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Romans 12:1-2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
WOW WOW WOW!
Today's message and prayer at the Church of the Highlands was on fire! Here's the link if you want to hear and watch and see how thousands of people around the country are lifting up prayer requests for things that matter to you and society right now:
Today's 21 days of prayer is all about spiritual attacks on the family and encouraging us to put on the full armor of God. We need to step into our place of authority and fight the devil.
Ephesians 6:10 - 13
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Be encouraged! Do not shrink back and be destroyed, stand in your purpose and your calling. Do not flee, Nehemiah 4:14 “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
Focus on the home and believe God can do great things. This is what the pastor was preaching and praying for today and encouraged all of us to pray too. That we would have:
1. Homes built on the Word of God
2. Homes will have a spirit of unity, established in prayer
3. Homes filled with children in love with God.
I have been so blessed and encouraged as I follow along daily I just had to share and encourage others to join me.
It's been really amazing to see what I'm praying for manifest in real life too. I've been praying for our government officials, our country, my alma mater, my friends and their families, my family, my favorite celebrities, Hollywood, and whoever and whatever God brings to mind as I'm lifting up these prayers to Him.
I believe in the power of prayer. I believe in God's goodness. I believe in the power of God's truth. love and ability to change lives and circumstances.
I see it in my own life and in certain things happening in the country today which is why I have to write and share this with you to encourage you to join me in the final days of this amazing experience.
There's so much evil and darkness in the world right now. Wouldn't it be nice to have some light and encouragement in the midst of it? That's why I'm doing this. It changes my whole perspective and gives me encouragement that God is in control and He wins over the evil going on right now.
When I think about it, all I can do is pray for our borders, for the people caught in the crosshairs and that God will intervene, give our government officials wisdom in handling it, and that we will have law and order once again. It's out of my hands...
And on the flip side, I see positive news happening that makes me feel good:
I know some may not think Alec being charged is positive, but I've been praying there will be justice in the world and I think it IS manslaughter when someone deliberately points a gun at someone and shoots it, fake or not.
I'm also tired of celebrities literally getting away with murder as Bruce Jenner did in that fatal car crash. I also feel sometimes we have to go through hard times to trust in God, not ourselves. Perhaps Alec will turn to God now?
But enough of me and my opinions of what's happening in the world, let's get back to God and his will for our lives.:)
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and I hope it encourages you too: Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
They have a great app for pray called Pray First which you can find in both iPhone and Android stores. And I like having the church app too because it makes it easier to find the message. You can also just watch on your computer. Whatever works! Just pray!
God bless your day as my friend Ashley always says. If you'd like some worship music to play in the background as you go about your day, here's some I just found.
It feels great to be blogging again. I stopped because these blogs take hours to write and format which I normally don't have time to do. I also told myself I didn't want to write if I wasn't getting paid, but I find blogging is my therapy and as a result, I kinda need to right now. It's the only way I can make sense of what's going on and get out of swirling around in my brain on things I have no control over. You feel me?
Case in point, all the rioting going on. If you seriously believe this is the result of one black man's death and isn't orchestrated by evil forces wanting to take America down, then you haven't heard how prepared the rioters were in Dallas and how the people running it were directing people to pallets of bricks and brought pallets of water. Who has that kind of money and time to orchestrate a full on attack? And why would black people destroy their own neighborhoods, stores, small businesses?
It just doesn't make sense.
But nothing makes sense right now. The senseless death of George Floyd has been denounced by numerous good cops, but you won't hear that on the news because it doesn't fit the narrative. Did you hear that George worked at a nightclub with the cop who killed him? What does that say about pre-meditated murder? What does it say about why this cop should have been stopped by the others who stood around and watched?
It's why I like TikTok so much. You hear from people in uniform, whether it be a nurse, a doctor or a cop exactly how they're feeling, what is going on in their cities, their hospitals and wherever they are. And it helps put things into perspective because it's not biased, no agenda, just people sharing.
I used to only see dancing kids and that was soothing to me because they're so innocent and remind me of my youth, but now, I like hearing from adults around the country because the news doesn't accurately reflect the reality most people are facing. It's a sad truth when you can't trust your media to be objective, but this is where we are now. 80% of the media is liberal and as a result, you will really only hear that perspective despite the fact it is hurting people.
People are dying. People are losing their businesses. People are being flamed into fury and doing things they might never do normally.
And all for what?
A political agenda that will create more chaos, more poverty, more destruction? You look at any Democrat run state and they are in shambles. California - highest homelessness in the nation; New York - highest deaths in their retirement communities because Andrew Cuomo put 6,000 infected people into them knowing it would cause death for seniors. Why? Detroit - highest death rate of black on black murders even with gun control.
It's not guns people, we have a heart and mind issue in our country and that's why I pray and call upon God to save us because the government isn't the answer. I don't care who is in office. We have seen trouble building and now it's escalated into full out war and it's devastating.
Is this really who we want to be as a country? A nation? A society? A people? I know I sure don't want to have this be our normal existence. This isn't the America I grew up with or want to die experiencing.
It's why the scriptures I memorized as a child keep coming back to me now because they're the only way I find comfort and solace when everything is imploding around me.
And I mean everything.
I was going to list it all, but that was too overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like Biblical times and we're going through the ten plagues only ten times worse. I've never in my entire lifetime seen such chaos and such complete and utter failure of control and decency. It's like what else is coming? What else will it take before people realize they need God? We can't keep doing this without a moral compass people. We can't expect to resolve heart issues without first looking at ourselves and asking what about me? Where is my part in all this? What have I done, or not done to resolve this heart ache?
Because if you're really honest with yourself, you will see the heartache of every black person, every small business owner, every neighbor and every child who is crying out for help and what have you done to resolve it? Have you spoken up about injustice? Have you stood up against evil in our society to prevent it from getting stronger? Have you stopped racist remarks when you hear them among your friends? Have you ever considered why poor people are poor and bothered to help them?
Sometimes I feel like God has put me in the neighborhood and the situations I've been living in to humble my heart, to show me what it's really like to not have enough food, not enough gas, not enough...because I came from a white middle class privileged life and didn't understand it on a heart level. I went to church, I prayed, I cared, but I didn't really get it. I was mad when homeless people dug through my trash waking me up. I was closed off to those begging on the side of the freeway.
I just didn't want to get it.
However, when you live through what I've lived through all of a sudden you really begin to understand what breaks God's heart and look at people as people rather than statistics, or people to avoid. Fortunately, having lived in Africa as a child, I am more aware of what black people experience too.
I experienced reverse racism or what it feels like to be a minority as one of the few white people traveling through Burkina Faso after college. When you're the minority and nobody speaks your language and you have to rely on the kindness of strangers when your supposed friend turns on you and begins to treat you with anger and take out on you all the hurt and pain she experienced living in America, then you begin to realize the simmering rage that lies just below the surface and the pain that our collective racism causes black people.
Attending a black church for a few years, I began to understand the fear and underlying worry that black people experience every time they leave their home when every choir practice included a prayer for safety. I have been part of other white choirs and never once did we pray for safety. It wasn't even on the radar.
I've dated numerous black men and even have a son from one. We talked about politics, life and I know I brought one into circles he wouldn't normally enter without me. But I also know I will never date another black guy again. The last guy was just too abusive, too addicted, too mean and self-centered to ever make me look at a black guy with the same innocent eyes of someone who hasn't experienced abuse - sexual, mental and financial at the hands of someone you think you love.
Not to say white guys aren't capable of such things too, but it's just a personal choice not to be involved with anyone black again. I've had nothing but heartache from all the black guys I've dated and now I'm ready to meet a nice white guy. I want some semblance of a normal romantic life that isn't marred by what they experienced growing up and take out on me if that makes sense. I have enough baggage of my own to deal with than to take on someone else's too. I'm working on healing the wounds of my past and growing and changing. I need someone on the same path.
Well, that was sure personal, but since I am on the topic felt like clarifying. I actually don't feel like dating anyone of any other culture, any other race to be honest. I just want a guy who lives in the same environment as I do, experiences life like I do and enjoys the same things that I do. Is that too much to ask? Someone who has a faith in God and has the same moral compass. Someone who believes in the power of prayer and applies the Bible to living a better life built on faith, honesty, and love.
I know I'm not perfect. Never said I was.
In fact, lately under quarantine I've even begun to question why I keep doing certain things and why I constantly feel like I have to defend myself because it's exhausting to tell the truth. I also hate when I hurt people and don't mean to. It sometimes feels like I'm the feral cat in a corner lashing out even when people are trying to help. And I wonder what will tame this part of me. It's why I've begun joining a Bible Study to learn new ways of coping, communicating and loving. It's why I listen to so many sermons when I'm feeling especially hurt. It's why I pray that God will reveal in me what needs to be changed and help me to change.
It's not a fast process. It's not an easy process. But being aware of the issue, wanting to change and working towards it is the first step.
It's what I hope happens with each of you reading this, and our society too. We can't keep pointing fingers at everyone saying You have to change. You're the problem. It's all your fault. Because there are three fingers pointing back at you like the child's adage says.
What are YOU doing that needs correction? What are YOU saying that needs to stop? What are YOU doing in relationships with men, women, minorities, or others who aren't you that needs to change? What are YOU doing to make that change?
I really liked this guy's perspective which is why I'm going to share it here now because I don't think anything we humans do are capable of making the heart changes that only God can do. We just aren't wise enough, strong enough, or determined enough to change without relying on a higher power. It's why AA and all the other 12 step programs lead us to God. We have to first admit we're powerless over whatever is holding us back - sex addiction, porn, racism, greed, hate, alcohol, drugs, whatever wound we're covering up through whatever addiction we have. We have to admit we're powerless over it.
Watch this short video to hear the promise God makes if we do.
Just had a wonderful call with a former roommate who is black and we love each other dearly. I can be honest with her and she with me on topics normally not discussed with other friends. We cried, we laughed, we commiserated, and we prayed because that's what helps us get through our pain, our situations and our lives.
I hope you have someone you can be this honest with and share your life with. It makes all the difference in the world. I think I've blogged enough. I feel better and my tears are under control again. My heart breaks for those who have experienced the destruction of their businesses, their homes and their lives. But I can't keep crying or grieving. I have to live my life and pull it together for me. When I do, then I can help others more.
Right now? Just trying to survive.
And with that, I bid you adieu. God bless. Remember God loves you and so do I. Turn to Jesus because He's your help in time of need and is waiting on you...
I always know it's time to write when I keep going over what I want to convey for days at a time. I don't know if other writers do this, but I write my articles in my head first, edit and refine them and then they spill over when I sit down to actually put "pen to paper" so to speak.
However, this time, even though I've been mulling what I want to say about grief and the loss of my mom for the past week and longer, my thoughts are still jumbled, I haven't figured it all out, nor am I sure I want to.
Hopefully, by writing my thoughts down it will begin to make sense - at least to me.
Reader, hate to break it you, but you're just along for the ride...:)
As in the words of Counting Crows Big Yellow Taxi song, "Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone" this best describes my feelings and experiences since losing my little Mom this past May 1, 2016.
I never realized how much I counted on her until losing her. She was my best friend, my cheerleader, my confidante, my driver when I needed her to be, my travel companion, my IT department, my assistant, my mentor, my travel advisor, my spiritual advisor, my friend I sat with at church, my friend I went out to eat with like here in this picture at the Long Beach Lobster Festival, my mover, my car buyer, my apartment hunter, my solace, and my heart.
I miss her so much and each day when I think it can't hurt any more than when she first died, something else reminds me of how much I depended on her to be there for me.
Like now, hobbling around on crutches with a strained calf muscle. As if not being able to fully use my hands isn't bad enough. Sometimes you are forced to slow down and feel regardless of whether you want to or not.
I'm participating in my church's Grief Share program which has been very comforting. It's nice to have a place to go each week where it's ok to cry, share memories, learn from a 45 min video featuring experts and others who have lost a loved one, and comfort others who are grieving too.
The corresponding workbook which provides 5 daily devotions and places to journal has been very encouraging too. It helps to get what's in my mind out and down on paper. And later, to be able to share what spoke to us most.
One of the recommended Grief Share tools is writing a grief letter to friends and family explaining what you're going through and how they might help. I didn't really want to do it, but after seeing my sink full of dirty dishes, my clean laundry still not put away after 3 days, and being unable to drive without more pain, realized maybe writing this blog would do the same thing.
Those who are interested in what I'm going through and how they might help will read my "grief letter."
Those who don't, won't.
And that's okay.
Losing my Mom has drastically affected my life in more ways than ever imagined. I remember when someone I was working with asked me how I was doing and at that point I was still in denial and said, "I'm fine."
But the longer it's been since my Mom died, the more I see that I'm not fine.
I will be down the road perhaps, but right now?
Not so fine. Not fine at all.
It may appear so when you see me smiling or doing something interesting, but it's always there, a heartbeat away from coming to the surface.
Grief apparently exacerbates your emotional state and causes intense reactions of anger, among other emotions. I'm experiencing this now and hope writing this will help those who have experienced my intense feelings of anger will give me grace and forgive me because I am having trouble controlling it, but am really working hard on healing in therapy as a result.
"Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.
There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is that anger has no limits. It can extend not only to your friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is God in this? Underneath anger is pain, your pain.
It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned, but we live in a society that fears anger. Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss. At first grief feels like being lost at sea: no connection to anything. Then you get angry at someone, maybe a person who didn’t attend the funeral, maybe a person who isn’t around, maybe a person who is different now that your loved one has died. Suddenly you have a structure – – your anger toward them.
The anger becomes a bridge over the open sea, a connection from you to them. It is something to hold onto; and a connection made from the strength of anger feels better than nothing. We usually know more about suppressing anger than feeling it. The anger is just another indication of the intensity of your love."
In another book I recently read, When Parents Die, whose "topics range from the psychological responses to a parent's death such as shock, depression, and guilt, to the practical consequences such as dealing with estates and funerals," I learned some people don't experience the typical five stages of grief at all, or they bounce around like I seem to be doing.
I have family members who think if they just keep moving, doing, traveling and escaping this reality of their spouse/mother being dead they will get past the painful feelings, but what I see happening, and experts concur, you don't ever "get past them" you bury them and they show up later.
If you deny feelings of sadness, loss, and depression, then you're more apt to respond with no emotions, nor feel other emotions as fully, or react in anger that's much more than the situation you're angry with would normally involve.
I wonder now if my Dad losing his Father two days before I was born and possibly never really grieving that loss fully explains why we've always had a difficult, distant relationship whereas my sisters have not.
I'll never know because my Dad isn't in touch with his feelings enough to ever confirm or deny. That's just him and I'm learning to accept him as he is and have compassion on who he is because at 83 years old, he ain't changing much.:)
How my family handles their grief over Mom dying is their journey, not mine. All I know right now is, I can't be there for them, nor can I expect them to be there for me because none of us have anything to give each other. We may want to, but we just don't.
And that's okay too.
When my Mom first died, all I felt was numb, like I was going through the motions. I felt this way when I placed my son in adoption when he was first born and realize now, going through my Mom's death, my adoption was a very similar experience.
Even though he didn't die when I placed him in our open adoption, the experience and reality of being a full-time mother raising him died when I signed the final legal papers finalizing our adoption. The finality of it was deeply wounding, knowing I would not be raising my only child, and took years and years of therapy to heal.
It was every bit as much a loss/death to me as losing my Mom.
I was numb for weeks, so depressed I became suicidal only pulling out of it when I went on an antidepressant which caused me to gain weight I've never been able to lose, and drastically changed my career path causing me to shut down my short film festival because short films were a constant reminder of what I had lost.
I began writing for the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau and thought I would pursue a journalism career, but when I saw my paychecks and the amount of work and hours I put into writing at the level I like to write, I knew it wasn't sustainable and began looking for alternative careers.
Not to say I wouldn't write for them again on a freelance basis, but just not as a full-time career.
Having marketed filmmakers for five years, it was a natural career decision to begin repping entertainment clients as a publicist because I knew the language, I knew the players, I knew the media and I knew it intimately from many levels - fundraising, pitching, showcasing, selecting, gathering judges, experts and others to support my vision.
Pitching over 300 agents/managers to get my client representation? No biggie. Happy to do it.
Writing press releases that get placement in multiple media outlets? No problem.
My PR Mentor, Marcia Groff, taught me the fine points of writing a press release and media relations based on her years of experience repping numerous major music acts while working for EMI America Records as National Coordinator of Artist Relations working with Kenny Rogers, Sir Cliff Richard, Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton and David Bowie.
Plus, taking a PR certificate program at UCLA Extension, attending multiple seminars, classes and workshops also further refined and validated my expertise.
Approaching publishers at BEA to pitch my author client and my open adoption book? No problem.
Although I did find it ironic none of the Christian publishers wanted my adoption story because my son was born out-of-wedlock and didn't fit prescribed Christian thinking. Readers Digest was interested until they read the anger I had still not fully healed from after my adoption.
Only positive, life-affirming stories for them too I guess. However, my story then was real. It was raw. And it was what many birthmoms experience immediately after an adoption.
Only no one ever wants to hear it.
It would ruin their view of adoption because in life, only the adoptive parent's life experiences matter or are supported because they're dealing with raising a child not their own. Never mind the woman left behind dealing with the loss. We don't exist in many book aisles because publishers don't think anyone will care.
How wrong they are. I devoured every book I could find on what the birth mom's experience was like because I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. I wanted to know if my feelings were normal. I wanted to understand. To be understood.
I wanted to heal.
However, many of the books that were published were written in the 60's, only spoke about closed adoptions, weren't my life experience at all and even though I could relate to certain aspects, much of it was drastically different. That's why I wrote my book proposal and worked on getting published.
I had heard Jamie Lee Curtis was somehow related to adoption and managed to attend an event where she was speaking and gave her my first couple of chapters to read. She read it, called me, and because I was on the other line I didn't pick up for some reason and missed speaking to her. She was so kind and told me it was a very moving story and needed to be told. She didn't leave her number and I never contacted her again after that.
It was the kind of encouragement I needed to hear then and remembering it even now, I have a soft spot in my heart for her as a person, while continuing to admire her as an actress/author.
I don't think the timing was right for me then though and feel when it's right, it will happen. My (our) story will be told.
And I'll be ready for it.
I found when I would speak to women who had experienced adoption back in the 60's who would call into Rose Vista Maternity Home where I was living at the time while I healed those mothers were angry at me for suggesting adoption to the pregnant women who lived there because they had never processed or accepted their decision.
Many had had adoption forced upon them with no recourse. I would have hated that too!
However, that wasn't my experience. I was choosing adoption. I was choosing the parents to raise my son. I was choosing to be able to stay in touch.
I had choices.
They did not.
I understood their anger, their pain and their hurt, but it's always been my goal to share a positive story on adoption because even though it was devastating at the time it happened, I'm at peace with it now after much counseling, much activism and speaking to potential adoptive parents and adoptees with unresolved abandonment issues.
I knew what I wanted to give my son through our open adoption and feel we have a good relationship because of that.
I even flew to DC to speak at a conference which C-Span covered to show that there really are three choices when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. It doesn't have to only be abortion, or raising your child as a single parent. You can also lovingly place your child with a family who would love to raise your child with all the benefits, security and financial resources many birthmoms aren't able to provide at the time.
I had people come up afterward to speak to me who appreciated my simplicity of thought and sharing my experience so boldly. But the woman who touched me most was someone who came up after and wanted me to hear her personal experiences with her multiple adoptions.
Once she had shared, I hugged her and told her thank you for sharing, she turned around without a word, and left, silently disappearing into the crowd.
It was like all she wanted was someone to hear her and share her pain. I get that. Sometimes all I want is someone to hear me about my Mom and what I miss about her which is why I'm so grateful my aunt, my Mom's youngest sister, is there for me.
I can't discuss this with my sisters because they're dealing with their own grief and we're reacting in negative ways which aren't healthy for any of us. Despite outward appearances, my mother's death was an extremely hurtful, wounding experience among my immediate family for all of us. Pictures of us smiling belie the hurtful words and actions that happened then, but it's a memory nonetheless which is why I keep them.
It's been safer and healthier just to take the break I need to heal without them and even my Dad to a certain extent, I'm finding.
I kinda experienced this with one sister when I chose my adoption too. While we were caring for my Mom together while Mom was on her deathbed, Grace was shocked to hear I was still in communication with the adoptive family because she had assumed it would be over when I placed him with them.
Nope. We're still in each other's lives. For better or worse.:)
That's the misconception I think a lot of people have about the way adoptions can be handled now. I don't blame Grace for being ignorant, many are, but hopefully by my continuing to share my life experience with my open adoption and others too, we'll begin to remove the stigma and mystery surrounding this life choice.
I get to see my son grow up, hear about his life and hope to one day have more of a relationship with him when he's ready. I always chose to stay in touch because I never wanted him to doubt my love for him or the reason I chose adoption was because I didn't want him, but because I wasn't able to fully parent him in the way I was raised and wanted him to experience - with a loving Mother and Father.
Especially since he's bi-racial and felt he needed a positive male role-model growing up in today's society.
But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, my Mom's death and my subsequent loss.
The other interesting thing I've discovered about grief is that the longer you numb out on antidepressants, the longer it takes to heal. As a result, I worked hard to get off mine by gaining support through a therapist, my Grief Share group, a massage therapist, and friends who are sensitive to what I'm going through, having experienced the loss of a loved one themselves, or having backgrounds in psychology and healing.
My Psychiatrist could see I was in a much better place than when I had originally come into see him sobbing uncontrollably and agreed with me, just asking to touch base in a few months to see if I still feel good. I'm sure I will.
I like having my sex drive back. I like feeling again and being able to cry. It feels good to feel human, rather than repressed and inhuman. And my uncontrollable sobbing and negative thinking has diminished. Not gone completely, because I'm still grieving, but it's much less.
I learned about the repression and effects of antidepressants on the brain while watching TED talks on grief, which I highly recommend watching if you're going through a loss yourself. Very helpful information there.
Here's one I listened to which I liked, but there's numerous others too. Find one that speaks to you...
Check out www.ted.com for a WIDE variety of subjects, experts from all over the world and you will be amazed at how you grow and change after listening. I study topics I'm interested in like grief, travel, leadership and humor by fully immersing myself in a topic and listening to everything there is available.
You can watch however you like though. They're free and suited to how you want to learn and grow. Highly recommend checking it out. But that's my experience. May not be yours.
Having friends and group support doesn't protect you from feeling feelings of sadness, loss and anger which is why I know I still have a lot of work to do to heal. I've also recognized that the trauma I've carried throughout my life that I've never fully addressed is coming to the forefront during this time because the loss of my pillar of support, my Mom, makes me feel more vulnerable, more alone, and more aware of my need to grow and change and heal now more than ever.
Her death is also helping me clarify what I will and won't accept in my life which is healthy. It's changing the way I look at my remaining immediate family, lowering my expectations on them, and giving me the freedom to pursue healthier relationships that are nurturing, loving and supportive outside my immediate family.
As one of my friends said her friend told her, We may be born from our parents into the family we ended up in, but that doesn't mean we owe them anything to stay attached. So, I'm learning to detach with love and back away slowly. It's painful, I don't know how long I will do it, but as I heal and redefine who I am in the world without my Mom it's needed.
My Mom, although she was great in many ways, never believed I accomplished everything I had with my career. She constantly told me I was lying, even when I showed her my work and my clients as proof, and never attended any of the bigger career moments in my life like producing an awards ceremony on the backlot of Paramount Studios.
She even told me to stop putting so many accomplishments on my resume because no one would want to hire me. As a result, I began hiding parts of myself I felt would threaten employers, potential boyfriends and others to fit more into her acceptable view of what a female should be.
Despite the fact she was simply a hairstylist with only an AA Degree, never had any career experiences like mine and didn't understand my world at all, I wanted to please her though and secretly thought maybe she was right.
What's been interesting since her death is my choosing to finally reclaim who I fully am. I'm tired of downplaying what I've done, where I've been, and what I've accomplished. I've sacrificed a lot over the years, I've earned it and I'm proud of my life accomplishments.
I also decided to pursue becoming a TED Fellow because watching all the TED Talks while I did work that doesn't require my full brain, I heard people I could relate to, learn from, enjoyed hearing, and knew I would grow from being around. Who knows if they will accept me or not, but it really helped me to reframe my own life while filling out the application which took over 6 hours to complete.
As the Swahili sign we often saw while driving around Kenya said, Pole Pole. Slowly, slowly.
Or as the 12-step slogan says, Progress, not perfection.
I knew my Mom from the day I was born until her final breath which I was there to experience. I will always cherish the final months we were able to spend together. Normally she would forget my birthday, leave with the rest of my family to celebrate Christmas without me, leaving me to fend for myself alone and feeling abandoned, but this last Christmas was different.
She returned home early from visiting my sister in Austin while my Dad continued to stay for three weeks and it was just me and her.
She was sick and I took care of her bringing her soup, Gatorade, and making sure she was ok in between work.
She was thrilled to have time alone to play with her new sewing machine which you can see here that we're now trying to sell including the table and corresponding other pattern table.
I'm grateful my Mom was open to going to San Diego to visit my Aunt and surprised us both with special birthday cakes making this my first birthday in years that she actually acknowledged and celebrated. She even spoke with regret that she had never thought of doing this years earlier and promised that from that time on we would celebrate together again.
I will always cherish that time and the knowledge my little Mom loved me as much as I loved her.
There's more memories, but I think I've bent your ear enough and written enough for now. Thanks for reading all the way to here if you have. Look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below, or via email. I moderate comments and don't always see them though until later fyi.
I would especially love to hear from those of you who knew my Mom, or had met my Mom, because it has been really lovely to receive emails, cards, and texts with that encouragement and understanding point-of-view.
Just please don't tell me like my high school counselor, Shirley did, I liked your sister's talk better at the funeral. Not helpful, or what I want to hear. Thanks Shirley. LOL
I look forward to continuing to grow and heal and will write more later. Hopefully, on happier topics.
When life hands you lemons, what you do with those lemons determines how your life will move forward. So, in the wise words of my friend and this meme, I am focusing on building the new. Or in the words of this scripture found in Philippians 3:13 & 14:
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
And as I was reminded this morning in church, Colossians 3:12-14
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.…
And that's my sermon for today.:) God bless all of you all's...
More fun stuff ahead! Right now I'm off to see Boston at the newly renovated Forum and enjoy their luscious happy hour offerings! See you around! My friend is coming shortly!:)
I wasn't sure I wanted to write about Robin Williams' death out of respect for his family and because my feelings were so close to the surface when I found out he died. I love comedy, comedians and laughing which is why his death hit me a little hard even though I never personally met him.
Reading comments from a friend that he was "weak" and hearing a news anchor had called him a "coward" compelled me to write because I have contemplated suicide in the past and I don't consider myself either of those terms.
I think if you're artistic you feel more, you are more sensitive, you care more and often are more misunderstood than those who are "normal" because we don't experience life the same way "normal" people do. I think this meme floating around captures it best:
It's easy to judge famous people, or anyone for that matter, who chooses suicide, but if you've never walked in their shoes, felt their pain, or lived their life, who are we to judge?
Yes, it's awful. Yes, what about his family? Yes, he could have found help, but rather than judge, maybe consider volunteering for a suicide helpline and hear the pain people are experiencing on a daily basis. Or really mean it when you ask someone, "How are you doing?"
Or if you're contemplating suicide yourself, reach out for help from friends, or from the National Suicide Prevention Lifelife: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
I know I did oh so many years ago and it helped me gain perspective. I haven't felt suicidal in so long I know God heals and I know you can find help if you seek it.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
I recently saw Get On Up - the amazing story of James Brown's life and when I left the theater, I cried. I couldn't imagine growing up with the pain and struggles he experienced. Yet, I have had my own pain and struggles. We all do.
You are not alone.
Here's a little insight into the film and the actor who played him courtesy of Ebony Magazine: "Chadwick Boseman, who epitomized the legendary Godfather of Soul, exclusively tells EBONY he originally didn’t want the role that is now giving him Oscar worthy buzz.
"When my manager brought me the script, I didn’t even want to read it because I knew attempting to play James Brown would just be crazy," cited Boseman. However, once he received the role, beating out 20 actors for the part, he was completely dedicated to capturing the essence of Brown. “He was a complicated man, both good and bad. Once you understand the reasons for his dichotomy, it’s easier to grasp who he was.”
If you haven't seen the film, please do. Brilliant acting. Oh, and on a side note, tonight at the Hollywood Bowl is a tribute to James Brown if you're interested. More info here.
That dichotomy is what made Robin Williams great as well. I will never forget watching Mork and Mindy growing up, or seeing Dead Poet's Society, another film where I left the theater and just drove around crying it impacted me so deeply. Or who can forget Good Morning Vietnam or Mrs. Doubtfire? Or any of his roles?
The depth and breadth of his talent for playing such a diverse range of roles is what set him apart and why I think people are grieving so much more than normal. He was a comedic genius, an icon of entertainment and someone who shaped the world in which we live through his talent. I always hate when people discount entertainment as shaping our world when it's so obvious it does - both for good and for evil.
I liked the fact Robin Williams was patriotic too. Have you seen this clip before? I never had and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
It's so easy to judge those who are famous, but I ask that you consider the fact we're all human, we all struggle, we all face demons and struggles no one else knows about.
Sympathy, empathy and compassion go a lot farther than judgement.
Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
And I leave you with this thought because right now I think the world needs a little more love and little less judgement for those who suffer:
John 13:34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
I love you. God loves you.
Robin Williams rest in peace. May your life and death not be in vain.
Watching the Oscars here in Vegas and memories keep flooding back because I wish I was in Los Angeles; although, enjoying my time with my little Mom as she visits me...
My first introduction to the magic of the Oscars was while running my short film festival years ago when I would go scout Academy Award nominated short films at the Academy and entice all the filmmakers I liked to participate in my film festival.
Amazing, emerging talent and such excitement! Because my short film fest covered animation, live action, documentary, experimental and spec commercials, I attended numerous screenings and heard numerous speeches. Always loved it. Still follow some of my filmmakers because they've gone on to such great careers in film.
Another time I was transitioning from one career to another and was an event server for numerous high-end, Hollywood catering companies which provided me the opportunity to serve during the Governor's Ball. Talk about a surreal moment.
Michael Moore had won for his documentary and was holding court in the center of the room; I was trying to feed Adrien Brody appetizers while everyone was coming up to congratulate him on his win and ask about his kiss with Halle Berry; and saw Chef Wolfgang Puck in action in the kitchen. A special highlight was being included in the formal picture of the Governor's Ballroom with all my servers which I believe they display somewhere.
I'm part of history folks.:)
Attending huge Oscar parties put on by friends at cool restaurants and voting on who would win is also a special memory. I made such good friends and connections I still have to this day from those parties too.
Then, a few years later, firmly ensconsed in my new career as a personal publicist to numerous up and coming actors, musicians and writers, we would attend all the Oscar Gifting Suites and Osar parties we could get into too. Different experience and wonderful all in its own.
Loved all the pampering, celebrities you'd bump into at various functions held all over the city in mansions, hotels, private homes, and more, all my publicity and film friends I'd see from the various years, hanging out with my clients, and all the fun we'd have.
There's just something special about this time of year in Hollywood.
And when I actually worked the Oscars as a production assistant, I saw everything that went into creating the extravaganza from behind-the-scenes, like the tenting of the red carpet to avoid the rain, the setting up of all the Oscar statues around the Kodak Theater, the flowers, the Governor's Ball, the media war room which determined where media would stand for interviews and who was more important than the other, the long, narrow tunnels behind the Oscar stage, the actual Kodak theater, all the food that would be served which Chef Wolfgang Puck prepared for the TV crews I was escorting, and all the actors discussing their awards with the media after they had won.
We were sworn to secrecy and forbidden from taking any pictures which was killing me, but I did walk away with new friends I stay in touch with to this day, an official Oscar baseball cap and poster. Years later, working at the Hollywood Reporter, I discovered an Oscar program from that night someone was giving away and added it to my collection of memorabilia.
I remember escaping the madness of that Oscar evening due to an old ankle injury acting up preventing me from wearing heels 14 hours non-stop and watching the show with dear friends in their nearby Hollywood home on their big bed as we gossiped and talked throughout the entire show.
Now, I'm watching from my Mom's hotel room in Vegas and creating my new memory of the Oscars. I was invited to two parties this year and almost went home, but felt time with my Mom was needed because she hasn't been to visit me since I moved here and drove out with me.
Sometimes you need to touch base with home on new soil rather than go back to feel home in person to help establish new traditions, new touchstones and new experiences.
One year I would love to attend the Oscar show as a guest and someone who has created something worthwhile, but for now, I will continue to creating my short travel videos and continue to learn and grow as a storyteller on my own.
I am inspired by the creativity, dedication, determination, and focus of everyone involved in this year's Oscar show and the fashion! Love the fashion!
I have a lot of other articles I'm "supposed" to write, but life has been to crazy to sit and concentrate to write them up the way I like to cover things. So if you're waiting, I apologize. Your event is constantly on my mind and will be covered, just not right now.
That said, after listening to the "brain lady" speak the other night I realized I really just feel like writing my story to help sort out my thoughts and process what is happening right now.
I have a tendency to travel on rather short notice and couldn't figure out why that kept happening even though I know about events I want to attend weeks, if not months, in advance. Upon returning from my last, last-minute trip it hit me.
I do it to overcome the fear of going somewhere alone.
I remember when I was preparing to go away to school in Seattle and how afraid I was to leave CA and start fresh there. Friends and family all encouraged me and once I made the leap, I was fine. I became copy editor of our school yearbook, convinced the school to send me and our staff to DC to a huge journalism conference where we learned all about marketing, making our yearbook pop and when we returned, it was the first sold-out yearbook in years.
When I was one of a hundred selected to attend Obama's first inauguration, I waited until the last minute to make all my travel arrangements there too. It turned out perfectly and I had a great time (even though I was probably one of the few conservatives attending. LOL)
My Mom and Dad plan everything down to a t, but for some reason I just find making things happen quickly works best for me. As a single woman traveling solo, safety is always in the back of my mind which is another reason I decided to start my travel company. It's not easy to find travel partners who have the same schedule or interests as you and if you want to take a big trip, often it's easier and more fun when you have a friend or travel partner to go with you.
Watching Jobs last night with Ashton Kutcher I really related to him, bad sides and all. When I'm focused on something, I'm laser focused and that doesn't leave much time for anything else. I also have really high standards of what I expect to happen which doesn't always sit well with people I work with and I'm working on it. That said, when I do create something it turns out well and I'm proud of it.
After college, I decided to volunteer with Hungarian Orphan children to give back before hitting the real world and ended up staying in Europe traveling around by myself for three months after that experience. I also ran a toy drive for them for three years afterward, but that's another story.
If you had told me I would have the courage, wherewithall, or whatever to do that before I left, I wouldn't have believed you. I was almost raped coming home late from catering one night just before graduating and it really did something to my psyche for a long time, but traveling restored my spirit and joie de vivre in ways no therapy ever did.
When you travel and you only have yourself and God to depend upon, you realize you have deeper resolve and wisdom than you will ever experience staying in your comfort zone.
That's why I love traveling. It's challenging, it's invigorating, it's stimulating, and it's fun. It can also be stressful, difficult, and scary, but the positives so far outweigh the negatives it's the main reason I decided to start my travel adventures for women.
Having run numerous empowerment groups for women where I taught them to set goals and actually achieve them and to see these same women blossom into powerful women who see themselves in whole new ways and accomplish things they never thought possible, it's another reason I see the value of what I'm creating.
We as women are judged by our age, our beauty, our weight, our social status, our cars, our clothes and so much more. But when you travel, it's the great equalizer and for once we're just people on a journey experiencing new opportunities, people and all the rest fades away.
Plus, it's fun! And I'm all about the fun.
I could go on and on about other last minute trips I've taken that turned out really well, but actually, I'm about to take another last minute trip to Vegas to start a new life there and really must get to packing.:)
And yes, you read this right. I'm moving to Vegas.
It's been on my thoughts since January when I visited their tech scene then and this last trip mixing and mingling with the startup scene again through Startup Weekend and SXSWV2V only cemented my desire.
Plus, I have nothing really holding me here and am ready for a new adventure. I'm sure I'll have a lot of visitors too because everyone wants to come to Vegas!:) Another great reason to launch my travel business there!
So, best get back to packing. Say a prayer for me if you pray and stay in touch.
Every so often, there comes a point in my journey where I realize I can't do it all by myself no matter how hard I try. I need help. As an entreprenuer it's easy to get so focused on what you're working on that you forget there are people in your life who are struggling too and we're not alone in this.
We're all in this together. We all want each other to succeed.
Sometimes it doesn't feel like that. Sometimes it doesn't look like that. But when you peel away the facade, hear someone's story and realize they're struggling to make it just like you it's really encouraging. I'm not alone. I can relate to someone else. They get me too.
It was another reason I returned to LA after living in GA. I missed the entreprenuerial spirit, the "we're going to make something big happen," and the excitement of seeing people find success when they worked hard enough and long enough towards a goal. The skies the limit out here. You never know when you'll meet the next Bill Gates, Ralph Lauren, Van Gogh, or Jennifer Lawrence and that's exciting.
I also love the international aspect of CA. My new client is from the Domican Republic, I have a Russian friend I'll be telling you about in a little bit, and LA is such a melting pot you're always meeting new cultures, new personalities and new people. Love it!
Being an entreprenuer is something I've been all my life. I don't really know how else to be. When I was very young I picked flowers from our yard and sold them to our neighbors. When I was in high school my sisters and I sold the most candy bars in the entire school to earn a TV because we didn't have one growing up and really wanted it. We went door-to-door, sold them outside grocery stores and just made it happen.
My Dad wanted us to read and not be influenced by TV, but gave in when we won one of our own. What could he say? He's very entreprenuerial too and despite having stability with his teaching career, always invested wisely in real estate and taught us the value of a dollar and working hard to achieve it.
I've tried corporate life and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Each time has been a learning experience, a growing experience, and a chance to see how other people run their companies - what works, what doesn't. What systems are in place, what roles people play, how people accept certain things, or not. Also, a chance to make friends, many I've kept in touch with long after.
I've been working at Shopzilla, a shopping portal, off and on for a few years now and it's one of my favorite companies I have ever worked for. They're chill, low-key, low stress, no drama, and everyone genuinely likes each other and working there. At least that's what I've observed.
I always feel welcome when I pop in for my gigs and like I have value. It may be a minor role I play, but I feel accepted, supported and like I have friends who care. When I'm not there I don't think about them or hang out, but keep up on Facebook and when I'm back, it's like no time has passed at all.
All that to say, it's what I realize is missing in my life more and more. Working on my new web series/travel show and corresponding online social community for women has been a lonely, isolated experience. I don't have an office I go to, I don't have co-workers to bounce ideas off of, and I am not actively encouraging or supporting anyone else in their endeavors until recently.
That's why I was so happy to work with an actress to help her launch her career now that she has a starring role in a big TV movie airing on GMC this spring called "What Would You Do for Love." She's beautiful, talented, grounded, humble and smart. Everything you could ever ask for of someone you represent.
Her name is Suveria Mota and mark my words, you will remember her name because this is just the start of something big for her. She's too talented, too beautiful, and too motivated not to succeed. Plus, she has the support of her family which makes all the difference in the world.
Actress Suveria Mota - Pretty in Pink
Sultry Actress Suveria Mota
See what I mean? Beautiful inside and out.
And we're just getting started working together! It was so fun to have her join me at the OK! Magazine's "So Sexy" party at the Mondronian Sky Bar recently because it was a great party filled with lots of beautiful people. Recognize anyone?:)
It feels good to sow into her life and help her achieve her goals because I love helping women move forward in their lives.
It's why I started my Goal Gals group and it's why I'm starting my travel adventure website/show for women too.
I want to show women they can have fun traveling, escape the worries of their life and come back with a renewed, refreshed outlook and perspective to attack life more joyfully, with an open-heart and feeling fulfilled. Travel does that as a by-product of new experiences and new people.
I may not have a lot of physical possessions, but the memories I've developed over the years from traveling is priceless. I'm not materialistic, never have been.
I like nice things, but don't need them to feel I have value as a human being. I learned that volunteering with Hungarian orphan children right after college and through my spiritual studies. The orphans gave freely of the little they had and were the happiest children I have ever met. It's why I ran a toy drive to give them toys for four years after meeting them until a Hungarian woman took over the toy drive for me.
That's why I wanted to share another friend's story with you too. You have probably seen Victoria Kashtan at various Silicon Beach events shooting pictures, smiling, always gracious, always kind, but her humble demeanor hides her brilliance which I really feel needs to shine and why I felt compelled to share her doc with you today.
Plus, her doc, Notes of a Freshman, includes another tech startup company I respect and support, Enplug. Win, win.:)
Here's the story line: "They are both Freshman – they’re both dreamers. An amateur Russian filmmaker struggling for her life in America meets a Chinese entrepreneur – David – building a new media Empire in Hollywood.
Inspired by David’s personality and deeply believing in his ideas, she rises to the challenge of making a movie about him and his company. Treating his character as a future celebrity in the beginning of his way she stakes her career on creating the story of the American Dream in the twenty-first century."
So, all this to say, even though our LA Tech and Entertainment scene can be disjointed. Even though it sometimes feels like you're not really supported, you are. We're not alone. We are in this together. We really do want each other to succeed. I know I need to immerse myself even more by moving closer and getting involved even more.
Find an accelerator to be around more like minds. Find funding to move my project along faster. Find business people I can learn and grow from even more. Find more cool events to take my client to and introduce her to the right people.
I need the support and encouragement of friends who get me and what I'm doing too. I also need some distance between me and my family to be able to focus on what I need to accomplish for my client and myself more fully.
Even though I have no idea what the future holds, I'm excited for it. I know if I work hard enough I will find success for Suveria and myself. And hopefully other women who need a positive role-model to see they can make it too against incredible odds.
I gain encouragement from the youthful optimism of the young female entreprenuers I meet at various tech events who haven't faced road blocks yet, or experienced aging parents yet and all the dynamics that brings.
Here's something Victoria has on her website which encapsulates this feeling:
“Very quickly I realized that if you really want to become Someone in America you have to create something unique and be persistent in promoting yourself. Even if you can only show your naked ass in the window you have to show it every day at the same time so finally you’ll start to get paid for it”
– Vica for Notes Of A Freshman
I need to be reminded by younger entreprenuers that it is possible. Life can be good. And everything's going to be ok. Sometimes I just wish I had someone strong to lean against to gain strength from, but since I don't have a guy in my life right now I gain encouragement from my friends and my church. And God.
"For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13
9 "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12: 9,10
And I'll leave you with this because it's one of my favorite songs to listen to and sing along with. Gives me such hope and encouragement too. Christina Perri's A Thousand Years
I had the opportunity to re-connect with one of the startups from the Cross Campus fashion startup show recently and asked him what his perspective was on how everything went down for him.
His answer was very revealing and gave me a different perspective which I wanted to share with you now before I write about the wonderful fundraiser I recently attended for Farm Sanctuary at the Peterson Auto Musuem.
I've been so slammed it's been hard to find the time, or the brain space to put down on "paper" what I wanted to convey until tonight. Read on if you care and if you don't, wait for the next blog post because it will be all about
Kevin Nealon hosting (seen here with the lovely and gracious Meredith Turner who is the publicist for Farm Sanctuary), Colbie Caillat singing
and everyone else I had the pleasure of meeting during the fun Farm Sanctuary event.
In any case, this young gentleman from Cross Campus' fashion startup shared they had made back the cost of their booth and he felt if the event had been more organized and professional they might not have participated.
He appreciated how it was "thrown together," (his words, not mine) because it had a startup feel to it. That made total sense and I'm sure others who have never attended a fashion show probably thought it was amazing too.
I also realized, after thinking about it, my view was tempered first by the fact when I had asked Cross Campus if I could host my mixer at their location with a certain company only to be turned down and then to learn later that the very company I had highlighted at my mixer was then invited separately to present at their site at a later time (not publicized publicly by the way, but I learned of it because I was there attending another event), it ticked me off.
Then, throw on top of that slap in the face, I also had fallen rather hard and twisted my foot really severely causing me to be in a lot of pain the entire night the fashion show was going on, it also tempered my opinion.
So, all this to say, yes, there were glitches. Yes, everything I mentioned in the last blog post is true and I hope the guys running it take into account for next year, but perhaps I wouldn't have been as harsh a critic if I had been treated with more respect by Cross Campus and hadn't been in pain the entire time.
Not to excuse my behavior, or theirs, merely to explain it.
It's been a while, I'm not who I was before You look surprised, your words don't burn me anymore Been meaning to tell you, but I guess it's clear to see Don't be mad, it's just the brand new kind of me Can't be bad, I found a brand new kind of free
Careful with your ego, he's the one that we should blame Had to grab my heart back God know something had to change I thought that you'd be happy I found the one thing I need, why you mad It's just the brand new kind of me
It took a long long time to get here It took a brave, brave girl to try It took one too many excuses, one too many lies Don't be surprised, don't be surprised
If I talk a little louder If I speak up when you're wrong If I walk a little taller I've been on to you too long If you noticed that I'm different Don't take it personally Don't be mad, it's just the brand new kind of me And it ain't bad, I found a brand new kind of free
Oh, it took a long long road to get here It took a brave brave girl to try I've taken one too many excuses, one too many lies Don't be surprised, oh see you look surprised
Hey, if you were a friend, you want to get know me again If you were worth a while You'd be happy to see me smile I'm not expecting sorry I'm too busy finding myself I got this I found me, I found me, yeah I don't need your opinion I'm not waiting for your ok I'll never be perfect, but at least now i'm brave Now, my heart is open And I can finally breathe Don't be mad, it's just the brand new kind of free That ain't bad, I found a brand new kind of me Don't be mad, it's a brand new time for me, yeah
Man, I must really be in an introspective, sharing mood because I feel like writing about something personal again because it's on my heart.
My friend and I often joke there's a real epidemic of the "Christian Ghetto" which is very prevalent in Christian circles. I'm all for "fellowship" (Christianese for hanging out together either at church, Bible Study, fun activities, or whatever) and enjoy it on occasion myself as it's Biblical. We're encouraged to spend time together to build each other up.
But when that's the only people you spend time with, I can't do it.
Did it growing up, and now...
I grew up with a strict Christian father who believed in us attending church 5x a week - three times on Sunday, Bible Study on Wednesday and a social activity with Christian church friends on Friday. Christian Missionary Alliance and Baptist background too, so you fully grasp the religious foundation my life was built upon through my early years.
I see right and wrong very clearly as a result. Life was black and white and being grey is still something I seek to achieve. As a result of my upbringing, when I left for a year of Bible school I admit, I felt guilty at first when I skipped Sunday evening services, but also free of the religiosity of it once and for all.
Ironically, it was also in Bible school where I had my first drink of wine, and witnessed my first affair. I was so sheltered growing up I felt completely inequipped for the real world for many years after and made lots of mistakes. Everyone does, but when you're naive and so sheltered, it's not good.
I feel my dating a non-Christian, pot smoking, alcoholic boyfriend for three years after that time was simply the rebellious acting out other people experience in high school.
My adolescent rebellion was just delayed.:)
That said, I know I was also protected from a lot of mistakes I saw friends make because of my sheltered background. I've never fought alcoholism, drug abuse, porn addiction or any of the things that are visible as societal ills. My issues are more covert and common place. Doesn't mean I'm perfect though. Far from it!
I try to work on myself every day through scripture reading, prayer and discussions with Christian friends. Doesn't mean I always get it right, but I'm getting better at it slowly, but surely.
Progress not perfection, right?:)
That's why when I see so many Christians out here spending all their time with only other supposed Christians and only doing Christian activities, I don't have much in common and wonder if they even know there's verses in the Bible that state:
1 Corinthians 9:19-23, especially in the paraphrased version of the Bible, coming from The Message, "Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized-whoever.
I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ-but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!"
Romans 12:2 also says "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
There's such a thing as choking on Christian fellowship when we're called to be "fishers of men" (more Christianese, I know. Weird, right? It's in the Bible though: Matt. 4:19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men.")
However, my favorite verses are these:
Matthew 5:13-16 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
The irony of Christianity in CA, one of the most liberal states ever, is that those who attend church really believe in it and want to live a better life. It's not because all their friends are doing it, it's a social good time, or it's easy to be Christian out there. It's hard.
According to statistics, only 18% of people profess Christianity in CA vs. 48% here in GA.
Living a Christian life in CA is as counter-culture as you can be. It's not sexy, fun or cool like it can be out here in GA. It's a life-defining relationship that requires devotion, discipline and constant effort to live a blameless life because you're surrounded by so much heathenism it's easy to succumb.
I know. I've succumbed.:)
But I've also repented and gotten out of it with great effort and support of other Christians to pursue a more Godly life too.
You really do know Christians by their walk. You can't hide it. You either are a Christian, or you're not.
Out here in GA, it's a little easier to hide since everyone goes to church and then lives however they want. There's no societal pressure to live to a higher standard because as long as you're hearing Andy Stanley's sermons and participating in Christian activities, everyone assumes you're pursuing a Godly life.
There's basically no difference between being Christian and not. No accountability unless people actively seek it out which happens rarely, if ever.
This kind of religious lifestyle has its good points and its bad. It's like the old saying though, standing in the garage doesn't make you a car. Or the verse that says, "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth."
Christian living is living a life that's different even if it means not sleeping with your boy/girlfriend though it feels so good. It means not getting drunk even though that also feels good. It also means not gossiping about other people because it's a fun, social activity everyone's doing and if you don't, you're kinda out of the loop.
I've always been an avid reader since a child. I even won a reading contest in elementary school for reading the most books in my grade. I tested at the 17th grade reading level in the 3rd grade and received 40 out of 40 in a comprehension test then too. Also as a child, I memorized the most Bible verses in order to win a trip in a bi-plane.
Can you tell I'm competitive and like winning?:)
When I attended college I was able to get out of taking a class because I'd already read the 20 books assigned on the topic. I choose a topic or author and then read everything until I'm bored. Then I move on.
Thus, I read M. Scott Peck's first book, The Road Less Traveled, after high school which I related to and enjoyed. It deeply impacted my life, as have all the books I read. There's a saying, what you read today will be who you are five years from now. It's also been shown millionaires read an average of one book a month.
Just thought you'd like to know.:)
Here, according to Wikipedia, are the basic tenets of Peck's first book:
"In The Road Less Traveled, Peck talked of the importance of discipline. He described four aspects of discipline:
Delaying gratification: Sacrificing present comfort for future gains.
Acceptance of responsibility: Accepting responsibility for one's own decisions.
Dedication to truth: Honesty, both in word and deed.
Balancing: Handling conflicting requirements. Scott Peck talks of an important skill to prioritize between different requirements -- bracketing."
I just had to read his next book, after the deep perspectives I found in this book on spirituality and psychiatry. The concepts I read have carried with me throughout my life.
"With his classic best-selling book, The Road Less Traveled, Dr. M. Scott Peck has introduced over three million readers to an integration of the deepest insights of psychiatry with those of religion.
In People of the Lie, an absorbing and equally inspiring companion volume, Dr. Peck utilizes the same approach to probe brilliantly the essence of human evil. People who are evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Peck demonstrates the havoc these People of the Lie work in the lives of those around them.
He presents, from cases encountered in his psychiatric practice, unforgettably vivid incidents of evil in everyday life. This disturbing, fascinating book offers a strikingly original approach to the age-old problem of human evil."
Now the part of the book I related to the most was his description of spiritual development based on his practice and knowledge of human nature which is copied below:
"The Four Stages of Spiritual Development
Peck postulates that there are four stages of human spiritual development:
Stage I is chaotic, disordered, and reckless. Very young children are in Stage I. They tend to defy and disobey, and are unwilling to accept a will greater than their own. They are extremely egoistic and lack empathy for others. Many criminals are people who have never grown out of Stage I.
Stage II is the stage at which a person has blind faith in authority figures and sees the world as divided simply into good and evil, right and wrong, us and them. Once children learn to obey their parents and other authority figures, often out of fear or shame, they reach Stage II. Many so-called religious people are essentially Stage II people, in the sense that they have blind faith in God, and do not question His existence. With blind faith comes humility and a willingness to obey and serve. The majority of good, law-abiding citizens never move out of Stage II.
Stage III is the stage of scientific skepticism and questioning. A Stage III person does not accept things on faith but only accepts them if convinced logically. Many people working in scientific and technological research are in Stage III. They often reject the existence of spiritual or supernatural forces since these are difficult to measure or prove scientifically. Those who do retain their spiritual beliefs move away from the simple, official doctrines of fundamentalism.
Stage IV is the stage where an individual starts enjoying the mystery and beauty of nature and existence. While retaining skepticism, he starts perceiving grand patterns in nature and develops a deeper understanding of good and evil, forgiveness and mercy, compassion and love. His religiousness and spirituality differ significantly from that of a Stage II person, in the sense that he does not accept things through blind faith or out of fear, but does so because of genuine belief, and he does not judge people harshly or seek to inflict punishment on them for their transgressions. This is the stage of loving others as yourself, losing your attachment to your ego, and forgiving your enemies. Stage IV people are labeled asMystics."
When I read it back in college, I was still in Stage 2, but now feel like I've continued to evolve in my faith to a different level. I don't "need" Christians to know my faith. It's part of who I am and I've studied it, tested it, and lived it. My dependence on God is complete and full. I don't need to prove anything to anybody because I know who I am in my faith.
I do enjoy hanging out with Christians, don't get me wrong. I just can't handle hanging out only with them! LOL
I love all kinds of people and artists especially. That includes filmmakers, musicians, fine artists, graffiti artists, fashion designers, models, actors, and anyone who expresses themselves creatively. They see the world through different eyes and reflect it back to us in ways we may not have considered.
If I had to give up hanging out with all the quirky, funky unusual people you find in a creative environment, I would die. I love them!:)
That's why I may not always be found in Christian circles, part of Christian groups on Facebook, or disecting my faith online with other Christians. Been there, done that. It's not who I am, nor who I want to be any more.
I remember the admonition Ann Landers quoted by Eleanor Roosevelt in one column oh, so long ago: "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
So, if you care to engage me a discussion of politics, ideas or anything other than who's dating who, who's saying what about whoever, what the Bible says about men and women's roles, then I'm all ears.
I may even hang out with you or your group more.
But if not, not really interested. I've got too many other interesting people I want to get to know and learn from who are open-minded, truth seekers, and growth-oriented.
And with that, I'm off to Passion City Church to learn from spiritual people I admire and respect. Next week I'll be with other kinds of people and looking forward to it!:)
I don't know if other writers do this, but I compose what I want to write in my head before committing to print. I organize my thoughts, explore the topic mentally as I walk or drive to figure out what it is I'm trying to express. Then, I sit down and write it all out.
If I don't blog, then it bothers me until I do express the thought. Sometimes it takes awhile to pull together the over-riding theme, but then once I do, I just add to it piece-by-piece until it's a coherent whole.
One time I was so caught up in my mental transcribing I drove right past my exit on the freeway. Maybe I'm the only one, but to me, figuring things out in my head is the first step to actually writing.
Thus, when I woke up this morning and my mind was filled with thoughts of friendship and what it means to me, I knew I had to write it down to make my mind stop whirling endlessly on this topic.
I've been taking care of a good friend ever since her surgery on Monday and as a result, we've been through things together on a more intimate level than spending time at fun events that don't require much thought or care, just companionship.
It's at times like these it's easy to feel helpless, out-of-control and beyond the inner strength normally drawn upon to keep it together. Completely natural. I have experienced times like that too and am always grateful I have quality friends I can count on who have my back when I need it most.
Fortunately, we managed to pull it all together and got home eventually to rest, but even then, trying to figure out five different prescriptions prescribed to counter-act the allergic reaction when you're stressed out, exhausted, emotionally and physically drained with no help from your physician is exasperating beyond belief.
I am a very strong person having lived through so much in my life, but even I began to falter due to lack of sleep and the effort of being strong for someone else who needed me. I had to call my mom for advice because I was so sleep-deprived and didn't think I could manage to do what was right for my friend and stay.
I needed my mom's objective, caring insights to make the right decision as only a mom can do.
Fortunately, having been through numerous surgeries herself, she assured me I needed to stay there and be there for my friend even if I felt I didn't have anything to offer, because my friend still needed me.
I'm glad I did. We both were able to finally rest and now she's on the road to fully recover finally.
As a single person without many commitments or responsibilities beyond myself, it's easy to become selfish and self-centered like I see so many other singles become unknowingly. I never want to be like that and with my parent's training and example of selfless giving, have tried to live a life of service even though I'm the first to admit, I haven't always succeeded.
That's why I knew, in that moment of time, my mom was right. I needed to be there for my friend even if it meant foregoing time with social friends, skipping the fireworks, BBQ's, and other festivities surrounding the 4th of July because being there for my friend in her time of need meant more than any holiday fun.
Holidays come and go, but true friends are rare and special. Hang on to them tight and cultivate them lovingly because as a single person, friends are your family and life support. It's better to be "inter" dependent than independent I'm learning. It's ok to admit you need help and can't do everything on your own. Just be careful who you share this part of your life with however.
What I found interesting reaching out to friends I've met here for support during this experience is the kind of response I received. One girl, whom I have considered a friend in the past, but more and more see as simply a user, when asked for a ride to participate in an event she invited me to yesterday, totally blew me off as she usually does.
It used to hurt, but now that I see her for who she really is, it doesn't. I realize this is a fair-weather friend who will always be there if I offer her something for free, invite her to join me for a free dinner I've won, or invite her to a cool special event I've been invited to attend, but isn't willing to give in return unless it suits her, which unfortunately, it rarely does.
As a result, I've stopped doing anything with her for the most part, even skipped her birthday party because I don't need this "Southern" friendship any more. I feel sorry for her actually because a life of selfishness will ultimately catch up. Once her children are grown and out of the house she'll be left with nothing but herself to deal with.
It's so easy to avoid introspection when you're constantly filling every free moment with activities and church, but the rubber hits the road when all you have is yourself and God. Since losing my car in a terrifying accident which left me unharmed, but killed my car, I've had plenty of time alone to think and grow in who I am as a woman and as a friend.
When friends you think are friends turn on you when you're helpless due to an injury and lack of transportation in a city like Atlanta, it really makes you pull back and consider who you allow into your life more carefully. I never had this issue in CA, but here in the South it's much more common to feel guarded because of the false veneer of politeness that veils every interaction and friendship.
People are much more passive aggressive and dishonest about how they feel about you because it's how this culture has been cultivated and taught to behave. Never reveal your true feelings, never act like anything is wrong, and remember, life is always wonderful.
It's lovely, isn't it?
Well, sometimes it's not. Sometimes life is hard, difficult, stressful, frustrating and real. And it's in those hard times when you really see who is real and who is not. Who is a real friend, and who is not. And it's in hard times when you realize what is important in life and what is not.
It's not attending events, being seen, taking pictures doing charity when you're not living it, or simply having fun with someone, it's sharing your life on a deeper, more meaningful way that makes all the difference in the world.
It's being there for someone when your whole being wants to be somewhere else, and then once you make that decision to stay, realizing you're so much happier and content being right where you are because it's right.
That selfish friend aside, when I reached out to other friends here for help and support, they responded kindly and were available if needed which was comforting. God has been throughout this entire recovery experience and we know it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I was pleasantly surprised my friend felt good enough to go see fireworks after her new pain meds kicked in and we drove close by to a park celebration which was perfect. We ended up parking in someone's drive, watching the fireworks from a distance, and what was cool, became a gathering point for other people to stand and watch with us.
One couple had the most amazing white lab named Winston who was so mellow despite everything going on around him, it calmed my friend as she was able to love on him and ignore her situation for a little while. Then a family joined us who had run the Peachtree race in the morning and just wanted to chat. Another woman who had been tearing up the street after her dog got away, joined us later after capturing her to spend time with us too.
We all enjoyed sharing the moment knowing this is what you do on holidays. The most amazing thing too, was learning two of the women were nurses. My friend was able to ask questions about her condition which eased her mind and helped her know what else to do to aid in her recovery.
That was the God shot we both needed.
It was great and why I love the 4th so much. Sharing time with people you'll probably never see again, but because of your bond as an American, this holiday is special regardless and we're in it together.
For one day a year, politics, religion, and race don't matter. We are unified as a country to celebrate the uniqueness and independence we all cherish as one America.
I love that.
I'm coming up on my one year anniversary of living in Atlanta, GA and feel I've grown through this new life experience in many ways. I don't have a false perception about the reality of my life out here, nor expect anything from anyone any more, but am always happy when I'm surprised by grace.
I also own the fact I made this life choice and it's up to me to make the best of it. Friends have always told me you need to give a new place a year to feel comfortable and know how you really feel.
I'm still sorting my feelings out, but know this year has been special and something I will always remember. If I leave, I will carry friendships with me I will cherish forever.
It's not the place, the life experiences, the car you drive, or the place you live, but the relationships in your life which make a place a home, a life worthwhile and a quality memory.
This morning I attended the 20th Annual High Tech Prayer Breakfast which they claim as the largest networking event in Atlanta, GA with 1600 people in attendance and also, the earliest, beginning at 6am till 9am (I've been up since 4:30am to get there on time.:)
I had no idea what to expect, but since my friend, Curt Cain of iHealth Technologies, Inc., had invited me, I wanted to attend. We grew up in the same church in Manhattan Beach, CA and recently re-acquainted when he and his wife invited other CA "ex-pats" to a dinner this past week.
I have always felt a sense of family with other Christians because no matter how much time passes, there's a spiritual bond which ties us together no matter where we are, or what has happened. I really don't know how some people get through life without a spiritual component to their lives when I find such encouragement, support, and Godly love in my Christian life experiences. I know I couldn't make it living out here in Georgia without my faith in God and Christian friends.
This morning's prayer breakfast was very inspiring to me on many levels as a result.
Back home in Los Angeles I have attended numerous tech conferences, networking mixers, seminars, and parties, and not once have I ever seen a spiritual aspect included. What a refreshing difference to meet CEO's, CFO's, Venture Capitalists, CTO's and more who are also following God and willing to be visible in this public realm by inviting men and women who have never heard the gospel to attend.
In light of Steve Jobs' passing, who I consider one of America's most brilliant innovators, it was very moving to hear Keynote Speaker, Walt Wilson, speak. He had been an early employee of Apple serving as the Managing Director of U.S. operations "as the company grew from just a start-up to a globally-recognized corporation with $5 billion in revenues."
Talk about a powerful way to start the day!
The host committee had gathered together to pray for Steve, his family and the prayer breakfast the night before when they heard the news of Steve Jobs' death. Walt said he had prepared a speech a few months back, but threw it all out at 3am. He had planned to share what it was like working in Silicon Valley, working at Apple and his career, but felt what he had originally prepared wasn't appropriate after last night.
Walt called Steve "My Boss, my Mentor, and my Friend" who had a thirst for excellence and never measured his success by market share. He said Steve always wanted to the be BMW of the tech world and then revealed BMW really only held a 3% market share which was surprising to hear.
What set Apple apart is it was always about computing, not the computers. It was about advancing technology more than anything else. Walt said Steve didn't care what anyone on Wall Street thought, or anyone else for that matter, which drew a laugh from the crowd. Walt also shared Steve always protected his family from his own celebrity which I admire.
Walt shared only one personal anecdote of his experience working with Steve because it was difficult to speak so recently of someone he obviously cared deeply about. I would quote it, but want to preserve some of privacy of the breakfast.
However, I will share with you briefly Walt's story because it was fascinating to learn he had only graduated high school and served in the United States Marine Corps for three years which must have been great preparation for working alongside Steve Jobs.:)
He is currently "the founder and chairman of Internet ministry Global Media Outreach (GMO). He was previously co-founder, chairman and CEO of Exclaim Technologies, Inc., an applications service provider in the business-to-business Internet market. Before that, he served as senior vice president and corporate officer of the consulting group Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), a $16 billion, U.S. global corporation with 600 offices worldwide, employing over 100,000 people."
I've been meeting more CEO's and influential people here in Georgia faster than ever happened in CA. Hard to believe I've really only been here a little over two months after all.:)
Have to admit though, although these other speakers were fantastic, informative and entertaining, this morning's breakfast spoke to me on a deeper level due to the spiritual component. When you consider Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Address on living and know he died last night, it really puts life into perspective.
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life," he said.
"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
Here is his speech in its entirety because it's so powerful:
As Walt continued to speak, he challenged us to think about where we will spend eternity. If you died today do you know? He reminded us of the verses, Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." and John 3:17 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
If you've wanted a fresh start, forgiveness of your sins, or simply to surrender your life to God because whatever you're doing isn't working, please consider asking Him into your life. He will answer you when you call upon Him. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." I Peter 5:7 and “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
I hope you do, but if you don't now, know God is there whenever you need him. I can tell you He has brought me through so much. I was personally touched to learn Steve Jobs was adopted since I'm a birthmother who has a 12 year old son I placed in adoption at birth. It was one of the hardest experiences to live through in my entire life.
When I see TV shows like Parenthood which recently mocked the sacredness of this experience in an episode called, "Hey, if you're not using that baby;" or see Glee's portrayal of a birthmother plotting to get her adopted baby back; or hear Grey's Anatomy recently wove an abortion subplot into their storyline, it grieves my spirit.
"As a birthmother of a twelve year-old son I placed in adoption at birth, I was shocked and devastated to see one of the main characters asking a teen-age mother if she could, “Buy your baby.”
I admire how sensitively Jason Katims has handled Asperger and am writing to request he and his staff present adoption in the same sensitive manner. Children in adoption are not bought and sold. They are not cavalierly “given” away. They are thoughtfully, painfully, delicately “placed” with a family a birthmother considers will offer a better life for their child they feel they cannot offer at the time of their pregnancy.
Please consider the ramifications of treating a human life so callously. Parenthood has the opportunity to present a side of adoption rarely seen on TV if done correctly. I would strongly urge Jason and all those involved with the success of this show to consider researching adoption through such resources as: www.birthmothers.org and www.adoption.com before writing any further episodes."
I have yet to hear a response and have avoided other episodes because that one was too painful. But to those in entertainment who write stories about adoption and/or abortion, consider this thought if you will...
What would the world be like if Steve Jobs' birthmother chose to abort him rather than choose adoption? He has impacted all our lives and he's just one of many talented, creative people who was adopted.
Here's a list of more famous adoptees and birthparents I bet you didn't know about:
Notice the list of birthparents is much shorter? There is so much stigma surrounding adoption perpuated by past and recent Television shows, and the media, which I hope will change soon. Use the resources I mentioned in my letter, adoption.com and birthmothers.org to write truthfully about us please.
It's also time we acknowledge there are three choices when faced with unplanned pregnancy, not just two - abort or be a single parent.
If Steve Jobs adoptive parents hadn't first adopted him and then supported, loved and encouraged his individuality just think how all our lives would be different today. Embrace the third choice and allow Steve Jobs passing to signify more than just his technological advancements, but also the power of love.
Because when it all boils down to it, every human needs to feel loved. Even those who are unwanted, unplanned, or inconvenient.
Give life, give love a chance.... Adoption is a choice too. It's extremely painful, but you get through it and your child then has the opportunity to be a world changer, perhaps another Steve Jobs. You never know, right?
And that's all she wrote. Have a great day. I was planning to cover the Driven Music Conference, but felt compelled to share this with you first after my experience this morning.
20th Annual High Tech Prayer Breakfast, Andy Berlin, Andy Kaufman, Anthony Williams, Apple, Aristotle, Art Linkletter, Atlanta, BMW, Bo Diddley, Buffy Sainte-Marie, CA, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Charlotte Anne Lopex, Chris Morocco, Christians, Christina Crawford, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Clark Gable, Computer Sciences Corp, Crazy Horse, Curt Cain, D.M.C., Dan O'Brien, Daunte Culpepper, Dave Drabik, Dave Thomas, David Crosby, Debbie Harry, Edgar Allen Poe, Edward Albee, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eric Dickerson, Exclaim Technologies, Faith Daniels, Faith Hill, Faith Ireland, Fine Line Productions, Freddie Bartholomew, GA, George Washington Carver, Georgia Production Partnership, Glee, Global Media Outreach, God, Greg Louganis, Grey's Anatomy, Hank Williams, I Peter 5:7, iHealth Technologies, Inc, Inc, Inc, Inc., Ira Schreck of Schreck Rose Dapello Adams & Hurwitz, James MacArthur, James Michener, Jason Katims, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Jesse Jackson, Jesus, Jett Williams, Jim Palmer, John 3:17, John Hancock, John J. Audobon, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Kate Mulgrew, Langston Hughes, Larry Ellison, Lee Majors, Leo Tolstoy, Les Brown, LLP, Lynnette Cole, Malcolm X, Manhattan Beach, Mark Acre, Matthew Laborteaux, Melissa Gilbert, Mercedes Ruehl, Michael Reagan, Michael Tavani, Moses, Nancy Reagan, Nat King Cole, Nelson Mandela, Parenthood, Patrick Labyorteaux, Peter & Kitty Carruthers, Petrus Brands, Planet Smoothie, President Bill Clinton, President Gerald Ford, Priscilla Presley, Ray Liotta, Reno, Romans 10:13, Romans 6:23, Roseanne Barr, Sarah McLachlan, Scott Hamilton, Scoutmob, Sean Cook, Sen. Paull H. Shin, Sen. Robert Byrd, Shane's Rib Shack, Shop Visible, Silicon Valley, Sr., Stanford Commencement Address, Steve Jobs, Strom Thurmond, Surya Bonaly, Tim Green, Tim McGraw, Tom Monaghan, Tommy Davidson, United Healthcare, United States Marine Corps, Victoria Rowell, Wall Street, Walt Wilson, Wilson Riles
If you're not on my Facebook page and have only been reading this blog, then you might not know my mom's pains were deadly serious and she almost died last week. Fortunately, they caught the puncture in her heart and the subsequent fluid filling her lungs the 2nd trip to emergency performing emergency open heart surgery to repair it that same night.
Never doubt a woman's intuition is all I have to say. I knew something drastically wrong was happening because I've never seen her have such severe pain and inability to breath like that before. I kept pressing for her to go see her doctor and despite my father's thoughts that she was exaggerating, by the time the last episode happened even he couldn't deny it.
Although it was a hard phone call to receive when he called to tell me she'd been re-admitted, it was also comforting because I could hear in his voice how sorry he felt for dismissing her earlier pains. He's still very stoic and unemotional which is what I've grown up with.
Last night however, I just needed to talk to someone and let down my guard and cry I felt so overwhelmed. Despite feeling like it could be the wrong thing to do, after church last night I drove straight to her hospital room to share my true feelings with her.
I've been so strong and not let her see me cry, but last night needed her to know how I really felt. She's always been my confidante, my best friend, my spiritual adviser. While I sat next to her hospital bed while she lay on her side, we held hands and I just dumped. I told her everything I felt about this entire experience and she was just like my old mom before her heart procedure.
She comforted me with words of wisdom, love and understanding despite her own fears and pain as only she knows how to do. She told me maybe God is trying to strip away everything I normally go to when I'm stressed out and bring me to Him only.
She told me to put my trust in God because that's the only place I'll find peace. I had felt so good earlier praying for her and her room-mate to encourage them, and now, here she was encouraging me.
Her nurse was very encouraging too and told me she will arrange to let me speak to case manager to advise me on where I can find support at the hospital. I realize rather than continue to blog, or seek support only through my own resources, I must reach out and have personal contact with others who are going through what I'm going through.
After a bit, my Mom and I prayed together and then I left to allow the nurses to give her a blood transfusion. I was so encouraged this morning when I called to check in on her to hear her sound like her old self and ready to get out of the hospital.
Before she used to tell the nurses, I'm never leaving which scared me. She wasn't feeling very strong before, but now that she's had this blood transfusion she is on the real road to recovery. I had to arrange with the nurse to prevent any more guests coming in to visit because although mom loves seeing people, she doesn't know how to tell them she's getting tired and over-extends herself.
Although Mom has never understood why I love to have massages, she has
really enjoyed the back massages I've given her. I am going to see if we
can have someone professional come in to help soothe her pain when she
gets out of the hospital too.
I have faith again that my Mom is on the road to restored health and am so grateful to all my friends and others who have been praying for us. I know God answers prayer. I just needed a boost and today's answer to prayer has really helped.
If I've been short tempered, I apologize. I've been under a tremendous amount of stress and don't handle it well, although I'm trying to get better at it.
When I told my Dad I was looking into support groups at the hospital his response was "Why? You don't need it. You're not dealing with Alzheimer patient. Now those people really need support." That's why I don't share much with him what's going on with me. My pain is never valid, nor my feelings. After awhile you realize that's just him and he'll never change.
He's yet to break down, nor admit his fear, but maybe he does it with the many men's groups he's involved in. I don't know. I hope so, but I kinda doubt it. He's the type who likes to pretend nothing's wrong and he never needs any help until people offer it and then he's grateful.
Men and women are so different sometimes, don't you agree?:) I'm just glad today's a new day, a new week and a new beginning. I'm going to go have a massage to relieve more stress and then am heading back over to the hospital.
Thanks again for your prayers. Means a lot and are definitely felt.
Reposting my bucket list from last year because I need the reminder and it's fun to look back to see what I've done and still want to do. Enjoy!
What is yours?
Let's see, in no particular order, here's my spur of the moment, off the top of my head "bucket list" (from last year) -
1. visit Tahiti 2. see healing of family relationships - (starting.) 3. finish my PR certificate at UCLA Extension (may give up on this one, but we'll see. Not that important to me now.) 4. fall madly and deeply in love with the man I'm to marry and spend the rest of my life with. (Hmmm.:)) 5. get my hormones balanced out once and for all - (Hmmm.) 6. lose 15 or 20 more pounds (lost 12 so far!) and keep it off (eating better and joined a gym!) 7. travel the world to exotic places I've never been like Thailand, Fiji, Bangkok, Australia, New Zealand (still want to do this. Better get cracking!) 8. go back to Africa and visit everywhere we lived and traveled to when I was young (love Africa and can't wait to do this.) 9. write my book on my open adoption experience and have it turned into a movie (maybe this is the year? Must join a writing group to organize my current book proposal!) 10. have a syndicated column writing like I do for my blog on whatever I feel like (need to pursue this seriously.) 11. make a difference in my community that changes its course of history forever (well, I guess you could say I've done this indirectly by helping my guys get into office and blocking the decision by the last city council to legalize alcohol on the beach.) 12. be a good role model to my nieces and son and children who are like family to me (trying.) 13. paint more (man, haven't done this at all and need to!) 14. love more (feel like I have done this and can always do more.) 15. share more (getting better at this too.) 16. volunteer more (need to do this more.) 17. trust more (learning...) 18. laugh more (always!) 19. bitch less (okay...!) 20. Enjoy life to the fullest in whatever I'm doing, with whoever I'm doing it with (Done and done!) 21. See The Oprah Show and The Ellen Show live to see great guests and receive great gifts (A girl can dream can't she?!) 22. See loved ones I've been praying for come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and savior (keeping this on the list.) 23. Be a better friend in a deeper way to people in my life I care about (Believe I've done this, but will have to ask them.) 24. Have my life count for something bigger than myself (still trying to determine exactly what that is, but enjoying the process.) 25. balance my life better (now that I've closed my business, it seems to be happening naturally.)
Trying to decide if there's anything new for this year... Oh yes, here's some new ones...
26. Become more financially savvy is always good.
27. Find my new career passion.
28. See my sister and her family in CO
29. Resolve issues with the adoptive family once and for all.
30. Attend the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival and others I enjoyed last year (with or without a Chef this time.)
31. Get more involved with national politics on issues I care deeply about.
32. Create a group of like-minded women who will be supportive and encouraging to pursue our goals together.
33. Get more involved in business-oriented groups (online and offline - WITI, Women in Gaming, Art Lewin's groups, etc)
34. Check out doing voice-overs again.:)
35. Start writing articles for publications I enjoy reading myself. This time for reals.
36. Save up to buy a higher quality camera and take a photography class to better learn how to adjust the lighting etc.
37. Make quality time for friends and family (even when I get busy again.)
38. Start sewing again.
39. Wear more red, blue, pink and colors I look good in rather than black all the time.:)
40. Write more frequently. Just because.
41. Go to my new gym at a minimum of two times a week. (Buy new gym clothes to make me want to go!)
42. Learn to cook and have more dinner gatherings to showcase new recipes.
43. Find a political campaign I can work or volunteer on for CA's upcoming elections. (Preferably paid.)
44. Create photo albums rather than just keep everything online and share/gift with friends and family.
45. Become a more Godly woman. Find a Bible Study that will challenge me spiritually and stick to it.
46. Find a nice place to live that is great for entertaining and comfy.
47. Pitch spas and write about my experiences.
48. Take a photoshop class.
49. Treat my Mom and Dad to nice things more.
50. Enjoy the process of life and let it happen as it may. Enjoy more "Come What May" days.:)
If you knew him, please consider clicking through to the www.lafuneral.com link and leaving a condolence message for his family. I'm sure they'd appreciate it. A memorial service is planned later this summer.
How do you like them apples LV? I guess one out of three aint bad. lol
Moving right along. Here's a link with news on who and what to vote for on Tuesday, May 19th special election (Vote for Teresa Hernandez!) and I quote from the www.socalgop.com site:
The Southern California Republican Coalition is taking the lead in the grassroots opposition to Proposition 1A.
Governor may want to increase your taxes.... The California
legislature's Democrats may want to increase your taxes.... The
California Republican Party and its Chairman may not be willing to take
a position.... The Chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles
County may not be willing to take a position....
But make no mistake grassroots Republicans know a HUGE TAX INCREASE when they see one -- and so does the Southern California Republican Coalition. The SCRC emphatically OPPOSES Proposition 1A.
It is a tax increase disguised as a spending cap that has not teeth.
The public employee unions may love it, but every tax payer in this
state knows better. The SCRC is leading an advertising campaign
against 1A - Please click to donate today online.
"Prop 1A is a huge tax increase disguised as a shame, weak spending cap. The voters are not as ill-informed as legislative and party
leaders may wish them to be. The tax payers of California are not
buying their lies. The Democrats lied, and the Economy Died - and we
refuse to go along to get along!" says Southern California Republican
Coalition Chairman, James Crean.
"We oppose raising taxes for so
many reasons. We are in a serious economic downturn and increased
taxes means there is less money to spend to spur the economy which is
needed to lead to real job growth.
"The legislature just
increased our taxes by $42 Billion dollars and now they want to add
another $16B in tax increases. That will do only one thing - cause
everyone who pays taxes to look at moving out of California, especially
those that run businesses in order to lower their product costs in
order to stay competitive when prices are dropping across the country,"
There were no real cuts made in the legislature's
prior budget, nearly all cuts were shame cuts in job positions with no
one in the job or they were reductions in the year to year growth
without any real decrease. The Democrat legislature does not have any
backbone for real cuts and the more taxes we give them, the more ways
they will find to grow government and continue to pay off the public
employee unions, such as the California Prison Guards union, the
California Teachers Association union, and the Service Employees
In a time when real citizen's 401K and
retirement savings accounts values are dropping, the unions are
bankrupting the state with enormous retirement benefits that often lead
to union employees earning more in retirement than when they were
employed by the state of California. Yet the unions are making no concessions, preferring to raise everyone else's taxes to pay their
addiction to tax payer's money.
"The only informed vote on
Proposition 1A is NO," says SCRC Chairman Crean, "and we are taking a
lead position with grassroots voters to inform voters to vote NO on 1A
along with NO on the other propositions. I hope folks will go to www.SoCalGOP.com and make even a small contribution to save us from more tax increases."
Ron Prentice is the CEO of California Family Council, formally
associated with Focus on the Family and also working alongside Family
Research Council. California Family Council (CFC) was formed in 2003
with Ron as the founding director. With offices in Southern California
and Sacramento, CFC’s mission is to protect and promote Judeo-Christian
principles in California’s culture. They do so by communicating the
analysis of current legislation, creating pastor and grassroots
coalitions, and educating the general population on the issues of the
day. Ron also serves as the Chairman of the ProtectMarriage.com – Yes
on 8 Coalition, working with dozens of national, state, and local
groups to bring about a victory for traditional marriage in California.
Location:Sizzler Torrance, 2880
Sepulveda Bl. (Between Crenshaw & Hawthorne). NOTE: we now have
the full meeting room due to the large monthly turnouts. No more
standing room only!
All are welcome - Members and non-members alike! This event is Free
And for those of you interested in making positive changes in your life, don't forget to sign up for the Standup Leadership seminar entitled Leading Change at www.leaderyou.com which will feature Coach Lori Ketkar and distinguished Naval officers, CAPT Luke and First Brigade Commander, Juliane, at The Shore Restaurant and Lounge from 5:30pm - 8:30pm.
Lastly, for those who want to learn more about our upcoming TLC Empowerment Group which starts June 3, 2009 at TLC Pharmacy, join Business and Life Coach Sherry Marshall, TLC Pharmacists' Annabell and Mindy, me and Perfect Body from 4pm - 6pm at Luna G located at 323 Pier Ave in Hermosa Beach, CA that same Thursday night, May 21.
Check out Luna G's latest designer clothing for men and women and unique gifts, taste GoChi Juice and TAIslim, meet Perfect Body trainers and the rest of us and have fun mixing and mingling.
Just think? Two great events on the same night! Hermosa Beach is the place to be Thursday night!
Back to your regularly scheduled Sunday.
I've been enjoying mine since I rode my neighbor's bike to the Healthy Living Festival in Manhattan Beach at the Metlox Plaza and blogging.
Time to go home and get ready to go out for drinks at that new Redondo Beach restaurant named Maison Riz.
That's my kind of place if you're taking notes. :) Gotta run!
Beach Cities Republican Club, Biz & Life Coach Sherry Marshall, California Family Counci, CAPT Luke, CEO, Coach Lori Ketkar, Gary M. Mallette, GoChi Juice, Healthy Living Festival in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Joy A. Kennelly, Leader You, Maison Riz, Male, No on Proposition 1A, Old, Perfect Bodies, Republican, Ron Prentice, TAIslim, Teresa Hernandez for Congress, The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade, The Shore Restaurant and Lounge, The Southern California Republican Coalition, This is Hermosa, TLC Pharmacy, www.lafuneral.com, www.socalgop.com, www.thejoywriter.typepad.com/thejoywriterpr
Today was such a nice day spent with friends I haven't seen in a long time and those I see on a weekly basis which was so pleasant. In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season it's easy to get caught up in all the parties, shopping, eating, playing, lights, and forget the true meaning of Christmas - Christ's birth and spending quality time with family and friends.
I was trying to make my 9am service and was so late I decided to stay for the 11am instead. It was a good decision because then I wasn't rushed during the break and was able to spend time with friends. I popped by another friend's home to deliver a Christmas card and surprisingly enough they were home!
That was fun too because I don't get to see them as often as I used to which made me happy. Then popped back to church for the service and it was a continuation of the forgiveness theme entitled, "Forgetting."
I really liked this sermon because Pastor Jimmy spoke and really explained what Jesus thinks about our sin once we ask for forgiveness using King David as an example. Now you may be wondering how King David applies to the Christmas story, but read on and you'll see.
Now you've probably heard the story of David and Bathsheba right? Well, if you haven't, it goes like this - at least this is my interpretation - correct me if I'm wrong. King David saw Bathsheba bathing and decided he wanted her. He called her to his room, lay with her and she became pregnant.
Now David felt guilty and thought, let's cover this up. So he called for Uriah to come home from the war thinking Uriah would lay with Bathsheba and would never know the difference. However, Uriah was an honorable man and chose not to do so out of respect for his men who were still fighting.
David then decided to have him killed and when he went back to battle had him stay at the front while everyone retreated. The enemy killed Uriah and David's secret was kept. Now what I found fascinating about the rest of the story is that the baby that was born from this illicit affair ended up dying.
What I never knew is that the next child that they conceived together was Solomon, one of the wisest men in the Old Testament, and Jesus came from that lineage. Isn't that amazing? Well, it is to me. What I always find fascinating is that even when we mess up God always can use our lives for something positive if we let Him. Here's the verse (I'm moving it up from the sermon, but it fits here:) Matthew 1:6:
6Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.
Here's the sermon notes now that you know the back story.:)
Matthew 1:21-22: 21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
2 Corinthians 7:10:
10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
What Pastor Jimmy said about these verses is that Jesus came to save us from our sins and we need to let go of the shame and guilt. I think that's hard to do, don't you? Letting go that is. That's why Pastor Jimmy shared this with us.
HOW TO MOVE FORWARD
1. Accept what cannot be changed.
2 Samuel 12:22-23: 22He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' 23But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."
I never knew this child was his illegitimate son and when it was explained it made total sense. I kind of chuckled inside when I heard number 1 because that's part of the 12-step prayer - "God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, (the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.)"
What I also liked about this sermon was the forward thinking. At a certain point after what has happened you need to just say, that was stupid, or that hurt, or whatever, and then make a decision to move forward rather than continue to wallow in it. You become so much freer when you can accept God's forgiveness of whatever is holding you back and release it.
One of the things we may not do is forgive ourselves too. I realized that was the case with certain life situations I've been in and now that I'm aware of it I plan to work on it more.
I went to see Seven Pounds this afternoon too and man, what a prime example of the need to forgive yourself. I won't spoil the film for you, but Will Smith is definitely a man with forgiveness issues!
I kind of had a sneaking suspicion that was what it was about, but it played out very differently than I expected which I always like. Unlike Gran Torino which I think I totally know everything about now that I've seen their preview, I liked that you don't really know where Seven Pounds is going until near the end.
I was determined not to cry, but have to admit when Rosario Dawson is crying I just had to join in with her. She is really good in this film and I could relate to her character in certain respects. The thing that kept echoing through my mind was the film critic's review from CNN last night which is why I didn't fully allow myself to feel the film until the very end, but I think it is very interesting, if not a little far-fetched.
Now where was I about forgiveness? Oh yeah, accept what's happened and stop beating yourself up ok?
One way to do that is:
2. Give it up to God.
2 Samuel 12:20: 20Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped.
I liked hearing that David accepted what had had happened to his child and chose to move forward trusting God. I remember when a former friend stole all my belongings after I had entrusted them to her I couldn't stop sobbing all day long over the betrayal and loss.
I also couldn't stop singing a song through my tears I had learned at my church which is so weird, but I had nowhere to turn at that moment except God and trusted that there was a reason for my having to experience that. That was probably one of the most surreal days of my life.
For many years after I would reach for something only to realize she had it and I would never see it again. I'm not materialistic, yet certain things held such memories for me and it was like losing part of my past. I've since forgiven her and moved on from that experience.
I don't know why I remembered that now, but thought I'd share because trust me, I've been right there with you in wondering if you'd ever get over a situation or loss or betrayal, but I always do. I hope you will too.
What I loved hearing Jimmy say about this next verse is that generally it's when times are the darkest that we see God isn't it?
1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Lastly, as an encouragement to whatever you're going through right now, remember to:
3. Focus on what is left, not lost.
2 Samuel 12:24:
24Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him.
18"Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. 19"Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.
21"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." 22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
When we blow it, our lives aren't over. God is a forgiving, caring God. Let Him care for you like He has so often to me. Like today.
I was totally planning to go Downtown to help, but my car was making a really weird noise and I thought better of it. I ended up going to meet up with my friend Mobolaji to see his new African Cowboy clothing line in person since I've been meaning to see him forever and it just hasn't worked out till now.
He has a really beautiful girlfriend and the shirts are one-of-a-kind. I love this statement about his line taken from his Linked In site: "African Cowboy is dedicated to creating a new cross-cultural dialogue
about Africa that moves beyond conversations about AIDS, warfare,
famine, and animals to seeing Africa as a cutting-edge contributor on
the global stage - not only in the arena of culture and fashion, but
also conscious business and commerce."
Now is that positive or what? I've always loved African fabric because it really is beautiful and so unique. However, I only have seen it in traditional African clothing which isn't really street ready, but now with Mo's clothing line, you can be fashionable and African centric in a subtle, sophisticated, hip, fun way. I love it! He is a really great guy and I encourage you to support his new clothing line - great Christmas gifts!
I had time and decided to hit the movie before my friend's Christmas gathering which was a nice way to slow down too. This movie is really measured and takes time for the story to be revealed. 2.5 hours long I believe!
The Christmas gathering was fun and it was nice to meet everyone's spouses and kids. I was worried I'd feel uncomfortable being one of the few singles there, but it was very nice. I have some really great people in my life this year. I'm very happy and grateful.
Watch out 2009. This is going to be a great year, I can sense it already. Okay, that's all for now. I need to upload some pix from all the parties and fun I've been having, but need my beauty sleep.:) My heater keeps going off at the oddest times which is waking me up.
Just something else to add to the list to have checked right? LOL Have a good one! Sleep well and have a great Christmas week - can you believe this year is almost over? I sure can't!
Bigot is such a loaded, negative word and that's why I responded so
deeply to it (when I read my friend calling me such). Words have the power to heal as well as hurt. This one
Here's the dictionary explanation of a bigot:
a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.
I don't think this word applies to me at all if we take it for what it
means. I am not "utterly intolerant" of someone's creed, belief or
opinion. I'm just not. I respect other people's opinions and welcome
intelligent dialog. Doesn't mean I will agree, or change my opinion,
but at least I am open to hearing it.
Homosexuality isn't a creed, belief or opinion if we take it as you
explain as something people are born into. If you want to call me that,
then you're contradicting yourself. There's probably another word that
would fit better, but I'm not going to be the one to provide it.
Ironically enough, I've actually extensively researched homosexuality
because years ago in college I was in love with a bi-sexual man and was
trying to figure him out.
According to the Kinsey Sex Study (if I remember correctly) people are
born straight. However, along the way they begin to lean one way or the
Environment, social pressure, active recruitment (verified by other gay
friends so it is true) and other issues sometimes (not always, but
sometimes) push people more in one sexual direction than another. I
believe, and others who study this as well, believe that is why more
children raised in homosexual families are gay as adults than those
raised in straight families.
I have also had lengthy conversations with many dear gay friends about
this issue because I sincerely have tried to understand where they're
coming from. They have shared honestly and openly that there is
tremendous pressure to remain in the gay community by other gays and
that is one reason they stay in.
Others have told me they don't want the responsibility of a straight
relationship and appreciate the sex without strings attached because
men operate so differently than women. Trust me, I've had gay friends
since high school and being a journalist, am very inquisitive about
things I don't know about. I also love and accept them unconditionally
which is why they've been so forthcoming.
Ironically enough, one of my closest friends from high school who I
bumped into years later was the proud President of the Gay and Lesbian
club at UCLA when he attended there. At my high school reunion, I was
really surprised at how many of the guys I had attended MCHS with were
I'm not coming at this whole gay issue without knowledge or personal
relationships. I'm just not. I'm not a bigot. I'm not filled with hate.
That's not who I am. I am probably the most accepting Christian person
when it comes to gays that you'll find.
I can see where you might be surprised when I use the word allow (gays in my life to be who they are and vice versa). That
was a wrong word choice. Accept might be better and help explain my
I love and accept (my gay friends). (They) love and accept me.
I had to smile when (my friend) referred to animal sacrifice in the Bible
because actually we believe that Jesus Christ became the ultimate
sacrifice for our sins and we don't have to practice animal sacrifice
any more as a result. We can just confess our sins to Jesus and be free
from the burden of sin by turning our lives over to him.
I know. Christians are weird. I am one. I accept this label and have
lived with it all my life. I guess to a certain degree I totally
understand what gays experience in discrimination because I too have
lived with it, however perhaps in a lesser degree. I totally know what
it's like to be outside the social norm of society and to feel like you
don't fit in.
Believe me, I do.
I also believe that teaching someone something from a young age does
influence their belief systems. That's why you don't see Christian
beliefs being taught in public schools - it doesn't fit and it would
offend too many people. That's how we feel about teaching about
It's been said that a child becomes who they will be the rest of their
life by the age of 4. I believe those first four years are extremely
impressionable as a result.
As a Christian, I don't want homosexuality taught in the public school
system. I just don't. I believe that is up to the parent to make the
decision. Not the government. Not the school system. And definitely not
I hope this helps explain my perspective a little better, although,
trust me I'm not holding my breath. I'm really ready to "live and let
live" and allow people vote their conscience come November 4.
I agree with you on one point. It's time to let "God decide this one".
And with this, I bow out of any further discussions on this topic.
Thank you for reading and for allowing me the freedom of expression I
know and love about America.
Nothing like finding out your new pastor has found your blog and been reading it to get to know you better. Oh dear. That's one way to get right with the Lord real quick! I've needed the accountability though because I was on the slippery slope to destruction fast.
When you feel like no one cares about you or what you do, then it's easy to go crazy and act out. I get that. I just don't want to be that person any more. Time to get back on the right track and live the life God has called me to, not what my flesh is aching for.
All in due time right? I'm excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead now. I also realize I need to change some of my attitudes to achieve some of those new goals too. I will. That's what I do. When someone (or God) reveals something to me I need to change on a constructive basis, and I agree, then I change.
If not, then I don't.
Maybe it's time to give my family the time off from my expectations and just let them do what they are going to do without my guilt and anger too. I think that's wise - detach with love. I think we'll all enjoy the holidays a little easier that way. So, no, not coming to Thanksgiving or Christmas ok?
Tell Mom and Dad Grace. Enjoy yourselves!
My old pastor is probably relieved that I'm gone too! LOL Maybe. Not sure. I may never know. It's sad to say good-bye, but I really crave Christian relationships right now with singles my own age and life stage which I haven't found in the two years I attended. I need the accountability too. I think I'll find it at this new church. We'll see.
I really like the teaching and the music which is always a big plus too. So! That's my news for the day. Hope you're having a great Sunday! I am. Promise pix later on tonight.
Finally have to laugh at something Bill Maher said on his show just now. He apparently is showcasing countries where he suggests people should move to should McCain become President. Now that is stupid, but what made me laugh is when he said, go to India to visit your old job. So true!
Then he mocked Ghandi a little further into the segment and fortunately people agreed it was in poor taste and didn't laugh. Now he's mocking John McCain's war hero treatment comparing it to Tina Turner. I don't know about you, but that's poor taste.
But what do we expect? He's Bill Maher. Crass, sarcastic, full of himself, the biggest head on a body I've ever seen in person (even bigger than Dick Clark!), and blasphemous.
May he rot in hell.
Oops! Did I just say that?
Oh, ha ha. That's comedy.
Or is it? You tell me. It works for him and his show.
Why not at him?
I'm waiting for Entourage and was just curious about his show having never watched it before. Now that I have, I don't have to ever again. Is it always so one-sided? And they say Fox Channel is one-sided! Are comedians only liberal? Are things only funny when it's bashing things that you're against?
I love it. The Republican guest is countering Bill's determination that there needs to be more negative campaigning saying that's what caused the Democrats to lose in the past. Maybe he'll listen.
One can only hope.
Sometimes I feel like Hollywood is so high school where bullies are allowed free rein because those in power are so afraid of losing their jobs to counter something they personally disagree with they go with the flow even though they'd rather not.
Maybe that's why I like Entourage so much. Tells it like it is. For the most part. Gotta watch.
That was a good show. Nice way to end my day. Chris Rock is on now and is too funny. VERY crass, but too funny. Said Desperate Housewives should be renamed Ungrateful Bitches. Too funny.
Hit a non-profit organization's art event earlier today, but just couldn't get into the art exercise designed to relax all the participants and left early in tears from the last one when we were supposed to paint a place we felt safe.
Guess I don't feel safe anywhere right now. Hopefully that will change soon though. I think my safety is being out on the town. HA!
Probably won't be back to that organization actually. Too many memories I don't feel like remembering any more.
Time to move on. I need to ask the other non-profit who always invites me to their annual picnic to stop inviting me too. I'm over remembering that experience too.
Mooooving on. Moooooving on.
What was funny driving there was the van full of young boys who kept trying to get my attention at the stop light. Cougar power. Hellooooo.
Made me a little uncomfortable when I realized they looked like they were 14. Reminded me of the hilarious young boys in Sex Drive which I just saw last night. If you can get past the crassness, it's actually really funny and has a good ending considering it's crassness.
Totally predictable, but sometimes predictable is good. Felt good to just laugh. I think I have a very sick sense of humor for a Christian. Sorry. Can't help it.
That's where I first heard Fall Out Boy's song, I Don't Care. Still lovin' it. Click on the link for the video. When it comes on in your car scream along to it and you'll experience what it's like in my car when I hear it. I. Don't. CARE!
Totally the way I'm feeling. Never quite understood why people like rock music like AC/DC and today for some reason, I love it. There's something primal about screaming along with the music that releases tension I guess. Highway to Hell - especially when you start thinking that's where you're driving.
Laughing is helping though. I love Chris Rock because he totally just tells it like it is. Especially about sex. HILARIOUS! Did I say that? He is not funny at all. I don't know anything about what he's telling.
Or do I?
I enjoyed watching Fashion Designer Joy Han's Voom Fashion Show earlier tonight Downtown. I loved the title "Conservatively Liberal", the girls picketing for Joy Han for President, and the election pins that were passed out. I also liked the fashion - bright colors, lots of designs related to the 60's and 70's.
Once I upload all the pix I'll share them with you. I have some from the UCLA wine & cheese tasting too.
I visited the Santa Monica Arts Studio Open House after the fashion show. I took some pix of my new potential artist client's work and met her in person for the first time. Love her work.
Also saw a few people I know. Some I don't want to know any more, but that's par for the course as I roll. Oh well.
Mooooving on. Moooving on.
Now I'm going to mooooveeee on to bed. Want to watch Joe the Plumber on Huckabee's show. Go Joe!
Oh, and because I can't leave you without at least one Obama thing, here's a video I received tonight that I found very interesting. It's a letter written to the editor by a Cuban American who lived under Fidel Castro.
Interesting comparison. Take it or leave it.
I'm tired. Maybe I'll think differently when I wake up tomorrow.
Interesting, Huckabee has two people on who registered to vote 100 times each with ACORN. People who claim ACORN is innocent are crazy!
ACORN , Bill Maher, Chris Rock, Cuban American, Democrats, Desperate Housewives, Entourage, Fidel Castro, Fox, Ghandi, Hollywood, Huckabee, Joe the Plumber, Joy A. Kennelly, McCain, Santa Monica Arts Studio, The Joy Writer, UCLA, Ungrateful Bitches
It's always fun to see who finds and reads this blog. Just last night someone popped by and told me they lived in Sri Lanka and had found me. Welcome! They found me searching for Sri Lanka Cougars - I guess it's everywhere,eh? LOL
This morning I had searches from Japan, Singapore and somewhere else that I forget now. I've seen people from Iran, England, Australia, Philippines, and all over the world come through here. I like to think that maybe my humble opinion on what's going on in America is heard and helps foreigners see us in a different light than they might just watching our mainstream media.
Last night was really fun, but a little crazy.
I'm not going to write about it just yet because after waking up at 5:30am this morning, I've had this epiphany which I want to share right now seeing as I haven't read it anywhere else recently. Not to say it hasn't been said already, but this is my personal opinion and my blog...bear with me. Or stop reading now. Your choice. This is America. I love saying that! :)
A liberal friend, who I didn't realize was still reading my blog, contacted me last night and said I'd inspired her. She then shared numerous political websites she had created about her favorite candidate and my favorite too (although in my candidate's case, the site isn't designed to be supportive, but derisive which is fine. I will defend her right to her opinion to the day I die. This is AMERICA! God bless it!)
However that said, let me share with you why I don't think Obama has a shot in hell right now of winning and it has nothing to do with his experience, his qualifications, the fact that he's Democrat, or anything else.
It's just the fact he's black.
And I'm not saying that in a racist way, just stating another fact about America unfortunately.
I know, big shock. What does the color of his skin have to do with anything? It has EVERYTHING to do with it. How many black newscasters, anchors, heads of media, mainstream magazines, members of congress, any politicians for that matter, CEO's, or other powerful people do you see on a consistent basis who are black?
Yes, there's our very own local handsome black Channel 5 newscaster, Emmet Watson. But why do you think he got choked up announcing Obama's nomination? Because it was/is huge news.
Why do you think Halle Berry's win was such big news? You can count on one hand how many African-American actors have won Academy Awards over the years I bet. Not sure that's true, but bet it is.
When I see Girlfriends get nominated for an Emmy, then maybe I'll believe racism isn't an issue, but right now? It is. Think about it. You know I'm right. I'm just one of the few willing to put it in writing.
I've dated a lot of black men over the years (I love the color of their skin against mine - I'm so white and the contrast is striking. One man said it's erotic - I'll give him that. I love it too. Sexy as anything.) As a result, I understand their world a little better than other white people who haven't.
My son who I placed in an open adoption is half Nigerian and half me making him look like Obama. I need to state here that I'm very proud and happy that Obama was nominated regardless of whether I'll vote for him or not. I've said it before, I'll say it again.
What a wonderful thing for my son to see someone who looks like him on TV running for such a high office even if he doesn't understand the historic ramifications at such an early age. I believe in race equality and will defend the rights of all races till the day I die too.
Just because I believe that though doesn't mean the rest of America agrees with me. The thing that brought it home real clearly last night was watching the news accounts of the bail-out talks where you saw McCain very visibly sitting in the far right corner of the screen.
I had no idea where Obama was sitting until one news station finally showed a shot of him sitting on the left of the table actually closer to the President. All the previous cameramen had cut him out even though if they panned back they could have very easily included him if they'd wanted to.
When I saw that and heard Obama discuss what went on behind the closed doors, heard that Obama's staff had never been to the White House and were excited to be there, it only confirmed to me that despite Obama's best efforts, this presidency won't be judged on merit, but on political connections and the old (white) boy's club's terms.
America, or should I say Washington D.C., just isn't ready for a black man to be telling them what to do. They're just not. No matter how much I wish racism didn't exist, it's a fact of life that will bear heavily on this campaign no matter what side of the political fence you sit on.
What I also think people don't realize is that even though they think Palin is outspoken with her Christian beliefs, there are actually a lot of people who hold similar ones. I almost feel like when my friends mock Palin and her faith, they're mocking me too.
I happen to believe in casting out demons. I believe witchcraft is alive and well. I believe there is evil in the world. I believe there is good and that God will protect His followers too. I don't believe in speaking in tongues, but there are many Christians who do.
I believe life begins at conception. I believe adoption is the third unspoken choice of the pro-choice crowd where only abortion and single parenting is touted.
Speaking of abortion, did you know that the woman who is at the basis of the Roe V. Wade choice denounced this law years later? She has an autobiography I read which was just fascinating. I really do need to find it again because you NEVER hear that do you?
Only that abortion is what every woman wants. That's BS.
Maybe the media should interview that woman. Maybe the other side of abortion should be heard for once publicly- it's devastating to so many women. That's a fact you can't deny no matter where you stand on this issue. But you never hear of that. Only it's a woman's right to kill your unborn baby.
I'm sorry ladies who've had abortions. Get used to the word. It's killing. I feel very strongly about that. Especially third term and especially when the baby is partial birth. So sickening. Really hits me in the gut when I even think about it. I bet it hits those who have had abortions so hard emotionally and angrily because deep in their souls they know I'm right.
Oh dear, I'm not being very politically correct now am I? Oh well. Never said I was.
Oh dear, where is my Christian compassion? I am sorry too. I'm so sorry you've been lead to believe that abortion is the only way to "fix" your unwanted pregnancy. I'm sorry that you ARE dealing with the pain and remorse of your decision. I'm deeply, deeply sorry about this. That's why I get so angry when it's made to seem like EVERYONE believes that it's the only choice out there. It's not.
That's why I chose adoption even though living through nine months of a pregnancy I didn't want or expect was my "choice". I can't begin to tell you the days and nights I wondered why I was doing what I was doing. How much I craved my non-pregnant life. How much I resented the birthfather and the situation I was in. How embarrassed and ashamed I was to be living in a shelter and on welfare.
However, I'm glad I did it. I have my little boy who will hopefully grow up to be a good man to show for it. I held to my convictions and despite the personal, emotional, financial cost I would do it all again if I had to. Only this time I would probably single parent. Although that's not an easy choice either.
I just would never, ever, ever, ever choose abortion. I just wouldn't. I believe in taking responsiblity for my actions even when it's tough and difficult and not what I want to do. That's just who I am. That's where my faith in God makes me different too. There is a right and wrong in my world. What about you?
Like a large percentage of Christian Americans, I also believe God is in control and will ultimately decide what is right in this election and in all life. I believe that when someone admits and repents of their sin and accepts the Lord into their life they are a new person and are "born-again." I believe that we are a forgiven people and God is love.
Now what do you think of me? LOL To be honest, I really don't care what you think because I've lived with your perceptions in the media and the rest of my life for so long I'm used to it.
I think that's part of the reason I like black men so much too. They know what it's like to live on the outside of convention simply by virtue of the color of their skin. My difference is on the inside, but it still affects my life on a daily basis.
That's why I used to love seeing the Hasadic Jews in my old neighborhood. It was really inspiring to see a people living out their personal convictions so publicly. Really cool actually. I guess that's why I write.
To publicly live out my personal convictions too.
When my son was only a few months old I flew to New Mexico to participate in his baby dedication. In other circles it could be called a christening. Similar concept, only in Christian circles what you're doing is dedicating your child to God and His service.
Whoa, that's so weird! I know that's what you're thinking. I kind of feel like I'm outing all the darkly held secrets of the Christian subculture, but hey, you've been reading this long you must find it interesting or you would have stopped long ago, right? LOL
We, the adoptive parents and I, all stood on the stage with Eli, my son, as the pastor gave his blessing and prayed over him with us. It was a very moving service and something I was so happy to be included in. That's one of the reasons I chose the couple I did. They were/are staunch born-again Christians and uphold the same beliefs that I have.
I think part of me knew back then that I might not raise my son so strictly in the Christian faith as a single mom and decided to let a married couple be the responsible ones in this situation. Plus, for other personal reasons I won't go into here out of respect for my family's wishes, but if you've been reading for awhile you'll remember, I thought it was better overall.
It also just wasn't the right time for me to parent. Bottom line.
I look at my friends and my sister with all their kids and wonder how they do it. Children are a HUGE responsibility and HUGELY change your life. Now, maybe now, I'd be ready for the life change, but back then, no way. As a result, I'm content with my decision.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, Obama mama.
So, even though I wish America was more progressive in their race relations, we're just not. If grown men can still call people the N word and have others agree with them as if it's ok, Obama isn't winning. And if the news can still only focus on the white guy running for office when there's a black man who's running for president sitting in the same room non-existent, it's just not happening.
What I found interesting in listening to Obama after the bail-out discussion was his observation of the whole process as an outsider, rather than as an insider which is what Washington lives and dies for. If someone pursuing the highest office isn't part of that inner circle and treated as such, I just don't see his winning happening.
I'm looking at this strictly from a marketing perspective because when you're selling something you need to have people who will buy what you're selling. It's obvious to me, with my personal knowledge of racism as it exists today, people in Washington aren't buying it.
As far as Middle America goes, people are buying Palin. Whether you like it or not, there are lots and lots of Christians who hold similar beliefs to hers. We're just never heard in mainstream media because religion isn't of interest or something most media types uphold themselves and as a result, don't understand or report without making it fanatical rather than a part of a normal person's life.
Oh, here's something else to consider. One of my black rapper friends says that Sunday is the most racially segrated day of the week. Think about it. How many multi-cultural churches do you see? Not that many. Mainly they're hugely white, hugely black, hugely Asian, but never the twain shall mix.
Or if they do, there's a sprinkle here and a sprinkle there unless the leadership is multi-cultural and as a result the church is more multi-racial too.
We just aren't a racially integrated society. My personal opinion is that Obama isn't going to be the one to cross that divide right now. And it's not just because of him. It's because America really isn't ready for a black President. No matter who he/she is. Bottom line. Mark my words.
It will be very interesting to see what happens in the years to come as the white population decreases and the minorities continue to increase though. Maybe then.
But now? No.
And now, since my pumpkin ice blended is finished I'll leave you until later when I report on the three fun events I hit last night which left me exhausted and emotionally spent. LOL
Have a good one. Feel free to comment. It makes my day.:)
I'm watching the Olympics Closing Night Ceremonies and it's just breathtakingly beautiful. I'm loving the flashbacks on all the great Olympic moments for the athletes too. Aren't you?
I'm so proud to be an American and so proud of all the amazing Olympic athletes who have competed with honor, valor and strength.
Really makes you re-evaluate your personal life and see if you're living up to your own standard of living doesn't it? It's so cool Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are from here in Hermosa Beach. We're all so proud of them!
They even changed the sign on Pier & PCH in their honor and normally that sign is way out-of-date for weeks at a time! Just goes to show you how proud our city is of our athletes! Hard to believe these same Olympic volleyball athletes including Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers will soon be playing in our local Manhattan Beach AVP's. Simply amazing.
Sorry, I'm not normally starstruck, but there's just something about the Olympics that makes me so proud and teary eyed over the athletes. It's so cool to see the world literally come together for these days as one. Makes me believe in peace on earth, doesn't it you?
Maybe that's why today's message from Pastor Jim Mackinga of Bay Cities Community Church on Integrity struck such a chord today. The thing that really hit home was when he said, "People won't buy what we profess in public, if we don't live it out in private." OY! Made me re-evaluate certain things I've been doing and saying for sure!
Since I always promise to share my notes and it's mindless to copy, I'm going to do it while I watch the closing night ceremonies. Just know, Jim's messages are filled with anecdotes, information, stats, humor and loving care that you really only experience if you hear him.
What was interesting to feel today since I was so late is the remorse I had for missing any of the service. It was then I realized this part of my week is much more important than staying out late on Saturday with new people I don't know or don't necessarily care about at the grand opening of Zen Lounge.
I'd rather enjoy time with good friends I care about and who care about me which is how I feel about people at my church. I also feel that way about certain people I hung out with last night at The Shore. Aren't they a great group of ladies?
Then, there's always my singing minstrel neighbor who always welcomes all of us home with a song and a smile. Recognize Mr. Blue Eyes?
Okay, enough of that - here's the message! Go Kenya! I lived there in '77 and have a soft spot for that country. One of my dreams has always been to go back. One day...
May God bless the reading of His Word. Enjoy!
Integrity in What We Say & Do
"James - Practical Christian Living"
How to Live with Integrity
12And since you know that he cares,
let your language show it. Don't add words like "I swear to God" to
your own words. Don't show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry
up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your
language can't be used against you.
1. Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep.
12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else.
don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our
traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen
of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or
saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your
words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your
speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say 'yes' and
'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.
33"If you grow a healthy tree,
you'll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you'll pick
worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree.
34 -37"You have minds like a snake
pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so
foul-minded? It's your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to
your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after
season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you
something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to
haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take
them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your
2. Fill Your Voice, Heart and Life with Integrity
let your yes be [a simple] yes, and your no be [a simple] no
25Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.
37"But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil.
26If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. (Man, the Bible doesn't mince words does it?)
3. Know the Price if You're Wrong Here
so that you may not sin and fall under condemnation.
Exodus 20:7: 7You shall not
use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly
or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will
not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
John 8:43-44: 43Why do you
misunderstand what I say? It is because you are unable to hear what I
am saying. [You cannot bear to listen to My message; your ears are shut
to My teaching.]
44You are of your
father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and
gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a
murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because
there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is
natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and
of all that is false.
Galatians 6:7-8: 7Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked [a]by
mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.)
[He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For
whatever a man sows, that and [b]that only is what he will reap.
he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the
flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the
Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Heavy words, but just know God meant them in love and so do I.
Bay Cities Community Church, Elite Singles by The Shore, James, Joy A. Kennelly, Kenya, Kerri Walsh, Manhattan Beach AVP's, Misty May-Treanor, Olympics Closing Night Ceremonies, Pastor Jim Mackinga, Phil Dalhausser, The Joy Writer PR Blog, Todd Rogers , USA
I took some time off from everyone and everything yesterday in attempt to heal emotionally and physically which was exactly what I needed to do. Now I'm back to my old self a little wiser, a little happier and a little better. Time heals all wounds I guess.
I think I was a lot more receptive to today's sermon as a result too. Jim Mackinga over at Bay Cities Community Church is really a gifted teacher. Every single time I think that's my last Sunday there because I don't have many single friends from there to do stuff with, he gives a sermon that makes me realize I would really miss his teaching if I left. Friends I can find outside church I guess. I do love my married ones there though.
Today I actually had some cute guys (too young, but still) sitting next to me so it's all good. Guess God is throwing this old cougar a bone after all. God bless the young hotties is all I got to say. There was a really funny skit to elaborate the point that the world thinks having a man to love is going to solve all your problems when it's really only God.
The scenario was two women discussing a mutual friend who they think will be all better if she only had someone to love in her life. They think of all the guys they can set her up with which was very funny. Then one suggests EHarmony. We all laughed when the other answered, "I, I mean a "good friend" tried EHarmony with not so good results."
I've tried EHarmony too and never met anyone I'd be interested in. Sorry, I'm a little shallow, but I think physical chemistry has to be there too. I like good looking guys. What can I say? Always have, always will. Part of the reason I moved back to the beach. Those are my kind of guys.
I think if I really were a Cougar I could have such fun with all the young un's down here. Unfortunately, not into flings any more. I want a real relationship with a future. So, although it was hard to do, I cut loose the young un who has been very sweet to me lately.
If someone is drunk almost every time you speak to them, or is looking to get wasted all the time too, that doesn't bode well long term. When will young guys realize it's a big turn off to cougars? Just kidding. I really am not a Cougar, I just tease about it because I think it's funny.
My girlfriend Shana keeps telling me that getting drunk is what 30 year old guys do and just to go with the flow. Plus, she tells me she's a little jealous I'm catching the attention of a young 'un since she's married and can't do anything about it when they hit on her. She cracks me up! I might change my mind because it is nice to have male friends. We'll see.
Guess it's ok to have some fun though, right? Still trying to figure all this out since young un's aren't my usual demo. Flattering though. Hello hottie babies... Just kidding.
What was cool about today's sermon is that it really spoke to real life issues.
Here's the notes in case you're interested:
How To Get What You Want
"James- Practical Christian Living"
How Normal Life Works
1. We experience turmoil then pain.
2. We try to numb the pain through pleasure.
3. We end up facing conflict and anger.
4. We watch hope for satisfaction disappear. (Jim says then we become less fun to be with. We become mad, sad and ultimately alone since no one wants to be around us. Without a solution we lose hope. Been there, done that. OY!)
Options When Facing Normal Life
(How people deal with stuff...)
1. Try fixing things through other people.
(This one really spoke to me because I think I've been a little hard on my friends. My one girlfriend is married with two little kids, a demanding career, and busy social life. I just need to accept that fact and realize she can't always be the best friend I want her to be when I want her to be. Doesn't make it any easier, but does give me more compassion on this friend.
Also, the other one is really going through stuff too. It's not easy losing your job and worrying about how you'll pay your mortgage and take care of your son as a single divorced parent. I have faith we will work things out, but it will just take some time because we need to work on caring communication vs. brutal honesty. Looks like I'm getting a taste of my own medicine, but if I can change there's hope for others too.
It really helped to hear some other people's perspectives and shares yesterday and realize I'm not alone with my stuff. Very healing too. (God bless 12 step programs.)
James 4:1, 2a
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.
Then Jim shared that no one person can fix us or meet all our needs, only God. Over time a relationship can't handle the pressure and it falls apart. So true.
Jim is very funny and he said, "In the words of the great theologian Mick Jagger..." referring to the infamous song "Can't Get No Satisfaction."
The 2nd way people approach normal life is...
2. Try manipulating God to do what we want.
James 4:2b - 3
You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Jim says we are a pleasure seeking people, but pleasure isn't the ultimate answer for us. Bummer. If only it was... (That's me, not him speaking and I'm being facetious!:) Only God can fill that hole in us.
3. Look for things in this world to satisfy. (Like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, material things, the list goes on and on...Isn't that a nice list? Just kidding...)
Philippians 4:9 and 19
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (This is our guarantee if we pursue a relationship with God. Peace.) 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (I've found that in my life for sure.)
Jim said the Beatles song, All you need is love should have been, all you need is God.
Here are some of the normal needs we all possess that Jim swears by:
Normal Needs We All Possess
1. To be secure in life.
2. To be loved in life.
3. To be valued in life.
4. To be significant in life.
When these needs are met through God, our life is worth living. Then we can bear fruit for God. So, that's the moral of this message everyone. Hope you enjoyed the crib notes.
If you're searching for a place to worship, then pop over and visit <"http://www.baycitieschurch.com">Bay Cities Community Church sometime. I personally welcome all young hotties. JUST KIDDING! Seriously though, they have a cool 20 something group called Zoe. Call Tyler for more details: 310 877-9753.
You oldies can come too. Not to that group, but to services ok? LOL Can you see I'm really feeling better? Now to go hit the local Greek festival and get me some baklava. Then if I still feel good to hit the country music over at Polliwog Park. I need more fun.
Although this past Thursday was fun hanging out with my friend, her 18 year old son and all his young buds at a recent fun pop-up store opening - not together, just at the same event. I'm not that big of a cougar!
I told her to invite them because they'd been disappointed over something and needed some fun. They loved being there - their first "Hollywood" event. I felt a little guilty because free booze was flowing and of course, once we left they took advantage. Oh well. Can't control everything right? See, I'm learning.
I did take a funny picture of my Desperate Housewife friend with hottie Actor Jesse Metcalf, the gardener dude from Desperate Housewives and other films. When is Desperate Housewives coming back on? Got to fill my guilty pleasure. She's probably going to kill me for sharing this with you, but I think it's funny. He can be my gardener any time. I need some bushes trimmed, or can find some! LOL
Isn't he a cutie? Someone give that guy a job. We need to see him on screen again. Marc, you reading this? Rides a motorcycle too girls. Watch out! Cougars on the prowl! LOL
Ah, the pleasures of summer. Isn't it a beautiful day? Have a good one!
Now, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I love nothing better than a guy who plays volleyball because then they get this awesome V-shaped bod. Well, you'll be happy to hear that one of South Bay's very own hot vball bods is actually now an Olympic athlete set to compete in Beijing!
AVP player, Sean Rosenthal, is doing us all proud and ready for his Chinese close-up this August. Here's a more serious article to give you more details on him as a player. Enjoy!
Also, I've had more time to ponder little Chloe's comment and Billvie's comment too regarding my new dearest friend, Kathy Griffin. Just teasing, I've never met her, but since she does a reality show don't we all know everything about her?
Well, I did some digging and found some very funny clips of Kathy Griffin & Anderson Cooper for you to watch if you need to laugh for whatever reason. Also, if you don't know who she is, then watch and learn.
I was trying to figure out why I like her so much and then it hit me. We both like making fun of situations and people that others normally won't go there. For example, driving down the street today in Manhattan Beach there was a banner hanging that said something about the upcoming Jewish Family Festival featuring the Amazing African Acrobats.
Now to me, that was absolutely hilarious. To someone else who doesn't share my twisted sense of humor, they're not going to see the humor in that multi-cultural, all embracing banner posted in the middle of whitesville USA. However, me and my Jewish friend Shana - we think that's hilarious.
I know, it's the small things in life. Or another racially funny thing that happened on the 4th of July that I really can't share here because it's too true, but extremely funny. Everyone would laugh, but just in case there's another Chloe out there who doesn't get my sense of humor...
Just trying to be a good girl.
I've been thinking why have I been so bitchy lately when I'm writing? Then I realized it's because I'm in pain from this stupid car accident that wasn't my fault and I'm taking it out on everyone else as a result. Having fun at Kathy Griffin's expense made me feel better for some odd reason. Go figure.
However, I do need to clarify that I do find Kathy attractive and was totally teasing about the Dame Edna look-a-like question. She, for one, is a very attractive red head. Conan O'Brien? Not so attractive. Once again, my sick twisted sense of humor. Are you laughing yet? OY!
Tonight I had to drive to Hollywood to pick something up (grimacing all the way) and as I was stopped at Kings Road and Sunset this blinding light hit me from a nearby video billboard. I couldn't figure out what was happening and glanced up only to see Kathy Griffin's commercial for her Bravo show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List beaming down at me.
Thinking, okay, that's a sign (literally and figuratively), right then I almost get hit by a fire truck that is barreling down Sunset, horns wailing and careening wildly up Kings Road and almost into me because the corner was too tight! Fortunately, I dodged that bullet and got the hell out of dodge asap. Whew! That was a close one.
This is why if/when I buy a different car, it is definitely not going to be another sports car. I'm done with small cars. I'm a tall woman. People see me when I walk around or enter a room, especially if I wear heels. I'm not used to not being seen which happens all the time in this car despite it being red. Annoying! And dangerous. Enough!
So, if I happen to be a little more snarky than usual, please bear with me. You would be too if your mornings often comprised of laying on hot packs in order to get your butt, back and neck functioning again. Or having a chiropractor making adjustments for an accident that wasn't your fault. I can't say that enough. NOT MY FAULT and damn if I'm not livid.
Keep praying. When you do, I don't feel the pain as much. Really, seriously. I feel better and calmer about this whole situation for some weird reason. That's why I'm asking again. Miles, if you're reading this, pray too dammit. Just teasing ya. Pray if you want to, pray if you want to. (sung to the tune of It's my party...)
That's all for now. I hope this makes sense. It's late. I'm tired, but just felt I needed to make amends to the beautiful, talented, and absolutely hilarious (potty-mouth, blasphemous) Kathy Griffin.
Oh yeah, almost forgot to tell you. So then I'm driving a little further down Sunset and there's another billboard (non-video this time) with Kathy Griffin staring down at me with mascara running down her face as she's crawling down the red carpet for her Emmy or Grammy - I'm forgetting which.
TOO FUNNY! I can't get away from this woman. Maybe I'm meant to work with her as a publicist because I can be just as snarky as her and get her sense of humor. You go girl. We all love ya babe, just enough with the religious jokes ok? At least of Christian faith. Make fun of kabbahal (however it's spelled)- Madonna's giving you enough material isn't she? Go for it!
Now I'm crossing a line. I'm tired and I'm in pain. Is that a good enough excuse? Okay, no, you're right.
No religion jokes at all ok Kathy? You really don't want God finding you not funny...
Last night we must have had 200 people attend the third South Bay Professional Connection event announcing the Grand Opening of CA Associates and Verch Insurance Services. It was a really special evening. I'll write more about it later because I must run and my camera is jammed preventing me from uploading pix. Just know, it was fantastic!
Right now I want to share this amazing short film with you called The History of a Sign that my good friend Dianne just emailed me. She sends me the best stuff.
This film reminded me why I ran my short film festival for so many years. It's touching, it's beautiful, it's hopeful, and it's an amazing testimony to the power of one person making a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. Film can change the world in the right hands.
Made me realize I was way ahead of my time producing a shorts film
festival if Cannes is now doing it online. In any case, so glad to see
a short film touching so many people.
Here's the blurb from You Tube regarding it:
"Fourth annual Short Film Online Competition - Cannes 2008. The
NFB, in association with the Cannes Short Film Corner and partner
YouTube, is proud to announce that the winner of the NFB Online
Competition Cannes 2008 is Alonso Alvarez Barreda for his short film
Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign) produced in Mexico/U.S.A.
Director : Alonso Alvarez Barreda Running Time : 04:50 Year : 2007 Country : Mexico/ U.S.A Category : Short film
a stroke of the pen, a stranger transforms the afternoon for another
man in this emotionally stirring short film by Alonso Alvarez.
Alvarez Barreda was born in Mexico City in 1984. He met Alejandro
Monteverde, who was still in film school, and since then Alejandro
became his friend and mentor. Alonso wrote, produced and directed his
first short film, called El Algodonero. His second short film, Historia
de un Letrero, was named best short film in the Festival Internacional
de Cine en Corto and also won the Hispanoamerican jury award in the
Short Shorts Film Festival in Mexico City. It has also been an official
selection at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, Cine Festival in San
Antonio, Texas, Short Shorts Film Festival Monterrey and Morelos, and
in the Short Film Corner in Cannes.
Currently, Historia de un Letrero is part of the regular programming on National TV in Mexico. Alonso lives in Los Angeles."
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I cried at the ending - but it was happy tears.
So moving... Please click the link to see what I'm talking about.
Alejandro Monteverde, Alonso Alvarez Barreda, CA Associates, Cannes Short Film Online Competition, Cine Festival in San Antonio, El Segundo, Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign), Mexico, San Diego Latino Film Festival, Short Film Corner in Cannes, The History of a Sign, The South Bay Professional Connection, Verch Insurance Services
I haven't had much time to write because of everything that is going on, plus, although I had a great time at the Blues Traveler concert at Hollywood Park this past Friday, I'm so allergic to cigarette smoke I've been sick ever since because it's so prolific being an outdoor venue and all.
I'm beginning to wonder if I don't have bronchitis because I am so weak and tired all the time. Fortunately, I'm going to the doctors soon. I can't take the constant coughing, and sleeping any more! GoChi Juice is good, but this is kicking my butt! Enough already.
That said, just received very sad news this morning which is why I'm writing. Do you all remember my friend Esther's show that I wrote about and her winning an award for her short webseries she created with her friend Jeana called Me, Myself and Us TV?
Well, she just wrote me this morning to say that her friend Jeana has died. No specifics so I don't know anything other than a young woman in her thirties is dead. How tragic. How wrong. My heart goes out to Esther because they were best friends. Jeana was so happy go lucky and full of life when I met her. It's really shocking to hear this news.
Really makes you put life in perspective doesn't it? If any of you are able to contribute to the needs on the following list, please help. I'm sure Esther would greatly appreciate your support in this way.
Here is Esther's List (in her own words.) Peace and Blessings.
1. A lovely beautiful space, possibly with flowers already
surrounding the area in Los Angeles to host a memorial for Jeana. A
yard, a house, room to hold at least 100 people. May 15, 16, or 17th.
2. Some kind of template of a memorial program. You know how I
am, I could pull something together yet maybe someone has something on
hand to help me move faster.
3. Any miles to donate, I've got a Continental account and
a Virgin Airline account. This is not only for myself but to also help
at least one person in Jeana's family in Indiana have a way to get to
Los Angeles and help with what has been left behind.
4. Leads to people who may want to timeshare my West Hollywood
furnished studio apartment for 6 months at a time. Starting June 1st.
Someone who is not necessarily a permanent resident of Los Angeles,
yet travels for work in Los Angeles on a regular basis and would find
comfort to have a simple space to rest, cook and take care of their
business. I am extremely flexible in this area and can work something
out. Maybe someone is in town only 2 weeks out of the month
5. Leads to people who may possibly be looking for a 2002 jeep
liberty - 70,000 miles - stick shift. The car is in Los Angeles. I am
selling at $7,500. These same people would be willing to look at the
jeep starting May 2 yet the car is not available until May 19. In
addition, the $7,500 pays off the car loan, so they would need to come
with me to my bank to pay and receive the title to the car on May 15,
16 or 19th.
All of the above have been stressing me out at this time. A
lot of financials had been stressing Jeana out yet she never asked for
the help that she needed. I will never not ask for help when I need it
and today I need it.
I am waiting for the miracle.
esther (dot) friedman (at) sbcglobal (dot) net
If you, or someone you know, is at all able to help Esther as she prepares this memorial service and move to NY, please contact her directly.
I get these on a regular basis and especially liked this one in light of today being St. Patrick's Day and me being Irish 'n all. FYI, I didn't write this and take no credit. You may sign up yourself to receive these on your own also.
Encouragement for Today Daily Devotional
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"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Mark 16:15 (NIV)
As a family, we enjoy learning
about great missionaries of the faith -- whether from the pages of the
New Testament and the travels of Paul, or from current day servants who
try to spread the wonderful, life-saving news of Jesus in remote
places. Did you know that this month there is another missionary we can
glean from as we hear of his longing to reach others for Christ? I am
talking about St. Patrick.
What do we really know of St. Patrick, in who's honor patrons don green? To look around at the way modern day folk celebrate St. Patrick's day,
you'd think it all had to do with shamrocks, leprechauns, rainbows and
the ever famous pot of gold at the end of them. Well, that and the
traditional "wearing of the green" to prevent any pinching that might
occur on March 17th each year. But there is
actually some wonderful truth that we can celebrate at this holiday and
can pass along to the children in our lives.
as far as history can tell, the story goes like this: At about the age
of 16, Patrick, a Scottish young man born into wealth sometime in the
late fourth century, most likely around 385, was violently captured by
Irish raiders and forced into a life of slavery. Patrick later escaped
and was reunited with his family, but in a dream, felt called by God
back to Ireland to spread Christianity to the people of that isle. So this godly young man set about to make this dream come true. He prayed for God's strength and then studied scripture to ready himself.
Then He was prepared to return to the land of his captivity. He
preached the Gospel and built churches throughout the country until his
death on March 17, 461. For the modern day Irish, St. Patrick's Day is
considered a time for spiritual renewal as they fondly remember the
slave-turned-evangelist who spread Christianity to the Emerald Isle.
For our family today, we feel we can use him as an example of what a
young person, sold out for God can do in their generation.
think about this man. How many of us, after being captured and held as
a slave and forced to work in a foreign land, when finally set free,
would actually return to the very place where we were enslaved? It must
have taken a great deal of maturity and immense faith in God's
protection to go back to that island. And Patrick must have known that
spiritual bondage is far, far worse than physical slavery.
some ways, don't we see modern day examples of just such a story? The
drug addict who finds freedom from a life of addiction through faith in
Christ, sensing a call to return to their old neighborhood and preach
the freedom and everlasting life Jesus offers. The women who made a bad
choice resulting in her and her unborn child both being
the victims of abortion. Now she longs to counsel young girls to choose
life for themselves and for their precious baby. All of these people
serve as wonderful examples of someone who found freedom and longed to
lead others there as well.
at this time of year, when you spy a leprechaun or see a shamrock,
whisper a prayer that God continues to raise up men and women who have
been set free to return to the land of their captivity and lead others
to the same liberating, life-giving freedom.
Dear Lord, may I long to impart words of freedom to all those who will listen, helping to lead them from their land of captivity. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
James 1:22 (NIV)
One of my favorite passages from
the Bible is the "Love" chapter from 1 Corinthians 13. I remember being
challenged to memorize it for an English class in my public high school
in the 1980's. Even secular scholars have no doubt that this piece of
literature is a beautiful work, flowing in its rhythm and captivating
in its cadence. It is actually relatively easy to memorize. However,
living out the words is a whole different story!
Let's pick up the passage in verses 4-8....
"Love is patient, love is
kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not
rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it
keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices
with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
How would you describe your love
for others? Are you a patient soul or do you drum your fingers and tap
your toes while you stew and sigh not-so-patiently? Is it hard to bring
you to a point of anger or does flying off the handle come much too
naturally? Do you keep score with those who have wronged you, ready to
dredge up the past and become "historical" to make your point? Do you
boast? Got a case of the green envies? Ever been rude to someone? How
will we ever learn to love the way this passage urges us to?
Here's an idea to help to flesh
this out in real life. Make a copy of the love chapter on your
computer. However, wherever the word love is used (or its pronoun 'it')
leave a blank. Then try over the next week or so to be able to write
your name in the blank when you have a chance to exhibit this quality
in real life. Were you patient at the doctor's office today and,
instead of grumbling while sitting in the waiting room, you quietly
thanked God for the extra time and then used it to pray for others?
Write your name on the "________ is patient" line. Did you and another
family member get into a heated discussion and you were tempted to
bring up a wrong from the past but, with great restraint, held your
tongue? Bravo! Write your name on the "________ keeps no record of
wrongs" line. Were you kind to the grumpy cashier instead of being rude
right back? Get out that pen and write away!
Be assured that if you take this
challenge, God will give you lots of opportunities to practice
displaying these wonderful characteristics of love. And you can count
on others noticing the change in you as you seek to love out loud.
help me to accurately reflect the love you show to us by my actions to
others. When I want to live in the flesh, help me to walk in the
spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
There's a saying, When the student is ready, the teacher arrives, or words to that affect. In my case, it's teachers plural. Here's something a very lovely friend just sent me:
it simple" can mean, at times, attending to the essentials. Do we
really need what we think we need? How do we get what we really need?:
Once when my wife, Bonnie, and I were keeping our grandson before he
was two, he'd gone for a walk with Grandma, played outside, and then
cavorted on our deck for a while, entertaining us with his nonstop,
inquisitive, full-force investigations of every plant, leaf, and twig
on the deck.
After a while, Bonnie offered him a juice cup — and he grabbed it and
drank heartily nonstop for several minutes. If he had been aware of his
mighty thirst, he was unable to ask for what he needed, but he gladly
took it when offered.
Spiritually, we often do something similar. We become so involved in
the minutia of daily living that we don't realize how parched our soul
really is — until the Spirit grabs hold of us in some surprising way
and offers the cleansing, cooling, renewing draft of the holy water of
God's presence. Nothing refreshes more....
Wasn't that nice? Yesterday's sermon was the same way. The new series my Bay Cities Pastor Jim is preaching on theme is Growing Up As God Wants. The title is "James - Practical Christian Living"
I don't have time to write all my sermon notes, but will later. Just know it was perfect for what I've been going through lately and really spoke to my heart. Here's one point though that really stuck out for me:
3. They (Meaning Christians who are mature or growing) love others with sincerity.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3: 1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If
I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all
knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not
love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.
What the world needs now, is love sweet love. So true. I know I do!:)
The other lesson I learned this weekend was something I heard in my Al Anon meeting. For some reason, that's the one place other than at home privately, in my car, or at church silently, where I can cry very easily. It's like it's a safe place to be real and not judged. There are a lot of kind, wonderful people there.
There is just such a sweet spirit in these rooms; it's like humility,
honesty, hope and humor all rolled up into one cloud of love hovering over people in the room. Some people have more
recovery than others and help those of us who are struggling to see
there is hope for change in the way we're living. That's why I keep
coming back. I need the hope.
After I had shared what's been going on with me lately, some of the other women shared their experience, strength and hope about learning to Let Go and Let God. It was very freeing to hear how then God moved in these people's lives in unexpected, but perfect ways just right for them.
It was just what I needed to hear. I've been trying to do certain things (personal, political, and professional) by myself for so long, I just need to release them to God's care and trust Him for the results.
I think what I'm learning there is changing me slowly, but surely. It helps too, that I finally have a sponsor I can share with who understands what I'm going through and has been there herself. God gave me a great mentor in this respect. I'm very grateful.
I'm also grateful that yesterday when I went to sing we had such a great time worshiping together as a group, rather than individuals striving for attention or control. It's like all my relationships are changing. Or, maybe it's just me and that is positively affecting all my relationships, I don't know.
All I know is I haven't had that much fun or love of singing like all of us did in a long, long, long, long time. We were on fire with harmonies and I had such fun just singing out, it was pure delight. I broke down on stage crying at the words of one of the songs because it talks about how much God loves us and cares for us. I needed to hear that more than I needed to sing it I guess!
I had warned the worship leader, Sandy, before I started that I have a tendency to cry when I sing because God's spirit speaks to me through music. She said it was ok and I'm glad she said that. I would rather be real and share emotion, than not. It's just too hard to live any other way.
What I loved about something my pastor Jim shared is that tears are the safety valve of our heart when pressures get to be too strong. I must have an extra dose of pressure or something lately because I spent a lot of Sunday crying (and no, it wasn't pms related:) You can only be so strong for so long. I have to admit, I feel so much better today!
I'm not a crier generally. Never have been, but lately I am much more susceptible. I think it's just God softening my heart or something. Or else it's me trusting myself more to allow true emotions to come out that I've stuffed down for so long. I don't know.
I do know I'm a lot stronger than a lot of people I know because of my faith in God, but that doesn't make me any less human. It's been really tough lately, but I have faith that God is going to complete the work He has started for His glory, not mine. All I have to do now is Let Go and Let God.
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Enjoy the read!
Encouragement for Today Daily Devotional
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"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."I Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)
My friend Melanie
and I were coming back from speaking at a retreat in the mountains when
I noticed several runaway truck ramps along the highway as we wound our
way down the steep, imposing mountain roads. These ramps
were installed so that large trucks have a place to go if their brakes
fail, or if they are simply going too fast and could possibly lose
control. I took note of the different styles of
ramps--some dirt, some concrete--all designed so the trucks would have
an "out" in times of danger. All put in place ahead of time, before
they were ever needed.
I thought about how we could all stand to install runaway ramps in our lives. Some of us need to have ramps for when we get going too fast, committing to too many things and not saying "no" when we should. Some of us need ramps to slow us down when we our natural brakes aren't working well as we travel down a path of temptation. And
some of us need to have a ramp in place in our relationships; erecting
boundaries that keep us from venturing down dangerous roads we have
traveled with people before.
For each of us,
these ramps will look different and serve different purposes. Like the
truck ramps, we need to have them in place ahead of time so that when
we get going too fast--when we are threatening to fly out of
control--we can quickly get off the path we're on and find refuge and
rest. The ramps should provide us with a place we can sit and catch our breath. A place where we can gain a better perspective.
Do you have any runaway ramps? If so, what do they look like? Perhaps your ramp is a date with a godly friend for coffee to talk, laugh, cry or vent. Perhaps your ramp is exercise. Maybe
your ramp is a weekend away to collect your thoughts, go for long
walks, soak in God's Word and spend extended time praying. Perhaps your ramp is a regular appointment with a Christian counselor to process current issues or problems from your past.
I have a friend
who schedules a weekly time for her runaway ramp by hiring a sitter to
keep her kids for several hours while she visits a local church prayer
room and spends concentrated time talking and listening to God. The
point isn't what our ramp looks like--as that will be very
personal--but to have a ramp erected, before we get into a desperate
situation. It just might be the one thing in our lives that makes the difference between careening down the mountain or making it safely to our intended destination.
Dear Lord, help me to know when I need to get off the road. Help me to see when I am going too fast in the wrong direction. Help me, Lord, to have people and places in my life that are safe. Most of all, help me to remember that I can always run to you. In Jesus' Name, Amen
This one is so true. Every time I think I'm making progress in a certain area of my life, it comes back to hit me in the face. I hope this blesses you as much as it blessed me. We have to keep moving forward and striving to be better people regardless of what happens the day before!
those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of
the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of
the Spirit." Romans 8:5 (NKJ)
Tennessee Women's prison has an unusual baptistery in their chapel.
It's a coffin. For these women, being baptized in a coffin is a
powerful visual of their death and burial with Christ. Thereafter, the
coffin, which is a permanent fixture in the chapel, becomes a daily
reminder that they are no longer slaves to sin and enemies of God.
Their old way of living is dead, buried, and gone; and they are now
free to live a life pleasing to God.
is such an awesome truth in ours lives that Billy Graham says, "We
should meditate on the truth that we are dead to sin and alive to
righteousness, until returning to the old way of living is
it is true that we are dead to our old life, staying dead is another
matter. Often, our dead flesh will raise its ugly head and try to
influence our thoughts and actions. If we listen long enough to its
demands, we suddenly find ourselves at the graveyard fervently digging
up our old flesh, so that it can perform its sinful deeds.
Christians have a
responsibility to put to death their old nature through daily surrender
or else they cannot live a life pleasing to God. They will begin to
think only of themselves again and ways to gratify their flesh.
However, those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit will live a life
of righteousness free from sin. Those who follow the Holy Spirit will
not think about fulfilling the desires of the flesh. Their thoughts are
occupied by God's Word, His ways, and purposes.
The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8, "Fix
your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about
things that are pure and lovely an admirable. Think about things that
are excellent and worthy of praise." So, what dominates your thoughts?
If we only think
of ourselves, what we want and our rights, then eventually we'll find
ourselves going down the wrong path, one that leads to a stinky life.
On the other hand, thinking on things that are pure and worthy brings
forth life that is pleasing to God and a witness to others.
If you are in
Christ, then the flesh no longer dominates you, my sister. So stop
visiting the graveyard. Instead be led by the Holy Spirit by dying
daily to your old way of thinking and living. Then, the Spirit of God
can create in you a pure life that releases a sweet, pleasing aroma.
Lord, I confess that I often visit the graveyard to free my dead flesh.
Help me to keep that person in the grave by yielding solely to Your
Holy Spirit so that my life will be pleasing to You, in Jesus' Name,
Encouragement for Today Daily Devotional
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also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that
you will have all the patience and endurance you need."Colossians 1:11 (NLT)
In a heart that values instant gratification like mine does, patience seems hard to come by.
In the last several weeks I've raced through a yellow light because I didn't want to wait at a red light. I've
looked up my symptoms on the internet because I didn't want to sit in a
doctor's waiting room. I've paid extra for an item off the internet
because I didn't want to stand in line at the store. I've
also eaten dessert first, because I didn't want to wait until it was
"time" for dessert. (I think anytime is a good time for dessert!) Though I can't recall a specific instance, odds are high that I lost my patience at some point and fussed at my kids.
We want stuff and we want it now. We want results and we want them now. Yet the Bible repeatedly says that patience should be a way of life for followers of Christ.
God is love and patience is part
of His character. For you and I to love like God loves, patience will
be required (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Loving as God loves is the ultimate
goal as we walk through this life seeking to please God and become like
Patience could be defined as the
ability to endure graciously. We all have to deal at times with people
or circumstances that try our composure -- an ungrateful child, an
inattentive waitress, a slow moving line at the cash register, a rude
boss, a spouse taking our hard work around the house for granted. How graciously do we behave in these circumstances?
The Bible says God will be faithful to complete the good works He began in us (Philippians 1:6). That implies there's going to be some "in the meantime" when we're all less than perfect and less than easy to love. This is where patience comes in. The apostle Paul instructs us to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph.4:1-3).
We also have to exercise patience towards God as we wait for His full plan to unfold. At times we must wait for answers to prayers, for deliverance, for provision, or for Him to dispense justice or reveal His will. We
really have no choice but to wait in these circumstances, but a woman
developing patience will endure the wait graciously. It helps to
remember how very patient God has to be with us on a daily basis (1
Timothy 1:16, 2 Peter 3:8-9).
isn't just an exercise of the human will. The kind of patience Paul is
talking about is a fruit of the Spirit developed in a woman's soul in
tandem with God. It's a virtue that grows from her confidence in the
sovereignty of God and His ability to bring all things to completion,
in His timing, in a way that benefits His children and glorifies Him.
This patience thing may take some time to develop, but I've decided to graciously endure the process. I started today by stopping, like I should, and waiting at a yellow light I'm certain I could've made it through safely. As I sat at the intersection, I thought about God and about developing patience. The
light turned green a mere minute later, and I went on my way with a
smile on my face, happy to be a woman who is embracing patience ...
even if starting in a very small way.
thank You for being so very patient with me. Help me to develop
patience, and display that quality for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen
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For whatever reason, people keep Googling "the blond guy from TMZ" and
find my blog. How long ago did I write about him and TMZ? I just think it would
be hilarious if he either lives in the South Bay, or is a member of Oct
805, my biggest fans. Who knows? Who cares? I don't, but just think it
would be ironic.
In any case, I actually had the most delightful birthday after all. I knew it would turn out that way - the best days always come after the worst. Plus, when there's nothing planned, then good stuff can fill in too. Like the wonderfully sweet card from one of my good friends which arrived unexpectedly.
I also joined a good girlfriend for a spontaneous celebratory birthday lunch which was great. Then dashed off to Glen Ivy Day Spa to cash in my two-for-one coupon I found recently that I'd collected over the summer during one of the AVP's. It expired 12/31 and I thought what a great way to end the year and celebrate my birthday.
Receiving an email from a very fun girlfriend who was off for the day while her husband was working prompted me to invite her to join me. By 2pm we were soaking in the generous hot tub relaxing. We pampered ourselves with the moisturizing Grotto treatment and just generally relaxed throughout the spa not leaving till almost six! Now that's my kind of day.
My other great girlfriend had heard my plight of no New Year's plans and invited me to join her at her fun married friend's New Year's open house. This couple is such an adorable contrast - she loves parties, he swears not to, but does throw margarita wrestling contests for young women which absolutely cracks me up since his wife is one of the most respected experts in her field - known world-wide for her brilliance.
To know both of them though, they're the most loving, giving, generous people who are so full of life and fun that I don't care what they do. They're my friends and his mom is great too! Even though last night wasn't anything like I had planned, it was just perfect.
My new BFF and her husband who had invited me are really wonderful to me too. They gave me the best birthday cake, presents and love. I am indebted to their generosity of spirit and heart. Thank you!!!!
Great food, great friends, great conversations, ending with fun times down at the Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza - hard to believe fun too for adults over 20 out past 9pm I know, but the swing band drew a decidely older crowd which made for a nice mix of people.
What I thought was absolutely hilarious was to see a woman who was
older than me wearing the shortest micro mini standing on stage proudly
french kissing her husband when it struck midnight. I'd heard this
woman needs attention, but didn't realize how badly till I saw her outfit and subsequent kiss. I guess if you've still got it flaunt it right? Or is it at the
beach once a bleached blond bimbo, always one? I don't know.
Oh I must stop, it's not nice to speak poorly of your elders. Sorry
Sienna. Whoops. Didn't mean to blow your cover, but then again you're
not hiding anything so why should I? I'm such a bitch with a capital B.
Can't help myself.
It just comes naturally this time of the month, but
I hope you know I mean this all in good fun. If you can't poke gentle fun at
politician's wives, who can you laugh at? See, you're laughing too! I
see that smile. You agree. This is what makes the beach scene so
entertaining to be part of if you ask me. If it's not the young bucks, it's the old babes...
We would have hit the Mermaid bar afterwards, but the line wasn't worth standing in. We really must hit it before it's torn down - one of Hermosa Beach's historic monuments for the great drinkers of our city. Just kidding, but it is historic.
For those of you who don't live down here that whole piece of property (of which the Mermaid is but one part) is going for 33 million dollars - now does it give you an idea of the size of the property for sale and the value of Hermosa Beach beachfront? We'll see what goes in there next - could make for some interesting changes to the whole Downtown scene in its entirety. Know any cool hotels looking to expand? We'd love to have one come in.
Caught The Bucket List today and it was the perfect day to see it. Great flick and great chemistry between the two men. It was really nice to see Morgan Freeman in something other than his serious films. Also, I wonder how close to Jack's real life this story really is? How many wives has he had again?
I am very emotional (you know why) and I couldn't help but cry at parts. It's very thought-provoking, funny, enjoyable and worth catching. I really liked it. Made me want to create my own "bucket list."
Let's see, in no particular order, here's my spur of the moment, off the top of my head "bucket list" -
1. visit Tahiti 2. see healing of family relationships 3. finish my PR certificate at UCLA Extension 4. fall madly and deeply in love with the man I'm to marry and spend the rest of my life with 5. get my hormones balanced out once and for all 6. lose 15 or 20 more pounds (lost 12 so far!) and keep it off 7. travel the world to exotic places I've never been like Thailand, Fiji, Bangkok, Australia, New Zealand 8. go back to Africa and visit everywhere we lived and traveled to when I was young 9. write my book on my open adoption experience and have it turned into a movie 10. have a syndicated column writing like I do for my blog on whatever I feel like 11. make a difference in my community that changes its course of history forever 12. be a good role model to my nieces and son and children who are like family to me 13. paint more 14. love more 15. share more 16. volunteer more 17. trust more 18. laugh more 19. bitch less 20. Enjoy life to the fullest in whatever I'm doing, with whoever I'm doing it with 21. See The Oprah Show and The Ellen Show live and see great guests and receive great gifts 22. See loved ones I've been praying for come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and savior 23. Be a better friend in a deeper way to people in my life I care about 24. Have my life count for something bigger than myself 25. balance my life better
I had such a pleasant yesterday and today that I feel ready for whatever is thrown my way in 2008. I had such peace last night even though I was single. It just felt like it was okay for that night. I just had the distinct feeling that I should cherish being alone because once I am married I'll never be alone again.
Hard to believe I'd ever get to the place that I'm actually happy being single, but I have a real contentment and settled feeling about it all. Like 2007 was supposed to clear out all the bad relationships that were holding me back for the right one in 2008. Does that make sense?
Who knows if this makes sense, but I do know I am closer to God as a result of this year and know who I am better too. Like Philippians says in the Bible chapter 4:11-13.
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.12I
know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I
have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
I hope you have the opportunity to experience the peace of God that surpasses all understanding at some point in your life too.
God bless you! Happy New Year!
Live like you were dying and consider writing your own bucket list. May make you reconsider how you'll spend 2008.
Life's short people and we're only given so much time on earth. How will you spend it this year? Make it count.
And with that... Good night... or should I say Good morning...
"Editorial Reviews Amazon.com If Christian
men are going to change from a pitiful, wimpy bunch of "really nice
guys" to men who are made in the image of God, they must reexamine
their preconceptions about who God is and recover their true "wild"
hearts, writes bestselling author John Eldredge in Wild at Heart: Discovering a Life of Passion, Freedom, and Adventure.
Eldredge throws down the gauntlet--men are bored; they fear risk, they
refuse to pay attention to their deepest desires.
Christian men to return to authentic masculinity without resorting to a
"macho man" mentality. Men often seek validation in venues such as
work, or in the conquest of women, Eldredge observes. He urges men to
take time out and come to grips with the "secret longings" of their
Although the book succeeds best in its slant toward a male
audience, it also strives to help women understand the implications of
authentic masculinity in their relationships with men. Eldredge frames
the book around his outdoor experiences and appealing anecdotes about
his family, sprinkling the text with touches of humor and overlying
everything with heartfelt passion.
Even as he mixes eclectic ideas
about masculinity from popular movies such as Braveheart with
classic words from Oswald Chambers, and lyrics from the Dixie Chicks
with stories from the Bible, he points to only one answer for men
searching for their true wildness of heart. Writes Eldredge, "The only
way to live in this adventure ... with all its danger and
unpredictability and immensely high stakes ... is in an ongoing,
intimate relationship with God."--Cindy Crosby
Book Description God designed men to be
dangerous, says John Eldredge. Simply look at the dreams and desires
written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to
live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams
and desires--aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than
pressure to be a "nice guy."
It is no wonder that many men avoid
church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death. In this
provocative book, Eldredge gives women a look inside the true heart of
a man and gives men permission to be what God designed them to
be-dangerous, passionate, alive, and free."
and here's another blurb:
"Helping men rediscover their masculine heart,
this guide to understanding Christian manhood and Christian men offers
a refreshing break from the chorus of voices urging men to be more
responsible, reliable, dutiful… and dead.
God designed men to be
dangerous, says John Eldredge. Simply look at the dreams and desires
written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to
live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams
and desires-aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than
pressure to be a "nice guy." It is no wonder that many men avoid
church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death. In this
provocative book, now available in trade paper, Eldredge gives women a
look inside the true heart of a man and gives men permission to be what
God designed them to be--dangerous, passionate, alive, and free."
Very interesting insights into what it's like to be a man. It also gave me insights into myself ironically enough. I believe this past year for me has been one of refining, defining, and shaping into someone who is authentic and real, no matter what it costs.
It hasn't been easy, nor do I feel my journey is over, but it was very comforting to realize that I'm not alone in my desire to be my true self. Men face this every day of their lives. What was so interesting to me, and what gave me more compassion for the men in my life, is that so often men feel like failures and like they're not living authentically.
They may hide it by becoming workaholics, sexaholics, and alcoholics, but when all that is stripped away and all they are is who they are, there's this wound that has never been healed. Only God can heal that part of them.
What was also interesting to read is that in other cultures there are set ways men become men - set initiation processes that allow the young boy to realize he is now a man. In our culture we don't have that. What the author, John Eldrege proposes is now their initiation is when God takes men through deep valleys of pain and suffering and they come out the other side stronger and more who they were meant to be.
I'm totally paraphrasing and probably don't have it right at all, but that is my humble interpretation. It also made me wonder if the reason we have such a huge alcoholic issue in our country today is that so many men are trying to hide their pain in something that is socially acceptable, rather than face it, deal with it and move through it? Just a thought.
That's why I always encourage people to visit Alcoholics Anonymous. It provides a loving structure with which to work through your issues one step at a time under the guidance of someone who has been there before you and come out the other side. It often provides the only loving, safe relationship some men ever experience which is healing in and of itself too. (For women too.)
What I kept trying to see in this book is that if the church has given men the idea that they need to be "good boys" where is there the mandate for them to conquer and fight for what is right? What church offers an opportunity for men to show us women what they're made of when all we're offering is Bible Study, singing, and other non-aggressive, non-masculine forms of expression?
That's why I like my church pastor because he is totally into men being men. However, I wonder how many single men's needs aren't being met because they don't have kids and families and don't want to participate in building things for them? Like that sled run.
I wonder if we had more mission trips where we built churches, or built whatever in interesting foreign locations, then we wouldn't be creating an environment where the single men of our community could feel like they were conquering something and wouldn't feel so inclined to just get drunk like so many do today in the South Bay?
What are we offering them as an alternative churches? City Council? Government? Where are the battlefields where men can be men except in the military? Why aren't there more opportunities here in the states? Why must there be killing and distant lands involved? What about something local and pertinent that draws men together to work together as one?
Not on some female-oriented fund-raiser or toy drive, but something that men can do with men and as men without drinking themselves silly? Something that's for the good of the community - not just their own selfish pleasures? Just wondering that's all. I'm not a man and don't know what that could be, but I hope that by raising the issue, perhaps those wiser and older than me would consider it.
I'm just kind of rambling, but I really hope that there will be some new ways for men to express and exert their masculinity, or we're going to continue to raise up generations of frustrated men who over-drink, over-work, or over-sex just to fulfill their God-given desires to matter in the world.
This is an excellent book that raises very pertinent issues concerning men today. I highly recommend it for men AND women to read. Just click on the link I've provided above for the way to purchase it through Amazon.
Now to get back to living - even though my sinus infection or allergies are wiping me out again. Oy!
My Pastor, Jim Mackinga, over at Bay Cities Community Churchkeeps preaching exactly what I need to hear, especially at this time of year. Since it's been such an encouragement to me, I thought I'd share the notes with you too because it is Sunday after all right?
So, without further ado, here's the notes from this Sunday and last Sunday's messages:
"Loneliness Is Real & Difficult" "How God Wants Us to Deal With Pain"
Things that Cause Loneliness
1. When separated from those you love.
2 Timothy 1:2-4:
2To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3I
thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear
conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.
2. When disappointed by friends or family.
2 Timothy 4:15: 15You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
3. When commitment to Christ causes division.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
2 Timothy 4:14:
14Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.
WHERE RELATIONAL FULFILLMENT IS FOUND
When we look back at our lives, we'll wish we would have loved more.
Greatest lesson of loneliness is that we need God. The void can never
be filled except by God.
1. In our relationship with God.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Loneliness comes from our need for relational fulfillment. It's not hard to know God, just trust Him.
2 Corinthians 1:8:
do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we
suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far
beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.
2. In our relationship with others.
Gen. 2:18 The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him." God designed us to enjoy fellowship with others.
Ephesians 6:2: 2"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise—
24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
1 John 1:7: 7But if we walk
in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one
another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.
3. Living life loving God and others.
Matthew 22:37-40: 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[a]38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b]40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
When loneliness hits, refuse to run away or hide out. When you serve others you always feel better.
STEPS TO OVERCOMING LONELINESS
1. Build a growing relationship with God.
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
James 4:8a "8Come near to God and he will come near to you." A promise from God.
2. Conclude - You're forever safe with God.
Hebrews 13:5-6 5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."[a]
6So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"[a]
3. Give your life away in love and service.
Romans 12:11: 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
John 13:35: 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
2 Timothy 4:17a 17But the
Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the
message might be fully proclaimed...
Joshua 24:15: 15 But if
serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves
this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served
beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are
living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
God has given us the freedom to decide who we will serve - self, God, others.
That was last week's message. Here's today's along the same theme...
OVERCOMING DISCOURAGEMENT HOW GOD WANTS US TO DEAL WITH PAIN
What causes discouragement
1. When I experience lasting frustration. 2. When I experience regular criticism. 3. When I experience unfulfilled expectations 4. When I experience personal set-backs. 5. When I experience growing stress. 6. When I experience someone's death. 7. When I experience the loss of hope. 8. When I experience being hurt by others. GOD'S SOLUTION TO DISCOURAGEMENT
1. Put your hope in God. (When in extreme pain, say "Jesus is my Lord.") Psalm 42:5-6a
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God. My [a] soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you
5 "Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God" - ask for help!
1 Timothy 6:17:
those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put
their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in
God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
1 Timothy 5:5: 5The widow who
is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues
night and day to pray and to ask God for help.
HOW TO KEEP MY HOPE IN GOD
1. Never forget my privileges in Christ.
Life Through the Spirit
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a]
2 Corinthians 5:17: 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Ephesians 2:13: 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Philippians 4:7: 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19: 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:39: 39neither height
nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2. Focus my life on what matters most.
Rules for Holy Living
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Romans 12:2: 2Do not conform
any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what
God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything
is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
HOW TO KEEP MY HOPE IN GOD
1. Never forget my privileges in Christ.
2. Focus my life on what matters most.
3. Stay grateful for all God has done.
38"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you." Scars don't go away, but God gives us the freedom to really live in spite of them.
Ephesians 1:7: 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
Colossians 3:3: 3"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." It is finished and we are protected by God's love in our life.
Philippians 3:20: 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 1:3-4
be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy
he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,
Colossians 3:4: 4When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
2 Peter 3:13: 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
I hope this has encouraged you like it did me. You're all invited to join us next Saturday, December 15th at 4pm and 6pm for our adult choir and soloists performing in the Adult Christmas Musical "Celebrate the King" and a light dinner served in between both performances over at our Lomita campus.
I have had the roughest week of my life. I have felt suicidal, alone, attacked, despised, loathed, and any other adjective you can think of. Ironically enough it was the result of the actions of someone who claimed to love me. If this is love, I want no part of it. Doesn't help to be pmsy on top of everything else. Damn hormones.
The worst part is that I don't understand why she chose this time of year, or now to deal with something that has bothered her since our childhood. We had such a wonderful Christmas together last year and now... When the conversation began, "You said such and such 10 years ago" I knew it wasn't good. Needless to say, it only got worse. Even with two Al-Anon meetings. I'll keep coming back though.
Now I know why people hate Christmas so much. I have never hated Christmas ever, but the last two years the pain of the loss of certain family relationships and now another one is enough to tip me over the edge. Fortunately, I have another family created by our common love for God who have stepped in to love me through this. I will forever be grateful for their kindness, prayers and support. I want to see Christmas like a child again like Jars of Clay sing.
I wasn't planning to blog about this, but tonight, have to.
Rather than go out to see a movie I decided to see what was on cable. I have never paid for a movie at home, but for some reason, chose to rent Evan Almighty because I needed and wanted to see a comedy. I saw the previews and trailers, but this movie's message was much bigger than anything I'd seen or expected.
I'm watching it half-dozing because I was up at 3am for an hour with a coughing fit, when my friend Adrienne calls to tell me they've recovered her license plates that were stolen the other day. To me that's a miracle. I've never seen the police work so quickly on anything like this before.
She's doing great. Thank you for praying for her. We've decided if they find the guy(s) who've harassed her, we're going to have to put a hit out. JUST KIDDING! Really we are. Killing is evil and wrong. No one no matter how awful they are deserves to die.
Her testimony makes me think I have some powerfully praying people on my subscriber list and at my churches. Thank you! That's what prompted me to share this story in hopes my despair and subsequent hope will encourage you right where you are now too. Also, that you will pray for me and my family now too. If you have been, thank you. God is moving in my family even though it's hard to see it just yet. But I have faith.
Anyway, Adrienne's call woke me up. I began watching the movie a little more closely then still not knowing why I chose it until it comes to the scene where the family leaves Evan Almighty aka Steve Carell (I just love him in anything he's in) because they think he's crazy and can't take it any more.
The family is all sitting at a food spot watching him being mocked on the news for deciding to build an ark when there's been a drought, when God aka Academy Award Winner, Morgan Freeman, appears to Lauren Graham aka Evan's wife when the kids are in the bathroom.
They get to talking because he's her server (I thought it was cute his nametage said Al Mighty.) He explains that when people pray for patience, God doesn't give people patience, He gives them situations to increase their patience. Then, he says, and I'm not quoting properly because I began sobbing knowing then that this was why I was watching that movie rather than something else, "When people pray that God will bring their family back together, he puts them in situations to draw them closer together."
I'm in one right now. A situation that is. What's so interesting is that I've had my Bible Study praying for reconciliation with my entire family because I've had estranged relationships with certain family members for years and years. Maybe this is how God is going to move.
I know I'm not the only one to ever experience this which is why I don't mind sharing my heart on this with you. You are not alone if you're suffering the loss of someone you love in your family and they're not dead, but might as well be to you. This is such a common occurrence I'm surprised to learn about more and more people experiencing similar situations. I'm so sorry if that's you too.
I know it's hard. You can pretend it doesn't matter and it doesn't hurt any other time of the year, but when the holidays hit, then it hits you smack in the face. The past two years it's hit me harder and harder. My birthday is December 31. Every Christmas is a reminder that another year has passed in more ways than one.
The longer I'm single, the more I realize how much I love and depend on my parents. When they're gone... who knows who will be family to me. I do have certain friends who are like family, but other than my best friend Kirsten who's known me for almost my entire life, a lot of these friendships are not as deep. This is when I hate being single the most.
That's why it hurts so much at Christmas. I have lost relationships with family including children I love and now it appears I might be losing more since I'm at odds with their mother. For reasons I don't really understand. That's what kills me. I love children. They love me too.
I love my family too and I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago. Now to get certain people to realize that. Even my Dad said it's time to let the past be the past. He and I have. And we have had HUGE disagreements and yet...
I chose to go watch the children's Christmas musical at Bay Cities today to compensate for longing to be near little kids during this Christmas season. I'm so glad I did. I bumped into my friend Donna I'd met at the women's retreat this past June and the little two-year old she takes care of. Sophie was the child's name just like my littlest niece. She was this little cute blondie dressed all in pink with cutie pie written on her top appropriately enough.
After a little bit I asked her if I could hold her on my lap and she was so cute, she said, "No, but maybe next time." Got to appreciate a child's honesty. Okay Sophie, I'll wait till next time. Thank you very much. I needed to smile today.
I then went to sit in the church and watch the show while they stayed in the atrium area to allow Sophie to move around while Donna watched the show projected on the big screen. I wanted to see it live. I'm glad I did.
The whole children's show was absolutely adorable. I don't know how many kids participated, but I do know about 30 adults were involved if that helps you figure out the ratio. Some of these kids are really talented singers and gifted actors too. It was great to see. Meaghan, the children's leader, is so talented and gifted at bringing out the best in people. She's a gift to our entire church.
The older kids are pretty well-behaved and recited their lines perfectly; then you see little ones who are four and younger and they just totally crack you up. They're shouting the words at inappropriate times, raising their shirts over their heads, playing around with the shepherd's cloth or halos on their heads, or just singing out confidently as if they were born to sing to a full packed house. Or just standing there scared to death.
Makes you realize some kids are born with the gift of performing from birth and others aren't! Some got up on stage and begin bawling which was also pretty funny. Especially when they're dressed up in a cow costume to be part of the manger scene with baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary. Then there's the adult who dressed up like Angel Gabriel complete with the fake breastplate and angel wings. Too fun.
It was just like watching something out of a Christopher Guest film but with a much younger cast. I knew it would lift my spirits. Being loved by my Dad when I dropped off their Christmas presents really helped too. He's not a hugger, but he knew I really needed to be loved and actually hugged me twice which is rare and special for him. I love him so much. He truly is my hero. We've gone through so much together and we are closer than ever as a result.
Sorry, I promised I wouldn't write about my family any more, but this has been killing me slowly, yet surely. I needed to share this, or I may never blog again. I've sat down off and on all week to write a blog that will entertain and instruct you because the rest of my life is great and school is interesting, but I just couldn't bring myself to pretend that nothing personally was wrong when it was so desperately. I get writers block when that happens. I have to be honest or I'm not true to who I am as a person.
I had a great conversation with my friend Amy today too. She was so comforting despite the personal struggles she's going through with her own family. They won't know whether the cancer her dad has is benign or malignant until after Christmas. She's cute. She says they're living quite happily in denial.
She had the honor of having one of her college papers selected as one of the top three the teacher is going to keep as an example of an excellent paper. Way to go Amy! She's getting a masters in counseling/therapy - I'm a great one for her to practice on.:)
She said she appreciated all your prayers because she could really feel the peace that surpasses all understanding in this situation. I'm so glad. Not for the denial, but that they've decided to live happy. I choose to live happy now too. It helps when you have friends in your life who love you even when you're a blubbering periodic mess. At least I still have them right? Periods that is. Friends too. TMI! I know. Sorry.
There are people who have difficulty sharing personal things and then there's me. HA! Welcome to my world. I'm listening to this very cool English Christian kid I randomly picked off myspace. Check out Joe Brooks. I especially like I Find The Light in You. He's a little cutie too. Way too young, but I can admire him can't I? Cougar on the prowl! LOL:)
I'm also digging Kari Jobe. Doesn't she have the sweetest voice? Maybe I am starting to feel like I will enjoy this Christmas after all. Maybe I'll go write some Christmas cards by the fireplace at Casa Del Mar tonight.
Or not. Maybe tomorrow.
Merry Christmas everyone. God bless you as you deal with the family issues you might be facing too. You are not alone. We all have our struggles with family too. Just don't let it get you down. God loves you so much. I had to be reminded of that myself when I was at my lowest point. No matter what we've done, or what people say we are God loves us. Isn't that comforting?
But if it gets real bad like it did for me this week and you think you can't take it any more, please call and get help. You really aren't alone. There is help available. Your friends love you and if you feel you have no friends, call the following suicide prevention groups. I'm paraphrasing the copy, but just know bottom line, someone is there to talk to you if you're feeling like you can't take it any longer.
Hang in there. Give it another day. And reach out for help like I did. There's nothing shameful about asking for help. Cry out to Jesus like Third Day sings.
"The Befrienders, is a great site for those reading this blog internationally. This group works worldwide to provide emotional support and reduce suicide. They listen to people who are in distress. They don't judge, or tell you what to do - they listen.
You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your
area. With over 120 crisis centers across the country, their mission is
to provide immediate assistance to anyone seeking mental health
services. Call for yourself, or someone you care about. Your call is
free and confidential."
If you're living a life affected by someone else's drinking, visit an Al-Anon group and receive comfort knowing you're not alone and learn new ways of living. If you're the drinker and want to change, visit an Alcoholics Anonymous group. If you click on either link, it will lead you to where there's a meeting near you.
And, if you have courage and a desire to plug into a family that is like none other, then cross the threshold of a church near you.I've made the best friends of my life at church and am living proof that God's love is alive and well in Hermosa Beach, CA.
You're invited to join me at Bay Cities Community Church either in Redondo Beach or Lomita, CA tomorrow if you're in the South Bay. All the directions are in the church link. I might hit the 8am again in RB just to enjoy the intimacy of a smaller service, but there are services at 9:30 and 11:00am too. Or find a church near you.
You'll be blessed. I guarantee it. God will meet you right where you are, especially during this Christmas season. Here's Jars of Clay to share Love Came Down at Christmas to take us out.
Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bay Cities Community Church, CA, Casa Del Mar, Christopher Guest, Cry out to Jesus, Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Evan Almighty, Hermosa Beach, I want to see Christmas like a child again, Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay' & Love Came Down at Christmas, Joe Brooks, Kari Jobe, Lauren Graham, Lomita, Morgan Freeman, Redondo Beach, South Bay, Steve Carell, The Befrienders, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, The Next Adventures of Amy T, The Suicid Prevention Center, Third Day
I must share that although I'm not big on live theatre, my friend Esther Friedman's show, Random Sharp Objects, last night was really quite good - almost surprisingly so because I had no idea what to expect at all. I've linked to the review so you can learn more. I think it runs two more weeks so catch it if you can.
I've known her for years and have never seen her perform except in the infamous "What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas" commercial where she's giggling with friends in a limo.
We bumped into each other again at the Independent Television Festival where she and her friend were there as finalists for something or something like that (I forget and since I'm not their publicist and just sharing as a friend I don't have to get it right! Esther - add a comment at the end with the correct info ok?)
To make them both feel good I spoke to the publicist manning the red carpet at the festival and enabled them to do some publicity shots with I think one of their producers (again, not sure of the facts, just sharing as a friend) which can be seen here. They were thrilled and it made me feel good to help them out.
Ever since then she's been inviting me to see her show, but I have been so busy I wasn't traveling to Hollywood too much. I had a night free last night and since the theatre was right down the street from my good friend Shana, I thought what the hey.
I'm so glad I did! I'd had a very emotionally stressful morning and the play was funny. It was also very poignant too. Here's the blurb on the play from the postcard so you can check it out:
"Esther grew up mixed up 1/2 white, 1/2 black, 1/2 Jewish, 1/2 Christian. She must deal with her past to change her future. Hali comes form a good Jewish middle class home with some loose floor boards. She explores why she never fit in and sought her thrills outside.
In Random Sharp Objects these two women examine their lives, seeking answers to such profound questions as why Hali is attracted to bums and why Esther does not date black men. Together they peel the onion of illusions."
Here's a quote from Esther in the Jewish Journal article written on the play too:
"The play has proved cathartic for both actresses. 'I kept many of these
stories secret for years, because they were so painful," Friedman says.
"But keeping secrets can kill your spirit.'"
I could so relate to Esther's story! It was kind of comforting to realize I'm not the only one with these life experiences and to be honest I almost cried when I left the theatre it moved me so much. Esther really captures and shares what life was like growing up mixed in New York inhabiting all the characters of her family so well.
I especially loved the diatribe on her padunk-a-dunk (butt) which until this play I had actually never noticed! Not only because I'm a woman and don't make it a habit to check out other women's behinds, but also because Esther is so much more than her butt! However, it was very interesting to see what kind of issues were raised growing up because of her shape. Also, her mixed heritage.
I highly recommend checking it out if you can. She's an undiscovered talent who deserves a closer look. Sending you lots of love Esther! Hali, her counter-point, is great too! Here's some love for you too ok?
Enjoyed visiting with Shana afterward and introducing her to my South Bay girlfriend. Shana keeps promising me she'll come visit me, but I doubt it! Too far and she's way too busy too. (how do you like all the "too's"?)
Today hit the Harvest Home reunion which was interesting. Hard to believe I ever lived there to be honest, but it's the truth. Saw some old friends, made some new ones and also received a video on the place which I intend to share around. It's cool to see they have their marketing together.
A flood of memories came rushing back - the sewing classes, the nutrition classes, the birthing classes, having to cook for 10 women at least once a week, the chores, the room I lived in, my thoughts and dreams for the couple who would adopt my son, and the discipline and growing up I did there too. Also remembering producing my film festival from there! What chaos that part was. A lot went on there for me in more ways than one.
I'll never forget hating the 10pm curfew and having to do chores even when I was sick because they wanted me to experience what it would be like to have a child and be sick and responsible for the welfare of my household. I also remember all the times I had to run to the hospital for various complications - all the flus I had and all the sadness of that time.
My life is so completely different now it's amazing. God is good!
Drove around looking at some potential new places afterwards and then popped into LA Louver to check out their art on display. Hard to believe such an amazing art gallery is in Venice, CA within walking distance to the beach. Quite stunning venue. I love modern, contemporary style.
My favorite artist's pieces were Michael C. McMillen's sign painters' enamel; Charles Garabedian's Willie Snake which is so huge it takes up almost one entire wall of the cavernous space; Don Suggs Arc of Hours; Dan Ho's My Green Dreams (he isn't listed for some reason); and my favorite, Rebecca Campbell's Tangle , which I was surprised was so inexpensive
I was expecting a much higher price point because it's
so visually arresting. Her other smaller works are wonderful and
clustered together next to this huge piece which measures 102 x 76.5.
I think she's absolutely brilliant and extremely gifted as an artist. Such variety in style and her images are so life-like. I would have Tangle in my house in a heartbeat if I had the type of house this piece deserves. It's so expansive and draws you in to take a closer look. One feels like you're peeking in on a real person taking a nap it's so life-like. You definitely must go to see this piece if you have time. They don't showcase the current exhibits online so you need to go visit regardless!
There was also a David Hockney on display in the reception area that is fun. For some reason though I resonated most with Rebecca Campbell's work. The entire gallery is filled with amazing artists and you'd do yourself a huge favor if you took the time to visit. Highly, highly, highly recommend it.
Okay, that's all. Just had to share. I need to hurry up and get ready to go out. Chow baby!
Sometimes you just need a good friend to tell it like it is and remind you that God is in control, not you. I keep saying I'm turning my life over to His will and His leading in my life, but deep down inside I keep thinking that means I'll still get to play in Hollywood with all my friends I've known for years and years.
Not so. I was reminded tonight by my good friend that when one door closes, another opens. Right now it seems like God is closing the door for me to do more personal publicity for actors and it's very sad to me. I LOVE that kind of work. I love helping people brand themselves and create business and opportunities from that identity.
I LOVE IT! It makes me very happy and I think I'm good at it. Others do too, but they can't afford my services (at least the ones I'm meeting. Maybe I need to meet more better ones. Ya think?)
For whatever reason though, it's just not happening right now and I have to accept that fact as a fact and stop living in denial. Maybe I'll go back to doing it down the road, but for now... Not happening. I'm beginning to realize I don't really know what God wants for my life anymore.
That's why my friend telling me she knows I have a gift for publicity and that maybe God wants to use my talents in representing the South Bay is a little overwhelming, but also encouraging. Maybe this is the right direction to take.
I have to admit though. When I think about living AND working down here I feel like I'm going to be bored out of my skull! What is going on at night other than bars and happy hours? Will someone please tell me? Lots of stuff to do on the weekends and during the day, but nights? WHAT IS THERE TO DO - ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE SINGLE???
Maybe I need to start planning some parties and get some events going or something. I don't know, but I do know that if I am going to stay down here I need to entertain myself. I can't deal with the thought that the highlight of my night is going to be meeting a friend of mine down at Barnes & Nobles and seeing what the latest mags are. I'll shrivel up and die! Not that there's anything wrong with it, but not all the time!
No wonder people drink so much down here. LOL. They're bored! I'm bored! Oh well. I need to stop ragging on my little home town and start doing something to make it more fun. I'm sure there's other people like me who would love to do stuff at night too.
I can only hit Java Man so often too. Love that place, but have to say, the customer service with some of the guys working there has gotten kind of bad. I don't know why. I'm not tipping any different than I have in the past. I am ordering the same stuff. I don't know. Just an fyi, mr. owner guy. Especially the Sunday closing crew. What's up their butt?
I was so bored I threw an impromptu night BBQ on Tuesday and all nine people I invited showed up. That was with two hours notice. I think they're bored too. This community needs something pulling the singles and those without children of the town together outside of bars. Just a thought.
I'm tired. Just felt like blogging. It's been awhile because I've been busy and other stuff taking up my time, but I miss sharing. Maybe it's a little too personal, but I always hope that perhaps other people will relate to what I've written and will be comforted or encouraged to know they're not alone feeling the way they do.
One of the things the former shrink from the Women of Faith conference I attended last weekend said is, "When we reveal, then we heal." (This was a very fun conference, but kind of Christian lite so you had to be there which is why I'm not covering it. Check out the link for more details. It's good, just not what I expected. Laughed a lot though!)
I kept trying to read bits and pieces of the book over the breaks because it had such an intriguing title and he's such a great author on numerous topics. I almost didn't get it because I still have a gift card from the women's retreat I attended and was going to get it later, but then I read his counseling of an overweight patient about how to effectively lose weight - one pound at a time, one week at a time (more details in the book - read it! It's really great. This is my 2nd time reading it now.) which was a concept I hadn't really grasped because I'm the "I want it now and if I can't have it right now why bother" type person.
However, that idea really resonated with me and since reading the book I've joined a gym again. Time to hit the ground running so to speak. Maybe I'll eat more salads now too. Maybe Weight Watchers is next? Who knows? :)
Back to the book though, I digress. What Dr. Cloud explains is that there are 9 certain traits and characteristics of successful people that he was able to analyze after meeting so many "de ja vu" people. He calls them that because he kept meeting people who reminded him of other people and he thought maybe he'd met them before because there were so many similarities, but then he realized these people all addressed life in the same successful way. That's the genesis of the book. I highly, highly recommend it. It's easy to read, lots of examples with real people not celebrities which would make you think you can't attain that life, and very informative.
There's a little study guide that goes along with it and if you bought the two together at the conference I was attending you got a discount - I bought both.:) Now I'm starting to read the daily step by step guide to changing your life in 30 days. It's very scriptural so if that's not your thing don't bother. But if you are interested in hearing God's perspective on you and your dreams, then get it. I'm enjoying reading it too.
Speaking of goal setting... A few of my friends and I are going to start the Goal Gals back up again real soon. (It's something I created back in the mid-90's which my friend Cynthia named when she was part of it where I get groups of people together to accomplish goals in three month increments.)
I'm excited about starting again because I always get so much support in groups like this and accomplish so much more than I would by myself. It's a good time to start too because pretty soon I'm going to be very busy again. I'm very excited that my producer/writer/mentor friend, Marcia, is going to help me create my adoption doc because I'm just way too close to be objective. Should be interesting...at least I hope!
I'm also looking forward to taking Chris Howard's seminar again next weekend. He takes everything that's taught on goal setting and just kicks it up to a whole other level. I was so inspired last time I attended can't wait to attend this one. I think you can still sign up for free. Check it out. If you're a conference attender like I am!:)
I'm still loving working with my artist client, Gali Rotstein. She's creating some really cool new art pieces and is busy in the studio. I'm busy pitching her to more and more galleries. We have some pending, but until things are confirmed I can't really discuss them here. Just know as soon as we know, you will know. There's also a very cool women's magazine (one of my favorites actually) interested in her story too and if I get her that hit, it will be major! Say a prayer!:)
Otherwise, wrapped the car gig last week (although they're not done, but I was - HA HA) and have been busy catching up on things this week as a result. I don't know how people work 9am - 5pm. I really don't. It's so machine like. But the money's nice I guess. However, according to my Henry Cloud book, it's more important to do something that makes your heart sing.
So, I'm off to read more and learn what's going to make my heart sing! Have a good one all.
I'm beginning to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and praying for the wisdom to know the difference. It still deeply, deeply, deeply, saddens me that the South Bay is so over-run with rampant, flagrant alcohol abuse on our public parks and beaches.
I couldn't stop from crying today as I shared my past few weeks with my Al Anon group because it just breaks my heart that my city is so blind to the legacy of drinking we're leaving generations to come unless we make some changes now.
Here's some information to help those of you curious what I'm talking about to understand the nature of this disease. Those who suffer from it can find information on Alcoholic Anonymous at the end. Thanks for reading. My prayers and thoughts are with the city and those who still suffer.
May we see ourselves as we are and decide how we want to live. One day at a time.
Al-Anon Family Groups Backgrounder
the U.S. and Canada, there are more than 18 million people with a drinking problem, and only 10 percent of them will ever get help. according to some estimates, every individual with a drinking problem
disrupts the lives of at least four other people through business and financial responsibilities neglected or the child who loses a parent due to a drunken driving accident, careers ruined and marriages
destroyed by problem drinking. Of the estimated 80 million Americans and Canadians affected by someone else's drinking, most will not get help for themselves and many will never even realize that they could
have benefited from some insight into the problems caused by another person's drinking.
Al-Anon Family Groups was the first of many mutual support groups to adapt AA's Twelve Step
Program. It is well-known, but still not widely understood. Al-Anon focuses only on providing confidential help to people in need. There are no celebrity spokespeople; the confidentiality and anonymity of members is strictly protected.
Al-Anon Family Groups (which includes Alateen for younger family members) is a pioneer in the concept of "family recovery" from alcoholism, which holds that one person's drinking problem adversely affects the lives of close friends and family, and that friends and family who are able to recover from these adverse affects are able to improve their lives, as well as the problem drinker's chances for recovery.
There are 26,000 autonomous Al-Anon/Alateen groups in 131 countries, with groups now starting in Cuba, Iran and Romania.
Al-Anon Family Groups is supported by members' contributions and sale of its literature. The group declines contributions from non-members, and accepts no outside funding from government, foundations, or other agencies.
Al-Anon has helped millions of people over 55 years, and sold about 13 million books, including the inspirational daily readers One Day at a Time in Al-Anon and Courage to Change. There are more than 100 Al-Anon/Alateen books and pamphlets. A range of materials are available in more than 30 languages.
Information on A.A.
Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
I'm absolutely wiped out tonight - too many meetings all week long. Hoping to have more next week, but tonight I'm kickin' it.
Just had to comment though that Donny Deutsch seems to have a lot of fans! Most people who've found my blog this week are because of my writing about his Big Idea show...LOL.
In any case, had an amazing dinner and drinks with Ewa and Gary over at the Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club in Redondo Beach the other night. I didn't even recognize the property since it's been completely renovated - it was absolutely stunning.
If you haven't gone there in a few years, it's definitely worth taking a date you want to impress to their Baleen restaurant since it's extremely romantic with subdued lighting, candlelight at the table, the boats gently rocking in the harbor, a cool sea breeze coming in the open windows, and amazing food!
Here's the official description of the restaurant according to one travel site I found:
Baleen Los Angeles
renowned for its serious food and whimsical mood, the all-new Baleen
Redondo Beach brings an eclectic fine dining experience to The
Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club, with the Pacific Ocean offering the
perfect backdrop. For outside dining, the patio overlooks the marina
with dramatic drapery and firepits. Inside, the motif is balanced with
dark wood flooring and accents. The upstairs bar offers a
cosmopolitan-lounge vibe, with fireside sofas and chairs."
I'm not a foodie so I can't do the food justice, but trust me it was really, really good. The entire place is like this hidden jewel of the South Bay. Shhh, don't tell anyone because I want it to be my private hide-a-way when I need to get away from the world.
Very sophisticated, charming, resort-feel to this sea-side location. I just loved it and loved the company of that night. If you look at the web site you will be blown away with the renovation of the place. Very elegant - definitely my kind of hotel.
We three met at the big chamber mixer over in El Segundo and had originally planned to just get together for drinks, but pretty soon, drinks lead to appetizers which lead to me enjoying filet mignon encrusted in Roquefort on a bed of sliced short rib pieces with a side of mashed potatoes and artichoke and a caprese salad. Wonderful.
I had been so tired from driving all day to various meetings when we first met at 7:00pm I had to have two cokes to wake up. By the time we left the restaurant it must have been around 10:30pm we were all having such a fun time getting to know each other. That was a pure dining experience.
Ewa, the controller of the hotel, is so entertaining and interesting. Gary is my new ad/marketing bud who runs Tiburon Design. Very gifted,
talented guy with a great company. Highly recommend him and his work. I must say, that evening was one of my more memorable South Bay experiences to date.
Chronicles 16:9a, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth
to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”(NIV)
Do you ever long to hear God say, “I
choose you”? Maybe you have read that He has a plan for everyone’s life
or you have heard a pastor say that He loves you. But in your heart of
hearts, you wonder: Am I special? Does God see me?
There are stories from the Bible
that illustrate how God calls ordinary people out of their ordinary
lives. It is clear from the Scriptures that in each case He was
watching them long before He invaded their lives with His holy
God chose Noah simply because He lived a righteous life. Genesis 6:8 tells us, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
God chose David simply because He saw His heart. Psalm 78:70-73 tells us, “He
chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending
the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people, Jacob, of
Israel, his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of
heart; with skillful hands he led them.”
God chose Mary simply because He knew she would do what He asked. Luke 1:30 tells us, “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.’”
None of these people held lofty
positions or had received worldly acclaim. They were
“nobodies” "nothing special" and yet God saw each of them as they
went about their daily lives, doing the most mundane of tasks. He saw
their character, their right choices, and their hearts. And He said in
response, “You’re the one.”
In Mark 5:21-34, Jesus is walking
with a crowd of people, all pressing in on Him, hungry for His
attention, His healing, His words. The Bible tells us that the crowd
“pressed around him” (Verse 24). I imagine people were clutching and
grabbing at Him, desperate for even a small piece of Him. Only one
woman, however, pressed in such a way that it caused Him to stop and
turn to her. Her touch was different from all the rest. This woman
didn’t just touch Him with her hands, but with her heart of faith. He
felt the difference as His power went out of Him (verse 30), and He in
effect said in response to her: You’re the one. This woman
was a “nobody,” with nothing to offer the God of the Universe. Yet, He
found her worthy of His time and attention. He chose her.
God wants to find those people
whose hearts are desperate for Him. He wants to heal, strengthen, and
equip these people. He isn’t looking for the worthy, the intelligent,
or the beautiful people. He is looking for the ordinary ones who are
simply open to His invading presence in their lives. If He is calling
you right now, don’t convince yourself that He isn’t. God sees you,
just as you are, and He knows the ones He calls.
please remind me today that You do notice me and that I am worthy in
Your sight. Strengthen me to do whatever it is You have prepared in
advance for me to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I Chronicles 28:9, “And you, my
son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with
wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches
every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you
seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will
reject you forever.” (NIV)
Romans 8:27, “And he who searches
our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes
for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (NIV)
Jeremiah 17:10, “I the Lord search
the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his
conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” (NIV)
I just got this via email and need a day to recuperate from the OMMA conference .
I thought you may enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren
has, with his wife now having cancer and him having "wealth" from the
book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, "The Purpose Driven Life" author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.
People ask me, what is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a
nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last
forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.
I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions
of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.
God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.
We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: either you are in one now, you're just
coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.
God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of
life.Â The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth.
I don't believe that anymore.
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of
like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something
good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,
"which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways
to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of
thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for
It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her
character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a
testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For
instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15
million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with
before. I don't think God gives you money o r notoriety for your own
ego or for you to live a life of ease.
So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money,
notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped
me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace
Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the
sick, and educate the next generation.
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years
since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating
to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism?
Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God,
if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and
love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do
list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.
That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.
This is beautiful and food for the soul. Here's the Purpose Driven Life Covenant in case you've never seen this before.
Today I am stepping across the line. I’m tired of
waffling and I’m finished with wavering, I’ve made my choice, the
verdict is in, and my decision is irrevocable. I’m going God’s way.
There’s no turning back now!
live the rest of my life serving God’s purposes with God’s people on
God’s planet for God’s glory. I will use my life to celebrate his
presence, cultivate his character, participate in his family,
demonstrate his love, and communicate his word.
my past has been forgiven, and I have a purpose for living, and a home
awaiting in heaven, I refuse to waste any more time or energy on
shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing,
useless regretting, hurtful resenting, or faithless worrying. Instead I
will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and fulfill my
mission in the membership of his family.
this life is preparation for the next, I will value worship over
wealth, “we” over “me”, character over comfort, service over status,
and people over possessions, position, and pleasures. I know what
matters most and I’ll give it all I’ve got. I’ll do the best I can with
what I have for Jesus Christ today.
won’t be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by
praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptation, or
intimidated by the devil. I’ll keep running my race with my eyes on the
goal, not the sidelines or those running by me. When times get tough,
and I get tired, I won’t back up, back off, back down, back out or
backslide. I’ll just keep moving forward by God’s grace. I’m
Spirit-led, purpose-driven and mission-focused so I I cannot be bought, I will not be compromised, and I shall not quit until I finish the race.
a trophy of God’s amazing grace so I will be gracious to everyone,
grateful for everyday, and generous with everything that God entrusts
To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say: However, Whenever, Wherever, and Whatever you ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! Wherever you lead and whatever the cost, I’m ready. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyway. Whatever it takes Lord; Whatever it takes!
I want to be used by you in such a way, that on that final day I’ll
hear you say, “Well done, thou good and faithful one. Come on in, and
let the eternal party begin!”
Amen and Amen. God bless you! I promise business and more LA Fashion Week stuff soon. I just had to share this in the meantime.