Song of the Week: “Million Reasons,” Lady Gaga

                   “Million Reasons” link

  What say you- diggin’ this tune or nah? 

Okay, so I heard this song about a month ago, liked it, but didn’t really pursue it. Then-bam! Out of nowhere, I’m head over heels in love with it! Maybe it had something to do with her halftime show (which was fantabulous, btw). Regardless, I’ve had it it on repeat for the last couple of days. Its simplicity is what makes it such a beautiful song to me. I’ve never had a heartbreak, but this song makes me feel like I have. The way I belt it out, you’d think someone slammed my heart against the wall like it was silly puddy. 

Also, I just found out there’s a debate as to whether Gaga can sing or not! That’s crazy! My vote-as if it matters-is YES! Her voice is different, I’ll give you that. Maybe a little show tuney, maybe a little opera, but I still think she has a stellar set of pipes! 

Untold Stories 

Do I have any Oncers in the house?! 

         

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, allow me to introduce you to my favorite show, “Once Upon A Time.”

(All credits to ABC)

Just saying, the first five seasons are on Netflix right now.

Anyway, before I gallop off into some wild and obsessive tangent, let me make clear my point in mentioning the show. 

In its current season,  there’s a story arc that involves a community of people who arrive to the real world after having spent several decades in, “The Land of Untold Stories.” Ahead of impending crises, these people chose to place an infinite pause on their lives by escaping to this land. There, their lives have remained in a redundant loop of stagnance. Now, forced back into the real world, they are once again faced with the problems they thought they’d eluded. 

Do these people sound a little familiar?

                 

That’s because, in a sense, they are us. Too often, we run from our problems instead of facing them. Like the people from, “The land of Untold Stories,” many of our lives play on a revolving track of monotony. We try to escape by running: changing jobs, moving to new neighborhoods, even switching up our hair. But our plights remain,  like a bitter aftertaste refusing to be swallowed. 

There aren’t many (if any) victories that have been won by retreat. Problems don’t disappear just because they go unacknowledged. If anything, we provide them with the perfect environment to grow. Until we confront our problems head on, they will continue to resurface again and again in our lives.  

             

So what if you’re afraid to face your problems: Join the rest of the world. The interruption of any cycle is always met with some apprehension. But, unresolved fear is like an untreated cancer. It will infect every part of our lives until treatment is provided. 

What treatment, you ask? 

Same as always: God. 

    

The realms we’ve created to hide from our problems will be difficult to escape. Blessedly, we don’t have to do it alone. We need only to surrender our troubles to God and He will lead the way to victory. 

The saddest part about fear, is its ability to snuff out beauty. If we allow ourselves to be held captive by fear, we also veil ourselves from the beauty that awaits the conqueror.

And that, indeed, is tragic.

Ready or Not? 

Absolutely not.

My last post was on September 29th of last year. My absence was intentional. My plan was to take a few months hiatus to revamp my blog. I wanted to give it more focus, commit to one post per week, and start other interactive aspects to bond with my followers. But the months have slipped through my fingers like egg yolks in greasy hands.

I fear I’ll never be as ready as I want to be, which is why I must leap now. 

             

Life hardly seems interested in navigating around my plans. Every time I steal a moment to get ahead, it slams itself to the floor in a bratty tantrum, demanding my full attention. I wish I could be like the mothers in the department stores, who remain unmoved by their children’s obnoxious behavior. I totally wish I could ignore life and give sole focus to my ambitions. 

     

But alas, I cannot.   

Still, I want to commit to the blog in a way that I haven’t in the past. I want it to be more dependable. For a person like me, who is self diagnosed ADD, it’s going to take God almighty and some serious strategy. 

I’ve found that writing truly suits my soul. It soothes me in a way nothing else can. But as with any love, there exists an element of fear. It’s like the exhilarating anxiety you get at the top of a roller coaster; it takes flight in your stomach like a caged bird being set free.

I’m done waiting for the perfect moment that is never going to emerge from the shadows. I’m relaunching the blog now! 

A life uninterrupted is one that does not exist. Our paths are never quite clear, our roads never completely paved. We simply acquire our tools along the way.  

        

 

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A Revolution of Love

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m crushed over Brangelina’s split. Despite the controversy that surrounded their relationship, I genuinely wanted them to make it. I’m sorry that they didn’t.

In the aftermath of the news, I’m basically losing it. Brad and Angie were my final straw and now that they’re no more, I’m coming clean about my marriage woes.

        

Lately, I’ve been a little apprehensive toward the prospect of marriage. The idea use to excite me, but now it makes me feel just the opposite- scared. If forty to fifty percent of American marriages end in divorce, how can I expect mine (when it happens) to last? I’m not any better than anyone else, so what am I going to do differently than half of the country to ensure a lasting marriage?


I should probably mention that I’m not dating anyone right now, nor have I ever had a boyfriend. But as a single female with hopes of one day getting married, I think my concerns are warranted.


I know that there’s no one answer to why marriages fail and that each case is different, but we have to acknowledge the existence of a common denominator- even if we don’t know what it is.

My views aren’t naive; I’m not waiting to be swept up on a magic carpet and adored endlessly by some debonair prince.

          

I know that marriage is hard work and that it comes with many challenges, but…

Doesn’t everyone know that?

I guess knowledge and experience yield different results…

I used to think I had the answers to a successful marriage. I thought that if a person set standards and married into them, their union would last- simple. But I realize now, that while standards are important, marriage is much more complex than a checklist.

As I sit, pondering the convoluted world of marriage and relationships, one word comes to mind:

Love.

I mean, right? It’s the one word (aside from money) that starts and ends a marriage. It’s about love. At least that’s what we’ve led ourselves to believe- that love conquers all. We see it over and over again, people getting married because they’re in love, getting divorced because they’re not.  Joining a union for love seems right, and for a while, I’m sure it feels right. But the problem with love, is that it has too many definitions and it’s interpretation is dependent on people. 

Human feelings and emotions aren’t stable enough to be the foundation of a marriage. We change our minds without blinking and we believe in the right to act on those changes.

I don’t want to give someone that kind of love, nor do I wish to be loved in that manner.

Love needs a revolution. One that would restore its power to the cross. Jesus’ sacrifice was the ultimate act of love. We all know the story, but perhaps we’ve become numb to it. I implore you, familiarize yourself with Jesus’ existence on this Earth. You’ll find that He is the embodiment of love. In fact, that love cannot exist outside of Him. And in truth, that He is love.

So because Jesus set the standard, I refuse to be loved with anything short of His love. Likewise, I refuse to give anything less than the love He has filled my heart with.

This is not a declaration that marriage won’t come with challenges, it most certainly will. It’ll be frustrating, impossible sometimes, maybe I’ll feel suffocated or want to be free, maybe I’ll change and he won’t, what if I grow and he doesn’t, what about money, and God forbid- what if we fall out of love?

Yet, unconditional love knows no bounds. Jesus has yet to leave my side, despite my disobedience, frustration, the times I’ve blatantly done things to hurt him, ignored him, not trusted Him, given up on Him, kept things from Him, put others before Him, neglected spending time with Him…

The list is infinite, yet He has remained. And as a reflection of His heart, my love will not run out.

So, no, I don’t have all the answers to a successful marriage- I have one.

Love and be loved with the heart of Jesus.

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When We Had Nothing

We all remember where we were and what we were doing on this day, fifteen years ago. Like any other morning, the sunrise peaked over a sleepless New York, breathing life into the fast paced city. But before noon, the beloved city would become the victim of an attack on America unlike any other in recent history. 

That day, a grave reality was branded onto the heart of America: we could bleed. And bled we did, as the number of lives lost climbed following the weeks after September 11th. 

America was one blood type that day, and in an instant, strangers became brothers; the ash that rained from the Twin Towers painted the city one race. The end it must’ve seemed, as soot and dust from the attack blotted out the sun.

Pain and loss lingered in the aftermath of that day as people searched for hope in the rouble of a fallen city. Some never found their loved ones, others were robbed of the chance to say goodbye, and so many gave the ultimate sacrifice. Much was taken from us that day, but one thing was gained. 

On September 11th, 2001, America discovered the strength in solidarity. 

Fifteen years later and our memories are as clear as they were on that day, but have we forgotten the power of our solidarity? 

America has experienced many more injustices since 9/11, often at the hands of its own people.

The Presidential race, Gun Laws, LGBTQ, Religion, black lives matter, and an endless list of controversies have divided the American people. These debates, along with others have once again separated our country. We have allowed our differences to make us intolerant and judgemental toward one another. 

On this 15th commemoration of 9/11, let us remember what we had when we had nothing:

Compassion, humility, bravery, strength, understanding, peace in the face of adversity, and above all, love.

The best way to honor the brave individuals who sacrificed their lives, is to exhibit the same composure of love they displayed 15 years ago today. When they had nothing, they gave the most. So today, as we remember them, let us be reminded of the power of love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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A Minds Escape 

What thoughts entertain your mind when you’re not consciously thinking? 

Don’t judge me, but I constantly daydream about being on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. It makes me question whether or not I’m a little self absorbed. In my defense though, when I imagine myself on the show, it’s never about me. Well, sometimes we’re discussing a book I’ve written, but usually, I’m giving the audience a hope speech.  I’m seeing those “Aha,” moments on the faces of the women in the crowd. People are being released from all types of emotional bondage and we’re all laughing, crying, and being set free together. 

That was an embarrassing disclosure, but welcome to the interiors of my mind. 

Your turn. 

 Kidding. But seriously, take an internal survey of the thoughts and emotions that occupy your mind. Are they healthy, positive, or destructive?

Our thoughts are a vital counterpart to our actions. Both are crucial components of our character DNA and to influence one is to affect the other. When we ponder our thoughts, we breathe life into them. The more we entertain negative thoughts, the easier it becomes to make excuses and justify their presence.

I’m reading a book with some girlfriends called, “Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free.” The book is centered around discrediting popular beliefs among women using text from The Bible. Most of the attitudes addressed are ideas that exist subconsciously;they lie dormant, but have a tremendous impact on how we live our lives.

The main theme of the book can be found in Proverbs 23:7,

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”

You don’t have to be a Christian or religious by any standard to know that this verse holds true. Our hearts and thoughts fuel our actions. Simple to understand, difficult in execution. 

Lately, I’ve been extremely selective about what I allow to influence me: the music I listen to, television shows, reading material, even people. In just a short period of time, I’ve recognized a change in my thoughts and perceptions. 

I encourage you to become more mindful of what influences your thoughts and subsequently, your reaction to those persuasions. The seed of an act is created in the mind. While influences beyond our control are everywhere, being aware of them may make it easier to control their power over us. 

Even if we never utter a word- through our actions- our thoughts are heard.