He is Risen!

Let us rejoice on this day, Easter, the day that Jesus rose from the grave. The day that he took away the sins of the world so that we may one day join him in Heaven. What a beautiful action of love. Can you even imagine?

I can’t and I am humbled each and every day by his sacrifice, and his love. Yes, there are days that I yell at Him, curse his name and even rip him a new one. (And those are just the beginning of my list of sins). Once that moment is over, that moment of prayer, I can step back at the end of the day and say, “Thank You, Lord, for loving me and sacrificing your life for my sins. I am not worthy, Lord.”

I am not worthy, Lord. I am not worthy, Lord. Let that sink in. Say it aloud and take a moment to let it resonate. 

This next paragraph could go in a myriad of directions, but I am going to concentrate on something that I learned last Easter (Thank you Crossbridge Miami and Felipe!)…Women Rule!

I must admit, I knew that before Easter 2012, but it was made abundantly clear during the homily. (I’m getting old, this could have also been the Mother’s Day homily, but nonetheless, the following events happened at Easter).

On that third day when Jesus rose from the grave, it was WOMAN who found the empty tomb. 

I will say again, that when the Saviour was come, women rejoiced in him, before either man or angel. Luke 1:42-46.

From Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678)

Sure the Gospels differ on how this whole Resurrection went down, but at the crux, there are women. 

I read not that ever any man did give unto Christ so much as one groat; but the women followed Him, and ministered to Him of their substance. ‘Twas a woman that washed His feet with tears, and a woman that anointed His body at the burial. They were women who wept when He was going to the cross, and women that followed Him from the cross, and sat over against His sepulchre when He was buried. They were women that were first with Him at His resurrection-morn, and women that brought tidings first to His disciples that He was risen from the dead… (Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678).

It was women who brought the good news of his Resurrection to His disciples. God gave women that power, strength and courage. In what most would consider menial duties, God saw that women washed Jesus’ feet and anointed his body. These, were in fact, the most important tasks of all, and God gave them to women. (Taken from LT’s God for Dummies). 

I write about the women on this day and their importance as I relish the strong bonds that I now have with some amazing women. I know I say this a lot, but I am truly the luckiest person in the world. I have a strong and amazing network of men and women who love and support me, keep me grounded and humble (yes, a small few can even yell at me and I accept it), talk me off of ledges and inspire me. Although the men of that group mean a great deal to me, it is my bond with the women that is one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened to me. Unless you are a woman, you have no idea what it’s like to be one of us.

Wear our Spanx for a day and live to tell about it.

I won’t go into the rah-rahs of Woman, here me roar, we all know those facts. I want to take these last few lines to say that I am over the moon grateful that I am a woman. Not just a woman, but God created me as a loving, kind, thoughtful, strong, grounded and giving woman. I am a woman with a voice. Sure, I cry, am vulnerable, feel defeated and alone sometimes. I fail and even become depressed for short periods of time. Then I look around my network of amazing women and I am inspired, happy and thankful and feel loved even more knowing that God sent these beautiful souls to me. 

A very small lot of photos of some of the beautiful souls in my life. 

Today we celebrate Easter. We rejoice that he has given up his life to wash away our sins, and we love one another the way He has asked us to love our brothers and sisters. Today we also celebrate the loving, caring, and strong women who first shared the word of the Resurrection of our Saviour.

Peace be with you.

 

 



Look for signs before you sit

I’m settling in here in Charlotte, however, it is still frustrating to me. I’m the type of person who wants to be there already. I wrote a post earlier about adjustment, should probably take my own advice. ;-)

I’ve found a new favorite wine bar—which is good and bad. The good is that I’ve made friends with the bartender (yay, Sam!); the bad is that it is 100 or so yards from my temporary address.

(Have I mentioned that I have the best domestic partner in all the land?)

DomesticPartner

Greg, my domestic partner.

I’m learning my way around the city, yet getting really comfortable in my current neighborhood. I’m not sure that I’ll even venture out to the other neighborhoods in the city frequently. I do enjoy Uptown for a change of pace and a big-city feel. 

I’ve made new friends (Thank you ESPNU and UVa Club of Charlotte) and beginning to acclimate to the climate. It will actually get into the 60s soon and the leaves will begin to change colors. I’m excited. 

Last Sunday was my most interesting experience of the new locale thus far. I went to a church with my newly-minted friend, Dawn, a fellow Wahoo & chemist. We drove darn near to South Carolina to the church (I had to ask a few times if we were still in Charlotte). I was impressed with the multi-cultural experience at the church. It happened to be a mixed service in English and Spanish on this day. The two congregations came together for a cultural experience. Latin food was served following the 11 a.m. service to commemorate the six-year anniversary of the Spanish church.  

I have been spoiled by Cross Bridge Miami, and although the service was fine, I was not keen on this contemporary worship. 

I have a hesitation about people who stand in front of a group of people and use very directed hands while talking. Let me explain, I talk with my hands, and a lot of people do, these motions are not choreographed, but involuntary actions. 

I find it, and this is going to be a use of the word for lack of a better one, cult-like. The directed hand motions, that very piece of body language says to me, “You are robot, you must follow me. I know what is best for you.”

Think about another time where we are given directed hand motions—policemen directing traffic. They want us to follow very specific instructions. They want us to  do as they say. We do. If you’ve flown on Delta since 2008, you’re familiar with Ms. Deltalina.

Deltalina

I admit, I never pay attention to this portion of the pre-takeoff ritual, but these men and women are using very direct hand motions to get passengers to do as they say, follow them, blindly.

Think about it. So I was put off by this pastor’s very directed hand motions as he spoke to the congregation. I know, you’re thinking, “You have been paying attention to the Word?”

Well, yeah, but once my little spidey senses go off, it’s all over. I was thinking, processing, thinking, and solving the entire time. I think the homily was about being part of God’s team. Something about tying in the Olympics and various countries all being under his umbrella. Yeah, something like that. (No disrespect, JC, but you created me, you know that when I prayed I was present, but during the homily, I was using one of my gifts). 

On a lighter note, I think I have mentioned before that my singing voice is only loved by God. I love being his little girl. The first song of the day was in Spanish. After hearing the medley, I joined in for the second verse. I’m singing along in Spanish, I even lean over to my friend to translate a verse of the hymn. I’m sitting next to my friend, her friend and her husband (from Sri Lanka) and a woman from the Czech Republic, so no native Spanish-speaking tongues on my row. All of a sudden they begin to chime in singing in Spanish, I’m thinking it was to probably drown out my (un)melodious voice.

I kept singing. 

Now, for the creme-de-la-creme…I introduce Little Murr. I haven’t written about her of late, but this was right up her alley.

LittleMurr

With Little Murr | American Airlines Arena | Playoffs 2012

I am not going to do this anecdote justice, you have to hear her tell the story (perhaps I’ll record her re-telling it to share on this blog). 

Little Murr moved to Miami in July prior to the 2011 football season. Upon her arrival she wanted to find a church home so began to try various places of worship, sometimes even going to multiple services a day. Little Murr ventured out on her own to these places, showcasing her adventurous spirit. 

Everything seems normal right? Ok, I’m getting to the HILARITY…

Little Murr arrives at a church and open a door, walks in and takes a seat. Perhaps most of us would have noticed the matching robes or clothing and location of the seats, but Murr let it ride as she sat in the choir. 

In her words…

The singing. It sounded odd, but I literally did a double take thinking “right, like I should judge others’ singing..” and then awhile later I noticed a man a few rows front and to my left was wearing a bicycle helmet. In church. I truly still brushed it off.. I was new to Miami and wanted to be open-minded to all the diversities I was sure to encounter.. And then later in the service a woman hugged on me and wanted to chat. Then I was like… Ok seriously, what’s going on this Sunday?? And after the service ended and I said bye to the friendly woman.. I filed out of the pew and saw the sign that said, “Reserved for the Special Needs Field Trip”. That’s what I get for coming to church late and quickly hustling into a pew.  

And then it was the time that she was actually early to church (She quickly adopted Cuban Time upon arrival in Miami).

I was actually early but it was a mega church and I had no idea what to do in such a big, busy sanctuary. I sat to the right on the side in a little covered section because it felt cozier as opposed to the big lit up open space in front of the preacher. It was empty when I got there but slowly a few more people joined the little pews. Nobody really responded to my ‘good mornings’ but I just figured they weren’t sure what to think of me because I was white in a mostly black Baptist church. It didn’t bother me, I just busied myself reading the bulletin until it was starting time. Then when I looked back up there was someone standing and blocking my view of the front.. They weren’t moving, instead actually had a metal music stand set up facing our pews. Whaaaat? And then the signing started. I realized looking around that I must be in the deaf section I had seen in some other churches but thought it would be rude to get up and leave so I stayed put and just listened and enjoyed the view I had. I also made a friend there.. Toward the end of the sermon the lady to my left gestured that she wanted me to have her notepad. It was magnetic and I really liked it but didn’t know how to thank besides a smile and a thumbs up. It was a nice moment and a good reminder to learn a few more words in sign language. All I could remember was “I love you” and even though they were Baptists I thought that a little much!

I thought she once almost set in the choir, but she tells a different story…

I have never sat in the choir to my knowledge.. But I did almost slap a deacon handing out bulletins. I was fresh off the boat in Miami and it was my first intro to the ‘Cuban Kiss.’ I didn’t think his intentions were very Christian at the time but thankfully once I took a step back I suspected he was only going for the air beside my cheek and decided it would be best to just take my bulletin and hustle on without making a scene. I gave him the benefit of the doubt that week but avoided that doorway when I returned for more services.  

There are a few more of these, but the aforementioned stories should give you a chuckle. I’m still waiting for the day that she makes her way into the pulpit. It could happen. 

Look for signs before you sit.



Forgive me Father, For I have sinned

This is not the post that I was intending for today. It has been a wonderful and odd day and I don’t feel like writing tonight. 

I couldn’t sleep last (Saturday) night because I was too excited for church and for brunch with my Bible study small group. I finally fell asleep around 5:30 a.m. after tossing and turning for four hours. I didn’t make it to the morning service, rolled out of bed and got ready and over to Madison’s house just in time to take a deep breath before the guests began to arrive. I was worried about sharing the kitchen with the other ladies as I prepared breakfast, but I spent some time asking for grace on the drive over. The time in the kitchen went swimmingly. Our Bible study time is usually divided into three segments—nosh on delectable snacks; introduction of the evening’s study/scripture/discussion/prayer; nail painting (we are girls!). I love how our group interacts and our focus and devotion each week. Today’s went like this…nosh on breakfast; cultural discussion; watched Billy Corben’s Cocaine Cowboys. Sometimes it is just about spending time with some pretty amazing people. 

ACT I, Scene 1

I did go to church. Madison and I went to the 6 p.m. service. So glad she made me go. Not  happy that I cried like a baby several times during the service.

I went into the service almost in tears sharing with Little Murr how I miss the ex-man. Let’s call him Jack for this exercise. I thought I was missing the idea of having a boyfriend, but I actually miss Jack. (I know, I’ve not finished that story).

ACT 1, Scene 2

The homily today was about Grace (as is every Sunday), but today’s came from John 8: 1-11. Read it. Ask yourself how is Grace transforming you.

During the service, I remembered the story of the woman who hemmoraged for 12 years and how when she grabbed Jesus’ robe she was healed (Luke 8:43-47). I started crying and crying in church and all I wanted to do was to grab onto his robe. I actually wrote that down in my notes.   

2632186382_ORIG.jpeg

ACT I, Scene 3

It dawned on me today that I have not been reading the Bible or setting aside time each day to be still and praise Him. I normally go to church on Sunday, spend time on Sunday re-writing my notes from the sermon and studying them. I don’t touch the Bible again until Thursday night’s Bible study. This should be like bathing each day. I take time to shower every day, sometimes multiple times during the day and I can’t find 10, 15, 30 minutes to develop a stronger relationship with my Father? I practiced my violin outside of my organized lesson. I practiced my dance routines outside of class. I practiced tennis outside of team practice and even during the off-season. Studying the Bible is just like my sport or music practice. It has to be done outside of the formal weekly meeting. It only too me 36 years to figure that one out. 

Those were the tears for the first part of the evening. 

I dropped Madison off at her office and went upstairs to pick up my check for working football camp. It is always wonderful and sad to walk into the football suite since June. It does feel nice that the guys/coaches/staff misses me, and that I am still welcome there and they are excited to engage in conversation,  but it also makes me sad that I am not there for them. It doesn’t help when I run into players during their break. 

"LT we miss you. Why did you have to leave us?" 

That absolutely breaks my heart. I had to leave you guys. I will always be your biggest supporter and I will still call you and tell you to take that crap off of Twitter. I will always want only the best for you and hope that you continue to represent the University as excellent ambassadors both in the classroom and on the field.

Banquet

A.J. Highsmith, Lamar Miller, LT & Mike James — December 2011 — Banquet

This will all make sense when I share the psychology of the career choices that we make. 

———————————————————

I really wish my mentee would realize that I am the teacher and she is the student. She made me cry tonight. These were her words…”please remember regardless of how you see yourself, you are an amazing woman.”

WithMentee

Ms. Sherraine Pencil with her mentor. 



Decisions

We make decisions everyday. Some are simple while some are more complex and have a huge impact on your life. Today I had to decide if I would use the green or the black pen to complete the crossword puzzle. Then if I would do the butterfly or backstroke for today’s swim. Finally, if I would have a Mai Tai or strawberry daiquiri. Clearly I had a very taxing day. I went with the black pen, swam the backstroke and had a daiquiri. 

I make light of today’s decisions, only because I have larger decisions looming. I’ve come to a crossroads in my career and deciding my next steps. I’ve always worked in higher education, spending ten years as a collegiate athletics publicist (Nebraska, Northwestern, Big Ten and Miami). I’ve been an events planner, fundraiser, admissions coordinator and a director of a university program. I enjoy the comfort, if you will, of the university setting and thrilled by the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of collegiate athletics. As much as I enjoy that, the lifestyle is taxing, I find that more and more people are in the business for the wrong reasons and that sickens me. I’ve always made changes or spoken out when things hurt at the core of who I am. This was one of those times. 

I made a decision to walk away a month ago. I walked away with no job waiting for me. I walked away knowing that the following hours, days and weeks were not going to be easy. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. I’ve laughed. 

A wise woman once told me: Trust your instincts. Make decisions based on what is important to you. You never know where it will take you. 

I’m taking those words to heart and trusting who I am. Trusting my gifts and talents and trusting the Universe. 

Although this is an exciting time and I am eager and ready to begin something new, it is overwhelming and really not much fun trying to figure it all out. I’ve thought about it and based on a long-term goal, I want to find a 9-5 in banking or do some consulting work. 

I am a big fan of lists and writing things down. I like the feeling of crossing things off and completing a goal. 

I wrote down four places in which I would like to move because 1. I already have networks in place. 2. They are in cities with collegiate athletics so I could volunteer, and 3. They are in or near a city with an international airport. (I need to be a direct flight away from Europe at all times. ;-) ). 

Richmond, Va., East Lansing, Mich. (Detroit is close enough), Charlotte, N.C. or Miami. 

Richmond is a short drive from home, I could move in with my aunt and uncle (empty-nesters) until I found a place, I have a lot of family and friends in the area, I love Virginia and it would only be an hour away from the best place in the land—Charlottesville. I’ve never lived in Richmond, but I think I could call it home. One of my best friends lives in East Lansing and I have a very strong network of friends there. I would volunteer at MSU football, hoops and hockey events and I love that college town. Charlotte is three hours from home, again, I have a vast network already in place there and it is such a vibrant city. All three of these places have a moderate cost of living. 

Finally after much consideration and prayers, Charlotte rose to the top of the list. I now have to decide between the Queen City or Miami. Although if a great opportunity came along somewhere else, I wouldn’t dismiss it.

Now, to further drill down, I divided a sheet of paper into four quadrants with headers of “Miami” and “Charlotte” and “pros” and “cons” along the margin. 

It was a free write so I just wrote down whatever came into my mind without spending too much time focusing on the item.

Pen down. Drumroll, please…we have a draw. 

Both lists were about even among the pros and cons. Great. Thanks. Back to work. I’ve learned that nothing comes easy and if it is worth having, it is worth working for. 

So I’m back to the drawing board. Where’s a girl to move?

The weather is great in Miami…they have winter in Charlotte, but it doesn’t snow often and I do enjoy wearing sweaters, scarves and sitting by a fire.

It gets a bit more dicey for this next item…Canes football. Football appears as both a pro and con for Miami. I honestly don’t know if I can be in Miami when the football season begins. It will be so hard not being part of the team, not running the press box on game day or not being involved. I love those kids and have given so much. But, I am not 100 percent certain that is how I will feel while sitting in the stands for the first game. Or will I even go to the game? You see, there is so much to consider. 

Another item that appeared on both the pro and con list for Miami is the name of the man that I’ve been seeing off and on for the last 15 or so months. Do I hang around waiting on this relationship or do I walk away, cut my losses, move on? I do know that it would be hard being in Miami, at first, and not seeing him. There are how many men in Miami? Exactly. The heart is a muscle and it will mend. Time heals. Frustrating, complicated, uncertainty—on the list twice.

Charlotte is three hours from my family, while Miami is 14 hours. It is less expensive to live in Charlotte compared to Miami. I would love to save a little more money each month. 

No one EVER believes me on this one, but I am shy. I’ve just started going to Crossbridge church in Miami. I’ve just starting making God a priority in my life and I’ve finally found a church that matches my intellectual curiosity. I’ve yet to attend a service by myself. I have to go with a buddy each Sunday. I have a lot of friends who also attend the church and both of the pastors know me. I’m just not ready to go by myself. This is all very new to me. Will I find the same type of church community in Charlotte? Probably. 

I also feel as though my work in Miami is not done. I don’t know exactly what that means or what needs to be done, but I just have this feeling. 

Decisions or a leap of faith?

I’m excited for the new adventure. I’m eager to see what the future holds for me. Two weeks ago I was restless and frustrated and just wanted a resolution. I still want resolution, but I am no longer anxious about the future. I’m trusting.

Some people call me crazy. Some are amazed at my ability to pick up and move (I’ve been travelling on my own since age five). Some ask if I’m afraid. I can’t let fear stop me from realizing my dreams or immobilizing me because of the unknown. When you stop and really think about it, tomorrow is the unknown. Who knows what the day will bring, yet we get up each morning and tackle the day. It’s the same thing. 

Wish me luck!

Three things for which I am grateful…

  • My family. So happy to have a wonderful family who loves. 
  • Aloe Vera. I’ve threatened a few times this summer, but I am done with the sun. SPF 30 is like baby oil on my skin. Can’t wait for this ensuing moulting.
  • My former interns. I’ve talked to quite a few of them in the last five days for various reasons. So proud of every single one of them and honored that they still consider me a mentor, friend, a professional and someone who is always honest with them and always has their best interest in mind. 

This was taken last weekend at my former intern Brittany’s wedding (liliac dress). The other young lady in the photo is a mentee and the lad in the Hawaiian shirt is a former intern. I taught the other two the Tao of Time Out Coordinating. 

Awesome read of the day…Keeping with the theme of making decisions…

To ketchup or not



Thank you to those who have been reading my blog. I truly appreciate the feedback, questions, comments, etc.
After today’s church homily (Genesis 32: 22-32), my little world was twisted upside down. Needing to recover from that my reflecting, I did not write a post for the day. I’ll have a new entry tomorrow morning.
I did take (or it took me) a moment to be present this evening (hard for me w/ my crazy non-stop mind) while waiting for Brie Bird at the movies. Watching the people walk by and really realizing that EVERY single person has a story. That every single person has a purpose and that every single person is beautiful, even in their darkest days.
Normally when I engage in my favorite sport—people watching—I like to make up stories for people, conversations and even…*gasp* make quick judgements. Today was different. It was a calm, free of judgement, an insightful realization and acknowledgement.

Thank you to those who have been reading my blog. I truly appreciate the feedback, questions, comments, etc.

After today’s church homily (Genesis 32: 22-32), my little world was twisted upside down. Needing to recover from that my reflecting, I did not write a post for the day. I’ll have a new entry tomorrow morning.

I did take (or it took me) a moment to be present this evening (hard for me w/ my crazy non-stop mind) while waiting for Brie Bird at the movies. Watching the people walk by and really realizing that EVERY single person has a story. That every single person has a purpose and that every single person is beautiful, even in their darkest days.

Normally when I engage in my favorite sport—people watching—I like to make up stories for people, conversations and even…*gasp* make quick judgements. Today was different. It was a calm, free of judgement, an insightful realization and acknowledgement.