Monday, November 07, 2005
My family and I lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. We lived in New Orleans, in the Lower 9th Ward, the hardest hit area of the storm. We visited our home for the first time last weekend. It took me several days to "recover" from what I saw ....the loss of my home and all of our possessions ...... and the death of my beloved city.
Since August 29, 2005, life for me has been surreal. I have experienced a myriad of emotions. I have had to handle business as never before. I have walked around in a trance....a daze......yet, I've been productive. I have not known how to feel. Or what to feel. The only thing that I have been sure about is the love of God. Had I not known the Lord, I truly believe that this experience would have caused me to lose my sanity!
Thank God for His love. His guidance. His Hand. His protection.
I am not angry. In fact, as weird as it may seem, I am somewhat thankful for Hurricane Katrina on a personal level. I am overjoyed about the destruction that took place; but for me, this hurricane has been a purification. Often, cleansing and purification is painful. Shedding baggage and habits and a way of life can be painful. Letting go of our comfort zones is not easy. Change......change does not always come at a convenient time. Change also brings a form of grief because it means saying goodbye to something. It is painful.
After the storm....there is usually new life. New Orleans looked like a dead city last week. There was an eerie calmness and stillness. It was quiet. It was void of life. But I know that New Orleans will rebuild and come back vitally.
For me, personally, I am not returning to New Orleans to live; however it will always be my home. I have so many fond memories there. My life is moving forward and upward now. I am establishing a new life. I am leaving the things behind me that in many ways held me down.
It took a hurricane to blow me......literally.......blow me out of town! My leaving has forced me to step out of my chains and to grasp the things that I always wanted to do. I am determined to make it!
At the beginning of 2005, I adopted a personal theme. It was....."Thrive in 2005". Hurricane Katrina put a big damper on things, but she let me see just how strong I am and demonstrated that I am indeed a survivor! However, I will do more than just survive. I will do as my new year theme said.....I will thrive.....because I am alive (praise God!).
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
I want to say hello and that my family and I are safe from the hurricane! If you've been reading my blog, you know that I am from New Orleans. I am praising and thanking God for His safety and protection.
I only have a quick moment to write, as all of my belongings have been lost. This includes my home and all of our possessions. An though I know that we have lost everything, I also know that we have everything. Everything that we need, because we have each other and our lives.
My husband and our children evacuated safely and we did not have to endure the hardship that so many of my fellow New Orleanians suffered by being trapped in the city. I personally know that I would not have survived if I had been in the Super Dome or Convention Center. I thank God that He brought us safely to my mother-in-law's home in Mississippi. We have shelter, food, a few clothes (although we were blessed to purchase some items for the children once we arrived).
Again, we have everything because we have our lives, and most importantly, God's love. When I have time, I will write more on my thoughts through this whole ordeal. It has taken its toll on me and there were days when I just broke down and could not stop crying. Then there was a day when I could just laugh......I laughed for nearly a half hour! Maybe I've lost my mind, but that laugh felt good! I hadn't laughed since the hurricane up until that time (a few days ago).
I will share my desire and quest for a little normalcy. I don't know what normal is anymore, but I do know that I need it. Knowing that God will bring us through this is keeping my sanity.
I thank those of you who have prayed for us, and for those who have also actually reached out and helped us. What a blessing! God has sent us people whom we don't even know to help us.
I must go for now, but will write again as soon as I can.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Since I’ve returned, I’ve been non-stop busy. Just as busy as I was before the vacation both at home and work. Not much had changed, but I feel that I have. Actually, prior to going on vacation, I must acknowledge an inner change that has propelled me to a new level. It’s simply my state of mind.
The mind is powerful. Situations and circumstances may not always change as readily as we would like. Nor can we change other people. But we can change ourselves and we begin that process by changing our minds. Our actions will follow suit.
Our minds determine our attitudes. Attitudes are very powerful as well. Attitudes often determine our perspective. How we see things. How we see others. How we see ourselves. How we do things.
Everyone has bad days. But to have a bad day every single day is a bad thing! Again, we may not be able to change situations or circumstances, but we are able to change ourselves even through the midst of them. We can choose how we respond and act on any given day. Even when we are having a bad one.
We can, and should feel good about ourselves. If we are dissatisfied or unhappy with ourselves, how can we expect others to be favorable and positive towards us. If we don’t even like ourselves, how can we expect others to? If we are full of negativity, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, misery, doom and gloom……..that can be changed. The circumstance may not change (there are some things that we simply do not have control over); the people may not change (maybe we need to change our settings if possible); and situations may not change. But, we can change. We can choose our course of actions and we can decide that regardless of what surrounds us, we do not have to succumb to defeat.
We should expect the best for ourselves. We should not settle for less. Additionally, we should also always give and do our best. I truly believe that we receive what we give.
I want to encourage you today to hold your head up and take control of your life by governing your state of mind.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
|I'm just thinking about my father right now. I always become melancholy this time of the year. Daddy's deceased, and his birthday is August 1st. Some years, I get this way without first realizing why. Then I sit back and realize that his birthday is approaching.|
Daddy passed away, quietly, gently, in his sleep January 21, 1981. He passed just as he lived. Quietly. Gently. Without much fanfare.
My father was a good man. He worked hard for his family. Took good care of us. Loved us. I am the only girl, so yes, I was very much a Daddy's Girl.
I was only 19 years old when Daddy died; yet I still think of him quite often. I am sorry that he didn't get to see me grow up. Get married. Have children. I miss that he isn't a part of all of that.
I think that he would've been proud. Although I was 19 at his passing, he and Mama did an excellent job in raising my 2 brothers and I.
I love you Daddy. Miss you much!
Friday, July 29, 2005
That's SNOW in New Orleans! Alright, stop laughing. I know that those of you in places such as New York, Detroit, Denver, and other cold climate places are saying that what's falling in the picture is not really snow. Well, this is what I've been told by some friends. They say that what's in the picture taken from my front door is only a "powder" or "dusting".
Hey, whatever rocks your boat, but I call it snow!!! A phenomon here in New Orleans. It was a pleasant treat on Christmas. The last time I recall a real snow here was in 1988. My older kids were babies! My youngest child wasn't even born yet!
Well, it is July and you may be wondering why I am talking about snow. It is because this snow fall, a Christmas miracle, reminds me of my life today. It is Christmas in July for me!
God has been blessing me in ways that I make me sit back and exclaim that I know without a doubt that it is only He who is bringing these things to pass.
I am seeing the hand of God in my life in ways that you wouldn't believe!
I am experiencing true love and joy and peace from Him. And although I do "think" too much at times, and try to "see" things for myself, it always ends up where I have to move myself out of the way so that I can see Him. Scripture tells us to stand still and know that He is God!
He has proven Himself over and over to me, and I praise and thank Him for it.
This is Christmas in July in my life right now. I'm not talking about tangible things, but the spiritual awakening that He is unfolding in me. The places that He is establishing me. The doors that He's opening for me.
To me this day, I say, Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
|My life is amazing. There is just so much going on and many times I feel that I just can't keep up. It's fast-paced. Always something going on (good, bad, indifferent). I truly know what it "waiting to exhale" means.|
I often wonder when will I ever be able to just take a deep breath, relax, and live a "normal" life. What is normal? I frequently think that no one else can be living a life as crazy and hectic as mine. Nobody! I just want to relax and simply live. Most of my days are filled with trying to stay above water. Trying to make ends meet. Trying to figure out what bills will be paid; which ones won't! Thinking about how to stretch a dollar. How to make sure that everyone has what they need.
Is life supposed to be this chaotic?
When will it happen? When will I begin to make the money that I need to live a comfortable life? I don't strive to be rich; just comfortable.
Then, I have to sit back and realize that regardless of how hectic everything seems; no matter how difficult it is; no matter how many times I get tired of simply "thinking"; we are still blessed. My family is blessed! Things may not be as smooth as I would like, but God has always taken care of us.
This is what I need to focus on and remember that instead of griping and complaining, I ought to praising and thanking God!
Saturday, July 23, 2005
|Just rambling today. I'm actually pretty sleepy, although it's 3:21 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. I brought my husband to work this morning, so that meant that I had to get up around 4:00 a.m.! Yep.....that early.|
My two girls I then spent the rest of the morning at the beauty shop. We were there for 8:00 a.m. It's a one-woman shop, so of course she was the only one primping us. She's good and we like her, so we don't mind the wait.
I need to do some computer work, but don' t know how far I'll get tody. I truly am sleepy. I'm finally putting together ONE of the websites that I've wanted to for quite some time. Now that I have the "tools" and the domain and hosting, I have to put it all together. It's a labor of love and I am determined to make it a nice place. Once I'm ready to share it, I will.
Yawn! I think that I'm heading for an afternoon nap. Good......that means that I'll be wide awake for one of my favorite television shows tonight......BIG BROTHER. Can't wait to see who'll be nominated for eviction.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
This is one of my favorite photographs of the ones that I've taken myself. I call it simply "tulips by the water". I love it because it represents tranquility and natural beautiful. It's calming as you see the radiance and splendor of the tulips colors. Only something that God could do. And you can "see" the gentle breeze that is blowing the tulips, and causing ripples in the water. Only God. And like the wind, you may not be able to see Him, but you can feel Him and you know He's there. Even when He is silent on some things. I tend to get lost in this photograph. It makes me appreciate God's power. And, I guess it's obvious to you now that I love tulips!
And these are a couple of pictures that I took at the New Orleans Audubon Zoo. I absolutely love the "big cats". These white tigers are a wonderful display of beauty and grace, and what I call "gentle strength". They were just lounging around on this particular day (which happened to be a Mother's Day), but they are mighty and ferocious when they have to be.
|I write and send inspirational emails to my co-workers and others on a regular basis. I attempt to do so dailly, but at times I'm not able to because of my workload.|
Here I am sharing the message I wrote today.....
Late yesterday evening, around 5:00 pm, I and a few other staff members were working on something. It was late. We were tired. Practically delirious. Confused in some matters. And almost brain dead. We ended up laughing about something that one of the staff members was doing. She was holding on to a very important document with “dear life”. She had a grip on it so tightly, that we laughed (but was very serious) and understood why she was doing so.
I noted that she had a “death grip” on it. And somehow, that related in my mind as to how we often establish non-physical death grips in our lives.
What is a death grip? In the physical realm, it is the EXTRAORDINARY strength that the body gains when it finds itself in danger and in need of holding on for “dear life”. It’s a grip that is beyond the ordinary strength that we have. It’s a natural, simple matter of the body protecting itself. Shielding. Guarding.
I am also reminded of the grip that a pit bull dog. I am told that a pit bull will bite, and not let go. Often its intent is to go for the jugular and not let go. This is their survival instinct.
Do you see where I’m going? As a sense of survival, and for protection in our lives, we too demonstrate non-physical death grips in certain areas. We will hold on so tightly to some things and will not let go until, or unless, someone or something pry us away. We will strangle and stifle and smother people and areas in our lives, because we feel threatened and afraid. We will even build a death grip on our own selves, thus paralyzing the flow of our lives.
One thing about the physical death grip is that the body has also gone into shock. As we know, when the body goes into shock, it begins to shut down. That is why in a medical emergency, it is important to keep a person from going into shock.
Well, if we are in emotional shock and have clung to death grips, we need to be careful because we too can begin to shut down. Because of past pains, disappointments, ill-treatment, disappointments, failures, shattered trusts, etc., we tend to build walls. We put a death grip on our hearts, not wanting to open it and allow it to be vulnerable again. We become cynical. We vow not to trust again. We refuse to believe anything, or anyone……even ourselves in some cases. We become defensive. Argumentative. Narrow-minded.
At times, all of this is actually necessary, because we really do need to protect ourselves. And that is because of lessons learned. However, there comes a time when we need to loosen up, have faith, and enjoy life. When we’re all geared up and tense and in a death grip mode ALL OF THE TIME, it is very likely that we will miss out from the very things that we want.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Remember the times when a toy was broken and you could run to your parents to fix it?
Remember when your big brother, or little brat brother, would pick on you and you would run to Mama to tell?
Remember when the kids teased you or made fun of you, you knew that you could let your parents know.
Remember when you had problems in school, perhaps with the teachers. All you had to do was tell, and your parents would take care of it.
Those days are long gone, and for me this day, I am feeling like a little child again. See me to the right at age 5. Those were carefree days.
Oh how I wish that I could crawl up in my parents bed because I'm scared of the boogie man. How I long to lay in my mother's bosom and just cry, cry, cry. How I wish I could hear my father say, "Aw shucks, it'll be alright".
Both of my parents are gone to heaven now and I can't even call them just to hear their voice. But I am a grown woman now. However, I would give anything just to hear their voices again. To see their smiles. Their faces. Their eyes. Feel their touch.
I miss them so much. Particularly today when I'm feeling like Carla at 5.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my youngest child. Her name is Anaiah, a Hebrew word that means "God has answered".
She is truly a blessing from God. She came 10 years after what I thought was my last child. I was an "old" mom with her, and therefore I was an at-risk pregnancy due to my age alone. I'd lost a baby many years before this pregnancy, and of course I was apprehensive and at times fearful. But I am a praying woman and I prayed quite a bit during the pregnancy. Therefore, her name....."God has answered".
If you recall, I was feeling somewhat low and exhausted last time I posted. As I prayed and cried out to God, I was reminded to be thankful for all of the blessings that He has already given me. I am indeed a blessed soul! I thank God for all that He has done in my life, what He is doing, and what He will bring to pass.
Many times we focus too much on what we don't have and what we think we want. We lose sight of what we are already blessed with.
I asked God to forgive me for not being more grateful. And guess what? Before the day was over, He'd blessed me tremendously with what I consider a miracle in my life.
Thank you Lord for you blessings! I love you!
Friday, July 15, 2005
Although I'm 43 years old, I'm still growing up and still becoming what I want to be. See, I didn't know what I wanted to be until recently. It's not "one" thing, but I know that I can be a number of things. I figure now that is why God gave me a variety of talents and interests.
One of those interests is photography. I'm not sure if I'm talented in it, but I love it. One day I hope to put together a photo journal. I would also like to compile a book of my poetry and include my own photographs in it.
We are forever evolving and learning. Growth is continual. I forget who said it, but the saying is true that it's never too late to become what you might have been.
I didn't take the paths that I should have in my younger years to get me to where I want to be. However, I didn't have a clearly defined path to follow. And I tend to believe that all of those detours in life have indeed brought me to where I NEED to be.
I'm enjoying this journey!
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
It's been a pretty ho-hum day. Nothing spectacular happened; yet I was pretty much able to make progress in most of my work. Progress is good. One thing I've learned to do is to appreciate progress, while not expecting perfection. Looking for perfection only leads to disappointment and hurt feelings. No one or nothing is perfect. But, progress shows development and growth.
Admist all of the chatter of my life today, I internally dealt with feelings of dissatisfaction with myself and relestlessness. I was happy with my work, but not happy with myself. I am tired of many of the problems in my life and I know that they are only there because I was not a better manager of my life. I am tired of climbing and clawing my way out of hole after hole, and problem after problem.
However, I did also allow myself to dig deep down and pull out of me praise and gratitude to God. That's not always easy to do when you feel as though everything is going wrong. How do you say "thanks" when you're being beat down with STUFF? You know.....that which happens. Well, it's not easy, but you do it because no matter what, you know that you do have something to be thankful for. If nothing else, just be thankful that it's not worse (because it very well could be).
I am determined to make it! I am dedicated to turning my life around and making something more of myself. I am looking forward to sharing the testimony.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
|Today, I reflect on people. Ahh......people. Folks. You. Me. Them. Everyone else. |
What do we all want? Need? We need to feel appreciated and to feel good about ourselves. We need a kind word from others. A pat on the back. An "at-a-boy/girl"
Why do we crave this attention? I guess it is because too often we are depraved and deprived of it. It's like being on a diet. Once you choose to do without something, once you deprave yourself, that is when you seem to desire it the most. Simply because you are without it.
Today, I went to lunch at the local Piccadilly. As I stood in line to pay my bill, I observed the young man who was the cashier. I noted that he works there in several capacities. Each time I see him, he is extremely polite, ultra professional, and he has a pleasant disposition.
These thoughts ran through my mind as I moved closer to my turn to pay my bill. I decided that I would express my thoughts with him when I approached him. And that I did. It seem to have made his day. He appreciated my words.
I thought about it as I walked to my car. In just one moment, I brought a smile to someone's face and made them know that they are appreciated. It also brought a smile to my heart to do so and to see his reaction.
I felt that it was a nice thing to say something good to someone.......for no reason. Just because. Afterall, I reflected, I have given my share of complaints to establishments such as Piccadilly. I, as I'm sure that many of you do, am quick to voice my opinion on unsatisfactory service. Why not say something complimentary when the service is good?
So I did. So can you. Think about it.
Monday, July 11, 2005
|As with most everyone, my days are filled with activity from the moment I open my eyes until I go to sleep at night. I have never had a boring day in my life. Nope. Can't recall a time where I felt bored. |
Within all of this busy-ness are daily lessons. I think that it would be shameful to go to bed each night and not be able to look back over the day without at least one lesson learned. We don't always realize that no matter how hectic life seems, no matter how terrible our day may have been, no matter how many people ticked us off, no matter how tired we are at the end of the day .... there was a lesson in there that we should have learned.
I will attempt to reflect here at my blog with at least one lesson each day.
Today I learned (or was reminded) that I need to praise God no matter how dismal and hopeless situations may seem. My morning got started with me feeling low about some things. Feeling that I was at my wit's end. I was not able to see how certain things were going to work out. But as the day progressed, I learned that I simply needed to praise Him "through my circumstance", as Mary-Mary sang on the radio.
I know that God is in control of my life and all I need to do is praise and thank Him even when "I" can't see the answer. He already knows and He loves me and will not forsake me.
It's called faith. I have to see through faith, and not through my own eyes. But I have to praise Him. I have to thank Him. I have to give Him the glory.
I felt better as I praised Him throughout the day. Circumstances may not have changed, but I was changed in the circumstances. And I decided to simply praise Him.
What a wonderful lesson learned for today!
Well, this is my first blog, and it seems that I'm having trouble formatting it. Oh well. Right now, it's late and I'm sleepy and tired. I will have to hope for the best.
I think that blogging was created just for me! This is something that I enjoy doing and I love this site. It is my intention to post often. I love sharing my thoughts and experiences in the hope of being a blessing to others.
Granted, there is nothing wonderful about me. Nothing that is spectactular. I'm just an ordinary person who love to write and to share with God has given me. Above all, I love the Lord, others, and life! Passion4Life!
I hope that you visit regularly and often. I would love to hear from you as well, so don't be shy in emailing me or responding to a post.
Some information about me is included in the profile, so be sure to check it out. Otherwise, you'll learn a lot more about me through my blogs. For those who don't know, a blog is a term that means "web log". In other words, it's a journal on the web. I've kept a journal for most of my life, and have always kept it to myself. Now, I will be sharing some of me right here. You do know that I am not going to share EVERYTHING.......but I will be as open and candid here as much as I am comfortable.
This first entry is simply to say hello. I will have more later.
P.S. - Yes, you are my neighbor. As silly as this may sound, I have been endeared to that term since Mr. Rogers died (yep....you know.....the "Won't You Be My Neighbor" guy from television). I am 43 years old, and I remember watching Mr. Rogers as a child. My children also watched him. It wasn't until he died some years ago that I truly understood the importance of his song. Additionally, God's word tells us to love our "neighbor". This does not solely mean those who live next door to us; or who lives in our block. It means everyone that we come in contact with and have interaction with. It also means those that we don't know. We should love everyone and demonstrate that love by treating everyone with kindness. So yes.....I see you, dear reader, as my neighbor.