New Years Day 2015 and 2016

As I entered 2016, I was wrestling with a situation that was causing me considerable stress. I had prayed for clarity but until New Years morning, I was still very much embroiled in the emotion of it. I’d asked God a few days prior to help me trust His will with regard to the situation, but I was still wrestling. This morning, however, I resolved to trust God with it and remove myself from that roller coaster of emotions. God’s peace then showed up a little while later as I perused Facebook. Following is what I posted after reviewing events of New Years Day last year:

This was my situation on New Years Day last year—spending the morning on Tybee Island after bringing in the new year in Savannah with my sister Lyn and her family. I also got to spend wonderful time with cousins I hadn’t seen since the early 80s when they were in elementary school. Last night I brought in the new year in Maryland with my other sister Sheila, her family, my nieces Jennifer and Kariesha, and their families.

My journey since June 2010, when I resolved to learn to trust God completely, has been an amazing one, and I’m grateful every day for the adventure that is my life. I’ve released things I never thought I could live without and in return I’ve gained much that I can’t imagine living without. Letting go can be hard, yes, but I’ve discovered that trying to hold on to what we need to let go is much harder. It took me a few “minutes” to get that but the moment I accepted that “God’s got me”, the skies opened up, and I began to soar!

I may not know what tomorrow brings, but I know who brings tomorrow. What I know, too, is that God loves me and as His daughter, I’m destined for His absolute best; all I need do is allow Him. My new year wish for everyone is that you let go of the fear, trust God, and let Him do what He does: equip us to live our best lives and take us places we’ve never imagined!! Happy New Year, everyone, and more of God’s peace and His many blessings!!

After writing that, I came across the following on the wall of life coach Cassandra Nkem-Nwosu:

“Whenever you find yourself doubting how for you can go, just remember how far you’ve come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, all the fears you have overcome.” –Unknown

Then there was the Marianne Williamson’s quote I posted on my wall last New Years Day:

“Think of one person you are tempted, for any reason, to withhold love from, and pray for their happiness. In that moment, your pain will stop.”

I closed my eyes, prayed for happiness, and was enveloped in peace.

Journal entry: “Powerful! Amazing! God!”

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On my birthday

As I awakened to the dawn of my 54th year, I lay there reflecting on my one life and all the challenges, changes, and beauty I’ve seen during the course of those years. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m thankful to have recognized that I wasn’t alone on the journey. I’m thankful to have recognized, too, that the journey wasn’t all about me.

I’m thankful to have realized that for all the times I may have fallen and come short, I can finally acknowledge and accept that I did the best I could with what I had at the time.

I’m thankful for the release that came from hearing Mother Maya Angelou when she told us that “when you know better, you do better.” I’m so thankful that as I have learned better, I have done better.

No, it wasn’t always easy, but I’m forever grateful for the heart and mind for transformation with which the Almighty graced me. It was He who helped me see myself and others as He sees us, a gift that gave me understanding and compassion during those times when I didn’t understand who I or they were being…during those times when all I wanted to do was just cuss and say, “to hell with you!”

I’m thankful for the many days and nights of tears, tears that freed me from decades of repressed emotions and that freed the butterfly I always knew was trapped beneath all the pain, fear, anger, inadequacy, and insecurity. It was a cauldron of emotions on which I’d spent many years keeping the lid tightly sealed, but as that little girl demanded her freedom, it became more and more difficult to do so.

Then, one day in 1996, while confined to my bedroom after surgery on a broken ankle, that little girl’s demands became more than I could repress. At the insistence of my big sister Sheila (Stanley Bowser), I made the call that set in motion the transformation of a lifetime! I obtained the name of a psychotherapist from the insurance company, made the appointment, and began the reclaiming of Lydia. It would be a few years before we got around to releasing the emotions, but we did that, too.

When I look at my life today, I am thankful for the peace, the contentment, the happiness, and the passion I feel. My life today is the opposite of the life I was living in 2010 when I gave it all up to begin traveling light. I’ve had moments—ok, weeks, maybe even months–of fear and panic, wondering what was going to happen to me, where I was going to end up. Thankfully, though, I found my way when God showed me the beauty of the season I’m in right now. Through Joel Osteen, He implored me further to focus on the beauty and all that I do have instead of the burden of what I don’t.

What I see now are the blessings. The blessing of family and friends who love me, support me, and who have opened their homes to me during this continuing season of growth and change.

I see the blessing in experiencing God in nature almost daily in parks and by rivers and lakes in various cities.

I see the blessing in being able to photograph those God moments in ways that will inspire others. How satisfying to hear from a viewer that those photos are a source of inspiration, peace, and calm.

So, while my life may not be what it used to be, I am eternally grateful for what it is. I am thankful, too, for every person who has supported me in ways too numerous to mention as I move through this season, which, quite honestly is the second best time of my life!! What’s the first, you ask? That would be my cross-country road trip.

Oh, there’s one more thing that I’ve realized, and it’s that I’ve embarked upon yet another journey that I know will take me places spiritually—and probably emotionally and physically, too—to which I’ve never been, and I’m very excited about it!

As I end this post, I’m reminded of a line from Gil Scott-Heron’s song ‘I’m New Here’. In it he says,

“No matter how far wrong you’ve gone, you can always turn around.”

I hope I’ve said something today that will inspire you to turn around.

With this post, I’m including a few random photos I made over the last few days. I hope you enjoy them.

Challenges and opportunities

I’ve blogged lately about how wonderful it is being home on the farm. As great as it is, though, my visit here has also presented a few challenges that are giving me the opportunity to resolve some issues. It often feels like I’m walking back in time learning things I missed the first time and unlearning a few things that I did.

The challenge isn’t a problem most days but on the days that it is, I find myself asking, “What am I supposed to take from this experience?” The answer is clear but the process isn’t so easy. I won’t go into detail about it but sometimes I resent having to go through it. I know that once I do, though, it’ll be behind me and I’ll be a step closer to my destination.

I spent yesterday cleaning the deck and chairs then washed my car. During that time, the challenge showed up and rather than confront it, I distanced myself from it. That in itself was a switch because previously, I would’ve cussed and fussed about it. Now, I choose to maintain my peace instead.

I got up a bit later than usual this morning and decided to spend the day away from the house. I didn’t go to a park but found inspiration instead while reading a paper my son asked me to proof for him. I recall not so long ago when he, too, was a challenge. I worried that he was ruining his life by not following the path I’d laid out for him, and I did all I could to redirect him. After months of unsuccessful efforts, I finally accepted that he has his own journey and “let go and let God.”

It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done as I witnessed him go through things I didn’t think he needed to experience. I was tempted many times to rescue him and recall one night in particular when my resolve was tested. I won’t share his story but what I will say is that it was the dead of winter and right after declining his request, I started formulating a rescue plan. Before I could complete it, though, I fell asleep. When I awakened the next morning, I trusted that things were as they should be and was at peace.

I had planned initially to leave for my cross-country road trip during the spring of 2011. As fate would have it, however, a few challenges delayed my leaving until January 2012. The first was my mother’s sudden illness and the second, my son’s return home. But here again, these challenges turned out to be opportunities.

We brought Mama to Atlanta for medical treatment and since I transported her to many of her doctor appointments, we spent quite a bit of time together. My relationship with her had been strained for many years but her being here provided me the opportunity to see that I really had released much of what I’d carried for so many years.

During our drives, we talked and laughed; we admired Atlanta’s skyline, something I’d taken for granted the 26 years I’d lived there; we admired the foliage, lunched at various restaurants, and sat by the Chattahoochee River. We even visited my favorite lake at Indian Springs and she met my good friend Diann Wilhot, owner of Mrs. Lee’s Stagecoach Sweet Shop.

Mama’s being in Atlanta was also my first opportunity to let go of what I refer to as my long worn Wonder Woman cape. I had begun to feel that my road trip would be delayed indefinitely, or at least until Mama had fully recovered.

I was feeling especially down about it one Sunday afternoon when a good friend telephoned. She sensed something was wrong and before I could even finish explaining what I was feeling, she stopped me. Diedre (Jenkins Rankins) went on to remind me of the time when, at 14, I began repressing my needs and that it was time now for me to live for me. I will always thank her for remembering my story and for saying what I needed to hear that Sunday afternoon. After our conversation, I was at peace and knew that not delaying my trip was as it should be.

As for Wade, I initially saw his return home as the continuation of our earlier challenges. But what it really did was afford us the opportunity to heal our relationship before we both embarked upon the next phase of our journeys. As I read his “Introduction to Victor Thomas” today, I saw that he has embraced his journey and found the “spoils of war” that my friend Dianne Rosena Jones wrote about in her book, Tragic Treasures: Discovering Spoils of War in the Midst of Tragedy. His goal, he said, “is to touch lives and help as many people as I can both financially and spiritually.” What I also saw today were answered prayers. Again, I was at peace.