Welcome to my world...

Hi everyone and welcome to my little piece of the world!

It has been evident to me since I was in about seventh grade, that I love writing and it is a talent I have been blessed with . It wasn't until I reached the ripe old age of 28 though, that I realized God had a much bigger plan for the gift he had given me.

Through blogging on MySpace, I was able to reach not only those that I knew in my own life, but also complete strangers and was amazed at how just my "ramblings" had helped so many people to be inspired, encouraged, or just to think about things in a new way.

From there, it grew into an inspirational column in The Charlotte Observer, then a religious news column in The Statesville Record & Landmark, a speaking engagment for a women's church group and now, a gig as a religion news freelance writer for The Charlotte Observer.

The writing that is closest to my heart though is not the news reporting, but the words that come from my soul - the words that I know God puts there not only to help me to understand life better, but also those around me.

I hope you feel encouraged, enlightened and inspired but what you read here and of course, I look forward to hearing back from you too!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

+ or -

Have you ever actually pondered that age-old question, are you a "glass half full" or "glass half empty" kinda person?  Nah, I haven't either.  I mean if someone asked me offhand, sure I'd say I'm a half full person.  I try to find the positive in things.  But I've never actually really thought about it... and, like most of us, find myself frustrated with so many things in my day-to-day, that even I'd have to stop and wonder, is that all talk?

But I literally found myself looking at a glass the other day that was half full of water.  It was just sitting there on my coffee table and my gaze just randomly fell on it in between whatever I was working on on the computer and happened to look up at on tv, but nonetheless when it did... that's what I saw.  A glass half FULL of water.  And I consciously realized it.  I then had to stare intently at that glass to see it as half EMPTY.  Like when you stare at one of those optical illusion pictures where if you look at it one way, it's a rabbit, but if you look at it another way, it's an old woman.  I had to make myself view the half empty portion of the glass.  And ya know what?  I'm glad!

I always say who you are really is who you are when no one's looking.  You know... you tell the truth even if you'd never be "caught", you stop at a red light and wait even when there's not a soul around... it's who you are behind closed doors, who you "default" to... that says who you really are.  Well in this case, this is who I am when I'M not looking.  ;)  When I wasn't preoccupied with worrying about something, hoping for something, overanalyzing something to death (like I love to do), planning for something... when I was simply just being... I was being positive.  And that makes me happy.  :)

We all are going to get overwhelmed.  We're all going to question ourselves and our lives once in awhile.  We all become a bit of a Debbie Downer once in awhile.  But if underneath the everyday stresses and worries, we can hold on to a solid foundation of hope, goodness and optimism, we have all we need.  Because it is that positivity, that light, that will continue to guide us through the dark times and remind us of how blessed we are, in the simplest of ways.

Like having a glass half full of water.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A is for Awesome

So... here I lie with type A influenza.  Serves me right for opening my big mouth and saying I didn't need to get a flu shot because I "never get the flu."  Uh huh.  Anyway, what better time to write a blog then when completely incapacitated?

I can't believe I'm even going to utter this sentence, but I was very inspired by the Oprah show today.  Ugh.  And by what Michelle Obama had to say on there.  Double UGH.  Anyway, the episode was about military families and about how most Americans don't really think about the sacrifices they go through unless they know someone in the military personally.  That sure, most people will stop a soldier in uniform to say thank you, but that's about it.  That if your life hasn't been personally touched by the experience of having a loved one deployed or of having lost a loved one in the war, it is easy to disconnect.  I personally have two family members that are in the military and two friends that have already been deployed multiple times, and I know it is still easy to forget about the reality of war, once your loved ones are back home, safe and sound.

The basic idea Michelle Obama was getting at though is that she wants to start a nationwide initiative of everyone in America doing something.  Employers should set up plans for military spouses to be able to move through satellite offices when having to relocate often, principals should be aware of children who are in military families, and that even those of us who think we can't do something, can always do something.  If that means showing up on the doorstep of a military family with a homecooked meal or if you work in a salon, offering a military wife a maincure or pedicure... a chance for her to have a little break.  Basically, the same idea that I wrote about in my very first column with the Charlotte Observer... just do whatever it is that you're good at and God will make something bigger from it.  The same rule applies here.  Just do whatever it is that comes naturally to you and there will be some way for it to grow into a larger way to help others.

One of the military wives mentioned that besides the obvious issues military families deal with, there are also other things that no one ever thinks about.  For example, after the big, tearful homecoming, the solider who's just returned home, has to figure out how to fit back into the groove of things at home.  That they often have missed so many important events with their families, they can feel left out or unneeded.

It's another one of those cases where it's something we should be aware of all the time, but tend to easily forget.  Thank you to all of you who have served in the military in the past, to those of you that are leaving your families to go serve right now and all of you that will continue to do so in the future.  Thank you is really an understatement, as no words can truly express the sacrifice you make so the rest of us can live a life of freedom and peace.

God bless you all! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who Woulda Thunk It?

As much as I hate to admit that I watch a show like Mtv's "Teen Mom" in the first place... I have to say I have found myself pleasantly surprised by just how chocked full of life lessons it is.  And I don't mean the obvious one about teen pregnancy... I mean just the lessons that are wrapped up in the relationships between these girls and their boyfriends, their ex's and their families.

It is like those "biospheres" I learned about in Microbiology (yes, I did actually pay attention at some point)... this little show about this small group of girls represents a lot of larger issues that we all go through in our lives.  Obviously, the main issue these girls are dealing with is figuring out how to be a teenager while handling the responsibilities of a mother.  But I can relate to many of their situations personally or just recognize them as struggles we all deal with.

Take the one girl, Chelsea.  She is beautiful, has aspirations of being a hairstylist (which you can tell she would be good at cuz she always has cool looking hair) and seems to generally be a sweet, caring girl.  But it's amazing to see how much she puts up with when it comes to how her boyfriend treats/has treated her.  One moment on an episode today particularly stood out to me.  After her boyfriend had been completely ignoring her and their baby, blaming his infidelities on her and basically having the overall maturity of a 12 year old, she takes offense to him calling her a b**** "for no reason."  NOT BECAUSE HE CALLED HER THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE.  She was upset because she said he called her that for no reason, because she wasn't being one.  I wanted to jump through the tv and grab her and tell her "it's not okay that he calls you that EVER!!"  I watched her literally start to question herself and say SHE was the one who had issues, when she couldn't trust her boyfriend because he had cheated on her in the past.  He literally had her thinking that 1) she had caused it in the first place and 2) that she was the one who had issues to work on because she couldn't just get over it already.  Again, this is a teenage "relationship" but represents the same situation that so many women (and men) find themselves in.  Where their own self (and self WORTH) have gotten so lost that they forget the very basics of love.  There is never a "reason" that will make infidelity, harsh language or just disrespect in general, justified.  Ever.

Another girl, Jenelle, has a tumultuous relationship with her mother.  Granted, if I were forced to choose sides, I'd be on the mom's "side" most of the time.  BUT they both have issues that keep their relationship from being a successful, loving one.  It does make my heart break to watch this girl go off and party or stay with her boyfriend, while her toddler son literally stands at the front door and cries, watching her go.  I want to jump in the screen and shake her too and get her to realize how precious it is that she has that little life standing there, wanting nothing but her love and time.  That if any boyfriend was really a man, that he would want nothing but for her to give her son the time and attention he deserves.  But I feel bad for her in the scenes with her mother too, because so many times, whether her intentions are good or not, the mother rips the girl to shreds.  Even when some of the things she's saying may have some truth to them, the mother comes at her in such a demeaning and negative way, it does nothing but drive them farther apart.  It's another instance where I, in my typical fashion of wanting everyone to be able to just see everything as simply as possible, wish that they could both just take a step back, be grateful for one another and speak to each other with love and respect.

Kailyn, brought up the issue of honesty in my mind.  Although her and her ex obviously had many other issues going on, it made me want to shutter seeing the blatant dishonesty that was going on.  It was another situation where she (I'm not singling her out, so many people do the same) looked out for her best interests and what would work out the best for her at the time, instead of just being 100% honest.  I get the strangest reactions sometimes when I stress how much I believe that is how everyone should be.  It's like people think, well yes, obviously honesty most of the time is the best policy, but there is always going to be a time or two where you have to tell a "little lie."  Okay, first of all, there's no such thing as a little lie... if you lie about something little, it will just grow and grow.  And second of all, there's a never a time that you have to lie.  Even if the truth will cause harm or pain, lying about it only doubles that harm or pain.

Ironically, the one girl, Leah, is the one I enjoy watching the most on the show now.  She drove me nuts the few times I watched it last season, I will admit.  But again it was because I wanted to shake her!  She had a guy who not only was willing to be there for her when she got pregnant, but he stepped up in all ways, financially, emotionally, and you could tell he honestly cared about her and the babies.  Amazingly, after all the bad times they went through, they got back together and now are such a cute little family.  They're not perfect, just like the rest of us, but they just seem to have the basics down - love each other, respect each other, be honest with each other and be there for one another - as a team.

I may have just put the show on for noise in the background while I work on my homework or my thirty-one business, but I am glad I did.  They make me think.  They make me feel.  And those are good things to do.  ;)  I wish nothing but the best for all of them on the show, as I do for all of us going through the same things in our lives everyday.  Like I said, I really do think life should be (and CAN be) a lot simpler than it is alot of the time...

*Be honest
*Be respectful
*Be loving
*Be supportive
*Be kind


*Don't ever let anyone be anything but these back to you!