Monthly Archives: July 2013
There was thousands ahead of me…
And thousands behind me…
I became friends with the dude in the light blue shirt. His name is Skyler Kite. His mother rescued me from the ravages of heat. She saved my spot on line, so that I can go in the shade to cool off. What an angel. This is where I met her son, Skyler, he was hiding from the sun too.
Little did I know that he and another young lady would be accompanying me through the maze of long lines. We wound up laughing a lot and having a good time. It reminded me of my acting days.
There is a camaraderie in the arts. When I was in acting school, the other students and I became close. We had a lot in common and shared the same dreams and aspirations.
But let me get to the reason why I decided to audition for The Voice.
Last Wednesday, I never made it home after work. At Port Authority, I began seeing flashing lights in both my eyes which came out of nowhere. I was unable to see and it made me very nervous. I wound up being taken in an ambulance to the hospital. They ran all sorts of tests and found nothing.
They released me on the grounds that I would see my neurologist within two days. I went the following day and gave a ton of blood. I still do not have answers, but he thinks it may be migraines. I do suffer from migraines, but he tells me the flashing lights in the eyes is a precursor to a stroke. Great.
Hearing that kind of thing woke me up and made me see my own mortality. Which is why I decided to go out on a limb and audition for The Voice. It was mostly an exercise to face my fear.
If truth be told, I was never comfortable performing or singing in front of people.
I love music. It is a passion of mine besides books. My escape is music and books. So early on, I decided I wanted to be an actress and singer. I also frequented dance clubs (yes, underage). I loved to express myself dancing (still do). But once I got into the professional aspect of acting and singing, it was no longer fun. It became cut throat and competitive.
I’m not a competitive person. Never was and never will be. Which is why I was talking to everyone freely at The Voice audition. I was genuinely excited for everyone there and wanted them to do their best. I have a passion to encourage the youth to pursue their dreams.
I have to say, all The Voice staff were cool. I have never seen such friendly and approachable people at an audition in my life. I give The Voice a big kudos for hiring the nicest and friendliest people. This helps makes the experience unique and a positive one.
By the time we reached the final stretch, we were put into groups of 10. We waited against a wall to enter a room with the judge. We each sang our selection and when we were done, the judge selected a 15 year old who sounded a bit like Alicia Keys. I was happy for her, she is just starting out her singing career and that’s an incredible way to begin. I spoke to her prior to her audition and she said this was her first time auditioning for this kind of venue. I told her it was mine as well.
All in all, it was a great experience. I faced my fear, I auditioned well, met some amazing people and had a good time. I couldn’t ask for more.
Have you ever auditioned for The Voice or something similar? If so, how was your experience?
We’re an “instant gratification” generation, but the trouble is, most change happens gradually.
Most of us spend our lives searching and longing for something more than what is in front of us. Whether it’s traveling abroad or chasing cheap (or expensive) thrills, we’re all looking for medicine to satisfy our restlessness. And, so often, we’re looking in the wrong place.
The In-Between is a call to accept the importance that waiting plays in our lives. Can we embrace the extraordinary nature of the ordinary and enjoy the daily mundane-what lies in between the “major” moments?
Moments of breakthrough are not where life’s greatest transformation happens; the stuff that God uses to shape us often lies in the in-between. It’s the bus stops and layovers and DMV lines and moments of unintentional pause that force us to become better people.
That’s not to say there aren’t moments of epiphany. There are. It’s just that most of us find ourselves living somewhere in the in-between. Learning to live in this tension, to be content in these moments of waiting, may be our greatest struggle-and our greatest opportunity to grow.
As promised, here is my review for the amazing book, The In-Between by the talented and prolific writer, Jeff Goins.
Jeff Goins writing is like eating my favorite ice cream. It’s delicious.
His book, The In-Between was timely for me. The premise of chasing after the next big thing resonates with me. I struggle with restlessness. I’m always on the move, waiting for the next big thing to happen in my life. Something that will make me feel alive and take my breath away.
Reading The In-Between really made me think about my life. Here I am chasing after stuff and I’m missing all that is happening in the moment.
I don’t know about you, but waiting is not my forte. My husband will tell you, I’m always busy and in a hurry. I have no patience when it comes to waiting or being still. Honestly, I have no patience at all.
I’m always on the go, running around and never stopping. According to what I read and learned in The In-Between, I’m losing out on valuable moments in the here and now. Moments I’ll never get back.
The stories Jeff Goins intimately shares in The In-Between is beautiful, emotional and romantic. I know, I never use that word, romantic. This book really touched me in more ways than one.
I also got to learn more about Jeff Goins in this book which is a real treat. He has a lot of depth and wisdom. I appreciated him before, but after reading The In-Between, I appreciate him even more now.
Honestly, I can continue giving accolades, but I would rather you read and experience The In-Between for yourself.
I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it.
I have this thing with age. This hang-up with the reality that I am pushing fifty and my life really didn’t amount to much.
I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the life God has blessed me with.
What I am saying is I pretty much wasted precious years of my life on stuff that really didn’t matter.
Here are five things I wouldn’t do if I was twenty again:
1) I wouldn’t have wasted my time with boyfriends.
Since I was a teenager, I was boy crazy. I always needed to have a guy by my side. Even if they were absolute jerks and yes, I’m being kind.
2) I wouldn’t have allowed fear, insecurity or other people from stopping me in pursuing my dream.
My father grew up in poverty, so he basically brainwashed me into having a job and earning money.
I remember when I was in professional acting school and pursuing my dream as an actress and singer, my father told me to stop playing and get a real job. He said acting and singing weren’t going to pay the bills.
So, instead of pursuing my dream, I stopped and got a part time job as a receptionist in corporate America.
3) I wouldn’t have lived someone else’s dream.
My father’s dream was for me to take over his restaurant. Well, that’s what he said, but that’s not what he meant. He would use “taking over his business” as leverage to manipulate me. He had no interest in giving up his little kingdom for my sake.
4) I wouldn’t have dropped out of college.
One of my biggest regrets ever.
Instead of focusing on finishing college, I dropped out and eloped with my ex-husband at the age of nineteen.
Ladies, no guy is worth giving up a college education and basically, your future.
5) I wouldn’t have been concerned about what people thought of me.
Unfortunately, this is something I still struggle with today. I wish I could say I’m at a better place. But I’m not.
I do see the futility in obsessing over what people say or think about me. I mean, why does someone else’s opinion of me have to matter so much? I don’t know. But, it’s completely annoying. I really don’t want to care about what other people say or think of me.
This was an obstacle in my earlier years and continues to be today.
I think about what I would do differently if I wasn’t so concerned about what other people thought of me.
I probably would take more risks.
I would try new things and do what I believed in, even at the risk of what others thought about it.
When you live a life focused on what other people think of you, you’re not really living.
You are trapped in a prison of people’s opinions. You forfeit who you are and your one short life on what other people think or say. What a robbery.
It’s not worth it.
Do you struggle with any of these five things? If so, which one?
I don’t know what I was thinking when I accepted Jon Acuff’s Start challenge a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps I was delusional.
He invited over 2,000 people to participate and over 200 accepted. I was one of them.
Each morning I get an inspirational email from Jon Acuff. I start my day off on the right foot, only to wind up with fear… in my face.
Fear is relentless.
It tells me I’m no good. It tells me I am not a writer. It tells me to give up.
Jon Acuff tells me to punch fear in the face.
So, fear and I start going at it first thing in the morning. I wind up losing time and time again.
Fear harasses me when I wake up then bullies me all day long.
Forget about when I want to write… fear hurls its ugly insults at me.
Fear is a bully.
Friends, I can’t seem to beat fear. I keep trying to confront this bully, but fear keeps winning every time.
I’m inflated one moment then deflated the next.
I honestly wish I can overcome fear and win for once, instead of allowing it to overpower my life.
Ironically, the minute I committed to the Start challenge, my whole world turned upside down.
I don’t want to bore you with the details, but when I tell you this year has been full of changes, it’s an understatement.
They say change is good, but too many changes at one time is not. At least, not for me.
Fear is a torment, it stops my dreams and prevents me from doing anything worthwhile in my life.
Does anyone else want to overcome fear besides me?
I am reading this book which is really provoking me. I’m sure you all heard me speak of Jeff Goins. Well, I am reading an advanced copy of his new book called, The In-Between, which is coming out on August 1st.
I just started reading it and can’t put it down. I absolutely love the way Jeff Goins writes. He is never boring. He also exudes wisdom in his writing. He’s an old soul. I also find myself relating to much of what he writes. I’m not going to give it all away because I want you to read and experience it for yourself. I will also be posting a review when I am done.
He is really making me think. The kind of deep, looking at yourself kind of thinking. I find myself stopping, remembering, and making connections in my own life. This is the reason why I follow his blog because not only is it good writing, but he really makes you think and gives you meat to chew on. I aspire to write like him.
I know, I know, I am not really comparing myself to him although I can’t help but admit I truly wish I can write like he does. But then, I wouldn’t be myself, right?
I go through a liturgy within myself of all the reasons why no one would like my writing. Why would anyone bother reading what I write? There are people like Jeff Goins, Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Steven Pressfield, and Andi Cumbo. I mean, who in the world wants to read what I have to say?
Which is why I totally feel dejected and rejected when someone unfollows or unfriends me. I get repulsed with myself in the sense that I’m being totally self-absorbed and pathetic.
Why do I want to matter so much? Why do I want everyone in the world to like and accept me? What is this thing inside of me that wants me to be like everyone else instead of being myself, being happy with myself and that being good enough?
I mean, for goodness sake, I’m going to be 47 years old. You would think I would grow up already and display some sort of maturity here? I feel like I’m still stuck in high school, trying to be accepted by my peers. To be in the “in” group and part of the cool clique. I believe this may even be called narcissism.
I wrestle within myself; one part of me says, Who cares what people think about you, your writing, or what you have to say? The next minute I’m licking my wounds from someone unfollowing me because they didn’t like what I had to say.
Jeff Goins says, You don’t write for other people; you write for yourself. You don’t write for accolades; you write because you have to. You see? He’s so smart.
In his book, The In-Between, he discusses writing as a calling. I’m trying to figure out if writing is my calling or not. With so many talented writers out there, where do I fit in?
I don’t have the answer, but despite the resistance to write and publish, I will continue… as hard as it is for me… I will try to be brave and courageous as those I mentioned above and not give up.
What about you? Do you go through this as a writer? How do you battle the resistance and the incessant negative voices?
Nicky Cruz knows all about the power of the devil. Since his own dramatic conversion in the 1960s from a life of crime as a New York gang leader, he has met and heard the stories of suffering of many ordinary people, as well as some of the worst prisoners in high security prisons around the world.
Drawing on his spiritualist childhood, his life in New York, and his knowledge and experience of over four decades of spiritual warfare since that time, The Devil Has No Mother shares Nicky Cruz’s hard won understanding of how the devil will try everything possible to gain power in the world–but also shows clearly that it is God who will win the day.
The Devil is worse than you think, but God is much, much greater.
The Devil Has No Mother is a book everyone should read, Christian and non-Christian. There is so much truth wrapped in this book, it will leave you in awe.
I admit, I’m a bit biased when it comes to Nicky Cruz. Reverend David Wilkerson was my pastor for many years before he went home to be with the Lord. So I had the benefit of hearing a lot about Nicky Cruz and his ministry over the years.
When I was offered the opportunity to review The Devil Has No Mother I was excited and looked forward to reading this book. I was not disappointed.
Nicky Cruz is by far a warrior for Christ. I completely admire him. He is a man of great faith and reading this book encouraged me so much.
You know, sometimes as Christians, we struggle to keep going. We get discouraged. Our prayer life gets a bit stale and our walks complacent. But, reading books like The Devil Has No Mother stirs and inspires you to believe God for greater things. It certainly did that for me.
The Devil Has No Mother is about stories of Nicky Cruz’s life and ministry experiences. He shares poignant stories and experiences, which will leave you breathless and hungry for more.
I highly recommend this book to everyone, it is a must read.
In conclusion, I want to thank Worthy Publishing for sending me a complimentary book to review.
Nicky Cruz has traveled widely around the world, speaking to hurting people in all walks of life, in the 40 years that have passed since he came to Christ in New York through the selfless devotion of David Wilkerson. Nicky’s ministry has reached thousands of inner-city gang members as he speaks to their need from his own experience. His ministry regularly targets urban environments in order to reach those who are most frequently trapped by destructive lifestyles and caught in a downward spiral of intense violence, drug abuse and gang activity.
Yesterday I read a blog post that I had a strong reaction to. I absolutely love this writer who is a dear friend of mine. A friend in whom I disagree on matters, but nevertheless, love and respect.
I didn’t write a comment on her blog, as my comment turned into several paragraphs. So I wrote to her privately and expressed my inner most thoughts.
One of the things, that surprised me even after I wrote it, is this:
I’m coming up against that a lot lately… people are unfriending me because I am not as open to everything as they are as a Christian. I’m one of *those* Christian’s who doesn’t believe in wearing bikinis to a beach, but wears trunks instead. Why? Because I don’t want the perverted pigs to feast their eyes on my goods, that’s why. I believe my body and those beautiful attributes of who I am physically should not be given freely like pearls to swine, but to my own husband who has committed his heart, mind, soul and life to me.
I read it… then I read it again… and I was like, wow… I wrote that? Yes, I certainly did write it because…
I don’t believe in bikinis.
You must be rolling your eyes by now… Listen, I’m not telling you not to wear bikinis… you can wear whatever you want. All I’m saying is, I’m not going to wear bikinis (or revealing bathing suits) to a beach or pool.
Ok… so, I’m not going to get the most popular vote on this post.
But let me ask you a question? Would you rather I lie to you or tell you the truth?
I’m touching on a topic that most woman will vehemently disagree, even Christian women. I will definitely be described in several negative adjectives.
I’m sorry ladies, but truth is truth, I don’t believe in bikinis.
This week I discovered a dear writing colleague of mine whom I still esteem, unfriended me based on a particular post I wrote. I wrote that said post with passion, and realized I would be taking a risk by writing it because I knew I would get some adverse reactions.
But, I decided I needed to write it. It’s what I believe. I have to be true to who I am and tell the truth. It was not my intention to willfully hurt or offend this colleague by any means. However, this colleague felt she needed to cut ties and I respected her decision.
So, for those of you who still want to read my posts, I am making you a promise today, you will always get the truth from me. Perhaps you may not always like it or agree, but I would hope you would do as I do, which is to respectfully agree to disagree.
We are not all going to see eye to eye on matters. We all have our beliefs which we stand by. This is what makes us unique. If we were all the same, it would be a very dull existence, don’t you think?
God didn’t create us to be clones or robots. He created us to have free will, to think and express ourselves differently.
If we disagree, which I disagree with people every day, it’s not the end of the world.
Please accept my apologies if I hurt or offended you with any of my posts. It is never my intention.
At the same token, I do not want to keep silent and compromise who I am, my beliefs or censor my writing because others don’t agree or like it. I don’t think that is right either.
One wise friend and writer told me, always write the truth and that my friends, is what I aim to do.
Which is why I’m letting you all know, I don’t believe in bikinis. 🙂
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
You know that song from David Bowie? I’m giving away my age now.
Yes, there are many changes happening in my life right now. I don’t know about you, but I don’t embrace change too well.
They say change is good. I guess some changes are good, but not all changes are good, at least, not for me.
I’m bummed out about one of the people I work with is leaving. We have worked together for four years. Now that we finally understand each other, he’s leaving.
I am happy for him as it’s a great opportunity, but I am sad for me.
Another change is my neighbors below me are moving out at the end of the month. Not only that, my next door neighbors are moving out too. I found this all out in a matter of one week.
I was devastated. I like the guy who is leaving and I like my neighbors who are moving out. Selfishly, I don’t want any of them going anywhere. I just want everything to remain status quo.
But this isn’t life… life is full of changes, some good and some not so good. I’m praying I’m assigned to someone kind and fair. I also pray my new neighbors are nice and considerate.
In a matter of weeks, things will be different. I am hoping it won’t be for the worst. I always seem to anticipate the worst though. Thank God I’m married to an optimist.
You know what I thought was nice about the guy who is leaving. He apologized to me. He said he was sorry he wasn’t nice or kind to me in the beginning. He said he misunderstood me. He thanked me for being patient with him (I don’t know if my husband would agree that I’m patient).
I was touched by him saying this. He didn’t have to.
It’s nice when people actually *get* me and where I’m coming from. I’ve been misunderstood far too many times in my life (but that’s for another post).
I will miss him and my neighbors greatly.
How do you handle changes in your life? Good? Bad? Please share in the comment section below.
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
Where do I even start? How can I review this incredible book? With Amazon having almost 5,000 reviews at a five star rating… what or how could I possibly add to it, except that this is probably one of the best creative non-fiction books I have read in a long time.
A pastor friend of mine recommended that I read Unbroken a year ago. I just picked it up recently and finished it over the weekend. I couldn’t put it down.
This book stretched me as a reader, because it’s not the kind of book I gravitate to. I’m not into books about war. So I’m guilty of judging this book on that premise alone.
I admit, I had to put the book down a few times because I was struggling. At the same token, I kept picking it back up because I needed to find out what was going to happen next. I am glad I persevered and finished it because the ending is unbelievable.
There were times I thought, did this really happen? The story seems surreal, it completely boggles the mind.
If I summarize this book; it was about humanity (the good, the bad and the ugly), the will to live and the resilience of the human spirit.
Unbroken will surprise, refresh and give you hope. It’s a beautiful biography of an American war hero, Louis Zamperini. Someone I never heard of before, but now one of my heroes.
Laura Hillenbrand is a brilliant writer, Unbroken is amazing and I can’t recommend it enough.
Laura Hillenbrand is an American author of books and magazine articles. Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Hillenbrand spent much of her childhood riding bareback “screaming over the hills” of her father’s Sharpsburg, Maryland, farm. A favorite of hers was Come On Seabiscuit, a 1963 kiddie book. “I read it to death, my little paperback copy,” she says. She studied at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, but was forced to leave before graduation when she contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with which she has struggled ever since. She now lives in Washington, D.C, and rarely leaves her house because of the condition. Hillenbrand married Borden Flanagan, a professor of Government at American University and her college sweetheart, in 2008. She described the onset and early years of her illness in an award-winning essay, A Sudden Illness.
Don’t get stuck at asking “What would Jesus do?” Be equipped to do it.
Chicagoland pastor Robby Dawkins hadn’t moved past that question either–until he discovered that the miraculous things Jesus did during His lifetime are not just history. They’re today’s reality. When he started living the way Jesus did, he started living life, as he says, straight out of a superhero movie.
So can you. In this dangerous book, you’ll learn simple, practical ways to take hold of your God-given “power tools”–prophetic ministry, healing, ministering the presence of God and deliverance from demonic power. And through amazing but true stories from the front lines of ministry, you’ll see what happens when ordinary Christians harness God’s superpower to bring His Kingdom to earth.
It’s time to beat the sickness, suffering and despair of the impossible. Time to embrace a powerful faith. It’s time to do what Jesus did.
Do What Jesus Did is primarily about Pastor Robby Dawkins life and ministry. This book focuses on his ministry of healing and deliverance.
The premise of this book is how Christians can be used of God to heal and route demons out. Pastor Dawkins writes this book as an autobiography, testimony and teaching guide for others.
He focuses on the fact that believers can be used of God to heal others. He also gets into why some don’t get healed after praying for them.
He writes about his personal experiences with healing and miracles after praying for people. He gives pointers on what you should do, when and how.
I thought Do What Jesus Did was an interesting and entertaining read. However, I struggled with the validity of his examples. It’s not that I don’t believe God can heal. I do believe God can heal, but I don’t believe it’s just a simple matter of walking up to people and praying for them.
Truthfully, I had trouble with the theology of this book. I can’t verify what he wrote in his book, if it did or did not occur. But, I personally had a hard time believing in the authenticity of his examples.
I am not quick to believe everything I read, even if it is written by a popular pastor. I have seen too many things in my life to just take someone at their word, especially when it comes to the supernatural realm.
It is of my belief that when it comes to the supernatural, one must tread carefully.
In conclusion, I want to thank Chosen for sending me a complimentary copy to review.
Robby Dawkins, born to missionary parents, knew from a young age that God had called him into ministry. He and his wife, Angie, responded to God’s call to plant what is now the Vineyard Church of Aurora, Illinois, which they have pastored since 1996, and which uses power evangelism continuously. He has traveled to over 30 countries, including many Muslim nations, helping build the Church internationally. Robby and Angie have six sons and live in Aurora, Illinois.