Lessons Learned at 42

FullSizeRenderI am blessed to say I turned forty-two a couple of days ago.  Interestingly, a few days before my birthday, Facebook placed  “Flashback posts” from my 40th birthday celebration on my news feed.  Some of the pictures were are hard to look at for more than a few seconds.  Soooo much has changed since then.  The big FOUR OH (40) was easy, breezy, beautiful cover girl.

Turing forty-two came with battle scars and big life lessons yet more authentic love than I could ever have imagined.

I battled the war of divorce and I took a lot of body shots…disappointment, anger, rage, and embarrassment. I raised my sword to the death of my dream for my family and my life then pulled out my white towel in defeat.   I drew my firearm but choked at pulling the trigger on having to offer forgiveness for being SEVERELY hurt and the fear of being alone forever.  Even as a woman of faith, I can totally understand Mike Tyson when he said the prophetic words:  “Everybody has a plan until you get punched in the face”.

One major lesson I had to learn……

1. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.(Ephesians 6:12 CEV)

Boxer with cutman

Once I FINALLY realized the REAL fight happens between my two ears and in my heart, moving on became easier.  However, let me keep it real, my boxing ringside cutman went through a whole lotta vaseline for my gash…it was huge and is still healing.

I heal just a little bit more each day I choose to put down my weapons and surrender to what is (where I am in life…career, singleness, finances) through prayer.  Do I get it right every day?  I WISH! Y’all I have days sometimes several days in a row where I slide back into old behaviors and fearful thoughts.  Yet because of my journey and my healing gash, I now see people and situations through the lens of empathy.

Very recently, Andy Stanley said something that summed up my second life lesson:(I added the words in parenthesis):

2.  “You cannot consume, acquire, exercise {or run far enough away}into happiness….”

I can’t tell you how many times I have said:  “When I get ________ THEN I will be happy”, “When I stop feeling _______ THEN I will be happy”.

While I waited on the perfect circumstances for happiness to occur, God sent amazing men and women into my life who came alongside me and prayed, cooked meals, completed home projects, ran errands, you name it.

I had all the ingredients for the “happiness recipe” in my cabinet but I kept going to Wal-Mart…aimlessly walking up and down the aisles without a shopping list.

As I looked around the table at the beautiful faces at my birthday dinner and reflected on the posts, texts, gifts, and well wishes I received throughout the day, I couldn’t help but think about a quote someone emailed to me months ago:

3.  “Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.”– Mandy Hale

Family picture 2015

“Forget about what’s happened;  don’t keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.  It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? Isaiah 43:19 (MSG)

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)

I Am Enough

It has been ten months since I have written on this blog. This blog with my name.

I love to write and at the beginning of last year, I would have told you writing is part of my ministry.

“Katina J. Rice the “Jesus girl”, speaker, writer, dancer, mama…pharmacist by day hip swinging dance fitness instructor by night.

Katina-A

Oh yea,….her.

Life went topsy turvy and I lost her.  I couldn’t bring myself to scratch out words anywhere, not on my blogs, in a journal, on a random piece of paper or on the inside of gum wrap. No words for my hurt.

No words but plenty of activity: prayer, work, carpool, dance, laundry, chores, errands, soccer, volleyball, piano, Zumba, friend, daughter, Bible Study leader. And so, no time for writing my words only time for getting from one day to the next without any regard for what I REALLY wanted.

As Christians, we are supposed to live a surrendered life right? Die to self. (You’ve heard that before).  Well, if that is true, does what I want even matter?  Does my hurt even matter?  The kiddos aren’t gonna get themselves to school, dinner and practice.  Bills still need to be paid so off to work I go… even-though my stomach gets in knots every Sunday afternoon. Life didn’t stop because I had a knife in my heart.

I got tired of talking about it and I felt like other people got tired of hearing about it. Everyone has problems.

“I’m not the first and I won’t be the last.  Pick yourself up by the bootstraps. Pray harder”…none of these worked.  They made me feel worse.

I spent the last six months of 2014 desperately trying to get over things and be happy.  If I just had more faith! Right?

So 2015 came in and I vowed things would be different.  I was going to feel better.

January was on its way out and I felt worse.  I looked at other dance fitness instructors making things happen in their careers and I shamed myself for not doing more.  No energy to do more…..more shame.  Other pharmacists on my job LOVE it…what is my problem?  More shame.

So I began to plan to do more even though I didn’t have any energy.  I had to do more cause my hurt made me feel so low.  Surely, if I do more, achieve more, apply for a new job, pray more, start a new ministry…..something.

Over dinner, I shared all my “plans” with a friend.  Then she asked me a pressing question.  The kind of question only a person with your best interest at heart will ask:  “Why do you want to do all that stuff?  Do you not think you are enough?”

I didn’t answer her at first.  But as I thought about it later, my answer was No.

No because to be completely honest, my heart is broken in two.

No because I sometimes want to get in my car and keep going rather than deal with my teenage daughter.

No because I am a daughter of the King yet my self talk does not reflect my lineage.

As I prayed over the next few days God revealed these truths to me:

Enough is not accomplishment.

Enough has NOTHING to do with being chosen or discarded by people.

Enough is right now…even if right now is hurting, not really feeling it and shame.

Since God’s Spirit lives in me and in you, Enough is on the inside.

Looking and striving for ENOUGH is like looking for my sunglasses and they are right on the top of my head.

Last weekend, I had my dance fitness class do an exercise with a plain white t-shirt where we each wrote our “word theme” for 2015.

Katina-enoughI wrote.. I AM ENOUGH on my t-shirt.

For the first time in a very long time, I meant it.

(Enough…even with no earrings or make-up!)

I am enough

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Five Minute Friday-FALL

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 FALL. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

young pharmacist Katina

I graduated from Pharmacy School at the tender age of 23 and took my first job as a retail pharmacist at Revco.  I marched in with high ideals about being part of the healthcare team, leading diabetes days and lobbying for a “private counseling room”.  After about four months of practicing, I decided that instead of more pharmacology classes in pharmacy school, I needed more psychology classes. 

Everybody was, in my opinion, CRAZY!  Patients were only interested in getting what they needed quickly and upper management did not equip the store with the staffing necessary to meet the patients’ needs…..SAFELY. 

Although I was “grown” for all intents and purposes, I was still not very comfortable in my own shoes.  Life back then was like walking on a balancing beam.  Arms swinging, toes grasping for the beam ….I did not want to FALL.

If I could go back and say something to the young woman in this picture I would say: 

Oh you sweet and beautiful girl.  You are amazing and God loves you so much.  Stop worrying about FALLing.  You will fall  alot….and it will hurt.  Most of the time, there will  only small scrapes and bruises but a couple of times you will get up with bloody knees and elbows.  But, you will survive.  Girl, God has your back and He will take care of you.  You will finally stop your crazy balancing act and surrender it all to God but you will get so tired in the process.

The profession of pharmacy is not ready for your creative spirit now but things will change eventually. Continue to serve others and everything will FALL into place.

Oh, and that thing you have ALWAYS loved to do….DANCE–keep your skills up.  When you are knocking on the door of turning 40, you will FALL in love with the Lord more than ever before by leading women to dance through life with JOY! (Dance Fit Divas)

 

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

Pour Your Heart Out-Peace Faker

Image Source

Hello, My name is Katina and I am a Peace FAKER.  I came in contact with the term “Peace Faker” while reading the book Unglued (Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions) by Lysa Terkerust.

If you haven’t read Unglued, I STRONGLY suggest it.  In the book, Lysa gives four categories that describe the ways we come “unglued”:

Exploders who shame themselves (Yell first, feel horrible later)

  • Exploders who blame others (Yell and then blame the other person for your behavior)
  • Stuffers who build barriers (Say everything is fine but then get distant)
  • Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks ( Silent record keeping of every wrong doing only to be brought up later)

Call me crazy but depending on my audience, I can react in all of these ways.  Don’t let someone close to me like my husband or children dance on one of my nerves, I can explode and blame, stuff and build a barrier while collecting my retaliation rocks, and shame myself for it ALL  in record time.

However, I am a people pleaser who loves to help which means I am a champion STUFFER!  It just seems easier to PRETEND that everything is OK instead of having a hard conversation. I don’t want to make things worse, so I try to convince myself that I can just let it go.  That sounds good but the reality is….I don’t just “let it go”.  I build a barrier or distance myself from the person who has hurt me. Or I take, and take, and take and then BOOOOOM.. I let them have it for old and new!

I think most women stuff in some shape or fashion.  It just seems like the “good Christian girl”, or “best Mommy of the Year” thing to do.  It is ironic.  We stuff in an effort to be peacemakers when in reality we are what Lysa calls “peace-fakers”.  Lysa says, “True peacekeeping is about properly processing the emotions before they get stuffed and ROT into something horribly toxic”.

The point is to have something Lysa calls “Soul Integrity”.  “Soul Integrity” is honesty that is godly.  Soul Integrity brings balance to unglued situations.  It makes us true peacemakers–people who aren’t stuffing or exploding but rather honestly demonstrating what they are experiencing in a godly manner.” WOW, what a wonderful thing to model for our children!

A passage in the book of James speaks about Soul Integrity:

James 3: 14-15, 17 (NIV) (I added the words in parentheses)

14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast (explode) about it or deny the truth (stuff). 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic….But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

How can you respond in ways that are:peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere this week?

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell over at Thing’s I can’t Say

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!