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The Loops of Life

6:11 a.m.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep....
Yes, that was my alarm going off. It  was telling me that it was time to wake up.
NO....I was not ready yet. 
Today was not just any day. It was a special day. So special that it was not a snooze day. I hit the OFF button. 
I continued to sleep and dream. 
The next time my eyes opened, my phone read 7:10 a.m. 
Then, came the series of questions. What do you need to do today? What time do you need to be at the office? Can you work from home? Are you going running today? This morning or this evening? Is it going to rain today? How many miles do you want to do? 11 miles? 3.9 miles? Or a 39 minute run? What route should you run? How long will the run take? If you start running now, will you be able to talk to the twins before school?
By 7:11 a.m. I was finally up and out of the bed. It was time to get moving.
This is exactly what happens in life. We have a barrage of thoughts that run through our mind. Some of these thoughts propel us to take a …

More Than Words

It's September and you know what that means....

Wait, you do know what that means, right?!

Just in case you did not guess it, school 🏫 is back in session.  

It is the time of year of growing, planning, reading, thinking, and so much more.

This is an especially challenging year for me. I, yes I - well at least figuratively speaking, will be graduating 🎓 from 8th grade and also 12th grade. Yes, lots of big accomplishments. I'm excited and nervous, all at the same time.

But I am also starting a feel a little overwhelmed. As I started this school year, I accepted a new responsibility. I agreed to read all of the books 📚 that are needed to fulfill the 8th grade Language Arts requirements. Yes, this was completely voluntarily. I am not quite sure what I was thinking, though I am pretty sure the words spit out of my mouth before my mind knew what was happening. I guess I figured that was the price of good parenting. What even is 'good parenting' anyway?

At any rate, I have start…

The Lesson from the B

The B led me to a blessing......
The B word really is not a bad word. 
BUDGETS are such a blessing even though sometimes they feel like a curse. 
When the July budget was completed, it was zeroed out. This means that we intended for our checking account to hit $0 by the end of the month. 
When a budget hits $0 there is a likelihood that things can get tight, especially if you fail to account for something along the way. 
And of course, I failed to account for something. I failed to consider the need to travel down to Daytona Beach and back, not once but twice, during the month. 😓
Although it is not a long ride from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach, any vehicle used for travel would not be able to complete the mission on fumes alone. The 92-mile drive needed fuel for the four trips. 
That's when it happened. 
I stopped for gas and before I even made it to an open pump, the yellow signage immediately caught my attention. Yes, that is E85. According to Wikipedia, it is an ethanol blend…

A Small Tear

I could barely see. 
My eyes felt itchy and irritated. 
I thought I was tired from a full day of work. Sitting at a computer. Taking meetings with clients. Staff meetings. All the work of a typical Friday. But the day was not over. I still had an hour left in my two and a half hour drive down the two-lane, tree surrounded road to Tallahassee. 
I was rubbing my eyes and blinking so much to stop the itch. Nothing was working. Nothing was soothing me. 
I drove in discomfort as long as I could......then I reached my breaking point. 
When I arrived at a stopping point in my travels, I removed my contact lenses. Before I replaced the contacts with glasses, I took a look at the lenses. 
If only I would have recognized the signs sooner....
The left lens had a tear. 
Side note: The thing I have yet to grasp is how a contact lens that is inside the eye gets a tear without even being touched. If you can explain how this happens, feel free to drop the knowledge in the comment section.
In any eve…

Could vs Should

It was the final round of the national spelling bee. They were down to the last two contestants. 
One contestant was up to spell her word. The judges gave her a word that she knew. It was a word that she learned after her fellow contestant mocked her several months earlier. This means that she knew how to spell the word. 
Yet, her mind went to a conversation she overheard. It was a conversation that made her believe that winning the contest meant more to her fellow contestant than it did to her. 
So I'm sure you can guess what she did. Yep, she intentionally misspelled the word. 
The other contestant was puzzled. He was sure she knew the word. After all, it was a word he challenged her with. Of course, she knew it. 
When he stepped up for his opportunity to spell a word, he was given the same word that was just missed. When he got to the second to last letter of the word, he gave an incorrect letter. 
That's right, he also made an intentional action of misspelling the word. 
T…

Persevere Under Trial

I could hear the tears through the phone. 
It was test out day for the Lifeguard training class. There was  a written test as well as a water skills test. Both sections were required to be completed at an above average passage rate in order for the student to graduate to full lifeguard status. 
Not only were two questions missed on the written test but there was a deficiency in the water skills exam. 
Good news.....
There was an opportunity to retest on the following day. 😀
Bad news.....
The retest was a futile attempt. 😞
After missing the same two questions on the written portion, there was no opportunity or need to retest on the water skills.
I'm sure you can guess what happened next. Yep, there was the internal struggle of do I retake the entire course and test again OR do I cut my losses and move on?
Many of us end up at this crossroad. We get here when we feel like we have given our all to something and did not achieve the result we hoped for. Here are just a few examples: W…

No Plan B

A new year, a new challenge, a new topic.

The political climate that is among us is wrought with pain from the senseless mass school shootings that are occurring.

It is time to speak up and speak out.

But before we can truly affect change, we must spend time researching the issues. We must know where we have been, understand where we are, and be willing to provide a solution to where we can go.

Several students came out to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas.

And then it happened....

She won 1st place in the Oratorical Contest.

She did not win because her topic or ideas were unique.

I venture to say she won because of her poise and confidence.

This was her third year competing and yet, there was something different.

You see, from the day she decided to participate, she claimed a 1st place victory. She did not waiver in her desire. She did not waiver in her request. She did not waiver in her goal.

She put a demand on her expectation and she ditched her alternative thinking.

She f…

Time to Shine

"It doesn't look like much, but this lamp gives me all the light I need."

I found myself telling this to a friend who visited my barren apartment. There is not much pomp and circumstance throughout the apartment. It is just enough for me to do what I am here to do. Work. Write. Run. Sleep. Eat. And, of course, Bathe.

For a split second, I felt a tinge of shame or embarrassment overtake me.

We were staring at a lamp that I have had for YEARS. It was a lamp that I saw sitting in the hallway, outside of my home office. It was out of place. Yet, it was in the perfect place.

It was sitting there. Unused. It was time to dust it off. 

But why? There was not even a lamp shade. Any embarrassment I felt only lasted for a second.

I quickly reminded myself that this was a supplement. There is an overhead light in the room but this was just a little something extra. Something to give me light when I need it the most. When I am in a place a comfort. When I am in a place of lack. When …

Forgive Those You Love

"You are choosing to leave."

WOW!

I did not see or hear that coming. These words hit me and hit me hard. I mean I felt the depth of those words down in the core of my soul.

It was at that moment that I realized I hurt her. I was letting her down.

This is an all too familiar story.

A story where our loved ones let us down.

A story where our loved ones fail to meet our expectations.

A story where our loved ones make choices that we do not agree with.

Who are our loves ones?

They can be our immediate family members - parents and siblings.
They can be our extended family members - grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
They can be our spiritual family members - pastors and church members.
They can be our friends - childhood connections, workout partners, fraternal connections.

These are the people who we love and trust the most. The people who we expect to love us back. The people who we expect to show us their love for us. The people we expect to be there for us. To support …

I Can't Wait Until

Be careful what you ask for!
It is true what they say about the grass....

"I can't wait until I get married."

"I can't wait until I get my degree."

"I can't wait until I get that promotion."

"I can't wait until I get approved to buy a house."

"I can't wait until I have a baby."
"I can't wait until my child walks."
"I can't wait until my child talks."
"I can'r wait until my child goes to school."
"I can't wait until my child (you fill in the blank)."
.....this list goes on and on!

Have you ever gotten caught up with the thoughts of I can't wait until...

I certainly did. And oh how I quickly learned that some things CAN wait.

I do not mean to suggest that I think any of those things are bad, but...

Things can unravel rather quickly...

            Make-up
                                 First date
                                                       Driving

Who is your Gnat??

The summer is upon us and you know what that means.

Well, sure. It could mean many things.

But for me, it means that gnats will be in the air. Buzzing around my head. Irritating me.

I am sure you are familiar with gnats. They are small two winged flies that resemble mosquito. Let's not even get started with mosquitos. 🙎

As for gnats, they seem to appear out of nowhere. They are always there when you are trying to enjoy the sunshine.

This is sometimes what we experience when we have overbearing individuals in our lives. Usually parents or loved ones. Maybe a supervisor. Sometimes, this can be your accountability partner.

If you need an accountability partner, click here. We all need one!
Please don't tell me I am the only person with an overbearing individual in my life? You know the one....

The person who consistently asks you about your day.
The person who constantly ask you about your goals.
The person who continuously shares opportunities with you.
The person who consciousl…

Time for YES

It was time for a YES!
The moment was scary and exciting, both at the same time.

It was a YES moment. A moment of forward movement. A moment of commitment. A moment of faith.

It was time for another YES.

This one was different than the last YES.

(Don't miss that...there will be more than one YES!)

The last YES was to accept the position. (To which I almost said NO 😥)

This YES was to sign a lease.

But it was so much more than that.....
This YES was to commit to the position for a full year.
This YES was to commit to live a part from my family for a year.
This YES was to commit to wholeheartedly follow the One who orders my steps.

Saying YES is not always easy, but is often necessary.

To say YES, you may be required to say NO.
To say YES, you may hurt someone's feelings.
To say YES, you may have to step out on faith.
To say YES, you may experience some growing pains.
To say YES, you may be forced outside your comfort zone.

Like the songwriter says, "Your YES might just cos…

Do Not Depend on Routines

Routines are good but....
Have you ever found yourself stuck in the same routine week after week, year after year?

Recently, my routine has changed and I have been tested. I can no longer rely on the tried and true. I can no longer rest in the things of yesterday. I found that I have become so dependent on life as it has been for the past 10 years that finding independence is a challenge.

No, I'm not talking about being independent from a person. Instead, I am referring to becoming independent of irrational ideals. Independent of tainted thought patterns. Independent of callous circumstances.

Independence is freedom. It is freedom from control. Freedom from influence.
Independence is self governance. It is self determination.

Becoming independent, in the best sense, forces us to self reflect. It forces us to figure out who we are, what we stand for, what we desire.

Independence is an ever evolving process. It forces us to get unstuck. Forces us to move beyond our comfort zone. Forc…

You Are Seen!

"How have you been? What have you been up to?"

When I heard these words, I immediately thought they were simple pleasantries. You know, the things you say to a random person as a conversation starter.

I gave a casual response and said "I don't know if you remember me from last year but..."

Before I could finish, she said "Yes, I remember you Marquita."

As I went to walk about, she said, "We'll be talking soon Ms. Green."

I was in complete shock.

This is not the greeting I typically receive from people whom I only see one to two times per year.

I usually hear, "It's nice to meet you."
To which I just smile and think to myself, 'I've met you before, several times.'

I sometimes here, "You look so familiar."
To which I just smile and think to myself, 'That's because we've met several times before.'

These responses are the types of responses that make me feel invisible. They make me feel insi…

Are you listening?

Thursday nights are sacred in my home.

It's TGIT!


The Thursday night television line up is so good. It starts at 8p and goes through 11p, most weeks.

So what does that mean for the children?

It means don't talk to me unless it's on commercial. It means ask all of your questions before 8p. It means that Thursday is the one night I claim for myself.

Even though the kids know this, there is always someone who forgets the rules...or maybe they just do not care about the rules 🤔

In either event, there is always a question after 8p.

....and one of my daughter's asks her question while the show is NOT on commercial.

That means that I completely miss her question.

I miss it because I am otherwise distracted by the television show.

You know this doesn't just happen during the Thursday night lineup.

Often times God tries to talk to us but we don't hear Him.

We fail to hear Him because we allow distractions to overshadow His voice.

We fail to hear Him because we take time to listen t…

Build the Wall!!

Build the Wall!!!
"They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
These words from Nehemiah 1:3 remind me of so many things that we experience everyday.

It is a reminder of survival. Sometimes we go through disparate situations that lead us into a place of ruin. I place where we feel great trouble. Sometimes, we carry disgrace in the form of shame and guilt. This happens during times when we experience heartaches, disappointments, hurts that rock us to the core. It's the mental, physical, or emotional place we end up in because of the actions of someone else. Through we survive, there still exists trouble and disgrace. That's because we fail to forgive.  Survival is about more than coming through a situation. Build the wall and learn to forgive!It is a reminder of brokenness. Imagine playing a game of Jenga. You have man…

March Madness - Day 31

There's usually a lesson beyond what you can immediately see!
When this month started, I was challenged to "get one mile in every day."

I quickly tried to find a short cut: "Does that mean just complete 31 miles in total?"

When I didn't receive a response, I understood that I was tasked with literally completing one mile per day.

So that's exactly what I set out to do....

....but of course, there was more.

I decided that if I could commit to moving for one mile per day, I could also commit to writing each day.

Two of my favorite things challenged me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Here are a few of the key things I learned or was reminded of along the way:

Where there's a will, there's a way! You have to learn to eliminate the excuses. There was a week when I didn't have my computer....my blog entries were still posted. There were days I didn't feel like it....I remembered my commitment to self and got both tasks done.…

March Madness - Day 30

First Impressions Count
If you're like me, you've heard it over and over....

'You'll never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
I've heard it so many times but have often wondered if it's really true.

I'm learning more and more that it is TRUE.

Your first response is the response that people remember.

It will do one of two things:

It will draw people in ORIt will turn people away Are you pleasant? Do you smile? Are you approachable? Do you respond with an attitude? Do you feel you are "too good" to respond. 
Thoughts from The Greenhouse Effect:
Oliver: "If the first impression isn't good, especially with the youth population today, you might not be ready for what you say you "really" want. Are you ready to deal with the response others will are going to give you or there the lack of response those will give you if the first impression SUCKS!"
Maddison: "You should have a good reputation because people shou…

March Madness - Day 29

Learn to Prepare for Conflict
I get it!

No one wants to entertain conflict, let alone prepare for it

But the reality is that YOU will face conflict. Everyone does. It's unavoidable.

When you know better, you do better.

Now that you know it's coming, prepare for it.

Jesus did!

He is our guiding light in all that we do. Of He did it, so can we.

Today is Maundy Thursday!

Are you familiar with this day?

It's the Thursday before Resurrection Sunday. Our time to celebrate the Last Supper.

Jesus hosted the Last Supper because He knew what was ahead. 


He knew that conflict was on the horizon and instead of running from it, He embraced it.

He took this opportunity to serve those who has been serving Him.

He took this opportunity to appreciate those close to Him.

In John 13:33, we see that he took this opportunity to prepare them.
““My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

He took t…

March Madness - Day 28

Believe in yourself! You are enough!
Tenacity.
Determination. Commitment. Passion.
Many of us set goals for ourselves. We start off strong. We're excited. We say we're ready. We make a plan to achieve the goal. We set benchmarks.

But then something happens.

The plan doesn't go the way we thought it was supposed to. We miss the benchmark.

What happens then?

Many of us second guess ourselves. We begin to question whether we set the right goal. We start to wonder if we're enough. We start to wonder if we have what it takes.

For some of us, our confidence is so shaken that we give up. We throw in the towel. We abort the mission.

But why?

I venture to say we forget who we are. We forget whose we are.

Truth is, nothing should shake our confidence. After all, Psalm 139:14 tells us that we "are fearfully and wonderfully made."

We were created for success. We were destined for greatness. We were born to soar.

No matter what comes up against you, stand firm. Be like a tree planted by…

March Madness - Day 27

What Legacy will you Leave?
According to the Merriam-Wester Dictionary, legacy is 'something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.'

Sure, this can be the financial gift you receive from a deceased loved one.

It could also be the special membership status that you enjoy within an institution or organization thanks to

another family member who paved the way for you. 

In many cases, it's the memory that you leave behind.

How will people remember you?
What stories will people share?
Which footsteps will people want to follow?

I'm currently in the process of molding my legacy into something positive.

But I can't help but to think about the negative seeds I've sown. Stop judging me! We have ALL sown a negative seed a time or two.

It's like the Samaritan woman Jesus found at the well in John chapter 4. In verse 16, Jesus tested her. How honest would she be with Him? In verse 17, the Samaritan woman was honest about one thing. But ther…

March Madness - Day 26

Spring is Definitely in the Air.
Well...kinda.
It just snowed last week up in Philadelphia. #Insane
It rained for the past two days in Jacksonville. #Dreary

This is not really the kind of Spring I think of when I excitedly await the change in seasons.

I think more along the lines of sunshine. Cool breeze. Vibrant colors.

Spring is a time to smile more. To smile just because. It is a time to find your happy. To find a reason to walk along the beach.

The darkness passes away with the dread of yesterday and is replaced with the bright, new promises of tomorrow.

But then there is the other part that parents like me don't look forward to. Spring is a money guzzler. Summer camps and vacation are on the horizon. But that certainly is not all. 

Spring also becomes a season of shopping. Although that is not the thing I look forward to, it is a part of the expectation.

I expect to have to shop for new clothes.
I expect to have to shop for new sandals.
I expect to have to shop for Easter dresses and acc…