YOUR LIFE IS GOLDEN

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Busy Busy Busy - AND IT'S ALL GOOD!

Posted by yourlifeisgolden on June 6, 2011 at 10:16 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi, Everybody -

I know that back in January I said I'd be writing more frequently, and it was truly my intention, but we all know about that road to a certain place being paved with good intentions.

I am pleased to report that IT'S ALL GOOD.  I've been as busy as a 1-armed paper hanger and loving every minute of it.  I don't even know where to start, but if you are in the Houston area - or anywhere nearby - I want you to drop in to say hello.  I'll be at the National Black Book Festival  signing copies of my books - FAVORABLE CONDITIONS and DON'T INVITE ME TO YOUR PITY PARTY.  The Festival is being held at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Houston on June 11th and 12th. 

In addition to preparations for the Book Festival, I've also been busy studying, teaching and working toward my LUT [Licensed Unitiy Teacher] certification.  If all goes as planned, I'll be a fully certified LUT before the end of this year.  If you are in South Florida, drop by Unity Church of Fort Lauderdale [1800 NE 6 Court] on Tuesday evenings.  I teach from 7 - 9 PM.  Right now, I'm teachng the 5 Unity Principles.  We have 3 more sessions in this series.  Then we'll be taking a break until July 12th when we come back with Unity: the Quest for Truth. These classes are designed to help people understand basic Unitiy principles and give them a firm foundation on the movement that we call Unity.  Hope you can make it.

I've also been very busy writing - even though my columns in EmPower and the Examiner have been sporadic.  I'm writing papers and book reviews as part of the LUT program and have landed a contract to write for sewingmachinereviewer.com. 

Sewing is my other passion.  If I were to sit down and create a job description for myself, I doubt I could come up with anything that could be better suited to my all time favorite passtimes... writing and sewing.  I never shared this here before, but I am a clothes horse and have been making most of my clothes for more years than I wish to admit.

Anyway - Now that we're caught up on my activities, I just want to add one more thing

I wish each one of you a very happy, healthy and peaceful summer.

God bless.

I'm back...

Posted by yourlifeisgolden on January 26, 2011 at 12:27 PM Comments comments (0)

It's been way too ling since I posted anything here.    Wlll, let me catch you up on what's been going on in my life.  

 

I spent almost a year flying between South Florida and the Washington DC area, caring for my father who made his transition last June.  As a prayer chaplain who specializes in pastoral care, I knew the grieving process would take time, so I took my own advice and allowed myself to heal.

 

The first thing I did for myself was to resume my studies at Unity Village.  I spent the last week of October and the first week of November 2010 in the Kansas City, MO area eating some of the most marvelous bar-b-q on the planet, studying and nurturing my spirit.  .  I completed the first phase of Unity SEE [Spiritual Education and Enrichment] program and started Leadership Training.  I am now an official LUT [Licensed Unity Teacher] Candidate.  

 

Two days each week,  I work with Rev. Luzette Rivera-Diez at Unity of Fort Lauderdale, implementing the church's education plan, helping anywhere I can to make church operations run smoothly, learning the ropes of church administraton, and simply taking it all in.  This is a magnificent blessing... one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

 

I have also renewed my passion for writing.  One of my articles appeared in EmPower, the e-news magazine earlier this month and I just  completed an article for the Examiner.  You will be hearing lots more from me as the year progresses... including news about my next book.

 

Have a peaceful, safe and healthy year.  I look forward to sharing  with you on again soon.

WALKING THE WALK

Posted by yourlifeisgolden on October 22, 2009 at 9:53 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s 7:45 AM. I just finished my daily ritual of prayer and meditation and am ready to continue my routine. The house is quiet. This is the time of day I devote to writing. The plan was to work on a freelance project that I have been working on about hair. It’s an interesting gig and one that I enjoy working on. However, Spirit has moved me to do something different this morning.

My favorite Bible verse is Ephesians 4:1 “… I urge you to live the life worthy of the calling you have received.” – NIV. That hit home a couple of years ago when I was diagnosed with a laundry list of chronic conditions, all of which manifested themselves in the form of almost paralyzing pain. I gave up a very successful position with the county and applied for disability. Never the one to rest on my laurels, I devoted my time to nurturing my body with almost daily exercise to control the pain. My routine included swimming, treadmill, stretch and tone class and yoga. I also fed my spirit with reading, studying at Unity Village and writing. It worked great for a while, but then the disability claim was denied. I was forced to rely upon the nest egg I accumulated over the years… and then the stock market did its thing.

I was blessed with the opportunity to do consultant work for the National Association of the Mother and Daughter Bonding Network [MDBN]. That income was just enough to take care of my share of the household expenses, but it was never intended to last forever. Formal Unity studies were put on hold. My partner and I found ourselves depending upon his retirement income more and more and we eventually went from a very comfortable living situation which included at least two or three nights on the town each week to taking care of necessities and foregoing most but not all luxuries. We are no doubt blessed, and thank God every single day for our being able to simply scale back without having to give up the things that are really important to us.

In the meantime, I was working on my first book, Favorable Conditions. It was nearing completion when my personal financial bubble burst and Plan B immediately went into effect. I went from a passive, laid back writer to an aggressive author, taking crash courses in working with the publishing industry and internet marketing. I knew my work was good, and refused to self publish, sign on with a vanity press or work with one of those publishers who insist that I give them tons of money to publish my work. After several months of searching, I found Publish America, a small traditional publisher based in Maryland what was not only willing to take me on, but even paid me a tiny advance.

When Favorable Conditions hit the market in November of 2008, the second book, Don’t Invite Me to Your Pity Party, was about 80% finished. Its official release date was in May 2009. With two books on the market, freelance writing assignments picking up and my workshops beginning to be noticed, things are finally beginning to turn around. However, I am still adjusting to the rollercoaster world of a professional writer.

In Don’t Invite Me to Your Pity Party, the chapter called Money, Money, Money is devoted to just that… making money… spending money… and its place in our lives. I also talk about how we should never give up our dreams for the sake of making money. Over the last year, I have taken on temp assignments from time to time… not because I necessarily wanted to, but because of the reality of bills and being responsible for contributing my share of what it takes to run the house.

I took on a temp assignment just last week. At first it really wasn’t my cup of tea. The agency told me that Saturdays were involved, but added that I would have one day off each the week. During orientation, I learned that we were expected to work six days a week. In truth, they would have allowed us to work seven days if we were willing.

The work itself is easy and the people seem very affable, but there was no way I could commit to working Monday through Saturday. And there was definitely no way I would ever consider going to any job on Sunday. Been there… done that! At this stage of my spiritual development, missing church is simply not an option except in extreme situations. It has nothing to do with the fact that I am chaplain or on the Board of Trustees. My commitment to my spiritual development is one that includes devotion time at home as well as devotion, fellowship and interaction with my Unity congregation.

I called the agency and told them to find someone else because even though Sundays are not work days for me, I have a standing commitment and ‘even the Lord rested one day a week!’ They asked me to report for duty the following week while they looked for someone else and talked with the client. When I showed up for work on Monday, the supervisor told me that I could take off one day a week with no problem.

I never doubted that God is at work in everything I do, and this was just one more example of God’s presence in my life. With this temp assignment, I will be able to buy those new tires my car needs, take are of a few other smaller things that require my attention, and when it’s over I’ll be able to go visit my dad in the DC area. Best of all, a few people on the job site have shown interest in my books and new affirmations cards; and have even visited my website and shared it with loved ones. Blessings are everywhere if we remain open to them. Who knows? This temp assignment could just turn out to be a boost to my purse and to my writing career.

THANK YOU, GOD!

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH

Posted by yourlifeisgolden on June 11, 2009 at 3:44 PM Comments comments (3)

How often are we given an opportunity to practice what we preach? That’s exactly what happened to me a few days ago. I almost had a pity party of my very own, then I remembered my own words. Taking my own advice wasn’t exactly easy, but I’m glad I was able to finally rise to the occasion.

Tuesday, June 9th started out as a wonderful day. I was in the Houston area where I had attended my granddaughter’s high school graduation just two days earlier. I was scheduled to leave that day to visit my father in the Washington, DC area and was anxiously looking forward to that visit since I hadn’t seen him in several months. Everything was going fine. My flight left Houston with no problem whatsoever. It was a very smooth, uneventful flight.

My itinerary called for a thirty minute layover in Atlanta followed by a ninety minute flight to Reagan National Airport. Every time I told someone I was changing planes in Atlanta, I added that I really didn’t like that airport. ‘Our thoughts are prayers.’ ‘What we think about we bring about.’ I’ve been teaching and preaching these facts for years. Well, it came back to me as soon as the plane landed at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta.

Before I even got off the plane, I received a text message from my brother informing me that all flights to the Washington area were delayed at least two hours due to violent storms along the entire eastern seaboard. I immediately thought of a day several years ago when I sat on a plane in that same airport for nearly five hours waiting for weather to clear up before taking off for Chicago. I said a silent prayer imploring that I not endure that experience again and proceeded to my assigned gate. Less than two minutes after taking a seat, the gate attendant announced that they had oversold the flight and asked for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for a free round trip ticket. I knocked my bags over and literally ran trying to get to the counter first. I sat patiently while everyone boarded the plane and they never called my name to either board or to give me the necessary paperwork and instructions regarding my new flight or free ticket. After about 15 or 20 minutes, everyone who had boarded the plane came back into the terminal. The flight was delayed indefinitely.

This was the night of the fourth NBA Finals game between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers. Though professional football is my passion, I am an avid sports fan and didn’t want to miss the game, so after hearing nothing at all about the flight, I found a sports bar and got comfortable at a table with a really nice lady from Orlando who was also trying to get to Washington.

Around half time, I went back to Gate C-8, and the young lady stationed there informed me that the flight was still delayed, but to return to the gate in 30 minutes. When I got back exactly 30 minutes later, the plane was loaded and the gate closed. I was then told that they had called me, but since I was not in the gate area, they gave my seat away and while they would put me on the next plane, I was NOT eligible for the free ticket because they ultimately had a seat for me. Had I allowed the situation to stress me out, I would have truly missed a blessing. Bonding with a total stranger and sharing the Orlando victory with this fine lady was really a Godsend. We watched the rest of the game together, laughed, talked and turned an uncomfortable experience into a very enjoyable one.

Our flight was originally slated to depart at 9:50, but since everything was at least two hours behind schedule, it was postponed until 12:28. The plane arrived from Thurgood Marshall BWI airport around 1:00AM. By the time those weary travelers deplaned and we were allowed to board, it was at least 1:30. Thankfully, AirTran has XM radio on all their planes. Once in my seat, I took out my earplugs, turned on Watercolors, a fairly decent smooth jazz station, and immediately closed my eyes for some much needed sleep. Around 1:45am, the announcement came… ‘Would all passengers please collect your belongings and get off the plane’? At this point, I began wondering how much of this was my own fault for declaring my disdain for the Atlanta airport.

Everyone, including AirTran staff was bleary eyed and sleep deprived. As it turned out, the crew had put in the maximum number of hours allowed, and by law were not permitted to take off. Quite honestly, I was relieved because I had considered that their day was just as long as mine and their reflexes might not be as sharp as they should be. Some passengers grumbled more than others, but all in all, the whole thing went better than some may have expected.

We were given hotel and meal vouchers and scheduled for departure Wednesday morning. Thankfully, earlier experiences with flight changes, delays and other mishaps taught me to keep my luggage with me. Those who checked their bags were not able to retrieve clean clothes, toothbrushes, or any personal items to get them through the ordeal.

By now it was almost three o’clock. The next challenge was getting out of the airport. If you have ever been in the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, you know it’s massive. So big, in fact, that they have trains to get travelers from one end of the airport to the other. Well, at three in the morning, the trains weren’t running. To their credit, they had not turned off the electric walkways, but that was little comfort when looking at a two mile hike with luggage in tow. I’m just grateful that both my bags were equipped with wheels. I am in very good health. I have never had any problems with high blood pressure or hypertension or any of those other maladies that often plague aging baby boomers and have conquered the cholesterol imp with diet, exercise and alternative treatment, but for the first time in my entire life, the sheer exhaustion made me believe I was about to have a heart attack. There was no tightness in my chest, pain in my arm or back, or any of the other telltale symptoms of a coronary. I just want to stop and go to sleep!

On the way out of the airport and during the wait for the shuttle to the airport, a couple from Seattle, a lady from St. Louis and a young woman who lived in the Mount Pleasant section of Washington were added to my list of new friends. We were all dog tired, but grateful to the airline for giving us this respite because on the way out of the airport, we passed several people sleeping on benches and floors.

When we finally arrived at Country Inn Suites, I was never so glad to see a hotel room in my life. All I cared about was that the bed and bathroom were clean, but it seemed like a nice place… not the Ritz, but nice and clean with friendly, helpful staff. I collapsed onto the bed and was sound asleep in record time. In the morning, I showered, put on fresh clothes and joined my new friends for breakfast and the trip back to the airport, and hopefully on to Washington.

This time, we took off and landed on schedule, but my saga wasn’t over. While walking through the terminal to meet my waiting brother, I happened to see BREAKING NEWS on one of the many terminal television monitors set on CNN. The volume was turned off, but the scroll told the story. A misguided soul had initiated a shootout at the Holocaust Memorial and Museum. The quickest way into Washington from the airport is the 14th Street Bridge, which was now closed to traffic because of the police activity in the area.

We joined the traffic jam and wound our way along the George Washington Parkway to the Key Bridge in Roslyn, Virginia, which put us smack in the middle of Georgetown lunchtime traffic. A ride to my father’s apartment from National Airport normally takes a half hour. This time, it took two and a half hours.

We all arrived at our destinations none the worse for wear. While awaiting hotel and meal vouchers, I was in line with a man who lives in North West Washington. When I told him that I’d been up since 5:30AM and just wanted to close my eyes and rest, he told me, ‘you handle it very well.’ I attribute my "handling it well" to my long-standing habit of talking with God throughout the day, especially when faced with a challenge… and believe me, God and I were in constant communication throughout the entire night. I cannot help but believe that those conversations with God not only helped me, but also helped each and every one of the people with whom I shared this experience.

Some people choose to believe that God tests us. I for one do not believe we are ever tested, but given opportunities to put the lessons we learn to use. It’s very easy to tell someone to stay calm and make the best of a bad situation, but how many people who say that actually do it? How wonderful it would be if everyone practiced what they preached by putting life’s lessons to work every single moment of every single day.

BRAND NEW DAY - Reflections on the 2008 US Presidential Election

Posted by yourlifeisgolden on November 21, 2008 at 12:42 PM Comments comments (0)

We woke up earlier than usual. 

Turned on CNN and sat mesmerized

All day and all night

It?s a brand new day.

 

Interviews, opinions, profiles,

Commentary, prognostication, pontification.

Nobody knew for sure,

But deep down inside everyone already knew.

It?s a brand new day.

 

The world is changing. 

Attitudes are changing. 

People are changing. 

It?s a brand new day.

 

Goree Island, slave ships

Auction blocks, lynching

Jim Crow, legal oppression

What doesn?t kill you only makes you stronger

It?s a brand new day.

 

Of the people, by the people and

For the people?

All men are created equal

The founding fathers ? slaveholders all

Spinning in their graves.

It?s a brand new day.

 

Conservatives, liberals,

Right wing, left wing

Capitalists, socialists

Skin heads, KKK

Hard core rappers and bible thumping evangelicals

Wake up. 

It?s a brand new day.

 

Millions of Americans

Celebrating in the streets? as if

Free and open elections were held

For the very first time.

It?s a brand new day.

 

Women and minorities

The poor and the disenfranchised

The disabled and the ignored

Americans all?

Many voting for the very first time.

It?s a brand new day.

 

America the beautiful is finally

Of the people

By the people and

For the people

It?s a brand new day.

 

The lines of demarcation

Have divided us long enough

They have been blurred,

But their shadows remain.

It?s time to erase them and

Come together as one.

It?s a brand new day.

 

America the beautiful is finally

On the road to becoming

One nation under God, indivisible

With liberty and justice for all.

It?s a brand new day.

 

This is only the beginning.  It is up to us. 

It?s dawn? time for everybody to wake up.

Old thought patterns, old habits

Old ways of doing things?

No more time for business as usual.

IT?S A BRAND NEW DAY!

Christmas Heart

Posted by yourlifeisgolden on November 21, 2008 at 12:39 PM Comments comments (0)
 

What is this season all about? 

Toys?  Gifts?  Santa Claus?  Lights?

Peace on Earth?  Goodwill toward men?

Will we ever really have Peace on Earth?

Where does it start?

It starts in the heart!

Your heart.

My heart.

Everybody's heart.

Let's make Peace on Earth a reality this year.

Let's start with the heart.

I give you the peace of my heart for Christmas this year.

Pass it on.


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