Learning to pause………

If you are the type of individual who feels like your brain is always working, processing and manufacturing a new idea, solution or theory, you would know exactly where I am coming from in this article. If you have been raised in an environment where you saw grown-ups being productive and achieving the unimaginable and what seems to be impossible, you would understand my story. If you are highly motivated by your own accomplishments and not just what others say or think of you, you would certainly get my drift.

I think when God was creating me in my mother’s womb, he gave me an extra chip in my brain called “overdrive”. I am never out of ideas, there is always a solution popping up on my radar. I could be working on something and in comes the downloads for that other project distracting me from my current focus; serious tug-of-war going on in my brain.

So how do I get through each day? Good question! I am human so the truth is I struggle at times to find clarity in my decision making. But, listen carefully, “BUT”, there are solutions all around me and my heavenly father downloads wisdom amidst all other downloads. In other words He takes care of me so I don’t make a fool of myself. The good thing about this whole situation is that I understand myself very well and I know what works.

Consequently, I have decided to share (as tips) what works or what I have been working on that works for me. These are the actions or habits I am seeking to maintain and build, to give myself the opportunity to pause, refresh, and find and maintain a healthy balance between work, and other valuable aspects of my life.

  1. Resist the need to check my emails/messages as one of the first things I do when I awake.
  2. Resist the need to work on one of my many projects when I should be taking a break.
  3. Resist the temptation to postpone my quiet time with God.
  4. Break up my quiet time with God into bite size meditational moments through-out the day.
  5. Integrate worship music into my early morning routines and whenever it’s possible during the day. Worship music has a permanent and consistent presence in our home.
  6. Be present with my family when I am with them. This means staying connected in the moment not allowing my attention to be stolen by unrelated thoughts or activities.
  7. Place family projects and appointments in my calendar to ensure they are not forgotten; plan family events early to minimise the possibility of clashing with other important events.
  8. Create time for creativity and hobbies……(tough one). I mostly get to write, but there are many other hobbies and interests that I plan to reconnect with. I have come to realise the significant role my hobbies play in keeping me healthy.
  9. Come together as family to pray, discuss God’s word and worship. This may be my favorite and probably one of the most consistent family-related practices I currently enjoy.
  10. Engage in physical exercise at least three times a week.
  11. Consume lots of water and of course healthy eating habits. Let me tell you, water literally solves all my problems. I now talk about doing water therapy whenever my body doesn’t feel right. It simply involves me focusing on high doses of water during that day. It works.
  12. Retreat from others; spending time alone. This is sacred for Janel!
  13. Get outdoors after a while of being alone. While being alone is necessary for survival, so too it is important for me to dress up occasionally and get out. Ever so often I need to exhale.
  14. Very critical for me; Commit all my ideas and plans to God. Wait for his assuring peace before proceeding to execute.

I love where I am today, a canvas on the easel of the greatest artist of all time. He never stops working on me. I am still learning to pause, to be still and to prioritize well. Hope my sharing inspires someone to learn the discipline of pausing.

Have a good one!

All my life you have been faithful

Reflecting on God’s goodness wakes me up from my gloomy moments, from my sleep and slumber. As I reflected on God’s never-ending faithfulness today, I felt His presence around me, lifting me up and renewing my mind in tuned with my purpose.

One of the most difficult things in life is transitioning, waiting and seeking God for the next step, the next door, the answered prayer or the victory. And yet, I cannot for one minute say that He has left me alone and without guidance. God has always been there. In my successes and in my failures, and also in my transitions.

Walking with God is not a walk in the park, but if often feels that way when I am walking in His presence and I can feel a slight touch of His glory. It is in these moments that I remember the reality of His presence and His availability. He is literally always near.

He is the constant friend who is constantly looking out for me, seeking to protect me from that which can easily distract me. He desires the ultimate best for me. And so I celebrate my friend and my God today, not because of what He has given me, or done for me, but just because of who He is. He is Faithful!

“Your goodness is running after, is running after me…….”

May you too, find Him faithful!

Beautiful you!

One of the blessings I received growing up was a mother who frequently reminded me that I was beautiful. It was a constant refrain, planted in my mind. I heard it almost every day and sometimes more than once.

Maybe this is not your story! If it is not, that’s okay. God has created you beautiful and He has been reminding you since the day you were born. Maybe you have been born with a rare disease or a deformity. Maybe you never knew your parents; lost everything at a young age. Maybe you are comparing yourself with others your age and you feel that you don’t measure up. Maybe you are part of a minority group and you feel unfairly treated.

Whatever your situation, whatever your circumstances, it does not remove that fact that you were created by an almighty, all powerful God, who has loved you from the beginning. Whether you choose to believe it or not, He exists.

Look in the mirror and instead of seeing your flaws, your failures, your competition and your obstacles, see that God has been there all along trying to get your attention. See that God’s hands carved you and permitted you to be alive at this moment. See that God is seeing you as beautiful, wonderful, full of potential, capable, gifted and worthy of His investment. He invested his only begotten son into your life so that you can truly be beautiful. He invested unconditional love and friendship so that you can experience a life of purpose on earth and contribute something valuable to mankind. God accepts your imperfections because He knows that Hs perfections are sufficient for you to live and to thrive.

We were created to thrive with Him. His original intention was to simply dwell with us, commune with us and enjoy our fellowship. His original desire was to have our full attention! None of the things we desire to feel beautiful are necessary for true and lasting beauty. True beauty begins when we first understand that God’s perception of us should be the crown on our heads, the headline on our posters, the theme of our lives. It should be the foundation we build upon. Once we get that, we become unmovable and unshakable, representers of hope and light. With God as our foundation we are outfitted to bloom wherever we are.

Counting my blessings and choosing well

Today is my birthday and I have been reflecting on the gift of choice. With the gift of choice comes the awesome responsibility to choose. Every choice has a consequence, Good or bad.

As I reflect on my 51 years, I feel blessed knowing that most of my choices in life have been great, yielding results that I can be grateful for, results that can lead me to say “to God be the Glory!.

I may be slow in making decisions and sometimes it is because of doubt, but other times it’s because I am determined to carefully examine the pros and the cons and ensure I am within the protective fence that God has set up for me.

It is a beautiful thing to be able to look back and feel joy because of some great quality decisions you made in the past.

It may be a good exercise for us to think of the blessings or consequence we are enjoying today, as a result of choosing wisely yesterday. Too many times we focus on the opposite, the times when we made the wrong choice. Today, I choose to think on that which is lovely and just and of a good report.

Because I chose wisely yesterday, today I can be grateful to God for the following:

A meaningful relationship with my family

A sound reputation

Emotional and mental stability

A happy home

The ability to be engaged doing something that is fulfilling; writing, designing and contributing to the development of businesses and people.

The convenience of owning a vehicle and having a driver’s license.

Genuine friendships

A large network of individuals from various segments of my life’s journey.

Wonderful memories of ministering to young people.

This list could go on and on, in fact I will choose to keep adding to the list for the rest of my birth month.

As I move forward into my 52nd year, I am reminding myself to keep focused on the principles of God’s word and not to allow my emotions, selfish desires or misdirected passions, to guide me. I must daily die to myself, as tough as it is, I must. It’s another choice I must make to ensure my actions, my decisions and my destination, are fully endorsed by God.

I inspire you today to choose wisely!

Stop waiting on someone else to do it.

Are you constantly thinking of starting a special ministry, planning an event, initiating that important discussion, forming a charity, inviting a particular person to church, starting a business or becoming more physically active, and you constantly find yourself just waiting to start?

What are you really waiting for? Do you expect someone else to start what is meant to be your purpose and your contribution to this World?

Are you the one in the family who always seems to be sentimental, wanting to build and encourage traditions, plan great adventures and capture memories and yet you are waiting for the others to come around? Well that waiting may be as long as your years on this earth!

Consider that maybe it is your place to initiate the action and that they are probably happy and content enough to follow you as you lead. Remember some are meant to be great followers.

The fact that you are unhappy with the current status, while others are comfortable with mediocrity, is indication enough that you need to action. The fact that you can easily identify sub-standard in your society, school, workplace and even church, is an indication that you need to contribute to that change you so desire. The time for excuses is over; you need to step-up.

As I look back over the years I have been blessed with, I am grateful for the many times I took action. But the reality is that there are also those times when I didn’t, simply out of doubt and fear, and I know that I missed experiencing something great as a result. I can be tempted to ask “What if?”, but I have learnt not to look back. Instead, I pick up my bundle of valuable lessons and move forward.

I know better now! I know that the fact that the ideas are repeatedly knocking on my hearts door is an indication that God wants to use me in that area to initiate something good. I must not sit on it contemplating or seeking to understand every detail. It’s not my business to try to see what is not yet revealed to me. It is also not my business to assess the people around me to see who may be better fit to execute my God-given assignment. It’s my responsibility to act, not tomorrow but today.

When we act, great relationships and bonds are formed, victories are realised, hope is re-ignited, death and sickness are defeated, and light and salt permeates our environment. Remember! It’s our responsibility to act, not tomorrow, but today.

The featured picture was taken at a beautiful spot in Levera, St. Patrick, next to “The Pond”, a naturally created pond just below the rocks at the shore line where villagers and visitors alike would enjoy a therapeutic see bath in a somewhat secluded area.

Take action to create wonderful memories with family and friends.

So the conditions are right now, no excuses!

It is now six months and four weeks since I started my HR Consulting Business, “J’s”. It was a step of faith that offered me more of the life I wanted. One of the lifestyle changes I looked forward to then, was to exercise consistently. Today, while I am exercising more often, it is still a struggle. Pushing yourself can be hard! There is no doubt whatsoever.

As I exercised today, I felt pain but I kept pushing. My sit-ups in particular, hurt the most but I got it done by focusing on the goal (the number of sit-ups I wanted to accomplish) and not the pain I was feeling. I also observe that many times I don’t feel like exercising but again whenever I remind myself of the benefits I am motivated to get up and get. I often shift my mind to how great I usually feel just a few minutes into being active. I reminded myself that now I have the time and space to exercise as I wish and I should never take it for granted.

We must daily encourage ourselves by focusing on our goals, the outcome, the benefits, the results. And as long as the good good Father gives us life, we should seek to be excellent stewards of out time. It’s not always easy but there is always a way to get through the lazy feelings, the mental blocks and the discouraging moments. There is always a way!

The same thing applies to our family time, our prayer and bible reading time and other productive habits we should be cultivating.

We often make promises to ourselves to do better when the conditions are “right” and then when our circumstances truly changes, in our favour, and the conditions are eventually “right”, we forget where we should be heading and allow new distractions to rob us from achieving the goals, we were once excited about.

Be focused! Be purpose-minded! Keep steady!

Tough times and trials! Really?

Let me tell you a story about a coconut, an old man and his grand daughter. This old man lived with his daughter, his grand daughter and his dog Cleo. His back yard was filled with various fruit trees including mangoes, plums and coconut trees. One day, a coconut fell from one of the coconut trees, into the drain located directly under. The old man thought to himself, there is no need to move it right away, I have ample time to do so.

Before he knew it, days, then weeks passed and one morning, while cleaning Cleo’s Kennel, he noticed the coconut in the drain with tiny branches sprouting from it. Wow, he thought to himself, it’s growing, it will be a great idea to remove it and transfer it to somewhere else where it can grow freely. While he thought it was a brilliant idea, he said to himself, “I am busy now and after I am done here, it will be dark.”

His 16 year-old grand daughter noticed the growing coconut three two months after and said to her Grandfather, “Grandpa, there is a small coconut three growing in the back drain, if we do not move it now, it will be difficult to remove later”. The old man looked at his daughter and said. “I need that tree and will be transferring it to somewhere else. Grandpa will take care of it.”

Let’s jump to the end. As we say, long story short. The old man procrastinated until the three grew much bigger to the point that the drain was completely blocked and the branches extended to one of the windows of the house in which he lived. The tree was now big enough to block the sunlight that once flooded the back yard.

This coconut was allowed to form into a tree that become difficult to remove. The roots are now established and it has created a number of problems. The old man is now concerned about the tree and would need to acquire the services of a bobcat or an appropriate machine to remove the tree and of course there will be a cost for this service. (Inspired by a true story).

Sometimes we create our own tough times and trials by being lazy, by procrastinating and by acting irresponsibly. No wonder God delays giving us certain privileges and material possessions at times. We need to demonstrate that we are capable of managing the little that God has given us, before even considering asking Him for more. We need to stop creating difficulties for ourselves by simply neglecting to do what is right and to do it in a timely manner.

Stop creating your tough times and trials.

Be inspired today to be proactive and to apply wisdom daily in the management of your home affairs or your family affairs. We are expected to shine in every area of our lives.

Politics and Purpose

On June 23rd, 2022, Grenadians across the tri-island state of Grenada made their way to various polling stations to participate in the nation’s general elections. The majority of voters came out early, including a number of first time voters. Many reported of being in long lines and having to wait for up to two or three hours to cast their vote.

Citizens standing in line expressed the moment as tiring and exciting and the great turnout as evidence of the people’s desire for change. There were others who were more cautious, reminding us to wait for the results. When the results were eventually revealed it showed that the sentiments of many were right. The National Development Congress (NDC) defeated the New National Party (NNP) at the polls winning nine of Grenada’s fifteen seats; a solid victory indeed.

It is important to note that the NNP was in power from 1995 to 2008, and then again from 2013 to 2022. NNP was a formidable force over the years, the longest serving political party in the history of Grenada’s politics. Former Prime Minister, Dr. The Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell, was loved and supported by many, a man who has been often described as a lover of cricket, charismatic, a statistician and a smart politician. I am sure it would be difficult for some NNP fans to move on but Grenadians are resilient and I believe we can gracefully put the past behind us.

With a fresh compliment of leaders, who are young and vibrant, NDC has been given the opportunity, once again, to lead and many of us are filled with hope and the anticipation of good governance that emanates transparency and accountability, efforts to unify Grenada (decreasing the focus on party loyalty and symbolism), freedom of expression and service, and the strengthening of sincere, whole-hearted Grenadian patriotism.

Many, like me, have voted for both NNP and NDC in the history of Grenada’s elections, and have no interest in pledging blind allegiance to any man-made system. Many like me are disgusted by the division seen among our people, the bitter exchange of words, the animosity and the desire to defend and justify wrong doing by our leaders. What we plead for, is for our people to be first, for our nation to be first. We plead for servant leadership with integrity, leaders who would deliver on their promises and who would be diligent and productive from day one and through-out the five years.

I feel overjoyed to experience this victory, because, like many of my colleagues, we desire to experience a different kind of leadership. There is a renewed vibe, a renewed hope and for some reason I feel more comfortable expressing my views and are encouraged to become more actively involved in nation building.

I also feel motivated and energized to pray for my Government. The need for prayer is now more than ever. I feel motivated and energized to share my knowledge, experience and talents, so that others can be developed and motivated to do the same. I am particularly looking forward to the higher-level debates in Parliament, I am anticipating the establishment of new legislations and policies that would protect Grenada and Grenadians, I am anticipating the coming forward of Grenadians who have silently and sadly sunk into the background, fearing being labeled and misunderstood, when all they wish to do is offer constructive criticism.

I hate what division has done to us, I hate the fact that a great portion of our population lack the ability to reason and discuss the business of Grenada objectively, no matter who they support. I hate the fact that so many of us are poor and lack education. I hate the fact that we have become fearful of loosing Grenada. It hurts. But somehow, I see a rainbow, a silver lining and while I know man is not perfect and is subject to fail, I am positive that good will be achieved.

I honestly wish my new Government success because Grenada needs it. NDC cannot afford to fail; we need to move forward. The role of the opposition is significant to our success and I do believe that once they are able to understand their role and execute it effectively, we would see progress. Our former PM, Dr. Keith Mitchell, has vowed to provide the new government with a productive opposition and insisted it would be “nothing personal”. A healthy opposition is critical as we more FORWARD. The future can be bright, it’s all up to us.

So meanwhile, as I wish my homeland well, I am paying attention to see what my role in this new season will be. I would continue to pray that the NDC would allow God’s wisdom to permeate their minds, their discussions and their decisions.

I urge you to ask the question, “Lord what would you have me to do in this new season? How can I contribute or continue to contribute to nation-building?” The time for campaigning is over. The time for teamwork has come! Be encouraged by the words of our Prime Minister, Dickon Mitchell;

“I am therefore using this opportunity to call on all Grenadians who have, prior to this, shied away from public service, who shied away from serving on boards of statutory bodies of Government entities. The doors are open, you are welcome. If you believe in serving your country, if you are a hard worker, and if you have the skills and talent, we the people of Grenada need you.”

Let’s move forward together! Grenada belongs to each and everyone of us.

Wanting a Miracle

The stories around us of sick people, especially children, can really tug at our hearts. So many are sick, so many have been suffering for long periods. In most cases they have been praying for a miracle and God seems to be too far away to hear. I would often say to myself, Lord, you can do it, you are Almighty, show your power and your might. Please give them a miracle! I know those prayers are not being prayed by me only, many others are crying out on the behalf of others.

I am speaking of the miracle of healing of overcoming or winning over a terrible illness. Many never receive that miracle and they die, waiting to be resurrected to eternal separation from God or eternity with God. Because of this, we can easily become weary, doubtful, and hopeless becoming careless with our prayer life. We can easily let bitterness and rejection of God’s plan and Hs promises slip into our hearts. We can easily walk away from God’s protection thinking our efforts are no good.

I do get weary sometimes, tempted to ask the question “why” when I see someone suffer or even die. There is another side to all this though, the side where we ignore God’s wisdom in caring for our bodies. The side where we fail to educate ourselves about the food we eat and the aspects of our lifestyle that are not healthy for us. We fail to bring our bodies into subjection to God’s word. Instead, we make excuses all day long, never disciplining ourselves to experience change. Our bodies are then victims to our bad choices.

I wish to inspire us to think of another miracle, the miracle of salvation, that gives us the opportunity to overcome bad habits, addictions, pride, greed, depression, poor organisation and anxiety. It’s the miracle of freedom that empowers us to break the chains that oppress us, to be transformed, adopting new lifestyles and habits. It’s the miracle of victory! This miracle begins at the cross. If you are still struggling, tied up in all kinds of chains, it may be a good time to visit the cross. The miracle of salvation and forgiveness, is still available.

If you and I can show the World that we are empowered to change, to cease our bad habits and cultivate new ones, many would also receive the Miracle of Salvation.

I always value a Good Plan.

Planning is a valuable tool. Have you ever noticed when you are nearing the finishing line of a project, task or a job, obstacles or distractions often reveal themselves? But then because you have planned and have planned allowing room for the unexpected, the surprises, you are able to stay on course and achieve your goal.

Some people never learnt how to plan. They live moment by moment and are often “caught with their pants down”. In some instances they are afraid to plan because they are afraid to fail. Some are even afraid of success. They miss out on great opportunities, wallow in regret and continuously seek to try catching up with life. Are you like that? Could it be me?

Do you like planning or do you think no one has control of tomorrow and planning is simply a waste of time?

I am reminded of a true story I heard concerning a young woman who knew she was dying of cancer and proceeded to plan her funeral. Do you think she was a planning freak? Do you see such efforts as extreme?

I dare to admonish us all to embrace planning some more. I have seen serious consequences as a result of planning being neglected or insufficient. We can plan our meals to encourage ourselves to consistently eat healthy. We can plan our relaxation time to ensure we have a balance. We can plan to build new habits, start new projects, get chores done and the list goes on.

I have found that successful individuals plan and sometimes their planning can be really deep or complexed. In other words, they value planning so much that they are willing to invest significant time into the process. I have found that successful individuals not only plan but they execute a high percentage of their goals.

Let’s all work on becoming better planners and committed to executing all our Plans.

Don’t just allow things to happen. Plan and implement.