How will you respond?

friendships

There’s a young lady I’ve grown to know over the past 3 months or so. She’s an all around cool person, usually in good spirits.

The last time I spoke with her she wasn’t in good spirits. She said something that bothered me. I greeted her as always asking if she was alright. Her reply was, ” No, it seems when I try to take two steps forward, I get pushed back 3 steps.” My response was, “Keep pushing.”

My friend then said, “It may be better for everybody if I were dead”. This time I did not respond, instead I prayed for her, because it seemed she was in “pity party mode”. Been there, done that.

As the day went along, I began to reflect back to a time when the same words came out of my mouth.

One of the times I  adopted a character and personality that was me but wasn’t me. Which led to hanging with the wrong crowd of people. Don’t get me wrong, they were good people, just not the people who I needed to “Vent” with during my time of despair.

It seemed to be a good idea at the time, to hang with people who were in “The Struggle” like me. We would go on and on about all the trials and tribulations we had. The people who got on our nerves, pissed us of to the point where emotions would take over and a few choice words were said. Spilling our guts, business all out in the street, and plenty of pity parties.You know the ones, Oh, Lord why Me? My mindset said, “Yea they feel me”.

Sometimes we as people lean on the same kind of approach to rough times not realizing that that’s the problem.

I realized, there will be no resolution if I continue to think, act, talk and hang with the same old same old. Staying, promoted negative thoughts and behavior. A lot of times the people we “Vent” to really don’t want to hear what we are saying anyways, now we become a pain in the butt or a drag.

It’s alright to let go of the people, places and things that we’re used to. Not saying love is lost, but if we’re looking to elevate, we have to get on the elevator a push the bottom that will take you to the top.

Here’s my point:

We ask God to provide a way, then that’s all we do, just Ask. I’ve realized in my own life this. Asking God, Lord, help me with this, remove that. Didn’t get He was doing so. Introducing me to a NEW approach but I stayed in pity party mode.

Had to really dig up on myself. I was in my own way.

We have to be mindful of what we ask God for and be ready for  His answers. He answers prayers. The question at hand is, How will you respond?

 

Do you have a match?

alittlesparkle

It’s easy for me to  “Spark” up a conversation with anyone, anywhere and at anytime. Working as a Janitor at the Hartsfield Atlanta Airport contributes to utilizing this gift.

Whenever I’m assigned to police the women’s restroom on a work day, normally I would greet women by saying, “Hello, come on in and have a seat” or  “Come on in, we’re open for business.”These two statements has caused women to crack up laughing. Invited others to add to the sentences, which led to “Sparking” up conversations. They’re “Inviting statements”. 

There we were in a “Public Restroom”, which pretty much has a reputation as a place that people are caution of using because they’re normally in bad shape, but in the ATL restrooms we have a girls night out Shawty.

One time a woman left, then came back and  said to me, “Thank you for being you. I was having a bad day and your joyous spirit helped me.” When she approached me, I didn’t recall seeing this woman enter the restroom that day.I gave her a hug because that touched me. It confirmed that, I was doing something right by sharing the joy I have in my heart.

Here’s my point:

You never know what someone maybe dealing with or going through. Also, you never know who is listening and watching.

When you have  “Joy in your heart”, share it with others.It won’t hurt to “Spark” up a conversation.

 

Going along with the flow

A few years ago, life’s circumstances had me in a bad space. I found myself in a position where I would just “deal with” or”just accept “people, places and things. Even if it meant feeling and being treated as if I didn’t deserve to be respected as a person.

During that chapter, I was involved with a man. Once again, I felt I’d met a man who was my knight in shining armor(in reference to a previous post”Ask the right questions”). When we met my electric was disconnected. I was flat broke. Didn’t even have a penny with a hole in it.

Whoever was in my eyesight at the time was going to hear my heart cry out for “HELP”., this man decided to assist me. My focus was on my situations/circumstances.I needed to do whatever needed to be done to bring balance back into my life. However, there was a “hidden agenda” this man had.

Let me begin by saying, he was very Charming. Said, and did all the right things, which caused me to ignore the “Red Flags”. Out of nowhere, he decided to pay my electric bill and flat-out tell me, he wanted to be with me. Out of an act of desperation, I went along with it, no questions asked. Then, his mask came off.

The very same day, my electric was turned back on, him and I had a disagreement. This man took a trip to another planet. It was one I would never want to visit. As I said, it was a disagreement, that was an easy fix, but to him it was a sign of disrespect. He became so enraged not to mention, I was called everything but a child of God.

He went on and on about how he didn’t need me, I needed him. How I needed to respect him as “The Man of the house”. He made this big performance so all my neighbors could see and hear. There it was, the hidden agenda.

Here’s my point, There are people in this world who are, “Predators”. This man had no intentions on, helping me or building a genuine and unconditional relationship with me.

The intent, was to “Break Me”.  I was in a vulnerable state, in which he took advantage of. From his actions and what he would say, it was”Do as I need you to do or else”, be how I need you to be. He pretty much TRIED to shape me to his liking for his own personal gratifications.

I was to serve him.When he said jump, I was to say how high. The thing is he thought he’d had me in the palm of his hand, but he was wrong. Because he was NOT my GOD.

I knew and know who my God is, and the God I serve is Love.

Psalm 118:8 says,

It is better to take refuge in the LORD, than trust in man”.

I put this verse into practice within my life, and got away from that man when God made it possible.

It made sense. Yes, in this life, I will have circumstances, but my circumstances don’t have me.And Respect is mandatory.

 

 

 

Ask the right questions

Back home in Philly, in my early 20’s, can’t remember exactly how but was reintroduced to an old flame. This man was incarcerated at the time.

To go back when we first met, this man was like my knight in shining armor. He came to my defense when my sons father set a car I brought on fire and he wanted to pretty much beat me up, since he saw me with another man. Not to mention, he was in a relationship with another woman and brought her to fight me. That day, as a matter of fact that whole week was crazy. I was only 18 at this time and still in High School.

Getting back to me and this man. We wrote letters, talked on the phone, and I went to visit him in prison, for about a year or so. He seemed to be “The One”. We even share the same birthday.

We made plans to get married and everything. I introduced him to my children. A little while after he was released he moved in with us. This was AFTER his other plan was already in motion.

He convinced me I was the only woman in his life, BUT, from my understanding, this man was seeing another woman. The two were robbing local stores and banks. And to make matters worse, people in the neighborhood thought I was the woman alongside of him.

I had no clue. It wasn’t until I got a phone call, saying he’d been arrested and to turn on the news. There was video footage of a man and woman robbing a bank. I can’t say  it was him in the footage, but from what I last heard he is serving 80 plus years in prison.

The point of sharing this is not to belittle this man. He was a very good dude, had a good heart but sometimes people can become a product of their environment, so people only do what they know.I don’t blame him for anything.

This is to express, how I realized I was looking at love in the wrong way and reasons.

I felt indebted to this man for having my back the first time we met. Went along with pursuing the relationship out of obligation, plus I was lonely.

But I had to go through these things to understand the importance of knowing what I am looking for in a relationship. I needed to ask myself the right questions. Like self, What are your expectations when trying to build a relationship?Can you both be friends after he’s been in jail 8 years already? Can he be institutionalized?(Just to name a few)

After going through a rough time with being humiliated, angry, tired of people asking me about money I didn’t know about or have, God gave me the strength to pick myself back up again and move on.

Proverbs 2:7

” He stores up sound wisdom for the upright: He is a shield to those who walk in integrity”

 

 

I got 99 problems, but GOD isn’t 1

There were two questions brought to my attention today.

Why do you think God allows bad things to happen to good people?

How do you think God wants you to pray in the middle of your pain?

A chapter or two back in my life, I had a lot of things going on. I was stuck. It was hard to find a job, didn’t have any “Real money” to get just the basic necessities, like toilet paper, soap and toothpaste.

Had two friends.They are in a relationship with each other, and are younger than me. However, they’re old enough to live on their own and have children. Asked the two, if my children and I could stay with them. We needed to move out of the apartment complex we lived in at that time.

Went over the Do’s and Don’ts. It was made clear what I can do and can not do financial wise, since I was working on finding a place for me and my children.But if I wasn’t busy, there was no problem watching their children. BUT they took that and ran with it.

It turns out, these people were looking for live in FREE babysitters, maids and a butler(my son was the butler). They became mean spirit people. Picking arguments, started acting funny about food.This people would sit and eat food in our faces and wouldn’t even offer a piece of bread. Would leave their kids in the apartment not even ask if we would watch them, they just left and we had to take the hint.

It got so bad that the”Lady of the house” would hide soap, toilet paper and toothpaste in their room. True story one time the“Lady of the house” threw a bar of soap in the trash, said it had hair on it”.(it didn’t). The lady even took the only T.V. in the apartment, in their room when she was ready to go to sleep every night.Usually when somebody wanted to watch something she wasn’t interested in. We were living in a prison.

This one time, the “Man of the house” wanted to have a one on one talk with me. I said ok. The plan this man had been for me to watch their children while they go to work, for FREE. But I declined to do so. Simply because, I was tired of the mistreatment and we needed our own space. I would not have been able to make any moves if I were stuck in the house watching 2 kids(and they came back whenever they felt like it). 

These people really thought it was okay to schedule my time for me, and were upset because I flat-out told them, Man I am grown as hell, old enough to be y’all mom, ain’t no way in this world or any other world could you ever dictate my time(In that order in that order)in Momma Dee Voice

They knew I needed help with trying to get the finances needed to move into a new place. So I had to hustle and get on my grind, from the muscle.

Well, since I didn’t say, “OK”, the  man hinted if I didn’t watch his kids we would have to leave. Had we left, we would’ve had to stay in a shelter.

To go back a little with the history of me and the two people, as I said they are younger than me. The man started out as a friend of my son. When me and my children moved to Georgia 8 years ago they became best of friends. So, he became my son from another mother, and he called me “Mom”.

He came over all the time, spend the night, played video games with my son, ate well like my children, he was treated like family. I’m from Philly, the “City of Brotherly Love”, so that’s all I know to show.

There were many of times this young man needed a listening ear I was there, a few dollars to help him with his family. Whatever I could do to help I did. No strings attached, or hidden agendas.

So after the hint, I said to myself, SELF you got to get the heck out of there because somebody is going to get hurt and it ain’t gonna be me. Real talk. The nerve of this man, asking so much of me as if I owed him something behind staying at his place of residence for about 2 to 3 months.

But this man didn’t understand, I started out on my own while he was still in Pampers just learning how to walk. I had to make  grown up decisions for myself and a child starting at the age of 16.

I remember how rough it was plenty of times with finding a babysitter and the money to pay the babysitter. Been there done that, while trying to juggle all other obligations, for me was finishing High School back then.( I was in the 10th grade when I had my son)

Tried to help the two  as best as I could, but they were vampire’s. They tried to suck everything out of me, to the point where there would be no room for me to do anything for myself.

My feelings were so hurt and I was angry at the same time. I couldn’t understand why we were being treated like this. But,  I had to keep pushing. About a week later I had a job interview, got the job started about two weeks after that.

During that same timeframe, had another appointment, to participate as a Circle’s Leader with an organization called Circles, I was accepted.

To answer the first question, I feel God uses our pain for good.It was a good thing my children and I stayed with them. It helped us to see their “true colors”. We were shown what a one-sided friendship, and being used looks like first hand. Man people can change like the weather.

People can use your vulnerabilities to their advantage. It was good to see these people didn’t want to see us elevate.Yes, they are haters, like crabs in a brawl.And not to mention, they had a hustlers mentality.

In my opinion, they were hustling backwards.The both of them were  in a dark place. They were trying to hide it, but trying to hide it made them go deeper into that place and it was easier to see.

To answer the second question. I think God wanted me to pray for a peace of mind. He wanted me to pray asking Him to remove the people, places and things that meant me no good, that would cause a stunt in my spiritual growth. He wanted me to pray for the strength, wisdom, and courage to keep Pushing no matter what was going on around me or to me, in the name of Jesus.Amen

There is power in prayer. Now, I have a peace of mind. My kids and I moved got our own place and never returned to that environment and never looked back. Don’t have to worry about toilet paper, soap and toothpaste being hidden or thrown in the trash(I still can’t believe that one).

Since I’ve been participating with Circles, I have an extended family, who has no interest in using me for their own personal reasons.

Everyone in our group has their own story. But what we do have in common is, we are working together to “Thrive”.We give to one another unconditionally because “Team work makes the dream work”.

This story’s intent was not to bad mouth the two or even discredit them. Instead it contributed to  answering the two questions in a way it could be understood by whoever is interested in understanding.

Having my 1 GOD and trusting in Him, walking by faith and not by sight, those 99 Problems exist no more.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NLT

“This is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying our spirits are being renewed everyday. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever”.

 

Daily Prompt: Dilemma

via Daily Prompt: Dilemma

Back on December 16, 2006 , I had an experience that changed my life. It was one of those situations of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In my hometown of Philly, I grew up in an area called Da Bottom. It was just that. Full of good and bad times.It’s apart of town where everything goes on drug dealing, shootings, robberies, killings you name it, was and is there.

On this night I was getting myself ready to have a good time with my co-workers the next day. We were having a Christmas party. I never made it to the party.

Was on my way to one of the local stores, when all of a sudden shooting broke out. I ducked in front of a van until it stopped, then it started again. So I ran back towards my apartment complex.

Once I got into my apartment complex, started feeling pressure in my lower back. Took one hand to feel, only to see the palm of my hand full of blood. I’ve been shot in the back.

Thank God, I survived. Had to go to physical therapy for a few months to get my body back in shape, but my mental state was all out of shape.

I was living in fear. My thoughts were all over the place. Were the shooters looking for me? Would they try to kidnap my kids so I wouldn’t snitch?  I was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown.

The idea of relocating to another state was brought to my attention by a co-worker. Did my research on Atlanta, GA. It took about a year or so to get everything in order. Only to find out I needed to have permission from the state to relocate my daughter. Here’s where the DILEMMA kicks in.

There was a Child Custody and Child Support order in place with me and my daughter’s father. There had to be a court hearing in place BEFORE I could relocate with her. The court calendar was booked for the whole year.

I spoke with my daughter’s father to see if we could negotiate, no luck. I had already made arrangements with the house in Atlanta, Georgia. I paid the security deposit, had furniture, food. Found out about the schools, bus line, had things in order. Accept, the court hearing date.

I had no clue what to do. Didn’t want to get into any trouble for kidnapping or anything, but at the same time I was going to lose my mind if I stayed. The only thing I could think to do is leave and take my chances with the courts.

So we left for Atlanta,Georgia. That was on April 1, 2008, and we are still here. It turns out, magically I was able to get a court hearing date June 2008. We came back for court. My daughter’s father didn’t show up because he had a bench warrant out for non-payment of child support.

The judge read my petition. Granted me permission. She also expressed to me  had my daughter’s father shown up she would have had him arrested. Also, it was a good thing I was doing for me and my children and said Don’t let anybody tell me anything different.

The hearing last for about 15 minutes. Case closed.