Category Archives: Daily Inspiration

A Most Powerful Prayer

There was a season in my life when I felt like a lioness spiritually.  I could check several things of of my how to be righteous checklist. My prayer game was strong. Check. I had completed reading the entire bible. Check. I paid my tithes on time. Check. My life was so full. I had church, singing, school, family, and friends.  No idle time for the devil to make a playground of.

I was truly asking, believing, and receiving. Feeling self-assured, I decided to ask a bold prayer:

  1. God reveal to me those who are not for me.

It was a prayer that I felt I already knew the answer to. At the time, I naively, believed that I had no enemies. To me knowledge, I had not mistreated anyone. So, I expected nothing to happen.  And then something happened. People started to fall away from my life. I am talking about folk who I thought were my day ones, my ride-or-dies. I look back on it and wonder – wow. It was swift and exact like a two-edged sword.

God will answer your prayers so be careful what you ask. Your frame of mind matters. Ask from a pure heart and not spiritual arrogance, as was my case.

I am older now. I have gone through a process of forgiving, even when the the person has not acknowledged or asked for forgiveness. I realize that Christ has forgiven, and keeps forgiving me without adding each offense to my account. Isn’t that a beautiful thing – grace? All of it stems from God’s love for me. It is infinite and complete. One of my goals in life is to love completely.

Image result for dorothy wizard of oz road

Twenty years older and wiser, I have decided to edit that prayer. I now pray:

  1. God reveal to me those who truly love me.

The good people God allows in our life are a gift. I don’t want to overlook anyone in my life who may be feeling unappreciated. Like Dorothy in Oz, we can spend our lives on an a wistless journey to find favor of impotent wizardly friends. People who we feel that if we can garner their favor they can provide access to some secret loyalty or treasure that has been kept from us. Family and friends – these are the true treasures of life. If you have people who truly love you, you are rich.

 

A Strange Thanksgiving Ritual

The candied corn has not even grown stale and Christmas decorations are all over Indy. The lights have been strung from the top of Monument Circle. Christmas music is playing on radio stations.

Attention people! You will put some RESPEK on Thanksgiving.

Image result for respect thanksgiving

And, why not? In our materialistic and selfie-driven world, Thanksgiving allows us to focus on so many people and trappings we take for granted.  It is the time of year in which we are advised to make a list of things for which we are grateful. Some familiar tropes come to mind;  family, employment, home, safety, the usual suspects.

For an unusual ritual, how about being grateful for the issue that causes you the most angst. What is it that you must overcome to be faithful to the thing you love?

I was an avid reader as a child. I would read anything and everything I could get my hands on. I remember a family friend gave me free access to his bookcase. I selected the thickest set of books I could find. It was Victor C. Andrews, Flowers in the Attic series. As an adult, I understand that this not exactly classic literature. Each book was over 400 pages and I saw completely each one as a challenge.  Those tales intrigued and frightened me. Words on a page could elicit such strong emotion.  This love of reading grew into a desire to create stories that would allow my readers to feel – love, longing, courage, gratitude.

I love to write. It is my calling and my passion. My biggest hindrances to writing as a career are time, work/financial obligations, fear and self-doubt. How can I afford health insurance if I am a writer? What if I am unable to sell my books? What if I reveal too much and people judge me? The struggle is real. The love of writing compels me to sacrifice for the thing I love most. My obstacles push me to not give up. I fight for time to create.

The truth is your problem serves a purpose (courtesy of TD Jakes). If I did not have financial obligations, I may not launch a marketing campaign large enough. In essence, I may just play it safe and small. When the odds are against you, you have to play big. Challenges can be the springboard to success. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this hardship? How can I use it to my advantage.

I am grateful for the struggle. I know I cannot take one second or opportunity for granted. I know I must be ready and not ‘getting’ ready when the big break presents itself. It is hard but that is the point. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

What challenge are you grateful for?

 

 

#whyIwrite

I wake up in the morning, pray, and grab my phone. I read a scripture or online devotional and then, I check my notifications. I may be a just a bit addicted to social media. Pray for me.

I am swiping up, in the Twitter app this morning and I see the hashtag #whyIwrite. I suppressed the urge to shoot off a quick 140 characters to hop on the trend. I thought, this will require some introspection.

Writing my debut novel was a lot like giving birth, cliche as it may sound. I felt I had the story that had been building in me for years. I was swollen with characters, plots, and exposition. The stories of the myriad of women and men I have encountered through life provided DNA segments building the unique personality of each character. I had begun the Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story nearly a decade before. The idea, the dna, all brought together in the love making created a life that built up inside my mind. I just had to bring it forth.

Image result for writing is making love

Everyone always asks, when is part two. The truth is, I have allowed life to distract me from the art of love. Love is action. Love is deliberate. I am learning to write as a discipline. It is my passion. Some days, I am so wiped out, I do not feel the burning in my soul. It is like a marriage that way. I guess. I have never been married. But, I have read that you must choose to love your spouse even when do not feel like it.

My fingers are vessels carrying my thoughts to the keyboard. Words and writing – love in the making. Love making. There I go again.

So, why do I write? I write for love.

Let It Burn

*Cue Usher*

I burned my right index finger Monday night attempting to turn chicken with a short fork. I reached into the oven just a little to deep a YOWZAA! My index finger has a grill mark.

I immediately put a cube of ice on it and the pain subsided but as soon as the thing melted the pain rebounded. I started looking for a quick remedy. I slathered antibiotic ointment on it. That made it worse. I got another cube of ice and the ointment congealed. I was in a bigger mess trying to avoid the pain of my little mistake in judgement. Note to self:  always use a long fork when testing food in the oven. It’s like cooking 101.

Waves

Finally, I just lay in bed. I began to try a mind over matter approach. I thought intensely about another part of my hand. It worked temporarily but I kept reverting to my darn finger. It was not the worse pain I had ever felt but geez did it hurt.  Noting the futility of my efforts to minimize my suffering, I had new thought – just ride it out. I reasoned that the pain could only last a few minutes or maybe even an hour. I knew for certain that it would not last forever.

A funny thing happened. I went to sleep.

The next morning I hardly remembered the burn on my hand. I saw the scar – a reminder not to do something so stupid again – but the pain was gone.

Pain is our body’s response to trauma. The nerves fire off intensely warning you to stop what you are doing. As my skin touched the heated metal coil my hand instantaneously jerked back. My body’s instinct kicked in to protect me.

God has equipped us physically to avoid the damaging things that cause us pain. It will come. Loss, heartache and disappointment are a part of life.  Pain is inevitable. You can lament your fate or evaluate the root cause and learn the lesson. Avoidance only leads to chaos.  Numbing it with substance abuse or other quick fixes leads to worsening of the initial condition. Ride the wave. No matter how high the crest, waves always crash. Pain does not last forever.

Standing in the sun outside of my office. I realized the heat is necessary. I closed my eyes and let the sun sink into my pores. I needed a vitamin D mood boost. The scar on my finger is shiny and brown. I have learned the lesson and the pain is gone.

 

Report from 2015 – Talulazoeapple.com http://www.talulazoeapple.com/apple/2015/06/let-it-burn-let-it-burn-let-it-burn.html

A Yes in My Pocket

My mother always says when God is about to bless you, all hell will break loose.

Bruh, she ain’t never lied!

There have been dreams, goals, decisions that you have made based on the belief that it is God’s will. Maybe someone even spoke a word into your life. It seems that as soon as you step out of the boat on faith, the waves start to rock.

Man, that is the story of my life.

“A Yes in My Pocket,” was the title of a sermon I heard several years ago. I still remember it because the message is still so poignant. It goes a little something like this:

There was a ruler named Jairus who asks Jesus to come and heal his dying daughter. Jesus tells him, yes. He agrees to go home with him and heal the girl. Great news, right? Well, on their journey, other people surround him. A woman with an issue of blood touches him. Jesus takes the time to heal her openly after she touches him secretly. During this time, Jairus is still hanging tight when messengers come into the temple to tell Jairus that his daughter is now dead so there is no need to bother Jesus. When Jesus heard them, he says, “Fear not: believe only.” So, Jesus goes into the house and he brings two of his disciples. The people in the house are weeping and carrying on. Jesus tells them not to cry  and that the girl is merely asleep. The people go from crying to laughing.

After kicking the laughing doubters out of the house, Jesus restores the child back to life.

Jairus is one patient guy. His daughter lay dying and everyone else’s problems seems to occupy Jesus’ time. Jairus did not tell the woman with the issue of blood get in line lady. I was here first. Why, because Jesus had already told him, yes.

The task is moving forward with the same confidence and belief when the obstacles arise as when you received your yes. The challenges will show up. Trust me, they are a’coming. If you decide to eat healthy, someone will bring doughnuts to work. If you decide to save for a house, Macy’s will have a door-buster sale.

That is life. Keep moving forward. If you have received your yes, put it in your pocket because it is a sure thing.

 

The First Book Club Featuring – Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story

Back in the '90s, there was a hip-hop song, "We're All in the Same Gang". It was a collaboration of West Coast rappers that promoted anti-gang violence. The message of the song is that we are all fighting the same battle so why fight each other. The relationship between women can be as precarious as gang-affiliations. If a new sister enters the arena, she is an enemy first until proven otherwise. I may be getting a little too deep but that has been my experience. Moving from city to city, I have been the new girl more often than not. 

1BC

Saturday, I participated in a newly formed book club at my new church. My novel, Ruth's Awakening: A Love Story, was selected as the first book. I was a little nervous about this meeting. As a writer, I consider my novel my baby. I am very protective of it. I had to overcome the self-doubt that others would find the story as good as I thought it to be. Plus, I am the new girl. I was not sure what to expect. 

We met at a local bakery. I handed out an agenda created to facilitate the conversation. In no time, everyone was opening up, laughing and talking. The characters in the novel became a mirror by which  some attendees could see their own experiences reflected. The experience was revelatory. 

I learned a few things during our book club discussion.

Continue reading The First Book Club Featuring – Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story

Letter to Self Five Years Ago

The retrospective offers the most precise point of view. You know every twist and turn your life has taken – no surprises here.  Often, I have looked upon my past and only recount my mistakes. If I had only done this or not done that – then . . .  *insert perfect ending*. Evaluating your past successes and mistakes can be a painful process.  Embrace it. Through it, you can make well-planned choices for a deliberate future. Life still happens but it is important to know that you have a choice in the matter. 

To myself five years ago,  I write:

 

Dear Felicia,

1. Enjoy the moment you are in. In five years, you will be in a different state – physically and metaphorically. 

2. This extra weight will be a thing of the past. You will not be at your goal weight but you will have lost 35 plus lbs, have a fitness group of over 100 members, and be lifting weights. 

3. Do not dwell on the past mistakes as much. Learn from them and move on. A choice made is just a choice. Do not torture yourself wondering what would have been if you had made a different choice. 

4. The man you have been dreaming about is just that – a man and a dream. He will disappoint your fantasy of him and that is okay. You are more beautiful and desired than you have ever known. 

5. Life is going to throw you some curve balls in every area – health, family and finances. Know that you are well-equipped for this battle and God has your back. 

6. Please, Felicia, be kinder to yourself. You have accomplished so much already. You will be amazed by what you are going to do. 

7.  STOP, just STOP living in fear. You will curse the chance not taken because of playing it safe. Do not fret too much, you will get another opportunity to prove yourself brave. You will pass. 

8. You will learn that it is okay to love and to lose because the joy is in the experience. Loving without any expectation of reciprocity is the purest love of all. 

9.  Once you have completed reading this letter, do not ponder it too much. Life is lived in the now.

10. Go live!

                                                                                                                                                 Sincerely,

                                                                                                                    An Older and Wiser You

 

 

 

Moving Mountains

This has been a trying week. In the middle of preparing to move to a new state, I was scheduled to work a week in Idaho. Specifically, I was working in the Idaho panhandle. After my 5 hour flight (including layover), it was an additional 6 hour drive (with the road construction) from the Spokane International Airport to Clarkston, WA where my hotel was located.

I didn’t want to eat at the airport because I have been trying to make healthier food choices. I get my rental car and start driving only to realize I am in the middle of the mountains and there are not a lot of pit stops. I see a sign for a Subway and take the next exit.

Back on the road again, I run into road construction. The two-lane highway became a one-lane highway. I was stuck for 30 minutes while the opposing lane passed. This happened twice.

 In the last 30 minute leg of the drive, I had to cross a mountain. The kicker, I didn’t realize I was on a mountain until I happened to look over and see NOTHING. No trees, no guardrails – just a thousand feet drop if I veered to close to the edge. I was driving on the outer lane. I nearly panicked. I felt dizzy. I felt pressure in my ears. I had to quickly refocus and concentrate on the car in front of me.

MOVING MOUNTAINS

Continue reading Moving Mountains

Let It Burn, Let It Burn, Let It Burn

*Cue Usher*

I burned my right index finger Monday night attempting to turn chicken with a short fork. I reached into the oven just a little to deep a YOWZAA! My index finger has a grill mark. 

I immediately put a cube of ice on it and the pain subsided but as soon as the thing melted the pain rebounded. I started looking for a quick remedy. I slathered antibiotic ointment on it. That made it worse. I got another cube of ice and the ointment congealed. I was in a bigger mess trying to avoid the pain of my little mistake in judgement. Note to self:  always use a long fork when testing food in the oven. It's like cooking 101. 

Waves

Finally, I just lay in bed. I began to try a mind over matter approach. I thought intensely about another part of my hand. It worked temporarily but I kept reverting to my darn finger. It was not the worse pain I had ever felt but geez did it hurt.  Noting the futility of my efforts to minimize my suffering, I had new thought – just ride it out. I reasoned that the pain could only last a few minutes or maybe even an hour. I knew for certain that it would not last forever.

A funny thing happened. I went to sleep. 

The next morning I hardly remembered the burn on my hand. I saw the scar – a reminder not to do something so stupid again – but the pain was gone.

Pain is our body's response to trauma. The nerves fire off intensely warning you to stop what you are doing. As my skin touched the heated metal coil my hand instantaneously jerked back. My body's instinct kicked in to protect me. 

God has equipped us physically to avoid the damaging things that cause us pain. It will come. Loss, heartache and disappointment are a part of life.  Pain is inevitable. You can lament your fate or evaluate the root cause and learn the lesson. Avoidance only leads to chaos.  Numbing it with substance abuse or other quick fixes leads to worsening of the initial condition. Ride the wave.. No matter how high the crest, waves always crash. Pain does not last forever. 

Standing in the sun outside of my office. I realized the heat is necessary. I closed my eyes and let the sun sink into my pores. I needed a vitamin D mood boost. The scar on my finger is shiny and brown. I have learned the lesson and the pain is gone. 

Girl On Fire

The spoken word is a powerful phenomenon. You can think it in your mind, ponder it in your heart but the moment you speak the word, the universe shifts.  

The Bible puts it this way,

"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark." James 3:5.

Words spark change in the environment.  Fire destroys what cannot hold up to its heat. Fire also rejuvenates. It provides conditions for new terrain and growth. 

I have been having a moment – an extended moment. This typically occurs when I am in the midst change. I wanted to move to a new city. The moment I let the words escape my lips, I was met with such fiery opposition – friends, postponements, rejections. So much so,  I was beginning to doubt my decision.

Fire is hot yo! It changes your surroundings into the unfamiliar. My first instinct is to crawl back into an acceptable space and remain calm. I long for stability again – homeostasis. I am learning that you cannot take back your words just as you cannot undo a spark once the fire has begun. 

Fire

In order for a hope to be real, it must be spoken. Once the words escape your lips, watch out! A fire can smolder gently or it can blaze. In the wilderness of transition it is uncomfortable, lonely and confusing at times. But, what else is there to do? I will allow the flames to incinerate doubt, fear, and worry. I will be open to the chances waiting beyond the ash –  a new beginning and a new world of possibilities.