Seven Ways To Savor Summer

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Can you believe this is the final Friday of summer? This year has gone by so fast. The good news is we still have time to savor summer. I know we have a lot to look forward to in the fall and winter. In the meantime, let us savor our last days of summer. I have listed some ways I will savor summer all year long. Also, who says we should keep these summer ideas constrained to summer?  How do you feel about the close of summer? Are you ready for fall? Please feel free to respond in the comments.

  1. Favorite frozen treat: I believe you can have your favorite frozen treat all year long but there is something about summer that makes it more enjoyable. Some frozen treats include ice cream, Italian ice and gelato. I discovered SO Delicious which has gluten, dairy and soy free frozen treats that do not compromise taste. So, whatever you do, make sure you enjoy your favorite frozen treat anytime.
  2. Chicken or Plant Based Sandwich: Who knew this was going to be the summer of food wars. We had the chicken sandwich wars followed by the mac n’ cheese wars.  This all unfolded on social media.  This summer, I finally feasted on a Beyond Meat burger and it was so good. I know when we think of burgers, we think of grills and summer but you can enjoy any type of  burger anytime.
  3. Buy summer clothing: A lot of summer clothing is on clearance. This is a great time to get summer clothing at discounted rate. A few weeks ago, I bought white capris for $7.00. I was so happy not only with the fit of the capris but with the price. You can be motivated for looking forward to next summer while saving a lot of money on your summer wardrobe.
  4. Go to the Beach: I did not get to go to the beach to this summer. If you are still able to get to a beach before the weather changes, please go. There is nothing like the smell, feel and sound of the ocean and sand. I plan to be at the beach a lot in 2020 which leads me to my next point.
  5. Book your 2020 trips: The best way to look forward to next summer is to book a trip. I have my eyes set on several places but it is not official until the trip is booked. This is a good time to start researching and talking to friends and family about doing a trip.  The key to having a great trip is to plan ahead and find a great deal. Traveling is fun and let’s start exploring our traveling options.
  6. Plan fall and winter activities: There are so many fun things to do in the fall and winter. If you need some fall ideas, click here. I know I plan to do a lot of recipe exchanges and cooking this fall. I cook my own food most of the time now but there is something about the smells and foods of fall and winter. I am excited to resume baking. I am looking forward to posting my recipes on here.
  7. Write a letter to yourself to open next summer: I am writing a letter to myself for next summer. The reason is I want to make sure that I stay the course and that my future self will appreciate my current self. Sometimes, we just keep going on our journey without celebrating our progress.  We deserve to encourage ourselves in a year.

Thank you summer for your beauty. I grew as a better person because of this season. I learned a lot about myself. Until next year, thank you summer. Dear readers, summer was a blast but now we have fall and winter to look forward to and let us be full of joy as we transition from summer into fall. Here is to a peaceful and joyful transition from summer to fall.

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Party For A Cause: 2019 Maritime Magic Benefits Living Classrooms!

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Do you want to have fun and support a great cause? You are invited to attend Living Classroom’s 2019 Maritime Magic.  There will be plenty of music, food and drink all under the beautiful backdrop of Baltimore.  Living Classroom’s 2019 Maritime Magic will be held Friday September 27, 2019 at the Frederick Douglas-Isaac Myers Maritime Park located at 1417 Thames Street Baltimore, Maryland 21231 beginning at 7:00 pm.  The cost is $120 in advance and $130 at the door. You can purchase your ticket by clicking here. The opening act will be 2019 Blues Music Awards Winner, Vanessa Collier. The headlining act will be New Orleans-based band, Galactic. There is a silent auction with many wonderful prizes and all proceeds will benefit Living Classrooms.

Living Classrooms Foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on equipping the next generation of leaders of children and adults through various programs that focus on workforce development, education and enrichment and health wellness and violence prevention. Living Classrooms Foundation has been shaping the lives of Baltimore families for over 30 years. This nonprofit operates 100% on donated money. As someone who has seen Living Classrooms first hand and has been a supporter for many years, this is a great organization. I am so thankful for the leadership and every person, business and organization associated with Living Classrooms. Please click here to learn more about Living Classrooms. Click here to purchase a ticket to 2019 Maritime Magic and click here to donate. Please support this awesome organization. If you are attending 2019 Maritime Magic, have a wonderful time and bring several friends.

 

Wednesday Motivation: Stop Explaining Yourself

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Happy Wednesday! I wanted to add to the Wednesday motivation conversation. I just wanted to say these three words to you and to myself: Stop Explaining Yourself! As we continue to move forward while accomplishing our 2019 goals,  we must make sure we are not wasting our time on anything or anyone that is no longer worth it or does not line up with our new season. You can explain and give facts to some people who will be jealous, envious, insecure or even angry about the new you.  Stop explaining yourself. You must move forward with your race and run it.

There is no one else in the world who is equipped to run your race. You are the only person in the world with your gifts, talents and resources. There has never been another person like you. There is currently no one who is exactly like you. There will never be another person like you.  Instead of wasting your time explaining to people why we are so great, let’s run our races and display our greatness. When each of us runs our own race, we can encourage and help each other. I remember listening to the voices of people who told me what I would never become and to see where I am at now is amazing. I am thankful that I dismissed those voices and surrounded myself with authentic and loving people who speak life into me and my destiny. I also speak life into others and their destinies.

Stop explaining yourself and run your race. The energy used to explain yourself can be used to invest in long lasting and fruitful associations with life giving people. Sometimes we can become so focused on critics that we neglect the people, places and things that make our lives full and fruitful. Bill Gates was told that Microsoft was not a good idea. Uber was invented by friends who had trouble hailing a taxicab during a vacation. You are the answer and remedy to an issue in the world. You are never going to have a 100% approval rating. Run your race and stop explaining yourself. I will continue to apply this to my life. I am not explaining myself. I am going to run my race to the best of my ability with God’s guidance. Here is to all of us running our unique and life changing races.

Keep Praying While Trusting God’s Timing!

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and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.  Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”-1 Samuel 1:14:17

What have you been petitioning God about? Has been healing for you or a loved one? Has been reconciliation of a broken marriage or friendship? Has it been provision in your finances? Has been for a spouse or children? Whatever you have been petitioning God about, he hears you and will answer you in due time. God hears the prayers of his children.

In the scripture above Hannah has been petitioning God for a child.  Let me give a deeper understanding of this point in the story. Hannah was being ridiculed by her husband’s other wife who kept on having children, the very thing she wanted from God. Her husband loved her more than his other wife and thought that was enough for Hannah. How many people know from first-hand experience that your enemies will ridicule and torment you during your waiting? Then added to that your enemy appears to be more blessed than you which can hurt and confuse you. Also, love is not always enough. Hannah loved her husband but he could not give her the things desired the most, which was to be a mother. I love how God loves us through our waiting. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

On this day, Eli the priest saw her and thought she was drunk while she was pouring out her heart in anguish while praying to God. When she told him that she was praying, he touched and agreed with her about her petition. She eventually became pregnant and her son Samuel was born and grew up to me a great man of God. What would have happened if Hannah gave up before God answered her prayer? How many of us are thinking about giving up? It is okay to be honest because this is a judge free zone. May I encourage us to not give up a second before our miracle and answer to prayer. Whatever the answer is to our prayer, we must know God knows our situation better than we do. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

I know this is easier said than done. This blog did not come from someone else’s book or blog. I am speaking from first-hand experience. There are some things I am currently petitioning God about and have been doing so for years and even decades. I am standing on his word and trusting him for his timing which is perfect. I am also standing on the other side of answers to countless answers to prayer that have enhanced my life. Let us stand in faith and trust God for his timing. When we don’t feel strong, we must call on God and our community of people who hold us up unconditionally in love. We are strong and we are going to be fine no matter what God says. I am touching and agreeing with you that everything will be fine. God bless you!

 

 

Allow God To Answer Your Critics

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The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”-Exodus 14:14

When someone is overly critical toward you, see it as a sign that God is up to something awesome in your life. The best answer to critics and haters is silence.  Some people value their opinion too much to think that God is taking it into consideration. God does not need anyone’s validation or opinion when it comes to our lives. Sometimes we get so worked up about what other people say that we sit in fear refusing to move forward or begin to doubt God and what he has declared to us. In today’s scripture, the best thing we can do is allow God to fight our battles and be still. God is undefeated and no person, place or think can oppose or defeat him. As his children, we inherit his power and victorious resume. Let’s talk about practical ways to allow God to defend us.

First, we need to pray and stay in the word of God. This will ensure that the loudest voice we hear is God’s voice. That means that we must digest the word of God and pray daily. I make sure the word of God is sprinkled throughout my day so that in those valley moments, my mind will remember the word of God and also to stay encouraged daily.  Psalm 1:1-2 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.”

Next, we need to refuse any opinion or word that does not line up with the word of God and his destiny for us. You need to double check what words you are allowing in your realm. Negative words and thoughts can try to deny or delay your progress. Would you eat or drink something that would make you sick on purpose? Of course not, so why would we accept any words that go against our destiny?  2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” This may mean you need to purge and remove people from your life for a season or lifetime who have been speaking against you and your destiny. Prayer will help give you guidance about the pruning process.

Finally, surround yourself with people who will love you unconditionally and correct you in love. All of us have been disappointed by other people. We also need to remember that we have disappointed other people. If you have wronged someone else, take responsibility to apologize and ask for forgiveness. If someone has wronged you, decide to truly forgive the person. Forgiveness does not always warrant the same level of association. When you have a strong and loving circle of people around you, life will be so much better. I don’t care strong you are today but you will need other people. Jesus’ example with his disciples should be a reminder to us. Jesus did not need anyone around him but he has a group to show us we cannot live life alone or in isolation. I am thankful for my inner circle.

As we start this second week in September, allow us to listen to the voice of God louder than any other voice. We are special and valuable to God. Jesus died for us to not only have eternal life but an abundant life now. As we continue to push forward to ending 2019 on a victorious note, allow us to remember what God says about us as his children. May God open your heart, eyes and mind to accepting what he says about you. 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

2019 Progress: Annual Fall Purge

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Can you believe it is September? We just enjoyed Labor Day, our final summer holiday. School is back in session. I am starting to see more and more pumpkin spice items and leaves everywhere. Despite the changing of our seasons, we need to keep our eyes on our 2019 goals and stay focused.  If you need a 2019 reset, it is never too late for that. Sometimes we need to take a moment to examine our goals, boundaries, schedules and more to make sure we are making progress and not just faking it until we make it. I am starting my annual fall purge this month. This is the time where I remove things or people that no longer line up with where I am going and what I am doing. We cannot waste our time on things or people that are no longer fruitful or/and have not benefited us. So how does my fall purge work? Here are some steps and remember we have to always take the high road.

  1. Schedule: I look at my schedule. I make sure that I schedule time for myself during the week and do not overbook myself. I also make sure my activities are taking me to the next level. If my activities are no longer beneficial, they I need to make changes. Also, sleep does not count as time for me. Sleep is essential for a healthy body. 
  2. Phone and email: This is time for me to remove contacts that do not benefit me. There is no reason for me to keep a million contacts and I cannot get to the most important contacts. I have my phone contacts filtered but for my sanity I must remove those contacts. Also, I am too valuable to allow every and any one to be in my phone. 
  3. Social media: I think it is important for me to follow and interact with people who add value to me. So I remove people who do not benefit me. I also make sure I follow people who are going in the direction I am going. Social media is a fun and useful tool but it has to be used to right way.  

You are a very valuable person. I am a very valuable person. This is not based on our credentials, how we look, our net worth, abilities or anything else. Everyone is unique and special. We need to value ourselves in everything that we do. We do not have to wait until we obtain something or someone before we value ourselves. We value ourselves now so that later on, people will know our standards. So here is to finishing 2019 on a positive and peaceful note.

Stop Procrastinating!

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The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai:  “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.  But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” Jonah 1:1-3

God has called everyone to do something special and it is our purpose. Everyone’s purpose will look different because each of one of us is unique and a masterpiece especially crafted by God. I would like each of us to take a moment to examine our hearts and ask ourselves this question: What is my purpose? Everything in your life should be pointing in the direction of your purpose. Anything else we are doing is just a distraction.

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In the scripture above, Jonah was called to speak to a group of people about God. Jonah ran away and went the opposite direction. He eventually ended up the belly of whale and after three days and night, he was spit out by the whale and obeyed God. It is easy to look at Jonah and judge him but  none us can judge him. God redeemed his story and he did eventually obey God.

How many times have we ignored a word from God? How many times have we went the opposite direction or path God laid out before us? How many of us have attempted to sabotage our calling?  How many times have we tried to hide from God? We cannot hide from God. Psalms 139: 6-7 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

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So now is time for a heart check? What have you put off? What are you running from? This Labor Day weekend and beyond, get real before God. Pray and fast seeking God’s face about your purpose. Next, get in the word of God. The Bible will refresh and revitalize your soul as you deepen your relationship with God. Also, find a trusted person or group of people who will pray for you, correct you in love and hold you accountable about your progress.  Next, you have to do some pruning of people, places and things that do not line up with your purpose.  Next, start taking real and practical steps in your purpose.

What are some real and practical steps? You can read about people who have done what you are trying to do. Also, you can read books and listen to sermons that will light a fire in your soul. I would recommend Joyce Meyer’s “Do It Afraid” and “Battlefield of The Mind” and Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life“. A great recent sermon I listened was by  pastor Devon Franklin entitled, “Hearing God .” You can interact on social media with people who are where you see yourself one day. You can see the ups and downs of walking in your purpose. Proverbs 13: 20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

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So now here comes the hard part: Just do it, now! Yes, there will be setbacks, fear and failures but there comes a day we must stop sitting on the sidelines of life and must do it. I know I am supposed to be doing guest blogging and be featured in print and online publications. I am going to explore those options and keep you posted. I am going to step out of my comfort zone and do it afraid. Please hold me accountable.

I am looking forward to hearing about what steps you are taking to accomplish all God has called you to be. Happy Labor Day! I will leave you with Ephesians 3:20-21. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”