Introspection On Life

June 6, 2018

Three weeks ago my neighbor passed away unexpectedly. From all appearances, he was healthy and full of life. Given how close he was to my age, his passing and his family’s loss, struck me especially hard. For nearly two weeks, his car sitting idly on his lot became a daily reminder of how fleeting, fragile and precious life is. It also led to to question, “what am I am doing, and how am I living my best life?” “Am I going after what I want and making the most of my gifts and talents?” Honestly, I’ve not always done that. My path hasn’t ventured the way I thought it would, and as a parent, I have sacrificed (at times at my own personal expense) for what’s best for my family. In the end, a great job or career will not be my legacy, but how I invested and poured into my children will. If I look at my life through that lens, I have no regrets. On the flip side, who I am as an individual (apart from who I am as a wife or mother) is also important and deserves attention. So balance and purpose in all I do, is what I’m seeking. Are there areas that need improvement? Of course! Do I have it all figured out? Not at all, but I am seeking, learning, growing and living. Stagnation is not an option.

Do you find yourself in a similar position? How are you pursuing balance and purpose in life?


Rivers Flow

July 15, 2017

I’ve thought of this quote often lately: “Every river knows where its water would not be soaked up into the earth, and that is where it flows past.” – A Nigerian Proverb

It reminds me of trusting one’s intuition, and of moving forward with deliberateness. In retrospect, I’ve had many moments to practice such this year, and I have a feeling it’ll only continue. First, it was deciding to invest in my PM certification (of which I’m still working on). It has bothered me that I wasn’t able to finish my degree, and while I still think it is important to do so, I’m a believer of ‘working with what you’ve got.’ 

A week after that, it was literally accepting that I’m not a “hypochondriac,” and of also disregarding my Doctor’s ‘you need to rest and take a vacation’ suggestions, to really seek out what was wrong with me. For a while I didn’t feel like myself, and since there wasn’t any visible evidence, it was easier to just wait. I’m no longer just waiting, and while I may not have all the answers, I’m feeling significantly better than I was before.

In hindsight, I can now see that often, we’re too long suffering at times. We hold off maybe out of fear, lack of motivation, or even cowardice of facing the truth. We assure ourselves that it’ll work itself out, but in truth, it has stagnated and so have we. 

So, like a river that shifts course when its water is not soaked up, we need to be observant/discerning enough to shift along with it. Now, I’m not saying to be “flighty, impulsive, and or unpredictable.” Those are issues for another time, but just like a year has seasons (and they don’t transition abruptly), so too does life. Take stock and move accordingly.

I now know myself enough to know (and admit), I don’t like ambiguity or not knowing. I don’t like mind-games, or manipulation. I may not have all the answers, but I want to move with certainty with what I do know. This may sound rigid to some, but I don’t see it that way at all. I believe in the importance of setting parameters, and of having standards. I may not know or have all that I want, but in identifying what it is I don’t want, gives me the freedom to seek out the more. 

A decade ago, I left things at, ‘I am becoming;’ and a decade later, I’m still becoming, and that is ok… moving wherever the river’s course takes me, and trusting, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).” I’m believing that for myself and for my family, and flowing wherever the course takes me. 

*I would love to hear your thoughts. Can you relate, or can you interpret the proverb differently? 


January 29, 2017

 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” Colossians ‭4:5‬ ‭NIV‬
This verse has been on my mind since last weekend, and all that has transpired between immigrants, refugees and even Native Americans (although they’re not actual outsiders) has reminded me that we, who claim to be “Christians,” have an obligation to be different. We have an obligation to really be pro-life and not just hold that stance towards the unborn. We have crisis going on all around the world and we cannot cower in fear. Wheather its food shortages, natural disasters, manmade disasters caused by leaders like Assad in Syria, or even ISIS, we need to be deliberate in our actions. If indeed we are believers of Jesus Christ, his actions were perfect examples of how we ought to act towards outsiders; he welcomed them, cared for them, healed them, and sent them on their way with a blessing. He also reminded us, ‘perfect love, casts out fear (1 John 4:18).’ It’s time for us to walk that out. 

Modern Day Racism

September 7, 2016

In east Chicago, Indiana neighborhoods have been evacuated because they found lead levels of dirt to be 10x above what is acceptable. Investigations date back to the 70s and only now, are they tearing down apartment complexes. 

Many say we no longer have racial issues in this country… maybe because people aren’t being lynched, or maybe because there aren’t obvious “blacks here,” or “whites only” signs showcased in various places through towns. However, there are many examples of contaminated towns and water systems whose occupants are predominantly those of color. There’s redlining, barely funded schools, exaggerated suspensions and juvenile imprisonment, and an unfair justice system that (if you look at the numbers and ratios) are skewed against those of color. 

These are all systemic examples of how racism is still an issue in this country and there’s many more. These kinds of racial manifestations fester in subtle ways that many are more comfortable ignoring, but then they want to talk about Chicago’s gun problem and black crime. 

There’s a source of where it all stems from, can we deal with that? 

As our boys’ 10th birthday approaches, I find myself reflecting on my time with them, and on what I’ve learned from them. If you’ve followed my social media during my time as their mother, you’ve no doubt read countless quotes I either found pure genius or just funny. 

So to commemorate, I want to highlight some of Max and Dante’s words over the next few days. I’ll begin with one from Dante that I caught myself repeating just the other day. 

This past weekend I shared a bag full of children’s books and the movies with one of my neighbors and also included a train set the boys no longer played with. As I was carrying groceries from our car a few days later, my neighbor commented on how appreciative they were, and that their daughter has played with the train set for hours. 

As I walked away, Dante’s words played itself on my mind, “it feels good to help the world.” Whether it’s his gentle plea to “please give him something (referring to a panhandler),” or to asking his teacher to set aside a plate of food for his classmate who was missing out on their world day celebration (due to a mid-day dentist appointment), helping the world can be small acts of kindness and giving.

“…and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:35‬ ‭NET

“…Freely you received, freely give.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:8‬ ‭NET‬‬

Please Speak Up

July 11, 2016

The sad truth is when organizations like the KKK continues to stand in this country, racism has room to fester. When Dylan Roof shot and killed 9 inside the historic church in Charleston (simply because they were black), he lived to face his day in court. It also wasn’t deemed “domestic terrorism.” But here we are today, back at it again. It’s the same story, different scenario, and we only have the removal of some confederate flags to show for it. Not an acknowledgment that yes, it was a hate filled, atrocious, and racist crime. So when some want to say, ‘it’s not a color thing, a black and white thing, or racist thing,’ it most definitely is. 

Yesterday I had a brief conversation with a friend and there was a moment of laughter, soon followed by a moment of sadness. I likened having the need for whites to speak up, to parenting. There are things my husband and I can press on our boys and they remain unfazed, but then, if their uncle says it, they’re completely on board. Sadly, it’s the same for some woman in the board room (I’ve heard plenty of personal accounts from women’s summits). A women shares an idea and the group is unfazed, but a man takes said idea and shares it again and suddenly, it’s a great idea. Sadly, that is why we all need whites who are against racism to speak up. With all the history and the anger over what has happened lately, many have deemed blacks’ fear and Black Lives Matter as not credible.

Is injustice, unfairness and racism not real? No; it’s just not real enough to all. Please speak up against racism. 

If we all stopped to think about ways or times cutting corners came back to bite us in the behind, I bet we’d have countless stories. More recently, we’ve had Flint, Michigan as a prime, national example.

The Governor made a decision to utilize a questionable water supply, and now after almost two years, the ramifications are out in the open. Only, his constituents suffer and he, I bet doesn’t even live there!

We only need to look at the industries we work in, or simple, daily observations will provide ample examples. For instance, fast food. When you’re in a bind or a time crunch, fast food provides a quick fix, but the ill effects of consuming too much fast food is a big price to pay.  

In the past I’ve had friends and acquaintances ask if I cook everyday with a surprised tone. While I don’t make 3 meals a day, 7 times a week, my family believes in leftovers. More often than not, we eat home cooked meals. Is it easy? Heck no… it’s time consuming, but for our health, it’s time well spent. 

We can look at other areas too. I’m an artist, and I support the graphic design field; everyone wants custom pieces, the best branding and exceptional websites with cool features… Oh, and most of your time and attention too, but rarely is the expense or monetary value fully acknowledged. 

Having a budget is fine, but having an accurate expectation for that budget, is best for everyone. 

I bet we can continue with the examples (I’ve heard and experienced tons more), but the take away: when we cut corners, we’re wasting time and funds. Yes, funds! More often than not, it costs you more to fix what should have been done right the first time. 

Back to Flint. Young children, and those with existing health risks suffer most. Parents and homeowners with water bills, have payed for a water supply they can’t use, and not only is that state now under strain, the nation has had to step in as well. 

Hopefully we as individuals, and as a nation can learn from this. Cutting corners is ineffective in every way… No one wins!

P.S. This blog in no way reflects it, but there are also racial and economic dynamics at play… another conversation for another day. 

At one point or another, we all may have used the saying, “one step forward, two steps backwards” to illustrate feelingss of disappointment, frustration or a sense of gridlock. This morning, a thought crossed my mind and I began to wonder about it in positive terms. 

What if “one step forward, two steps backwards” is really wisdom in disguise? What if in order to best move forward, we stop, take stock (move backwards if need be), and then move forward again?

Not all things are immediately visible to the eye and sometimes, what we think is, turns out all together differently. We could wallow in disappointment and remain stagnant, but that will not accomplish anything. What matters most, is how we choose to move forward.   

As December 2015 progressed and finally came to a close, I caught myself repeatedly saying to myself, “going forward, I reserve the right to change my mind.”

In life, there will always be moments of pain followed by joy, and on it goes. It is ever changing and sometimes, we ought to stop, reexamine where we are, and decide if we are going to continue just so, or make shifts.

2015 brought our family many moments of just that; new job, car died, withdrew from some commitments, and most drastic, we left our home church.

Some might ask why I mention this, but it was home for the greater part of the past 5 years. It impacted us greatly. We grew, we learned so much, and we made lasting connections with incredible people. We also talked about it all the time, we invited friends and family, and if you just so happened to live out of state, we invited you to view via live stream, or listen to countless podcasts.

I admit, I already feel a sense of loss and nostalgia, but a shift happened; one not of my making, but one many never expected. There were months (too many) of lurking in discomfort, fueled by Hope for the home we loved. In the end, we felt it best to leave.

Again, some might ask why I share this… I do because of this: many may have and will experience church disappointment, and their default response may be to leave “the church” (especially if they are young in faith). I want to encourage you to seek God. His vision for you and “His Church,” is far greater than what has been interpreted by us humans.

I also share this because, 2015 was a big reminder of how important family is. In the end what comforted me most, and impacted our decision was God reminding us, He did not entrust us with a church, but he entrusted us with our family.

So, as 2016 begins I will continue to be lead by that… protect the non negotiable, such as family, but I reserve the right to examine the other areas as I move ahead.

A Happy New Year to you!

“For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw
away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to rip, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭(NET)‬‬