What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. As most people know, this is the 40 days period of preparation for Easter with reflection, repentance, and prayer. Most people fast or give up things for Lent. I am not Catholic but I have fasted and given up thing before for Lent as a way to get closer to God. In the past I’ve given up alcohol, reality television, and sweets. I always make it the 40 days. I feel great about myself for having the self-control and will to do so. I have not necessarily felt closer to God in doing these things. Today while I was reading my devotional, I came across this passage:

And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.  -Matthew 6:16-18

And there you have it. I can be honest and say that one of the main reasons I give up things for Lent is because everyone else is doing it. I could tell people what I was giving up and why. Then people would go “oh wow….good luck!” That’s why I never got more than an exercise in self-determination because it wasn’t done in the correct spirit. So this year I’m not giving up anything. I am going to use this period to pray more sincerely and to better my temple. I am going to continue my work on becoming a better Christian and a better person altogether. My walk with Christ i not supposed to be a show but I want people to see Him when they see me and my work. THAT i my focus for the Lenten season.

Are you giving up something for Lent? What is it? What are your preparations before Easter?

Random Acts of Kindness and Charity

Last night, Boo Thang and I went to Starbucks for a late night frappucino (I’m so spoiled). When we were leaving out of the store, Boo Thang was approached by a young guy. I went and got in the car….as I always do because this could take a while (Boo Thang can chat!). I was noticing that this guy was limping and he had a woman and a little baby with him. After Boo Thang gets in the car, the nosiness takes over and I ask what was up with the guy. Apparently, the guy and his little family just moved here looking for a new opportunity and were living in a hotel. Their money was running out and they were about to get put out of their room that night. He didn’t even want cash. He was perfectly content to have someone just go and put money on the room. Now I’m hearing this story as Boo Thang is driving out of the parking lot!!! 

I just wasn’t going to feel right in my spirit if that little baby was not going to have a place to sleep and these folks were walking around metro Jackson after dark. I made Boo Thang turn around and go get them!! It was almost $60 for the room, but that is a small price to pay for someone else’s safety for the night. I said a little prayer as they piled in the car. We are really softhearted people and this has gotten us into sticky situations before, so I just had to trust that I was doing the right thing. It just felt really good to help them. To feel like I had made a difference even for 24 hours. 
Boo Thang gets to work this morning to tell this story to his co-workers…not in a bragging way, but in a “y’all won’t believe what happened last night” way. He just called me and let me know that his office has taken it upon themselves to adopt this family because I made him turn around. They have each given one more night in the hotel. They are getting together clothes and going to buy food and toiletries. According to him, they have forgotten they have have a business to run, lol. He said  “this is the reason why I love you.” *blushes* I can’t take any credit for this. I just did what I would hope folks would do for me. I’m just proud to know that one random act of kindness turned into so much. I wish them well. 

You Want Me To GIve Up What, Now?!

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season. I’m not Catholic, but at times I do give up something in these 40 days that is really a sacrifice. I love making promises to God to give up vices that are not for my good anyway. Last year, I spent Lent reading The Purpose Driven Life and starting to get my walk with Christ on track. During this time, I go into prayer, fasting and charity. I know that I should do this year round (and for the most past I do….well except the fasting part), but I make special effort at Lent.

This year I was approached by my twitter play cousin, @ShaiUnfiltered, about taking a reality TV break for Lent. I went into immediate protest, lol. I’m a little obsessed with trashy reality shows, but they have been making me a little weary. Sometimes I get stressed out by seeing black women behaving badly for a check. It works my nerves so much that I end up fussing at the TV. This has caused Boo Thangto stop wanting to watch TV with me….or when he does, he refuses to let me enjoy it! I would keep watching it to get a rise out of him (rebellious spirit…can’t help it), but that first reason is enough to let me know that I should give it up.

I have a Twitter support system, so I should be good to go. The fact that Boo Thang thinks I’ll break after week 2 is also motivation.

Here are the rules:

  1. No VH1! (Let’s be honest….they are the world’s worst. I can’t even watch the channel for fear that I will get stuck)
  2. No reality programming where there are fight involved or any drama that happens for absolutely NO REASON!
  3. Positive reality shows are excluded (Say Yes To The Dress, The Voice and the like)
  4. Valid from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday. 40 DAYS.

Wish me luck!!!

30 Day Music Challenge: Day 24 – A Song That You Want Played At Your Funeral

This is totally contrary to my stance right now….which is that I do not want to have a funeral. I have a real aversion to them at this point. Cremate me, have a nice memorial, and go to KFC. But in all seriousness, if I had to choose a song to play it would be this one.

30 Day Music Challenge: Day 18 – A Song You Wish You Heard On The Radio

Hear My Call – Jill Scott

This song would have me reflecting every day. This song does something to me every time I hear it. It makes me want to stop, be still and just pray. Crazy enough, it really isn’t a gospel song in the traditional sense. The video just embodies everything that the song is. It’s just her, asking for a little help. Every now and again we all need that.

Review: Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns: Stories

Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns: Stories
Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns: Stories by J. California Cooper

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I started reading this book because it showed up on the Goodreads list of a lot of my followers. I was excited because I have never read anything from J. California Cooper before. I’m always eager to try out new authors.

I didn’t really care for this book a lot. It was depressing and for a collection of short stories, it took too long for me to finish. The style of writing was a bit too preachy for my tastes. As a Christian, even I don’t like to get beat upside the head with religion. HOWEVER, I would buy this book for younger girls….mostly teenagers. I think the issue for me was that these were lessons I’ve already learned through trial and error….or by watching the mistakes of others. For a young person, this could make a difference. Good book, just not for me.

View all my reviews

Is It A Crime To Disagree?

Today I was reading my daily devotional Bible reading plan, which I absolutely love because it keeps me in the word every day…..not just on Sundays. (If I restricted my faith to Sundays, I wouldn’t have any because my church going is VERY irregular) Today’s passage was:

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 NLT

Have you ever tried to argue in a whisper? It is equally hard to argue with someone who insists on answering gently. On the other hand, a rising voice and harsh words almost always trigger an angry response. To turn away wrath and seek peace, choose gentle words.

This stuck with me because last week was a very argumentative week for me to say the least. Boo Thang and I have been having the dumbest of arguments lately. I think the change of scenery, slight stress, and new living situation has us biting at each other a little bit. We’re fine (can’t let the night slip away before we make things right), but I’ve noticed that we are some loud arguers, lol. Gentle answers are something that we both need to work on. He gets loud, I get louder….and the next thing we know we’re wondering why the other is screaming. Which always breaks the argument into laughter (we’re odd). But an argument or two in a relationship is to be expected.

This devotion REALLY stuck with me because of my “arguments” on social networks. I enjoy intelligent discussions and debates. They are my life force. I am the type of person that has to get my point across. If I don’t agree with you, I will tell you why and back it up with all the reasons why. Blame it on law school….but I love to go back and forth with people. Who knows? You talk a good enough game and I just might change my mind.

What irritates me are those people that have ideals and thoughts about particular things with basis or backing. When you ask them why they believe that, they have a shaky explanation. When you tell the reason you believe the opposite, they get upset. *side eye* Is it a crime to disagree nowadays? A lot of people on social networks (well…..life in general)are under the assumption that if you think differently from them that you hate them and everything you say is wrong. I had a Twitter discussion earlier this week about The Help with a follower (why I did this to myself for the 3rd time is BEYOND ME). He said that he neither read the book nor saw the movie and wasn’t planning on doing either. Then proceeds to talk about it. I said, “I really can’t get on board with anything you’re saying because you aren’t able to speak intelligently about the subject.” From here, I was accused of insulting his character and integrity. Was that “harsh words to make a temper flare?” I regularly get into these debates with the same end result. *sighs* What I have come to realize is that people don’t like to be challenged. While I enjoy this mental stimulation, others are content where they are. I have vowed to stay away from these debates with people I don’t know very well. It’s a headache.

What Can 40 Days Do For You?

Today is Ash Wednesday. For many, today is the beginning of the Lenten season. Most people usually give up certain things for Lent in order to get closer to God. I have noticed, however, that giving up things for Lent seem to be more about letting people know what you are sacrificing rather than gaining a closer relationship with God. I have participated one time. That was back when I was in law school. I gave up drinking. I knew it was something that I needed to do because I was becoming a binge drinker (law school will do that to you). Those 40 days turned into 6 months. The first 10 days were hard, but after a while I felt that I didn’t need to drink. It was only after 6 months that my roommate fussed, “Girl, it ain’t Lent no more!! Take this shot!!” I had totally forgotten that I could because I didn’t need to. Now I partake in a lovely evening glass of wine, but I can’t even get drunk anymore.

This year, I am going to take a totally different approach to Lent. This 40 days is going to be about getting closer to God through prayer and study. I have a copy of The Purpose Driven Life and the companion journal. I have started and stopped on this book many times throughout the past 5 years!! I don’t know what kept holding me back from it. The farthest I have ever gotten was Day 3. Today I sat and started completely over….determined to see it through. The first lesson of the day was that it all begins with God. The purpose of my life comes from God and not through me. This is the first step….because I am a control freak. Letting go and letting God is hard, but I am learning. God usually prepares people for big things in 40 days….at the end of this book (40 days!) I wonder where my mind will be.

From Trash To Treasure

Psalm 139:14 NIV: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

I have been craving a better spiritual connection and relationship with God. I have had many hangups about the church, but I am learning to let those go. I know that the journey begins and ends with me taking the steps.

I started a devotional bible reading plan on YouVersion.com. I love this website because it has a bible app for my Blackberry and allows me to make notes, bookmark verses and keeping up with my daily readings no matter where I am. Today’s bible verse is the Psalm I quoted above and the topic was “from trash to treasure.” The devotional centered around a piece of old worn out furniture that the author was trying to restore.

You, Lord, have the capability of undoing all my blemishes and mistakes, of taking me back to bare wood again. Better still, You are able to take my gouges and stains–my flaws–and rub and polish them until they’re really the prettiest areas on the desk!
You have done this in my life so many times. I show up in Your garage a mess, but You always see the potential. I wonder if You heave a sigh and, with great determination, begin the project?
That I don’t know. One thing I do know: that You are working; that You are the epitome of patience; that You are skilled–the very best–at refinishing sorry things that might be on the curb ready for the trash truck.
How can I ever thank You for what You have done for me? I can’t. It’s impossible. But You know my thoughts, my heart, the depth of my gratitude. And You see my potential.

There have been too many times that I have felt unworthy, unliked, unloved. I felt that way as I read this devotional. I think that I haven’t ever felt truly comfortable in churches that I have gone to based on the fact that I felt “blemished.” I know that He is bigger than man and will take me flaws and all. If he can works with my flaws and blemishes….maybe I can begin to work with myself in spite of those. I have always dreamed of a picture perfect life for myself. I had everything going in the correct order….but life is not that simple and easy. I have not been able to get past what I feel like are failures and actually live. I have accepted that none of this is a mistake and the things that I am experiencing now are for my benefit. I should not EVER doubt myself again…..because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Confidence IS Key…

So I have been studying for this last attempt at the Mississippi Bar Exam. Needless to say that I am breezing through all of these classes. You wanna know why? Because I know all of this material. There are a few things that I mess up on, but for the most part I know this material. I CAN pass this test next month. I have failed the bar exam twice before. The first time by 4 points and the second time by 10 points. You know what equals 10 points on the bar exam. CONFIDENCE. I have always gone inside that conference room scared as hell. I always doubt myself. That is sabatoging behavior and I know that now. I can quote law off the tip of my toungue. I can tell people exactly where people messed up and exactly why they are going to jail on The First 48. I can do this in my sleep. Somehow those 3 days of testing rip me to shreds.

It always starts a couple of weeks before the test. I always get so nervous and start to think about the pressure that is on me to pass the test. By the time I take the test I am so exhausted from that, I don’t have the stamina to make it through three 8-hour days of testing. Not this time. I am going into this with confidence. I have been praying every morning and reading Scripture before I go to class. I do it again before I start my evening study session. I am determined to make it through this time. I have to.