True Blue Bay Marina, overlooking the St. George’s University, True Blue, St. George, Grenada.
Please enjoy this journey with me as I scan through the Psalms and share snippets of the well written poetic pieces inspired by God himself. Because I love photography so much, I would crown each post with a lovely picture of my homeland, Grenada.
The goal here is to remind us that the Word of God is beautiful, exciting and still true, still relevant and necessary for good success. We all have great dreams but what are great dreams without the purest of knowledge and wisdom?
So let’s begin chroming the Psalms. Today, when I woke up I felt a spark of excitement as I reached for my big black bible. Yes, It was another heavenly idea strolling my way: “I am going to scan through the book of Psalms and look for truths that would remind me of how precious this Book is!”
I reached for my B.I.B.L.E and started at the start, the very beginning! Psalm Chapter 1. It has been a while since I read Psalm Chapter one; such a great Psalm. Thinking about it, it is quite poetic!
Psalm Chapter 1:
God’s word says I am blessed just because I decide to discipline myself by rejecting ungodly advice; advice that is questionable, advice that is contrary to God’s instructions, advice that would lead me outside of God’s plan for my life. I am blessed just trying to be wise! Here is verse 1:
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
I researched the word “scornful” before, but my memory needed to be refreshed so I checked it out again. Then I realised, I didn’t want to stop researching the word, but I needed to get ready for work.
Nevertheless the scornful represents someone who rejects God’s authority, scoffs at godly truths, practices and principles. The Scorner makes light of the things of God and the people of God. If we associate too much with the scornful or the scorner, we can be negatively influenced and begin to take God and his principles lightly as well. Imagine you claim to love God and you are sitting with your “friends” sharing demeaning jokes about his servants, about his church and about his work? Scary, right? But it can be easily done.
Sometimes we think we are so liberated and educated that we become puffed up and begin to look down on the faithful, the upright and the man or woman who is still willing to talk about Jesus!
So here is the question? Are you walking or listening to wise counsel, drawing your boundary lines so that you are not influenced by the Scornful?
Featured picture: True Blue Bay Resort – overlooking the St. George’s University, True Blue, St. George.
(Written as a writing challenge inspired by a picture prompt which is the featured picture above – google images)
Maybe it is just a dream, but I would continue to bask in the beauty of my imagination! What I see is pure beauty, tranquility, lush greenery and freedom. Is it really just my imagination? I take a deep breath with my eyelids shut and feed my imagination even more.
My body slips into a trance and every single muscle softens into complete stillness. Then I see the stream, the surface as pure glass, capturing the smile on my face, surreal! My Imagination plunges on desperately to satisfy its desire.
I see a white castle, a mystery to behold. I would love to explore its chambers, its highs and its lows. Maybe, there are dozens of mirrors lining the walls, chandeliers and classy staircases. I am totally consumed by what I see and I think to myself “No, it can’t be my imagination!” I am torn between my fantasy and my reality. My imagination refreshes me.
My new year started off with me chilling with family, Mom, Dad, one of my brothers, my dear husband and my kids. I am amazed how the company of my family can give me so much energy, so much comfort, so much refreshing. Happy New Year to my family!
I slept in late and probably awoke some time after 8:00 a.m.; two hours after I was in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I am always excited about cooking for family; there is nothing so fulfilling as when food is served and there are rich discussions, and hearty laughter all fitting together perfectly with the choice dishes of the day. You later glance at their plates and you are pleased to see that the food you prepared, with such passion, was devoured. Good food, good times.
I love cooking for my family! 🙂
Among the many dishes I prepared, with the help of my kids, was a Lasagna dish. This time I did a few things differently and I really loved the outcome. Usually, I would place a layer of shells first before adding a layer of meat, then cheese. This time, I placed minced meat with the sauce at the bottom, as the first layer. I then applied the first layer of shells followed by a second layer of meat & sauce and another layer of cheese. Another thing I did differently, was to mix chopped celery leaves with the cheese. In all I had three layers of cheese and 4 layers of meat with sauce.
My family really enjoyed my Lasagne!
Later in the evening, I was sitting on my porch in the company of my family and I started to think of how important food is to a family affair. The reality is the big family moments were big because good food was a part of the occasion; it is important that we understand the connection between food and great family moments. Food can make or break the occasion; food makes it better. Or let me correct this statement by saying tasty, attractive, well prepared food, makes it better.
I am sure many of you are right this moment cherishing great moments enjoyed during the Christmas Season and on New Years Day. Cherish those memories and treasure family and friends.
The next time you are having guests over, plan your menu well, cook with heart, passion and love. Be sure to prepare more than enough, honour your guest with good food.
As the New Year unfolds, go all out and do your best for the upcoming birthdays, anniversaries and all those special occasions to come.
My wish for you is that “2019” will be a year when you would invest more into seeing great family moments happen. It may require you to up your game or improve your cooking skills. My desire for you is that you would cherish your family and your friends even more in “2019”.
Happy New Year All!
When you believe that your marriage could be better, you are willing to exercise patience with your spouse and you are willing to invest time and money towards seeing your faith come to life.
In my own experience, I have been the victim of boring cycles which are created by life’s rat race; sleep, wake, prepare for work and school, go to work and school, return home and if there is any energy left, prepare for the next day. If no energy left , well…….we’ll figure it out right? Something or someone is neglected.
However, the sad truth is that we do get comfortable with those cycles and getting comfortable is not really good or healthy for our marriage or our family. But the glowing truth is that, deep down, we never stop loving each other and we really desire more. What happens is that many of us don’t try hard enough or make the effort to ensure that the quality of our marriage improves. We succumb to the pressures of life and rather than see it as an opportunity to become more disciplined, we throw our hands up thinking “I can’t do any better”. “I am so beat”, “He/She understands”.
In this article my aim is to encourage you to constantly work towards a richer, fuller marriage, amidst the rat race. Take control of your day, your activities and your time and don’t forget that it is ok to have limits. Decide, when you have put in enough extra hours at work and it is time to head home. Constantly keep in mind, the need for balance and the need to give attention to your spouse. Yes, your spouse needs attention to.
Let’s look at a few practical ways to enrich our marriage even when there are crazy schedules coming at us:
- Regularly update your spouse: Every moment, whether you are just calling to say hi or to remind your spouse of an errand, or you are at home in the kitchen fixing something to eat, update. Maybe the gardener had to postpone his appointment to clean the yard this week-end, update. Maybe, your sister said she would pass by tomorrow, update. Maybe your Pastor invited you to attend a meeting at the church on short notice, update. If you both have a habit of updating each other or mentioning “stuff” through-out the day, you would most likely know the same thing, most times, and it is less likely that either of you would feel left out, or get upset as a result of not being in the know. This can avoid conflict and clashes of events and activities. If you practice updating regularly you are actually helping to strengthen bonds and trust between you and your spouse. Tell him what’s on, all the time; tell her what’s on, all the time. Leave no room for your spouse to wonder “What is she not telling me?” Do you remember when we were younger and we were excited about sharing everything with our best friend? It’s the same thing actually!
- Do not alienate your spouse; make him or her part of your work-life as much as possible. For example, if your Employer is having a staff party and you are allowed to invite your spouse, do not hesitate to do so. Many employers today are beginning to understand the value of recognising and showing an interest in the families of their employees. This would allow you and your spouse to share work-related experiences together, while he or she is allowed to get to meet your co-workers and build an appreciation for the caliber of persons you work with.
- You must sacrifice your own personal time for time together. Put off the beauty regime or the lime with the guys, ignore the phone, the television, the personal projects and just do nothing but chill with your spouse. If he or she is eating, chill on the chair close by, if he or she is enjoying their favourite TV show, get comfy next to them and enjoy it too. If he or she decides to read, grab a book and read too. :). It does make sense, try it. Just being in each other’s company is enriching and provides companionship. Companionship in Marriage is always a need to be filled.
- Create life and memories around your spouse’s favourite things and people; for example, if your husband loves barbecue, plan a barbecue and invite a few of his close friends, if you wife loves popcorn and movies, select a good movie and get that corn popping. Maybe your husband enjoys walking the dog, join him. There is so much we can do to enrich our lives and our marriage; many of them are also simple activities that cost nothing or very little. Each one of us have the responsibility of creating life, fun, happiness and adventure. Here are some other ideas: prepare a tania-log pot under the moonlight, play table games, go bowling together, go driving, or on a road trip and visit family and shared friends, go to the grocery together, attend events together, yes, get all dressed up and go out. Volunteer to manage the Sunday School Ministry together, or the outreach programme, or the Youth Ministry. The list is endless; I am sure you may have ideas of your own.
- Finally, seek to understand where you spouse is at in their development and support efforts to grow, develop or rise to a higher level. The worse thing we could do as married individuals is to discourage our spouses from starting that new project, whether it is to pursue higher education or to learn a new sport or to start a bible study group or reach out to someone in need; whatever it is, if it is pure and healthy, support, support, support.
I hope these few thoughts encourage you to take steps to ensure your marriage exerts life, energy and a healthy positive spirit that would be contagious, giving hope to other married couples, who are desperately in need of it. It takes commitment, discipline and sacrifice but it is doable. Aim for better, richer and for greater. Don’t settle for mediocrity and boredom in your marriage! Be honest and admit that your marriage is not at its best and desire better always.
I love aiming for better, I love aiming for “best”. It is also part of God’s purpose for our lives; he wants us to reflect his character in how we live with our spouse daily. God is an awesome God of life, beauty and joy!
Featured picture taken from Google images.
Psalm 145 verses 1 & 2:
“I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.”
I think of you every day, I think of you when I awake, as I am engaged in my daily duties, in those moments when I feel overwhelmed and in those moments when I am soberly in control of my thoughts.
Daily, my hand reaches out to you, desiring your attention, your blessings, your wisdom.
My desire, like the Psalmist David, is to bless you everyday. I want to know, without a doubt, that my heart is pursuing you as a Deer pursue’s water in a dry land.
Sometimes, I think life is so unfair, corrupt and complicated, but then I remember you and there is that safe place, there is that safe place when I lay down my burdens and I look up to your face.
“Everyday” speaks of discipline, loyalty, commitment and true adoration. That’s what you deserve, all the Glory, all the Honour, all the WORSHIP, DAILY!
Let me start by admitting that I do not read enough. However, I often read articles posted by other bloggers. From time to time, I also read poems written by other writers, and pieces that may be shared with me personally, or posted on other blogs not owned by the writer.
To a lesser extent, from time to time I would read books. Let me say that I am better at reading shorter articles, maybe 2 to 5 pages. It is more of a challenge for me to read an entire book from front cover to back cover.
The point is, I read and lately, in the last year, or so, the content I am reading are from local writers. One of my observations as I read, is that there are too many grammatical errors, too many displaced words and too many pieces that does not seem to have a central theme. Mind you, I critique my work often.
So here are some practical tips for all of us, some have been shared with us before, by Presenters at our October 13th Event:
- Read often! If you want to improve your quality of writing, it is not enough just to have something to say. or to be passionate about saying, it even if you believe it came directly from God. It needs to be written properly and one way you can improve your writing quality is to read. Read properly written articles. Articles written by universities or well known producers like “Time Magazine”, “Forbes” and “Business Week”. Read books produced by well established Christian Writers or organisations eg: Focus on the Family, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Myer and many more. Read! Read! Read! Read poems, read commentaries, read varied types of pieces.
- When you write, remember not to focus on getting your grammar write on the first draft, just write freely, capturing your thoughts as they flow. After you have done that, leave it for a few minutes then go back and edit. This process can be repeated as often as necessary but you may want to edit at least three times. The larger your content, the more you should edit. As a back up, to ensuring your editing is thorough, ask someone to edit your work as well. In other words, invite feedback from others.
- Always keep your reading audience in mind and be sure to write to communicate. Readers should not be confused after reading your article; I see this many times in poetry. Notwithstanding that some poems are designed to make you think and develop your vocabulary, it is important for you as the Writer to remember that you are not writing to yourself but to someone else who is not carrying your brain. Your language needs to make sense.
- Do not use words if you are unsure of their meanings. Study and understand the meanings first and once you are convinced that it is the right word to use within the context you are writing, go right ahead.
- When you are writing, seek to have a central theme. For example if you are writing about “The Wind”, focus on the wind, don’t stray and begin to speak about “The Snow”, unless each stanza is speaking about a different aspect of the Weather. If you are writing a book about “Forgiveness”, try not to create confusion about your focus. All your examples, illustrations and sub topics should connect to “Forgiveness”.
- Read articles that would help you to develop your writing. Take advantage of the teachers in your family or in your circle or those who have a very good command on the English Language and ask them questions.
- Finally, spend lots of time with the one who gave you the gift, the ability and the desire. Spend time with God, discover and rediscover who He is and who he wants you to be. If you don’t, you would find your writing is shallow and ordinary and lacks spiritual foundation. Even if you are writing a fictional piece, somewhere, somehow, your beliefs would seep through. For a believer, every aspect of our lives should be governed and directed by God himself.
That’s all for now. All we need is a few practical reminders to keep us focused.
Do you have a tip to share with us? Please do in the comment box below.
Have a wonderful writing journey!!
On October 13th, 2018, I was blessed to be able to successfully host, the first ever Christian Writers’ meet-up. It was a vision given by the Holy Spirit Himself. Sorry, I really have no apologies, but I can’t take the credit. If you don’t believe the Holy Spirit can speak to people, then the rest of the article may not interest you.
I confirmed that it was the Holy Spirit when I saw the outcome of the Event and when I received feedback from those in attendance. I met a number of persons for the first time at that Event and I immediately connected with them, wanting to get to know them better. Following feedback received, through the evaluation forms circulated at the Event, I saw the need to organise a simple follow-up activity and that’s what I did. On December 8th, we held a follow-up Social.
Now, if you were one of the persons who sponsored the Event held on October 13th, you would be happy to know that it was not in vain. As a result of your blessings, as a result of the support of each Writer who attended and as a result of the faithfulness of God, I can truly say, it was not in vain.
One writer told me that he has been writing for years, has written 13 books and now he is seriously considering embracing online technology as he prepares to launch his 14th book. Maybe, just maybe, he would start his first website.
At our Social persons in attendance shared what God has used the Event to do and what he is currently doing in their lives. One lady said, “before I would receive inspiration, have a lovely thought and never write it down, then I would loose it…..not anymore, I have been noting those inspirational thoughts that come to mind”. One young lady spoke about her fear to share her poems with others as she thought they were not good enough and told us how she finally found the courage to share them and received unexpected highly positive responses.
What really stood out to me was the testimony of another young lady; she indicated that she has been taking notes at church during the sermons. Her Pastor recently presented a series of messages and as a result of faithful note-taking, she was able to summarise these messages and present it to the church as a “Spoken Word” or Poem. This was certainly a new idea to us. We loved the fact that she took the initiative to approach her pastor, requesting his permission to present it during the church service. Because he said “yes”, persons were blessed and got the opportunity to see poetry in action at church and it was well received.
As persons continued to share, I felt a warm sensation in my stomach and a comforting reassuring peace that this step of obedience, this drive and perseverance to walk this vision towards life, was not a coincidence but a well thought-out plan orchestrated by God himself.
Too many times we live as if we are powerless, hopeless, totally ridden of resources and we can’t make things happen. I think it is because our eyes are often on ourselves and not on God and others. Life is supposed to be about pleasing God and others.
So, to my dear fellow writers, if you are enjoying some success as a writer, don’t let pride sneak into your heart. Remember you are gifted with a purpose; please stay on course and honour God with your gift. For you who are still struggling, trying to write something that others would read, keep practicing and for others who are prompted to start and are waiting for a golden pen to fall from heaven, stop waiting. Take up the pencil and the pad available to you and start jotting down your daily thoughts. Yes, you can start right there.
I am thankful to God for breathing hope and life into others through this recent movement to motivate Christian Writers to write, so that someone in their world can be reached.
I will be posting a related article later today, presenting useful tips for developing your writing. Be on the look out!
One of the beautiful things about life is that it offers you continuous opportunities to learn, once you are breathing, you can learn something new and exciting. Whether simple or great, lessons cannot be overrated, for they enrich us for better living, empower us for making informed and wise decisions, and prepare us for our journeys ahead.
During my years at GDB, every conflict, every discussion, every crisis and every turbulence, worked as tools rubbing against my character; with every friction came pain, discomfort, fear of the unknown, doubt and at the same time, faith, hope and determination.
I am now one day old as a non-employee of the GDB (feel a little sadness here) and honestly, I have no regrets. Instead I have cherished memories and lessons that I would always hold dear to my heart.
I can say a lot, but I need to focus on just enough, allowing you to digest quickly as you read. May you be encouraged to keep pushing against the tide, when all odds seem to be against you. Remember your success requires perseverance!
- As a youth, in the early years of your career, seek to associate yourself with experienced and accomplished persons who are willing teach you unconditionally. In life we need sincere mentors who would not seek to exploit us or help us expecting something in return. I pray that you will be able to know the difference. I was blessed to meet some great professionals as a “just-starting” professional. These relationships helped to steer me in the direction of advancement and eventually success.
- Don’t ever let others’ incorrect perception of you mar you or define you. There have been times when I doubted the core of who I am. After some wavering, I found my balance and started to believe again in who I was. My solid upbringing as a child and my godly foundation was in tact after all. I had to know me and believe in me, even in the times when no-one else did.
- Think the best of others first (always). Be very careful when your colleagues at work come to you with complaints about others. Remember, as much as we try to be good, as human beings we have sinful tendencies. It takes practice and discipline to report a matter correctly and objectively when you are offended, experiencing jealousy, fearful, angry or even in a state of un-forgiveness or bitterness. It seriously blurs your vision and hinders your ability to think clearly. So when your work-mates approach you in such a manner, seek to listen carefully and remember many times there’s more to the story or even less.
- Despite how many times you feel put down, rise up to the challenge ahead; you need to ensure your energy is being well spent. I was foolish enough sometimes to give-in to the occasions when I felt put down; I was wrong to give in. I eventually learned how to direct my energies to positive thoughts, despite the temptation to slump in self-pity, and focus on the work I had to do on my desk, my annual goals and my personal achievements.
- When you are able to receive criticisms gracefully, whether the motive is to build you up or break you down, you have achieved greatness, especially when you are able to see value in the criticism and value in the person criticizing you. We can choose to complaint about what others are saying or how they are saying it, or we can choose to accept that there are some things we cannot change and instead look for gold and silver among the junk. Look deeper! Look pass the faces and the sound of the voice.
- If you have started the process towards achieving a particular goal, don’t dwell on the process, focus on the prize. I love focusing on the goal, the result, it always looks good and inspires me to keep moving. We can choose to whine about the spills, the sleepless nights, the seemingly difficult people, the exams, the need to practice, the need to study, our supervisor or our boss, or we can keep our eyes on what looks really good, the prize, the goal. I know it is easier said than done but it really keeps us focused and moving.
- Listen to others even when they do not listen to you, do it sincerely. If you are patient, change will eventually come. I expect that this lesson would not make sense to some of you and you may have good reason to think that way. I have practiced it however and it has worked. Life is about building relationships, it is about denying ourselves the first word, the last word or any word at all. In building relationships we must learn how to control our emotions and just be still. I think there are three main reasons why someone may not listen to you but just want to be heard; 1) They feel that they have not been heard; your body language suggests that you are not interested or have not been giving them undivided attention. 2) They do not think what you have to say is of any value to them and 3) They have come to you in protection mode (their defense is up), they are seeking to protect themselves from something about themselves that they prefer not to have explored or exposed. Patience and understanding is required here.
- Finally, when the stressful moment comes and the seemingly impossible situation comes your way, remember that this too shall pass. Breathe and think about the time when it will be all over. Seek help when you need it, but never give up as if it is the end, because it is not. It is up to you to dig deep and find ways to survive the tossing waves. You can still learn to swim.
I do hope these eight lessons would inspire you to face life more positively, especially at work. Don’t let the negative forces influence you, see every moment as an opportunity to grow, to shine and to build a legacy of pure loyalty and commitment.
I write this article with special thoughts of Jinaele Douglas, my former assistant, who has had to whether many personal storms. May this article give you strength.
Featured picture is a drawing of me, done by Jinaele Douglas. What talent!!