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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

My actual birthday is November 21, but I've adopted the practice of celebrating all month.  This means each day I take time to do something for myself (read a book I've want to read, call someone I've been wanting to speak with, purchase a new nail polish or simply do nothing at all). On yesterday a young lady asked me how I felt about turning 40.  I was reminded of a conversation I had with my friend Brenda almost a decade ago.  Brenda told me that you don't really grow up until you turn 40.  I told that young lady that I now understand what she meant by that comment.  I find that I'm now at a place where I'm comfortable with me and comfortable with those who are not comfortable with me.  I'm not going out of my way to be a nuisance to others, but I fully realize that when I've not wronged an individual and they have a problem with me...well, it's just that - their problem.  I'm also not given to building/seeking relationships with those influenced by group think. I find that having a circle of friends with different opinions helps to broaden my mind and forces me to look beyond my own likes and dislikes.  It's unfortunate that many people are not comfortable with being who they really are or simply don't want to put in the work to find their authentic voice/self.  Far too often, people are okay with basing opinions of something/someone because of what their "friends" say or think about the thing or person. I'm over that!!! I'm understanding more and more the saying that some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  The ebbs and flows of relationships can keep us on an emotional roller coaster.  There are some people that have come and gone and I breathed a sigh of relief and there are others that when they departed it was over many tears. Nonetheless, I've learned that the gift of goodbye is a helpful tool to have in the toolbox. I've learned how to accept the the comings and the goings and appreciate the special times in between.  I've come to embrace the fact that I'm flawed and subject to missing the mark, but that doesn't mean that I can't make course corrections along the journey nor does it mean that I have to accept less than what I deserve from others.  I'm too fabulous to give up on me and my dreams to gain another's approval/acceptance (by the way, so are you)!!!!  This journey has taught me that both blessings and tribulations can come from out of nowhere, but I have it within me to handle whatever may come.

So, how do I feel about turning 40?  Pretty darn good!!!!


Abounding in Love and Growing in Grace,


Veronica

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beauty for Ashes

Yesterday I attended a housewarming for a friend whose original home was destroyed by fire.  She gave us a tour and we were all "wowed" at the beauty of the rebuilt home (most of us ladies were enamored by the master bath and walk-in closet with built-in shoe rack....actually the tour stopped right there). My friend began to describe the day when she received that call from her neighbor, while she was at work, saying that her home was being ravaged by fire.  One person in the group responded by saying, "And look, now you have 12 people standing in your bathroom with room for more".

Her story reminded of the call I received on September 19, 2009 at 4:00 am.  I answered to hear my niece  on the other end telling me that my parents home was on fire.  After getting confirmation that they made it out safely, I began the mad scramble to get a plane ticket, pack my bags and head home. When I finally arrived, I first had to lay eyes on my parents to make sure they were safe and then I went by the home.  My heart was overwhelmed with emotion.  First and foremost, I was extremely overjoyed that my parents made it out of what I would describe as complete rubble safely.  Then I was hit with an indescribable sadness as I examined the damage. As we waded through piles of rubble, trying to salvage whatever we could, I was amazed at how the small things (old photos, my old baby blanket....) brought so much joy. 

I'm not sure to what extent my friend had to "battle" with insurance companies and contractors, but in my parents case it felt like an uphill battle. These two situations caused me to reflect on the valley and mountaintop experiences life can present. We can be going along with our daily routines and receive one call that can change it all.  We can be living life, making plans and it can all be taken away...relationships are broken, health begins to deteriorate, finances end up in ruins...life gets messy and we are left sifting through the rubble for something to hold on to that gives us a sense of normalcy. 

What I've learned through these and other difficult moments, is that even in the midst of what seems to be utter turmoil, God can still restore.  God restores what was lost, but we've got to go through the process of rebuilding. Along the way, God will allow us to find small things that will help to stabilize us. God will point out or provide the simple things that we can hold on to until we get to the other side. One thing I know for sure is that when God restores, when God rebuilds - it is magnificent!!! This does not negate the tragedies we may experience, it does not mean that our lives may not be forever altered, but it does mean that after the pain, after the tears, after the devastation, we can once again experience joy.  God has a awesome way of turning rubbish into a beautiful masterpiece.  I look forward to seeing final masterpiece that I shall be!!!


Abounding in Love and Growing in Grace


Veronica