investment account. But if I don't get those, it's okay. And if I die, those things will no longer matter.
Now, when it pertains to my Hubby, the words "need" and "want" really don't effectively summarize the way in which I am tethered to my husband. (Keyword: Husband/Hubby, not "my man.") There is neither a want or a need. Again, there is neither a want or a need. It is something that is genuinely beyond my control. It is something that is bigger than mere verbs. He is the man that God decided to yoke me to.
Needs and wants are no longer concerns once you're dead. But what my hubby means to me....transcends anything I have ever felt. I can literally feel the energy that tethers me to him. It's surreal. I can literally feel when this string of energy is too tight, when it's loose, when it's pulled taut. This energy isn't something that death can destroy. I don't know for sure, because I've never dies before, but surely something like this transcends death and is welcomed into Heaven.
There has been times where he and I were laying in the bed together. I was thinking thoughts and questions inside my head and he would answer them aloud. The first time it happened, it shocked both of us. I was laying in down, with thoughts/questions running through my mind. Hubby then answered one of my questions. I whipped my head around to face him and asked, "What did you say?" He repeated his statement and looked at me quizzically. I shared with him that I didn't say anything aloud. He was shocked. He said that he heard me "clear as day." Although this shocked us, we just thought it was a fluke. Then it happened again, again and again. Now whenever he starts to answer my question or reply to me in general, he asks, "Did you say that aloud or in your head?"
So to answer her question, "Do I need my man?"
Our existence is intertwined. Our souls are tethered to each other. Those type of mortal needs and wants don't apply to us.
Thanksgiving is around the corner and I’m not feeling it. Seriously, this joyous occasion takes ALOT of work that I don’t feel like doing. Who wants to wake up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving-Eve to start making buttery, flaky pie crust? Thank the Lord I had enough foresight to preserve some fresh peaches from Jone’s Orchard this summer for the peach cobbler (but that was no walk in the park either). The banana pudding wouldn’t be so bad if I did have to stand over a hot stove slowly stirring the custard. My arms get so tired. I can tolerate the cutting up the bananas and pairing them with those sweet, crunchy vanilla wafers, but the stirring….gezzzzzz…it’s tiring.
My hands don’t want to ache from the snapping of peas and peeling of sweet potatoes, russet potatoes and golden yukon potatoes all day. I don’t even think I own enough sugar and butter to go into the sweet potatoes!!!!!! (And I’m not about to fuss with people at the grocery store about being in my way.) Oh, and don’t get me started on the 7 step cornbread dressing!!!!! Dicing up onions, celery and bell peppers will stain your fingertips a sickly green color. Then, should I use store bought chicken stock or make your own? Will anyone know if I do shortcuts??? (Yea they will. Who am I foolin)
Food aside, what about the decorations!!!! Wreaths, centerpieces, and fancy utensils…..UGH
I’m just not feeling it. I think I may purchase a couple of pies and allow those who want to cook “chef-it-out.” I’m just going to run Thanksgiving morning, fellowship in the afternoon and read/write all night long. Yep, that sounds more like a Thanksgiving I want to celebrate.
I’m drawing the line. As the WOMAN of this house, there are things I will allow and things I will not allow to be brought into my home. We have standards in this house and we do things with CRAFT!!!!!
My hubby y’all!!!!!! My Tall, Dark and Handsome has broken a standard rule in our home. When he first broke the rule, I let it slide. I didn’t want to be a Petty Patty. But now, I must speak.
About 2 months ago, Hubby went on a beer run. He knows I like craft beers. He KNOWS this. Nevertheless, he walks into the house with…..with…..(insert sobs)….BudLight Plantinum. I was broken, just broken. But I was also very thirsty. Soooooo very thirty. So a drank 1. It wasn’t that bad. Then I enjoyed another one….still slightly refreshing. I told him that this was a one-time deal and next time to drive a few extra miles for the craft beers. He agreed.
About a month ago, he came home with a pack of Michelob Ultra. I was shocked. SHOCKED I TELL YOU. He explained to me that Michelob Ultra didn’t have a lot of carbs. (Low carbs = Low Sugar.) So I let it slide. But soon the packs of Michelob Ultra turned into cases of Michelob Ultra. I just looked away. I never thought it would get worse, but it did.
Tonight, he went on another beer run. He came back with Gotta Get Up to Get Down by WiseAcre for me (YAH!). But he crossed the line when he brought Budweiser into our home. BUDWEISER!!!!!!!! I just don’t know what to do. I am drawing the line now and putting a stop to these domestic "abuser" beers. Miller Lite and Colt 44 will take over my craft refrigerator. Oh HOPS NO!!!!
Every 28 days. Every 28 days, I shall create a new habit. Every 28 days I will be in absolute bliss. Now let’s be real, I’m 33 years old and the menstrual cycle is nothing new to me. However, how I now handle “the monthly visitor” is new.
Let me tell you how this new habit started.
I was at work one morning wandering around the building, minding my own business. I decided to venture into the break room to see what free things I could find and low and behold there was a German Chocolate Cake from Frost Bakery. I took one slice (since I hadn’t ate breakfast) and decided to pair it with my coffee. So I nibbled on the cake while I continued to wander around as I made my way back to my office. With each bite of the heavenly chocolate/melt in your mouth/toasty coconut cake, my soul smiled. Mmmmm. That cake was soooo good. As soon as I got to my office, I sat my (unfinished) cake down and went back to get slice #2.
On my way back to the office with slice #2, I wondered if I was being greedy. It’s not even 9am and I have 2 slices of German Chocolate Cake, a cup of coffee and with 0% productivity. I returned to eating slice #1 as I mulled over my greedy behavior. Since I could come up with a conclusion, I decided to return to the break room and retrieve slice #3. (I wanted to make sure I had enough to last me the rest of the day.) This time, however, I did tell my colleagues that there was cake in the break room after I retrieved slice #3. (It was none of their business how many slices I’ve already gotten.) And that it how my begin to build the perfect “Every 28 Days Box.”
During the twilight hours a couple of weeks later, I awoke to terrible back pains and cramps. It was just awful. My entire pelvic structure ached. Seriously, I vagina bone hurt, my lower back hurt and I felt as if I had a million of trapped-gas bubbles in my belly.
Hubby, being the smart husband that he is, asked, “Would do you need?” My first reply was, “Chocolate. German Chocolate actually. Can you take me to Frost Bakery?” On the way to Frost, he stated that I probably needed some medicine too for the pain and bloating I was experiencing. Soooo, we got a huge slice of German Chocolate Cake, stopped by Walgreens and got some Midol. As soon as we got home, I fixed a cup of coffee, popped a couple of pills and let the German Chocolate cake make love to my mouth.
Afterwards, I realized I was not only pain free, but I was gliding a little as well. Yep, perfect combination. Now to pair my “Every 28 Day Box” with a sensual foot rub from Anthony…….I’ll just closed my eyes and smile.
Do you see this picture? Do you see all of these personalized Cokes? Well, as usual, there's a story behind them.
One day, my Mom was at work when her coworker brought her a bottle of Coca-Cola with my name on it. She knew that my Mom had a daughter named Patricia and decided to give it to my Mom so that my Mom may give it to me. (Super Nice Lady.) When my Mom showed me the Coke Bottle, I was uber excited. I don't drink Coca-Cola , but I was excited about having my very own bottle!!!!! As soon as I got home, I put the Coca-Cola in the refrigerator and started preparing dinner.
Then Anthony came home.
He kissed me kindly on the cheek and opened the refrigerator. He was like, "Cool, a Coke with your name on it." Then he asked me, "When are you going to drink it?" I then replied in plain English, "I'm not going to drink it, I'm going to save it. I'm gonna take it to work tomorrow and and display it." He was like, "Ok baby. Cool. Where did you get it?" I then told him where I got it from and how excited I was.
Fast Forward to the next morning.
I'm getting my things together for work when I can't find my personalized Coke in the refrigerator. I move things around. I lift things up. I can't find it anywhere. My eyes slowly gaze over towards the direction of the garbage can. I close the refrigerator and slowly close my eyes. Underneath my breath, I mumble, "I better not find it in the trash. I better not find it in the trash." I slowly walked over to the trash can and my belly filled with dread. I opened up the trash can and guess what I find! MY PERSONALIZED COCA-COLA BOTTLE.....EMPTY!!!
To say I was pissed is an understatement. There was only one culprit who could have drank my Coke overnight.....HUBBY.
As soon as I saw his face, I was like, "Seriously, Anthony. I TOLD you what I planned to do with MY Coke. Why did you drink it?" He was like, "Oh baby, I'm sorry. I totally forgot. I woke up in the middle of the really thirsty......I promise I'll make it up to you."
So for the next month or so, he is diligently trying to find another Coke with my name. Meanwhile, I'm still feeling sour about it, but trying not to show it.
On day I come home to a package from Coca-Cola on my doorstep. I open the package and behold.........4 PERSONALIZED COKES FROM HUBBY!!!! How amazing is he? (Only 3 are pictured here. The 4th one says, "Mrs. Lockhart." It's safely on display...at work.
It's finally here. For years I've been saying that I was gonna get my passport and travel the world. For years I have dreamed about touring Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. For years I have dreamed.....and now the dreaming ends. The action begins!!!
Don't get me wrong, I've traveled the USA and been on more cruises than I can count, but my heart was born free and free it shall be.
I've finally got my passport. No more procrastinating. No more blaming my lack of travels on parenthood. No longer shall I mumble that I work too much to take a 3 week vacation. I vow to save my money so that I can experience what I've dreamed for so long. I don't know where I will go nor who I will see. But I will GO. #Summer2019.
What am I doing to ensure that my husband and my blacks boys make it to old age without the scars of racism? Am I vocal enough? Am I active enough? The struggle....the worries....my prayers....are REAL! I pray that I never lose them. Never lose them. Never lose them. I don't know what I would do to the entire world if something ever befalls my man and my boys. Only God himself would be able to stop me.
Anthony and I are both licensed gun carriers, but Castillo proved that being licensed and in compliance means nothing. Marissa Alexander was jailed for firing warning shots!!!!!! WARNING SHOTS!!! There will be no warning shots with me. The system itself is so flawed that I don't think "it" can justify me protecting my own life and the life of my family because of the color of my skin. I won't be seen as a mother protecting her children in self-defense. "They" will attempt to paint me as a "crazy, black lady" with a weapon.
I will protect mine with all the power on Earth and confirmed in Heaven. I love all, I respect all and I will help all. I am willing to sacrifice the things I have for the equity of all. But don't come for me. Just Don't.
So today I picked up the school supply list for my 4 kiddos and my jaw dropped. I know I'm a really cheap person. (I'm working on that.) But as I looked through the list, all I saw was $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Are these supplies going towards a good cost? Yes, absolutely!!! Education is highly valued. So what's my problem? I can't afford to buy all these supplies. I will literally go broke trying to by supplies for my biological kids. I'm sure that this is well over $300 in supplies. Last year, we spent a little over $800 in preparing for the school year. (Supplies, clothes, shoes....) School supplies then were about $275-$300 alone. AND WE CUT CORNERS!!!
Geez.....Some things just won't be purchased this time.......unless the Grandparents are willing to help out. 😏
As a new season of work starts, I am forced to sit down and re-prioritize my life. I say forced because I am tired even as I type. And it's a said thing to be tired before your season begins. This is going to be my season of blessings, prosperity and joy. And quite frankly, I want to have enough energy to enjoy the benefits that I will reap. Therefore, I need to re-prioritize. Some things are just gonna have to go!
Here's what is currently on my list:
-Training for that 10 miler or possible 1/2 Marathon (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
-Working (Monday - Friday)
-Checking Stocks (Daily)
-Date Nights and Wife-ing (Friday Nights/Nightly)
-Family Time (Saturdays)
-Boy Scouts (Thursdays)
-Grocery Shopping (Saturday)
-Kids Baths (Daily....if possible)
-Chilling with my Sisters (Some Sundays)
-Blogging and Writing (Nightly)
-Zeta Phi Beta Sorority (Random)
-Reading (Whenever I'm breathing)
-Fellowshipping at Church (Sundays)
-Being a Mom/Adult (Daily)
And I'm sure that I am forgetting something. Anyhow, I don't want to work a full day 5:30am (wake up) - 4:30pm (leave work), only to then spend the next 4 hours (4:30pm - 8:30pm) ripping and running kids all over town for extra-activities. Not to mention homework, baths, and dinner. I mean seriously!!!! I'm only one person.
I want to be able to leave work with my kids and go home. Seriously, for the past 10 years, I have NEVER BEEN ABLE TO JUST LEAVE WORK AND GO HOME. And now I'm tired.
Sidebar......I don't think my heart can take much more either. Stress is more dangerous for my heart than jogging is!!!!!
My schedule for July is pictured here. July was a slow month. A SLOW MONTH. I had 4 days, out of 31, in which there wasn't anything planned. The kids extra-activities are not on this calendar. Neither is homework, baths, dinner, household errand and church. And if I don't prioritize and slow down, August could be a beast.
Plus, I don't want to be moving so fast that I run right past my blessing.
I curse, I admit this. I have decided that I'm smart enough to use a more diverse vocabulary rather than cursing. There are 2 battles raging inside my conscience that fight for me to stop cursing. One is a Christian and one is a Mom.
I've heard many Christians say that cursing is bad. But I have a hard time believing that the "cursing" in the Bible is the same "cursing" that I am talking about today. In the Bible, to "curse" someone (in my interpretation) is to say and hope that something bad happens to someone. Take Psalms 10:7 "His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness." To me, anyone who who is lying, belittling, or praying for harm or injury to come upon someone is, in fact, cursing. So when people say, "I hope she gets fired...", "You are pathetic and stupid....", "You should just go kill yourself...", are cursing.
I'm pretty sure that no one in biblical days said the words "fuck" and "damn". They might have said, "what the hell." If you doubt me, click and read about the Origin of the Swear Words by Sanity Found.
So, when I say "What the fuck?" or "What in the hell were you thinking?" or "Just pick up that damn toy?" I am not wishing ill on anyone, I'm just using an form of language that expresses my state of awe at the moment. (BTW...I do not say fuck to my kids.)
But the Bible also says...
* "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth" (Ephesians 4:29).
* "If you think you are being religious, but can't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless" (James 1:26, CEV).
Soooooooo, I I can't control myself, the person I know best, then what am I really doing?
One day Eve was doing THE MOST!!! Whining, throwing stuff in the car and fighting with her brothers all while we're trying to run errands. So we pulled up at our last errand stop, I told Eve that I was going to "whoop her little ass." So I proceeded to get out the car and get Eve out. I gave her a whoopin while her brothers exited the car from the other side. I then bent down to Eve's level and told her to dry her face and get herself together because we are about to go into the building. (I don't want her walking around with that "I just got my ass beat" face.) So we go in, do our shopping and leave. When we get to the car, Elliott says...
Elliott: Mom, you forgot to whoop Eve's ass.
Elliott: You forgot to whoop Eve's ass Mom.
Elliott: Remember Mom, when we were in the car you said that you were going to whoop Eve's ass. See, you forgot.
Me: Elliott, you shouldn't say that word.
Elliott: What word Mom, whoop????
Me: No, you shouldn't say ass. It's an adult word.
Elliott: Oh okay Mom. Sooooo, are you going to whoop Eve's...you know...that word I can't say.
Me: (Eyes closed and hand over face) I already did Elliott.
Elliott: But I didn't see it.
Me: Get in the car. Just get in the car.
Sooooo, yeeeaaaaa, if I don't want my kids cursing, then maybe I shouldn't??? I don't know if that's a good justification. There's alot of things I can/should do that my kids can't....yet. Plus, if there's a case of "stranger danger" and someone is trying to grab you, I tell my kids to let the F-bombs drop!!!!
So, people can you help me to find better words to use? Leave me some actual substitutions for fuck, damn, hell and shit. I don't want those fake subs either, like "Instead of saying fuck, say "Oh fudge-cake" instead. No, I mean real intellectual words to increase my vocabulary.
For over a year, I've been running 5ks. I started last year in April after the Sista Hood Strut. During that time in my life, work was very unpleasant. I felt as if the Devil was attacking me on every angle. So I wanted to simplify my life and get back to the basics. The Sista Hood Strut reminded me of all the 5Ks I would do doing college because I had nothing better to do. My time during college was very....basic. (I could also add more adjectives to describe my college experience, but this isn’t that kind of post. Teeheehee)
So my sister and I decided that we would do at least 1 race, 5K, every month for an entire year. Last year, between the months of April and December, we completed 10 5k races. Yes!!!! In 8 months we completed 10 races! Was it easy? NO. Did I have fun? Sometimes. Did I give up? Never!
Even when I was diagnosed with a “heart disease” in May 2017, I did not let that stop me. I kept going and I kept pushing. There were some races in which my only goal was to cross the finish line and enjoy the after party. (These race after parties are LIT!!!!)
So far this year my sister and I have completed 10 races. 10 races in 6 months! We have another 11-13 races before the end of this year. In a week, I will have a “heart procedure” done. That won’t stop me either. In the name of Jesus! It will, prayfully, allow me to be faster! Zoom zoom zoom!!!
But I titled this post “Runner-ish Girl” because I’m not a full fledged runner. Sometimes I trot, sometimes I jog, sometimes I walk and there was even this one time where I actually RAN. But I never stop. I just keep going and going. There is so much encouragement to be found on the pavement of Memphis. I doesn’t matter your size or activity level. There are overweight runners, underweight runners, handicap runners, runners with heart problems, runners with knee problems, runners who should probably be in the Olympics, runners with foot problems and the list can go on and on, longer than Bubba talking about the variety of shrimp.
Nevertheless, what ever your goal is, go for it and don’t stop. (Unless it’s stupid or immoral, then stop immediately 😑.)
MVP - What Makes Me a Valuable Player in God's Kingdom
What makes me so special and unique that I am valuable to God? Nothing that I can think of. I’m just being honest. I have done nothing or been through anything that another woman hasn’t already endured. Have I experienced hell? Yes, and so have many other women. Have I overcame huge obstacles in my life? Yes, but who hasn’t. There is nothing special about me in the eyes of the public. I’m only 31 years old. I am a mother of 4 amazing children; an 8 year old boy, twin 4 year old boys and a 3 year old girl. I’m married and soon will be celebrating 10 years of happy & holy matrimony. I am and educator. (Teaching is my Gift. I can teach anyone ANYTHING!) But again, none of these characteristics set me apart from other “players” in God’s Kingdom. Nothing makes me different. Being Christian isn’t a automatic ticket to heaven. Let alone a way to win the prestigious title of MVP. Can people tell that God is all in my life by the way I carry myself? Sure! I’ve been told on many occasions. That qualifies me to be a part of God’s Kingdom, but that’s not a sure thing either. I love the Lord and believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and that Jesus died for me. But that sounds so typical. Not like MVP material at all.
Now that I know, or at least feel, that I am a player in God’s Kingdom, I ask myself why not a Most VALUABLE Player. It’s because I feel broken. I feel lost. I’m more conscious and awake of the world. I feel like Eve after she ate the forbidden fruit. My eyes are too open. My visions are to clear, yet confusing at the same time. I feel like my spirit is trying to tell me something my mind can’t comprehend. There’s something going on in the Spirit that I can’t quite put my finger on. Things are moving and stirring. And it hasn’t heated up yet. So I just rest in God. I just rest in God. I am not worthy to work in God, so I just rest in Him.
I am a Most Valuable Player in God’s Kingdom because I am. Simply because I am. I cannot lean on my own understanding in determining if I am a MVP. I just have to trust God that I am. And know that I am. I am broken, but I am also fixable and mendable. My soul isn’t filled with self, but ready to be filled with Him. I am a Most Valuable Player not because of who I am today, but because of who I have the potential to be tomorrow. With God, I can perform miracles so great people would call them magic. I am unstoppable with God. My spirit cannot be contained. I am like a pawn in chess. I may start off weak in the beginning, but once I make it to the other side, I can become anything. Even a Queen if I choose.
I am valuable to God because I am His.
I AM HIS.
These are some of my thoughts, questions, comments and "could-care-less"...