Saturday, June 30, 2012

Baby Its Cold Outside - Bing Crosby & Doris Day

Denial: How Sweet it is!

I'm not a huge fan of winter weather. Blame it on the islander in me. 
It's been my policy, to fully appreciate summer, and never complain about heat. Easier said than done, especially when temps reach 100+ degrees. So I stop, and recall those winter months that made me absolutely miserable, and I'm OK with heat once again. With triple digit temperatures, the last few days have been a challenge. It got me thinking about those, who unlike myself, dislike summer. I felt a bit sorry for you. I tried to think of things that crazy, I mean cold weather lovers can do to cope. I could think of only one thing: Live in denial.
Find an air conditioned building. Get yourself a cup of  hot cocoa. Crank up the Christmas type music, and play the best game of pretend you've had since childhood. Hopefully Bing Crosby and Doris Day got you started.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Just saying..."

I can be a glutton. Truth is, I love to eat. I enjoy the experience of food. Flavor, texture, color, heat, let me have it! Recently though, I've been convicted about the excesses in my life. Excess food, excess weight (*smirk* that's not related), excess material things, I have so much. I abuse/misuse so much. The thought that I'd someday account for my resources, humbled me. It motivated to pursue a change. I began to examine other areas of my life, ruled by gluttony, physical, and spiritual. I am consuming, knowledge, time, and talents, but am I making the best use of them? The answer was sometimes, and no. 
My time had become a victim of chores, and thrills. What knowledge I possessed, lacked exercise. And my talents had been on hold for years. I felt unfulfilled. It was a chore to face the truth of me. Who am I? How and, why did I allow myself to travel so far off course? If you told me a similar story, as I'm telling you now, I'd have some sound advice, and practical tips. I might even be able, to offer you some resources, to help you get started. Yet, for myself, I was doing nothing. Yes, it felt as hypocritical, as it sounds. Why not apply the same information in my own life? What good is it to know all the words, but neglect the application? There are so many ways to do this. We can do it in relationships, with our health, in our careers, with God. We know what we OUGHT to do, but we don't do. We have amassed an arsenal of information, quotes, techniques, but no action. Busy with the words of life, while neglecting the true works of life.We are stuffed to the gills with knowledge, but no action. We are fat to the point of sloppiness with talents, but no actions. Gluttony! We have spent our time, sitting at life's buffet, gorging ourselves with knowledge, talents, and ability, but we lack exercise. What will it take to move you? How long before we apply truth to our lives in a radical way?
     For me, this lesson was cleansing.  Freedom. It meant, I could let go of my pursuit of knowing to be wise, in exchange for doing, which IS wise. I finally understood, my beliefs are not my words. My beliefs is my behavior. To speak one thing, but habitually preform another, is to be a liar by deed. It's better to know one truth that I live, than fifty I've never applied. I'd rather maintain a few principles with abandon, than know many in theory. In my life, I've seen that knowledge eventually meets experience. In those moments, I have an opportunity to chose a noble response in both word, and deed. If, and when I'm tested, my hope is that what I DO, proves who I SAY I am. I want my life to reflect a union between my words, and my works.  It's not merely the preaching of the thing that matters. It is the practice. I've committed myself to more walking, less talking, until God calls me home. At that point, I'll answer to Him. I doubt, He'll be so impressed by my words...

Friday, June 22, 2012


Gratitude will affect attitude.
Attitude will reflect gratitude.

Live gratefully.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I hate movies with helpless chicks. The ones who are always waiting around for some dude to rescue them. Often, it's after, she has done something dumb to cause a problem. She mostly stands there, screaming. She does nothing to help herself. Sometimes, I wish I could jump through the TV, shake her violently, and yell, "calm down, fight back, or shut up!" I appreciate it when women are portrayed as they are, strong. Not mannish, but very capable. I've pushed the limit of gender roles a time or two, but I've come realize, my strenght isn't in being as strong as a man. My power is in being a strong woman. We are trained to believe we can do everything a man can. That's a lie. Truth is we are different. I know men that can eat 50 wings without gaining weight, and live in a house with three pieces of furniture. Some of them need very little human contact. There appears to be is no need to express a "feeling" or even a thought. There is no drama, not even on their TV screens. In their world, there are only eight colors, you only need a few pieces of clothes, and two pairs of shoes. If they had their way, all spa like facilities, most department stores, shoe stores, grocery stores, fabric stores, pharmacies, salons, fancy restaurants, would be out of business. I'd rather not live that way. Plus, if I'm busy trying to be manlike, on some level that means his gender is superior. I believe no such thing. Most women don't. We try to prove it. Unfortunately, many of us set out to prove it in the wrong way. We try to compete with men on innate men qualities. That's like a man trying "out feminine" a woman. There is no way (aside from steroids) I can have the strength of a man. Let's not be delusional. Show me the woman equipped to trade punches with Mike Tyson, and I'll drop this whole thing. Point is, our strength lies in different areas. The first step to unleashing it, is embracing that knowledge.

I had a recent brush with this truth when I decided I'd tackle, two diseased trees next to our house. Tackle meaning, I decided to cut them down. Now this was a project more suited for two people, preferably of the male persuasion. But I'm capable right? So, why not? This is probably a good time to mention, the hubby was NOT at home when I did this. He dislikes my use of power tools, especially his. In his absence, I saw an opportunity to spend some quality time with his chainsaw. The most important thing when messing with Ken's stuff, or a project that he wants me to leave alone) is, don't injure yourself, or anyone else, and don't damage property. As long as I comply with those, he usually shakes his head, and ignores my crazy. So imagine the absolute terror that occurred when I realize that I was about to break rule two in a major way. I cut a limb that came down on the roof, and gutters of our home. There I was, huge limb on the house, husband at work, and no man to rescue me from the mess I created. Whatever will I do? Ha ha. The good news was, I hadn't completely severed the limb from the tree. It was holding on, barely. The bad news was, the limb could snap at any second. I was literally running through the yard, grabbing tools, frantically trying to fix the problem, before the climb came down, and took the gutters with it. I climbed the ladder, and begin cutting the limb of the roof. It was working. Slowly, hope. Perhaps that hope came, because I was praying like the desperate woman I was. Things were going great. It was about that time I realized, I was standing under the limb I was cutting. No rocket scientist needed to see where this was going. No head is hard enough to withstand the accident I was creating (Ken would argue otherwise). So, there I was, standing on the top wrung of on a 6ft ladder. In my right hand there is a chain saw. My left hand is pushing the limb away from my head. This could go so wrong, in so many ways. That's when it hits me. No, not the limb, the truth. There is no amount of proving you are capable, worth injuring yourself for. It's not weak to ask for help. It's smart. An definitely less painful. I certainly knew enough to ask God for help. I was pleading to Him for help. Why not asked help of those He's placed in my life? I managed to get the limb off the house, and gutter. The only evidence of the close call is a scratch on the brick of the chimney. Ken hasn't notice. And no, I'm not telling him... yet.
You would think, I would have learned my lesson, put the chainsaw down, and ended it. You'd be wrong. There was another tree on my agenda. I was able to get it down, no threat to anything. Feeling inspired, I returned to the first tree. The one closest to the house. I had left the largest limb on it, and it was leaning directly over the house. I was afraid to messed with it, but to stubborn to leave it alone. My daughter attempted to reason with me. A friend called. He also tried to convince to stop. No go. It had to be done. No way was I leaving that limb. I studied that thing, and prayed. This must have gone on for about 20 minutes. Oddly, I felt I needed to do it, and not for pride's sake either. I would do this even if it meant, *gasp* asking for help. I must have looked ridiculous pacing the driveway, staring, and pointing at the tree. It came to me that if I attached a rope that pulled the limb away from the house as I cut, I'd be fine. I did, but it didn't look right. I should have payed attention in physics class. About that time a neighbor stopped by. Great! I'll casually ask her, that way, I won't have to GO, get help. She offered no advice on the rope I had rigged to the tree. Smart lady. I guess she'a not in the practice of commenting on obvious, impending disasters. I decided it was time to humble myself, and get a second opinion. I took the short walk of shame next door, and asked the neighbor to critique my project. He agreed, the rope was to low. He also offered to attached a larger rope, at a higher point on the branch, and pull the limb away from the house, as I cut the branch. In about five minutes the limb was down. Disaster averted.
I couldn't help but think of the importance, of having support, and NOT "going it alone." There is power in knowing your limitations, and wisdom in asking for help when needed. The time and potential aggravation alone, is worth the humility. I couldn't imagine a better way for God to teach me this lesson. Nothing like dangling from a tree to show you, you are not so tough after all. I am thrilled to have learned this, and to be in one piece.
How about you? Is there some area in your life, where you could benefit if you humbled yourself, and asked for help? What's stopping you? What do you have to loose, really?

Pictures of the project.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the good sense to take them until most of the drama was over. These don't do it justice.  It's just to give you an idea:

Hopefully, this is my last "brush" with ignorance for a while...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Go Time!

January. Where were you? What were you doing? What was the major story in your life six months ago? Me? I was shoulder deep in boxes. Literally. We were selling one house, and buying another. I was also, two weeks into my New Year's resolutions. Sort of. Thing is, I no longer make New Year's resolutions.
More like, silent pacts with myself.   I decided, it's best if I take, a broader, less specific approach. Example: instead for saying, "I'll travel the US this year," I adopt a an attitude of adventure.  I might drive to the next county, or state. Or even go somewhere in town, I've never been. You get the idea. It's not a list of things to do. It's a way to be. It's a theme for the year, an attitude really. Early January, a friend got me thinking about a word to summarize my coming year. The word that came to me was go. Go try. Go do. Go be. Go conquer. Go live. Just go! It was a call action. I was inspired. And then I wasn't. By March, my   attitude of action had fizzled. Life is busy. I got distracted.
June finds me hanging on to this attitude of action with renewed gusto. I'm still here. I'm still trying. There is still time. "Go time." God willing, in six months, we'll celebrate another year. What did you resolve to do, or don't, this year? Time is life's truest currency. How do you plan to spend the next six months of it?

Monday, June 11, 2012

"All in The Family."

Family: Blood related or bond related, it's the crazy bunch of people that make your world go around. They possess the amazing ability to keep you sane, and drive you crazy. At least this is the definition according to me. I'm surrounded by a cast of characters, most whom I happen to be related. They are comedians, actors, comforters, instigators, counselors, confidants and more. They make my life the most enjoyable bumpy ride ever. At some point you'll get to meet them all (I apologize in advance). For now, meet the key players. They are the ones with whom I share a roof:

The Hubster:  Ken is his name. We've been married for nearly 15yrs. I would marry him 20 times if I could. He is brutally honest, and obnoxiously laid back. He is my biggest supporter, and my best critic.  We are so much alike, yet so vastly different. And he ain't hard to look at either :)
Yes, he's wearing My sunglasses. He's that much of a man, and that  much of a goof ball. I couldn't ask for a better friend, and father to my kids. Speaking of kids, Samara is our eldest. At the ripe old age of 11, she's nearly taller than I am. She is very honest, super creative (she didn't get that from me), caring, and very sensitive to the needs of others. I couldn't ask for a better firstborn,
or big sister to this little ball of fire. Eliana, a.k.a "Elle" is only one. She is super sweet, but she's no pushover. Watch out world...                      

Finally, the dog with whom we share a yard. Any guesses what her name might be? Buttercup. Samara has a fascination with the movie Princess Bride. She wants a cat, and currently she's into The Hunger Games series. The name "Katniss" has been mentioned.

And then there is me. Shanda. I was born and raised in the Bahamas.  I'm a wife, stay at mom, sister, daughter, friend, teacher (I homeschool my kiddos). I'm all grown up now, but ever an island kid in so many ways.

My life is not perfect, but I love it. I'm hoping that God gives me many more years with all the wonderful people he's placed in my life. I'm hoping you are among them,

All the Best,