Doing what is right at the right time

Last night I visited the supermarket and found myself dodging the few who choose to make supermarkets their base for begging or requesting a dollar. I am usually annoyed by their bold approach and their eagerness to confront you. Personally, I feel the need to escape because 1. they never smell clean and I am super sensitive to unpleasant cents, 2. they convey such pity and sadness on their faces that it is hard to bear, and sometimes I do question their sincerity. 3. I don’t like the feeling of being stalked or harrassed and finally, 4. I don’t want to give my money to someone who would use it to buy alcohol or illegal drugs. It is much easier for me to buy someone a meal; something I have done before.

This struggle is experienced weekly. Some larger supermarkets are less tolerant of the “beggars” but you can still find them at the outskirts of the compound. It is not a pleasant sight but it is the reality of our lives. I find myself thinking about them quite a lot; what’s their story? Why are they begging? Who are they related to? What went wrong? Of course, in order to get the answers, research into their background will be necessary; this could take days.

I call them “beggars” because I can easily describe the group of persons I am writing about by using that name. I do know however, that they are not just “beggars”; they are human beings with a name; maybe, it’s Andy, David, Sarah, Shantel or Kennedy. Whatever their names, they were created by a loving God and he cares about their well being. Unfortunately, many times we are more concerned about them being a nuisance to society.

At the Supermarket last night, there was one I couldn’t dodge. I did my shopping and began walking towards my vehicle. I noticed him from the corner of my eye; he used clutches as a result of loosing one leg. I felt his eyes observing my every move, trying to read my facial expressions and body language, while hoping I would notice him. I did notice him but was careful not to make it obvious. I unlocked my vehicle and quickly secured myself inside. As I prepared to back up, I looked up and there he was in front of my vehicle signaling with his index finger for one (1) dollar.

I resisted and backed out of the drive way but I couldn’t leave. I felt that I couldn’t or shouldn’t ignore his plea. I quickly pulled back into another available parking lot and searched for a $5.00 bill, but to no avail. I only had $20’s and $50’s in my purse. I considered giving him twenty but I was unsure for many reasons. Next to me there was a little slot where I would drop change from time to time; after searching, I was able to give him about four dollars in coins. I was touched by how his face was immediately transformed with a huge smile; he looked like a little child receiving a toy he wished for. He closed his fist around the precious coins, said thank you, and quickly walked away. I must say that receiving such smiles and words of appreciation from the “begging” community is rare. Who knows, maybe if I knew his story, I would understand the happiness he felt. I left the supermarket feeling fulfilled and at peace.

I believe God spoke to me to reach out to that man. Understand though, that God does not have to speak to us before we share with someone. It is just something we should be doing as part of life. However, we must be wise and we need to be able to practice discernment. Sadly, many who beg, do not need money, but what they may need is deliverance from being addicted to alcohol or drugs, demon possession, generational curses, poverty and the list goes on. I suggest we ask God for wisdom daily so that we are always alert to these encounters and we never take the “beggar” for granted. We need to see “beggars” as human beings created by a God who loves them just the way He loves us. It is no easy thing to practice but we can all change and we can all grow to be more like Christ.

Colossians 3:12

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

Evolving through your purpose

I believe it is our responsibility to do the work necessary to position ourselves to embrace opportunities. The word “opportunities” is used in the context of your calling, your gifts and abilities, your interests, your strengths and your passions. Growth is essential for successful living. The existence of sufficient flexibility is essential for change, another necessary ingredient for successful living. It is a bit disturbing to picture someone who has not changed or evolved through-out their life. The ability to constantly evolve is crucial to our success.

I chose to use the word “evolve” for a reason and took a little time to study the meaning. One of the meanings is “to develop gradually”. It also means to grow and change over a period of time. When we think of the word “evolve” we think of changes that are made in order for us to be better suited for our environment or the times in which we exist. You would find words like, advance, emerge, unfold, enlarge, work-out, disclose and many more, further explaining its meaning. I am not referring to evolving from Ape to Man, as others believe but from good to better, from weak to strong, from fearful to bold, from an amateur to an expert, from a selfish character to a kind hearted angel, from financially poor to a sound manager of your finances and comfortable living, from a poor self-image to understanding one’s true identity.

For successful living we must give ourselves permission to move from one stage of lesser to more, whether it is more knowledge, more experience, an improved character, better quality relationships or just the quality of our thoughts. We must be brave enough to allow our depth to emerge allowing us to face the limitations within us and strive for the prize. Evolving requires us to be honest with ourselves, it requires confession, revelation and disclosure, it requires working things out, as painful as they may be. It requires a process that is often uncomfortable but bears beautiful fruits.

COVID-19 offers an added motivation to every man, woman and child who is concerned about meaningful living. We are cornered and provoked to consider “what new thinking, attitude, knowledge or skill must I now acquire to continue to live a life full of purpose, until God returns?” “What is God prompting me to do, or reminding me to put in place, to start or to stop?” “What doors has he opened that I have not walked into because I failed to trust his leading?”

My prayer is that, no matter how hard we have been hit recently, how bleak the future may seem, or how old we may be, we would seek to be constantly evolving so that we can influence our world the way God would want us to and the time to begin is now.

Relaxation……

Years ago, my doctor told me, ‘someone like you need to exercise a lot”. I would never forget his advice.

Here are the reasons: 1) All my adult life I have been engaged in an occupation that required me to sit for hours; 2) I am a deep thinker and can easily become anxious about the cares of this world. 3) I am an introvert and suffer from social anxiety, this means that I love my house and because I am very creative, I can find enough things to do to keep me indoors. Note however, that I do love outdoors, on my terms of course. 4) My body often feels tense from thinking too much and doing too much and not having a proper balance – work/relaxation. I then become irritable and not much fun to be around.

I have discovered that not only does exercising do me good but relaxation. Anything that allows me to escape into a place where I do not have to think too much but just embrace my surroundings.

Hear are some things that works for me all the time;

1. Journaling or writing an article for my blog – I write until I feel as if I have emptied myself of my expressions, deep thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I write a little bit of how my day went and a little bit of what I intend to achieve tomorrow. On my blog I share life experiences I feel comfortable sharing and I also share general life principles that I hold strongly to.

2. Driving out and sight-seeing – Choosing a day when the traffic is not congested and finding great sights and seeking to capture the moment by taking pictures; fresh air and peaceful environments is heaven on earth for me. My preference is to do this with small groups.

3. Soaking my feet in warm water. Ahhh another heavenly episode.

4. Going to the beach and lying on the sand listening to the sound of the waves and the birds and just enjoying the beauty of the trees with their well designed branches. I can enjoy the beach without stepping into the water but if I step in, the water needs to be fairly calm and warm, at least a little. Cold rough waters are not my cup of tea.

5. Meet with a trusted friend and just talk, talk, talk.

6. Curl up on my bed with my bible and soak in the word of God, preferably a little at a time.

I can go on and on but I would stop here. I am grateful for what I can enjoy! I am grateful that God saw it fit to create things we all can enjoy. The older I get the more I desire RELAXATION!

What helps you to relax, release stress and feel rejuvenated? Are you satisfied that you are doing enough?

Cheerful giving, cheerful receiving!

About two months ago I sat down and evaluated me. In particular I was examining my appetite for giving. I searched myself and asked; have I lost my appetite for giving? Do I enjoy giving to others as I did before? Am I happy when the opportunity arises to give? Do I share with others willingly, freely and cheerfully?

The result of my introspection was a decision to make a greater effort to give. My introspection led me to fix a few areas in my life that shifted out of alignment with God’s principles. I desired to do better, so I recommitted myself to honour God with my giving. Since them I have been embracing opportunities to give with renewed vigor and a cheerful spirit.

Today I was surprised as I walked into “Real Value”, one of our supermarkets in Grenada. On my way to work, I decided to vist the Supermarket quickly to pick up something to eat. On entering the Supermarket, I moved quickly down the aisle, picked up three items and headed to the cashier. It must have been four seconds after I collected my change that I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was a young lady smiling at me. She said to me “Congratulations, you have just won a gift as part of our Anniversary Celebrations.” Wow!
“That’s a surprise!” I said, beaming. I was later presented with a $25.00 food voucher.

As small as it may be, this little act of giving made my day. I felt happy to receive the gift and was reminded of how beautiful it is to give. It is always great to bring sunshine to someone else’s day. I felt happy to receive, I felt happy to be selected, I felt happy to be treated as a valuable customer.

As I returned to my vehicle, I reflected on how God was nudging my heart two months ago to be a cheerful giver. I reflected on my obedience and I felt great about the steps taken. My receiving today came as a sweet whisper from God that he was pleased with my recent giving.

Sometimes we slow down, we get weary in doing good and God has to speak to our hearts, nudging us to get back in line. He knows how beautiful it is to give from a cheerful heart and he wants each of us to experience it. I am thankful for the opportunity to give and also for the opportunity to receive.

Let’s encourage each other to give a little more.

Is my Vision God’s Vision for Me?

What’s my Vision? What’s my Mission? What am I expected to do every day when I discover I am given another day to breathe. Where does true fulfillment come from?

It seems like the older I get, the more I become obsessed with meaningful living. It seems as if I have only just started to live. I am amazed at how life tricks us into thinking we have gained so much, achieved so much, learned so much and yet on the flip side reminds us forcefully that we still have much to attain. I am but a babe in this vast universe of the unknown, the unanswered and the unchartered and it would be foolish to think that I can successfully make it on my own. I need others and most of all I need God.

I am an achiever, I am constantly tossing around ideas in my head, business ideas, projects, self-development ideas, outreach ideas, writing ideas; I am literally bombarded. It’s the life I live every day and I can easily become consumed with thoughts of strategies that would make the next dream a reality.

Earlier I said I need others and I need God. My desire is never to just do things for the fame and attention of earthly beings but rather to evoke a smile from the one who created me. My desire was never to be a writer but here I am. Years ago, I sat my English Literature Exam and was the only one to achieve a passing grade in my school. At that time English Literature was a new subject and I loved it. I remember we had an English Teacher who read aloud to us, the book she read was based in the “English” culture and she made the fictional words transform to a seemingly real life experience in the class room. I later went on to write plays and directed a few at my Church during my days as a Youth Leader. It was easy for me to do because I enjoyed it. It was not my mission or goal to become a writer, but God has somehow seen it fit to place me on this path. So you see “My Vision” is important but God’s Vision has a wider scope and is the most strategic anyone can get. I look back now and I do see great value in what God is doing. This plan of me becoming a Writer started way back.

I am now much smarter and I refuse to wrestle with the one who knows me best. There is nothing wrong in having a vision or a mission, God expects us to invest our time wisely but don’t ever make the mistake and think that you can be successful on your own, that you are intelligent enough on your own. The one who created you has a serious advantage, he knows the future. So whatever I have put together in my head about “My Vision” or “My Mission”, I know now that it has to be part of His plan for me. So as I plan I am listening for directions.

My true fulfillment comes from knowing that what I am giving my energy and time to is ordained and blessed by God. True fulfillment comes from knowing that I am complete in God. True fulfillment comes from accepting my weaknesses and submitting them to his enabling strength. True fulfillment comes from sharing my gift with others and seeing how it influences them to do the same. True fulfillment comes from stepping out of my comfortable space into unknown territory with only faith by my side? Ture fulfillment comes from sincere introspection of myself and acknowledgement of the changes that needs to be made. True fulfillment comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning, not being too busy to spend time with God. In other words my vision is God’s vision for me. Sometimes we think we know what we are passionate about more than God, but we don’t. He would amaze us if we practice planning leaving enough room for adjustments as we give him the space he deserves. Remember, he knows us BEST!

Keep pushing! You are still breathing and there are still goals and dreams to be reached.

As a child, teen and young adult I had very little self-imposed inhibitions to following my dreams. But now that I am older and much wiser the battle to accomplish is much greater. It is greater when it is easier to access the resources needed. It is greater when information floods the internet, it is greater when I have tested and proven that God does make a way. One thing for sure I receive fresh inspiration daily and that keeps me hopeful. For me my dreams are all sizes and shapes. Sometimes they look like a mountain other times like an ant hill. It is hard to fight inactivity, procrastination and doubt, but it is possible. So as I redirect my thoughts everyday to think like a winner, I continue to reach for the attainable because the truth is, deep down, I do believe in a God and that he has no limitations. l do believe that I shall live to execute every one of his missions for me. I despise mediocrity, normal and efforts to fit into the expectations of others.

It is time to keep pushing!

Whatever the battle or setback you are experiencing, never allow yourself to believe that God is disinterested in you and no more concerned about your affairs. God’s existence is all about people. You may have been praying for a certain outcome, there is no reason to stop now. If you stop now, it means that you have prescribed the power of knowing the future to yourself. No human being has such power. Our duty is to press on! Push! Believe even when circumstances around you suggest otherwise.

Practice self-analysis often, in particular examining where you are in your journey to live a meaningful life, to positively influence others and to shine for God. If you do journal, this is a great time to ensure your journaling has substance and includes such analysis. If you do not, consider starting. Journaling is a very healthy way to finding yourself, assessing yourself and identifying your obstacles and the steps you need to take to move beyond these obstacles.

Expose yourself to materials (books, seminars, videos, podcasts) that would keep you aligned with your purpose. You can also spend time with people who would help you to do the same.

Make sure you are seeking to influence at least one person everyday, whether it is by an encouraging word, by the sharing of valuable knowledge or by just listening. Many times the simplest of initiatives can leave a lasting impression on the mind of others motivating them to keep pushing.

Whenever you are thinking of procrastinating or looking for excuses not to act, ask yourself honestly, if your future self would be happy that you did. If the answer is no, then you better get busy completing that task.

Finally, seek to align your thoughts with the thoughts of royalty. And by Royalty I mean, think “no limits”, think “it is better to try and fail that to fail to try”, think “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. Picture yourself when your goal is achieved, see your success, use your imagination and look ahead to the place where your dream is realized. Keep that image in your head always, until you are physically there.

Keep pushing!

Covid-19 March 2020 to……. How do we stay healthy and hopeful?

Life has changed all over the world and life has changed in my homeland, Grenada. On March 25th a “Limited State of Emergency” was declared, to take effect the following day. It was our last day at our Physical Offices. The doors of Grenada were slammed shut and we had no choice but to resort to our homes. It didn’t matter if our homes were uncomfortable or not, we were commanded to stay indoors. There was a looming threat outside lurking, hovering, waiting to strike, that threat was Covid-19.

Before our Limited State of Emergency was declared, schools were closed securing the nation’s children, our future. Now, we were all heading home. Employers wrapped up their activities and the doors of all other functioning entities or organizations, including churches were closed. We were told to go home and stay home. We had no idea what shape or form this Pandemic would take. We were waiting and watching, some of us were praying and trusting God to keep us safe. We wanted to stay safe, we shunned the thought of a community spread dilemma.

First case, second case, third case, fourth case, fifth case, it happened. COVID-19 hit us subtly but confidently, hoping for lawlessness to prevail permitting a welcoming and fertile environment to thrive in. Our health officials and the Royal Grenada Police Force, stood their ground and fought like they should. They sought to be vigilant, to communicate effectively to the masses and to spread hope. During this period, we even had a national day of prayer and praise.

We stayed home from March 26th to May. Some businesses that were closed, opened their doors again in May, others in June. Fast-forward to today July 19th, we are no more on lock down, there is no curfew but limitations as it relates to our social lives continues as we are far from being out of the danger zone. We now have three new cases to try to figure out, where did they originate? How come they were missed? Questions and no answers yet. Because of the dread reality of Covid, we must be creative in our thinking and in our efforts to keep healthy, especially mentally. I wish to inspire all of us to believe that we can conquer this disease together with each family focusing on their household. The main reason for this article is to remind us that even through this crises, we can ensure our lives are tasteful and enjoyable even while applying caution. We can be bearers of hope. Let’s set out to do things that would provide a level of social and creative stimulation with our families that would pull us away from the social media (facebook, Instagram, twitter etc.) addictive dull-drum and the addictive binging of television shows or movies. We also need to keep ourselves away from slumber and from other unproductive practices. It is a serious caution to be heeded, as we need every fiber of our being to stay healthy. COVID-19 will have further devastating effects on our societies (Grenada and abroad) if we are not careful.

So now, I wish to inspire you as I inspire myself. Hear are some things I will be seeking to undertake or continue to undertake to keep myself and my family healthy and to keep our lives tasteful. Some of these activities I need to pursue right away as we do not know what tomorrow may bring. Please feel free to submit your ideas in our comments section.

1. Visit the dentist and get teeth cleaned or address any other work that needs to be done.

2. Visit the beach (not too frequently) remembering to practice physical distancing and all other protective measures.

3.Invite other parents to participate in a book swap, limiting the need to purchase books. This is particularly useful if you have school-aged children in your home. This provides reading as an option of things to do at home.

4.Clean your home, redecorate, redesign; give it a fresh look.

5.Visit a waterfall with a small group of persons (no more than 20).

6.Take full advantage of online seminars, bible studies and worship sessions.

7.Start a kitchen garden or spend time taking care of house plants.

8.Learn a new language online.

9.Get involved in creative projects eg: use your old toilet paper and tissue roles to create something you can use, design a piece of clothing and sew it.

10. Create meals together; clean and decorate your porch and verandah, spread a blanket on the floor on a moonlit evening and have dinner together.

11.Play church, each family member given a role to play, song-leader, scripture reader, singer, preacher :).

12. Do something different with your hair or for men your beard; there is a beard thing going on these days. Soak your feet or retreat to a quiet place with lighted scented candles after a lovely bath.

13.Excercise, make it fun!

14. Finally, pray more together.

That’s it for now. I have already started this list and I hope to try every activity over the next month. Let’s see how it goes.

Did I inspire you to be more creative with your time?

Talk, sing and dance about His goodness.

I was a believer for years before I learned about freedom in worship. I remember attending church and singing lots of hymns and choruses. The songs were generally in line with scripture and reminded me of the truths about God and His most prized creation, man. I was in love with clapping and singing and stepping to the rhythm. These moments were certainly uplifting for me and I am grateful.

Somewhere in my late twenties early thirties however, I experienced a different level of worship. A level of worship that allowed me to become more aware of my thoughts, and my actions towards God. A level of worship that allowed me to become more practical in my christian walk. I got free from traditional forms of worship and I got to understand that It was o.k. for me to express myself towards God. I was free to show tears, to kneel before God, to shout, to sing out and to dance. I no longer was concerned about who was watching and what they were thinking. For the first time I began to realise that it was not worldly to show emotions in worship towards God. It was great to learn and embrace that freedom.

As I was reading Exodus 15 this week, I couldn’t help but notice a few things about worship that made me smile and reflect on my journey.

  1. God delivered the children of Israel from the Egyptians by miraculously allowing them to walk through the Red Sea, later causing Pharaoh’s army to drown as they pursued them. As a result they sang a song unto the Lord and what I observed is that the words were very specific to what was experienced. They sang “He hath triumphed gloriously! The Lord is my strength and my song and he is become my salvation.” It reminds us to sing unto the Lord with our whole hearts being mindful to be meaningful and personal in our expressions. We must only sing about our experiences. Let our words be true and meaningful.
  2. There was a powerful testimony in their song. It says, “The depths have covered them and they sank to the bottom as a stone”. Those who are listening and watching need to hear the details of what God has done or is doing for you. Don’t hold it back, it shows off his power and his might and it allows them to relate to your story.
  3. I love how they exposed the plan of the enemy in their song by singing “The enemy said, I will pursue you, I will overtake you, I will divide and spoil…” It is important that we do not downplay the plan of the enemy. The consequences of taking the enemy for granted can be devastating. Accept it for what it is! He will pursue! He will seek to overtake you! He will seek to destroy your family, your future and your testimony.

Be free with your praise and your testimony, do not hold back from sharing about God’s goodness. Sing about it, talk about it, dance about it!

They soon grow up and move out

Today, I am reflecting on the gift of my two kids, Jonathan, 19 and Janae 13. They are now old enough to consult with on major decisions and I feel grateful just acknowledging this blessing.

Some of my favourite moments with them are when we are reading and discussing God’s word, huddled on my bed, chatting and sharing jokes, eating, working on school projects, outdoor activities and watching movies. The older me is much more appreciative of these moments, I have learnt to slow down and smell the roses. More so, I find my self taking a closer look at their intricate designs.

It is very easy for me to get distracted with work and personal projects. Being an introvert with a very creative imaginative mind, I find myself most comfortable when I am alone and being creative. My creations often fall into the category of INSPIRATION. I always desire to share hope and to be that individual that would communicate a “yes you can” message to the unbeliever, the man, woman or child who continues to doubt their ability and the power of God.

Today I am learning to put more of that creative energy into my kids, now a young adult and a teenager. I have the honour of inspiring them to be go-getters, to dream and to take steps every day towards those dreams. I have the honour of being their cheerleader, reminding them that dreams do come true. I have the honour of grooming them for success, to face life’s challenges and to win. As parents, our job is an enormous one, but when we treasure our family, we do all in our power to make their development exciting and memorable. There is absolutely no room for excuses. We need to use the time we have today and not procrastinate for the tomorrow we cannot guarantee.

So, today as I inspire me I inspire you to be more present in the lives of your kids, no matter their ages. Do not underestimate the knowledge you have gained through your experiences in life. Saturate them with knowledge and sound principles that would provide them with a great foundation for experiencing fulfilled lives. It is our duty to do our very best today and not tomorrow.