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life

Saying goodbye to this year…

I say goodbye to this year with a stoic reverence. Minding my perspective, much like the rain washing through Houston today, 2020 exposed a lot that needed care. Racial wounds in this country have been festering since it’s birth. America was once home to Indigenous people who both respected the land and humanity and two groups of Europeans. Those were sent here for punishment and those who sought refuge from persecution. Those groups quickly turned into the problem for both Indigenous people and Black people. Why BLACK and not an ethnic identifier? We were stripped of it and our humanity was also attempted – but both Indigenous and Black people are resilient. Cameras and social media have exposed much about antebellum lovers. Covid-19 made the entire globe stand still. A deadly germ, unseen to the naked eye, put a stop to the business and busyness of life as we know it. Toilet Paper and Cleaning Wipes became a thing if want and desire as cleaning became a focus again. Opportunists drove up prices and people finally began to appreciate those on the front lines of SERVICE. Yes, medical professionals, transportation personnel, grocers, farmers, ranchers, warehouse workers, and finally teachers. Teachers, who never got to stop working, became a wonder. Parents, a child’s first teachers became more active on education and technology became the conduit whereby lessons were pipped into home like water through screens. The myths about “the perfect child” were bashed against the rock of toggling of children under one roof with distractions. Employers that would have previously never allowed their operations to shift to “work-from-home” status QUICKLY shifted so that things could continue even in the presence of a pandemic. The term “new normal” surfaced and even I have dripped these words from my mouth slowly like molasses from buttered pancakes, and even now I shudder deep within my being. Nothing about this life has ever been normal. I am allergic to status quo. I was never invited to that table. I was allowed to build it, yes, but no one drew out a seat for me there. 2020 has broken what was referred to as normal. I should like to thank her for that. Because we will never be what we were before. We still aren’t out of the manacles of this germ’s clutches. And with that, I will end this is a reverent moment of silence for all of those who are no longer with us on this side. For those who have entered heaven’s gate I send peace and condolences to the families.

::🙏🏽::

Ivy Out

Categories
life

#2017 Those I lost…

changes1

2017 showed me the real truth when it comes to people’s season in my life. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reminds me that there is a season for everything. And while I knew this before, when you start losing friends it’s hard to digest.

I have been privileged to have some A-MAZING people to come into my life and plant forever roots. I mean, they are literally there no matter how beautiful or ugly my life has gotten. They caught tears, bought art and tees, they broke bread with me, some of them even supported my financial drought. I mean, I thank God the people that refuse to leave me, no matter how long we go without speaking to each other. Let’s be real, with some of our schedules and the schedule’s schedule it’s a great deal of awesome to have friends that just pick up where you left off. Thank you Lord for allowing each of these people into my life, in their proper season.

I also thank God for those who came in, even though they left. This is hard to type. Some people existed my life this year. We no longer talk. We don’t DM, or text, or message, or video, or smoke signal, or passenger pigeon…nothing. Once, heavy communicators are now memories and archives. Letting go is just as important as receiving. It’s hard. It can hurt. It’s still a part of life.

becareful with your words

Some of the people that left my life were men, and it just didn’t work out. That doesn’t make them bad men. They just weren’t the right one for me. That’s ok. Thank God for the King of my heart. He validates that the Lord DOES HEAR MY PRAYERS…and He answers them too! Some of the people that exited were best friends. I am not happy that we no longer talk, but I still wish God’s best for you too. I pray that this next season for you all is the best yet. I am grateful for the memories we made. While you may not speak to me, I still love you. That’s the truth.

2017 taught me how to let go, in love.

God knew i needed you

Feature Number Two is my Sis LaToya.

I asked my sisters how God grew them in 2017.

I believe reflection is a gift from God. I am a woman who likes to journal. That includes anything from prayers to lists.  Now the beauty of this is in the reflection.  To go back and read some of my prayer requests and praise reports amaze me.  What surprised me is the amount of prayers in my journals that were not answered and the joy that I had that God blocked my requests not only to protect me but because He loved me. In particular,  there was 1 prayer request (will discuss later) that was repeated umpteenth times and it just got answered this year.  It took 7 years! Yep,  7 years for God to finally say Yes. What’s funny is I wasn’t waiting on God,  He was waiting on me.  God didn’t just grow me in 2017. It didn’t happen overnight. Have you heard the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree? If you haven’t,  take a moment to visit this link and come back and finish reading… http://donmillereducation.com/journal/the-chinese-bamboo-tree/

Now that you have read up on the Bamboo Tree you can probably guess that I’m going to tell you, “I’m like the bamboo tree”. You see that prayer request from 7 years ago was for a husband.  Yep,  I was praying for a man y’all… and don’t act like you haven’t done it! Lol.  God didn’t answer until 12.17.17. 7 YEARS LATER. The number 7 represents completeness and perfection both physically and spiritually.  After 1 1/2 years of a Christ- centered courtship (abstinence until marriage,  relationship centered around Christ…we pray together and for one another) my love got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever as His wife!!!!! God is good y’all. Now let me tell you where the true reflection came in…. the CONGRATULATIONS on social media.  It was almost overwhelming. Everyone showing love and sending well wishes felt good but what really touched me were the private Facebook messages,  the texts and phone calls from those who really knew my journey up to this point…. those who knew and saw first hand the pain, hurt, prayer, faith and GROWTH that took over 7 years to get to this moment.

In order for God to have grown and blessed me with an answered prayer in 2017, I had to surrender in 2010, be obedient 2010-2017, be steadfast in prayer,  faithful in God’s word,  a believer in God’s promises and apply it to my everyday life.  God grew my senses. I ate on His word everyday and let me tell you,  NOTHING tasted better.  I read His word daily to make sure I could see Him working miracles. I listened to my Pastor preach sermons that seemed to be just for me… sometimes it was like fingernails scratching a chalkboard but more often than not; it was music to my ears. I would take walks in the park or lay out on a blanket to mediate and the smell of the fresh flowers and the feel of the breeze would remind me that God was always with me and would never leave me.  My roots are what grew most this year.  Deeper in connection with the source, God.  Dependence on Him changed my life. My Faith sprouted beyond what I could see or even imagine. Thoughts became praise reports before I could even make them prayers. A journal entry prayer request in 2010 GREW into a praise report in 2017. If you want God to grow you, you have to FIRST surrender and then the growth will be limitless.

A Grower in God,

LaToya

 

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life

I don’t like…

This isn’t easy to type, but it’s necessary.

I don’t like the month of May anymore.

I’m not particularly fond of spring either.

While some people are excited about spring flowers and sunshine…it just reminds me of the last major life change – I am still processing. March 26, 2015 my SUPERDad went into the hospital. May 7, 2015 he changed citizenship to Pearly Gates Drive for eternity. Spring takes me back to the forty-three day experience that I couldn’t forget if I tried.

I may be writing this for selfish reasons, as a part of my processing, but I also write for everyone who has had to learn the hard lesson that grief teaches. I write this for anyone who may feel any of the feelings I will express, but do not choose to share it with the world. I write for voice, and voice alone.

Sometimes, people just need to feel. Emote. Release. Vent. Scramble through the bramble – even when it’s painful. Sometimes people need to be ok with the fact that they are still not ok, and THAT’S OK. Sometimes, they just need a hug – no words involved. Maybe they need to cry – with no words involved. Sometimes, they don’t know what they need…but they want someone genuine to try to be there for them. Strong people don’t want to be strong while grieving. They want to be able to come unglued like everyone else… but sometimes they aren’t allowed to. The world doesn’t stop while you grieve. Assignments are still assigned, family roles don’t come to a standstill, and expectations don’t change.

In the gym, when you lift weights, it makes you stronger. Ask anyone who participates in weight lifting if they pain of lifting ever goes away. Or just search hash tags like #legday. Training can wear you out, but it shows you that you can push past the pain, eventually, and come out stronger. Grief does that, only some of us were not already preparing for it. It’s like having someone throw a barbell at you. If you don’t catch it, it will hurt. If you catch it, it could hurt. Case and point, grief hurts.

This isn’t a cry for help or sympathy. I respect the process. I know it has to happen. It doesn’t stop me from missing him daily. It doesn’t stop me from wishing that May 7th could temporarily fall of the calendar until I’m strong enough to face it. This is only the second time I’ve had to face this beast. And while I know I will get through it, it’s hard. For everyone who can’t say…words aren’t appropriate at the moment… For everyone who can’t express that the pain doesn’t go away…we just tolerate it…. For everyone who understands what it is to re-experience the memories… I understand.

I wish no one else would understand this, and that it’s just lethargic for me. Unfortunately, I doubt that.

 

April showers were really just tears. May flowers were placed in an urn. Dear Summer…

Categories
life

Transitions

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

(Insert Fireworks, Toasts, Prayers, Fasts, and New Bible/Book Study Here)

WE have entered a new year, thank you Lord, and it could not come with MORE uncertainty. With a new head of state, there are new changes in government. Whether you agree or not, things are changing. New years also signal new seasons for some. (My season actually began changing in December, not January 1st. ) Lots of people resolve to make these huge changes in order to evoke something new. I stop resolving years ago. The resolutions didn’t come to pass. I didn’t take the steps to transition from then to the resolved issue. So you see, it wasn’t the resolution that didn’t work, it was me.

As I mature, if I can say that without giggling with sarcasm, I create goals for myself. While I do have a few annual goals, I much prefer my quarterly milestones. These are check points in order to help me look back on this year and see the actual transition come to its point of completion. I realized while I was encouraging sisters on my facebook page (Seven Days More), I had not created a solid God sized goal for Annlettered (Annlettered Home ). Once I sat down and started putting the dream on paper,  I realized the amount of commitment it would take. It also spurred research in areas that I am not well versed with yet. All of these are positives.

What isn’t positive: CLUTTER. Clutter will cause transitions to fail, schedules to be overbooked, and minds to ache. For example, if I pack my schedule to the brim with commitments, even if I mean well, I have no time for house cleaning, laundry, rest, and tasks that may seem mundane. Life doesn’t mandate that we become awesome in public and neglect the mundane. Once those mundane tasks become obtuse, you have now added more pressure to keep up outside of the home and inside which is in disarray. (This may not be your truth, add your specific situation here.) Just because you are awake 8-18 hours a day – which I often am, it doesn’t mean that you need to schedule every hour! One of my goals, which I didn’t accomplish last year, is to simplify. My schedule, responsibilities, house items, closet items (Can I get an amen here? Anyone clean their closet several times a year, but never see the relief?), and any other area where I feel I am just collecting things and not using them. We have become too loyal to clutter. Be like Elsa, “Let it Go”!

It is the time of transition. A new year. The first month of the year to start practices that can become habits. It requires discipline. It may not feel great in the beginning, but change doesn’t always come with butterflies. Do it now, enjoy it later.

Are there things you plan to change in 2017? I’d love to hear about them. Also, feel free to check out the links. 🙂

Ivy Out

Categories
life

Muck to Masterpiece: Happy

Happy is SUCH A GREAT CHOICE.

So many people are mourning, doubting, breaking, crying, frowning, cowering, and body bent in the world. BE a part of a positive trend to CHOOSE happiness. Not happy because things are just peachy perfect around you. Happy IN SPITE of the situations. Paul talks about being content in any season. Seriously… the made up mind is the champion in this scenario.  I admitted to some of my brothers and sisters at church that I had an Elizabeth spirit. I have learned to truly celebrate with those around me. Like Joseph (Barnabas) I have learned the value of encouragement. Like David I can dance. Like Martha, I know who to trust (the I AM). I am really REALLY smiling right now…as I type this.

The reality means nothing to a God who can do anything, use anyone, …Jesus is the ORIGINAL REMIX. Revelations 21:5 He came to make all things new!!

Trust that the muck can be a masterpiece! Abstract art makes sense to some and no sense to others! I am ART. YEAS! Happy is the most beautiful thing you can put on in the morning and one of the most generous gifts you can give!

**there is an underlying theme in this piece…did you see it? T R U S T G O D;)**

Ivy Out