I really gotta let it go…Thanks George.

Image Credit: MCA Nashville

Image Credit: MCA Nashville

I am a music lover.  Take a look at my Itunes library and you will find Kirk Franklin, Chris Tomlin, Jay Z, Rascal Flatts, Bob Marley and a couple of hard rock songs here and there.

On Sunday, I watched a little of the ACM Awards and I had the great opportunity to hear George Strait sing a medley of his classic “All my Ex’s Live in Texas” and his newest song, “Let It Go”. When he smoothly crooned “Let It Go”, everyone swayed side to side and seemed to listen intently to his lyrics…including me.

Here are a few lines:

Love’s great until it’s not
Hearts break but the world don’t stop
When it rains, man, it pours you can’t change the course
You can wish on a star but if it ain’t in the cards

Let it go, sometimes you gotta let it go
Let it all wash on under the bridge, blow it a kiss
Give it a rest ‘cause it is what it is

You never know
What’s waiting just up the road
Sooner or later that sun’s gonna shine
Luck will turn on a dime
And when the good times roll let ‘em roll
But when they don’t
Let it go

Let it go
You really gotta let it go
Let it go
Sometimes you gotta let it go
Let it go

As the work week began and dread reared her ugly head, I kept singing the line “and when the good times roll let ’em roll but when they don’t…let it go”.  Now as much as I love music, country songs don’t traditionally usually get stuck in my brain.  Perhaps it is the steel drum and steel guitar arrangement of “Let It Go” that remind me of the beach?

Perhaps, it was God, using one of his infinite ways (music) to speak to me?

Whatever the reason, George Strait is right….I really gotta let some stuff go.

If you are REALLY honest, I bet you have some things you need to let go of too.

And since we are being honest, I’ve tried “letting go” before and it is easier said than done.

So, how do you let  it go?

After thinking about the lyrics, I decided to ask God through prayer and Bible study how to really let go.

Here are two truths I discovered:

1. Letting Go is a choice.  It doesn’t happen spontaneously when you are no longer bothered by a situation.  Letting go is an active decision to no longer dwell on what happened all while still feeling raw because of what happened.

…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)

2. To truly “let go”, I must relinquish the “right” to get even.  This means acknowledging life is not fair yet God is the judge and will right the wrongs. In practical terms…it is surrendering my will to keep defending myself, continuing to argue my point, and/or manipulating people or situations towards an outcome I am attached to. (OOOH)

Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” (Romans 12:19 MSG)

So, happy Hump Day!  Where do you needed to “Let It Go”?  Just like the song says:  “You never know what’s waiting up the road”.

Watch the George Strait’s performance on AMC awards 2015 HERE.  The man is amazing and touches all genres of music…the rapper Drake quoted him in his song HYFR.

Let It Go 

Courage and Kindness..the Cinderella Movie

cinderella-glass-slipper-goodAs our “girl time” activity of the weekend, my daughters and I went to see the new Cinderella movie.  Since I know the Cinderella story backwards and forwards, I was ready to huff, puff, roll my eyes and noodle neck at all the gushy “love at first site” stuff.

Surprisingly, I did NOT roll my eyes, but there must have been dust in the theater because my eyes got a little misty.  Not to mention, God used my time off my cell phone to minister to me.

The new Cinderella movie gives us a little background into the character of our princess, whose real name was Ella.  We get a glimpse of Ella’s seemingly perfect childhood and her pivotal life circumstance that changed everything, the death of her mother.

We all have pivotal life circumstances that when we reflect on them, we can see the how the trajectory of our life changed for a season or perhaps a lifetime.

When Ella’s mother was on her death bed, she asked Ella to promise her one thing:  To Have Courage and Be Kind.

When Ella’s father remarried her stepmother, Ella discovered something we in real life have known a VERY long time….having courage and being kind ain’t easy. With some folks and in some situations, it is nearly impossible.

It was refreshing to see Ella, who was given the name Cinderella by her stepsisters, desperately wanting to give up. If it had been easy for her to keep looking for the best in each situation she faced and then handling her challenges with kindness and grace-filled strength, there would be no lesson.

The lesson is in the struggle.  The lesson is in having courage and being kind, even when you are not feelin’ it.

It was Cinderella’s kindness and courage that won the Prince’s heart.  Unlike in the animated movie, their first meeting was in the forest in plain clothes, not at the ball.  However, just like in the animated movie, when the Prince saw Cinderella at the ball, he was in love!

Ok annnnnnd since we all know the story….. they all lived Happily Ever After. Right?

Yes, but not before Cinderella did the most courageous thing anyone can do…she FORGAVE.  Instead punishing her  Step Mother for mistreating her, Cinderella forgave her.

Cinderella and her Step Mother both endured pivotal life circumstances.  It was how they handled the cards life dealt them that made the difference.  Cinderella could have easily become bitter like her Step Mother but she chose to be better.

So I left the theater wondering how I can be BETTER instead of bitter about my own pivotal life circumstances.

Surprisingly, my answer came from a princess but the original idea came from the King of Kings.

Have Courage –Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

and

Be Kind-Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Have Courage and Be Kind has become a new mantra for me! I love it so much, I created a printable for my desk! Want one for yourself?  Click HERE

Have Courage Be Kind Printable

Jupiter Ascending…a lesson learned.

Last weekend, a friend and I had plans to go to the movies.  We each had at least one of our kids with us so we had to see something no more than PG-13.  Much to my dismay, the only movie at the theater during the time we could go, was Jupiter Ascending.  You can’t possibly know how much my eyes rolled up into my head.  I HATE sci-fi, futuristic garbly goop but I ended up learning something amidst the special effects.

Jupiter Ascending

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

I wish I could tell you that I walked into the movie theater and simply enjoyed my time with my daughter and my friend.  No dice.  I grumbled, mumbled, and complained all the way through the previews.  When Jupiter Ascending finally started, I pulled my coat up to my neck and got settled in for a nice nap.

In the beginning scenes of the movie, I was acquainted with the main character, Jupiter Jones.  Not only did Jupiter have the same last name I was born with, but she woke up everyday dreading the day ahead just like I do ….more often than I would care to admit.

Jupiter was a Russian illegal immigrant who spent her days cleaning rich people’s homes.  To tell this story, the filmmakers replicated Jupiter’s everyday life by showing her cutting her alarm clock off at 4:45am, dragging herself to make coffee for her mother, constantly cleaning toilets and then starting the process over again with that darn alarm clock.

Right after hitting the alarm clock to silence it, Jupiter would mumble, “I hate my life”.

Parts of me wanted to awake from my pseudo slumber and yell out..”I feel you Jupiter” but my child would have been so embarrassed and that would not be the whole truth.

I don’t hate my life but I often feel like Jupiter…. trapped by the drudgery of everyday life.

With a plot that was too confusing to even try to explain, (I told y’all I don’t like that sci-fi stuff), Jupiter was being hunted by aliens because she carried a genetic legacy that entitled her own the planet Earth.  Luckily, she was befriended by a half human/canine alien warrior named Caine…played by none other than Channing Tatum (I’m awake now)!

Jupiter traveled into space and learned about her new entitlements, but more importantly, she learned about herself.  In the middle of all of that, there was an “almost wedding” with a totally fabulous dress:

Jupiter Jones-Wedding

image credit:usmagazine

When forced to choose, Jupiter sacrificed herself and her family for greater good of Earth.  Yet, even after choosing the “right thing”, she still had to fight the villan Balem. Eventually, she was heroically rescued by her hunky alien warrior, Caine. (Well, of course she was!)

Jupiter returned to her old life of cleaning even though she owned Earth. Although she was no longer “trapped” by the drudgery of every day life, she returned to it with a new perspective…appreciation.

The movie Jupiter Ascending was far-fetched, confusing, and most reviewers only gave it 2 stars at best.  However, there was a lesson learned from one Jones girl to another. Jupiter Jones reminded Katina Jones Rice to practice gratitude.

Time to dust off my old Gratitude Journal.

How do you practice gratitude?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Five Minute Friday-Write..and I am 40

Every Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is WRITE. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

Me with hatI turned the big 4-0 on Monday.  Honestly, it was a little harder than I thought.  I don’t feel older, I guess I just began to realize that over half of my life is well…..over.  Kind of shocking to think of it that way.  However, thinking of it as half over places a sense of urgency on me to make the years that I have left REALLY count.

Have you celebrated any milestone birthdays that made you reflect on your life?

As I look back over my life and think about the things that have consistently brought me joy, the words dance and write bubble up to the top of my mind.  As I stand with over half of my life behind me, it is getting harder and harder to silence the little girl in me who wants to write and dance for a living.

The practical side of me that has always been able to push through and do what is logical, is now fighting against this 40-year-old inner spirit who will NOT be silenced.

Believe me, I have tried to not get so excited about dancing a new song in class.  I have prayed.  “God please just make me normal.”  I have longed to just love my day job and be a go-to-work-and-come-home kind of girl. (It would be so much easier.)

NO DICE:(

May I ask a birthday favor of you?  I think I have worn down the ears of my dear friends:  Keysier, Larae, Traci and Kim.  Will you pray for me, my dreams and this sassy, 40- year-old attitude?

Thank you in advance,

I need it.

What do you need prayer about?  Tell me in the comments:)

 

 

The Get-out-of-that-funk two step

imageHave you ever had a period of time when you just don’t have your mojo?  Things that normally take you no time to finish seem to take an eternity? If you are totally honest, you really don’t have the energy to do the things you need to do.  Mama is irritable.  It is kind of like a toddler who has gotten over tired…..sleep would REALLY help them but they are too tired to wind themselves down so they throw a fit?

I am not sure if any of this sounds familiar to any of you, but it pretty much sums me up for the last couple of months. I have been in a funk.

Oh and add some guilt in there because my inner mean girl keeps reminding me–in the grand scheme of things….my “funk” is nothing in comparison to the hurt people are feeling in different parts of our country and across the globe. Well now, just knowing that I feel funky but that I am totally over-reacting really helps me feel better right? Uh, no.

So what is a Diva to do? Well, I learned the two things from my fitness class ladies that have really helped me begin to feel better. I call my lesson the get-out-of-that-funk-two-step.

image

Step 1–Gratitude
I know it sounds cliche-ish but you really can’t stay in a funk when you thank God for all of things that are going right. No matter how funky you feel, there is always SOMETHING you can be thankful for. I can’t tell you how many times one of the ladies in my class thank me for being their instructor. No, THANK YOU ladies for being some of the most amazing women to dance through life with. Thank God for bringing us together…it has all been HIS design.

Step 2 Don’t cry about it……Dance about it
Every week, the ladies in my classes come in with their own set of problems yet they hoot, holler, punch, salsa, merengue, and kick in spite of it all. They challenge each other during class then they put prayer requests in our prayer box.

One of my favorite biblical characters is David. I think I like him so much because of his passion. In 1 Samuel 30:6 David is in a funk and he two-stepped his way right out of it: David was greatly distressed…..But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (AMP)

How do you de-funkify?
This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell over at Things I Can’t Say

Dreams Deferred-Pour Your Heart Out

For the last couple of weeks, I have been using breakfast as a time of quick devotion and “girl-talk time” for me and my daughters.  This morning, I read them the poem A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes.

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

I asked my third grader if she knew what deferred meant.  She paused for a second and then said, “expired”? (In reference to the line about rotted meat.) “Perhaps”.  I responded.  Then I asked them what was necessary for a raisin to dry up in the sun, for meat to rot or for something to crust over.  “TIME!”  they both chimed!

Yes, time is key ingredient to a dream deferred.  When our dreams are deferred, they don’t happen on our time line.  Dreams, hopes, aspirations not occurring when we expect them to are bitter pills to swallow.  Especially since most things in our modern day lives (emails, texts, faxes, online purchases, digital images), happen instantly.

Proverbs 13:12 states:  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

One of the things I have been “queen” at in the past is taking things into my own hands to try to MAKE them happen.  Things in my own hands usually leads to regret because my focus is on the dream instead of the dream giver.

So what DOES happen to a dream deferred?  Does it sag like a heavy load or does it explode? 

Some dreams will explode and just like Proverbs 13:12 states, we will feel fulfilled.  Others may never come to fruition and we may be heartbroken about them. The point is to not focus on the dream and all of its details but to focus on the ONE who gives us the power to dream.

Focusing on HIM means thanking HIM for our many blessings and then trusting HIM to navigate us towards our best.

Where do you need to shift your focus and begin an attitude of gratitude and trust?

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell at Things I Can’t Say.

 

31 Days to Clean Days 23-24

Happy Monday Divas!  We are chugging along on the 31 Days to Clean Challenge! Our 31 Days to clean challenge is based on the ebook ”31 Days to Clean” by Sarah Mae.  Go here for more info on our challenge.

When I started this challenge, I had NO idea how much I would learn.  31 Days to Clean is about the “why”, the vision and the heart for taking care of our homes.  Well into the challenge, I discovered my vision and heart for taking care of my home is that I want our home to be a place of encouragement… a place where my girls can “bounce back”.

Once I identified my purpose, getting and keeping things in order has been a little easier.  By doing this challenge, I have been motivated to complete cleaning tasks that have been sitting in a pile of “I-really-need-to-blah-blah-blah”. 

I cleaned out and organized my closet and my daughters closets! We gave away and donated over 5 huge trash bags of clothes.  Over the past two weekends, we cleaned out our basement AND garage.  It was hard work but the best part was doing it together.

Days 23 and 24 of the challenge were all about dealing with distractions and organization.  I get distracted easily, especially when cleaning! Facebook, blogging, and talking on the telephone are my biggest culprits.  I have had to put my phone away to get our major projects done. I didn’t touch my phone or a computer for most of the day on Saturday and it felt great!

In addition to being easily distracted, I am a true Organizing Junkie! We have every color and size plastic bin ever made.  Once we really hunkered down and threw things away, our basement looked like a container store.  I have learned, “organized-everything-in-a-pretty-container” has to come after purging!

After each day’s reading in our challenge, Sara Mae gives two challenges:

  • The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart
  • The Martha Challenge – Specific cleaning tasks

The Mary Challenge for days 23 &24 -Figure out what distracts you and then think of what you can do to lesson your distractions.  Pick one hot spot in your house and bring about order.

The Martha Challenge for days 23& 24- Home Office-steam clean carpet, area rugs and wood floors. Clean out your desk, update files, organize supplies and drawers.

Most of all, be grateful for your space and your life!

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

“Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you turn your attention to other things,It comes and sits softly on your shoulder.” Henry David Thoreau.

I found this quote over the weekend as I was preparing for my posts on “happiness”. I totally agree, the more I chase happiness, the more it seems to move on to the next flower. When I really sit down and think about it, maybe it is me who is moving on to the next flower, if not literally in thought?

Flower? No, not really a flower but on to the next best thing. Monday, we talked about confusing happiness with pleasure. I don’t know about ya’ll but I get bored easily. Things that were pleasurable the first time, just don’t have the same umph after multiple times. You know how you get that new car and the first 6 months that car payment doesn’t really bother you but by month 7 you are so OVER it?

Yeah, pleasure is a lot like that. Pleasure is mostly sought after due to boredom or a discontentedness with the current situation. So, when I am bored or feeling dissatisfied with something, I seek out something that will bring me pleasure. Which brings me back to the new car situation. How many people buy cars or other expensive things because they are discontented with something?

The funny thing is that I when I seek out “pleasure”, I am actually tricking myself into believing that the “pleasure”is actually happiness, I usually end up unsatisfied after the experience has ended, or craving more.

Ya’ll know the routine. Instead of looking at what we have now, we look to the future. “When we get this debt paid off, then I will be happy”. “When I lose this weight, then I will be happy”.

Cyrstal Boyd got it right when she said the following:

“We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another.

Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough
and we’ll be more content when they are.

After that we’re frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire.

The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than right now.

If not now … when?

Being happy now means being in the moment not regretting the past or wishing about tomorrow.

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day which the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it”.

This post is part of a weekly meme entitled: Pour Your Heart Out hosted by Shell at Things I can’t Say!