FOCUS

For those of you who have kept up with my blog over the past few weeks, you may know I have a bit of a problem with the way my house was constructed. The tendency for me when I  have a bit of a problem is that I  can sometimes lose focus on the big picture.

The big picture for my life is that God has put a calling on my life to become a Christian author. Each one of you who is reading my blog at this moment is a partner with me in this calling.

I have over 17,000 subscribers at this point in my blog journey and each one of you is a blessing to my heart. There are quite a few of you who are dear friends of mine.

Some of you are other bloggers such as The Opinionated Man, Secret Angel and a few others who I have come to love.

Other of my subscribers are friends of mine who could and should call me, but instead of listening to me go on and on about my life, they just read my blog. Believe me, it is much easier to read my blog, than to listen to me, so I totally understand about that. lol

Then the other part of the big picture is the novel that I am penning. I have done a total rewrite on this novel. The first manuscript was 386 pages and I am now trying to finish up the rewrite. I am currently at 420 pages and desperately struggling to figure out how to bring it to a close.

I remember one man at a writing seminar who told me my first book should not exceed 100 pages. I just shook my head and dissolved into a fit of laughter.

There is no way I could do my characters justice in that short amount of space. There seem to be all kinds of crazy rules for writers and for the most part, I avoid other writers like the plague because I never have liked rules made by other people.

As I have prayed about the situation with my house I have had a sense of peace. I have blogged about this company to warn my readers. I have posted some reviews of them on Facebook to warn my friends. I will talk to some attorneys to explore the possibility of a lawsuit but I will not lose focus on the calling on my life.

A few years back I would have handled it differently. I would have gone into my pit bull mentality and torn the company to shreds. I would have most likely dissolved into a puddle of profanity and rage. In other words because of someone else’s incompetence and sloppiness (Plantation Homes) I would have opened the door to the devil in my heart and mind.

I keep reciting Mathew 6:33 to remind myself of the focus I should have in life. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; all these things shall be added unto you.

It is of much greater importance that I finish my novel and continue blogging than that I take revenge on Plantation Homes.

In addition to this, I want to thank each one of you, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheistic or some other religion for reading my blog. You are my inspiration.

INCOMPETENCE

I am sure that I am not the only one who has had an issue with incompetence from other people. The construction company for my house has numerous complaints listed on the web.

Some of the work done by MHI Plantation Homes is abysmal, to say the least. If you want to read up on this company, check the pissed consumer link at https://plantation-homes.pissedconsumer.com/.

I certainly am not the only one complaining about this company. So why are they still building homes? There apparently has been media coverage of this and some people are threatening a lawsuit

I have been stewing about what to do when it comes to my home. I am in the process of contacting an attorney as well as the media. I have hired my own experts which say that my foundation is an issue. This whole mess is a big burden for me to bear.

Then on Friday, I learned from my company that they had not deposited my paycheck in the bank as they were supposed to. I had a meltdown.

First off, although I am an excellent professional and have two Bachelor’s degrees, I barely skim the poverty level of income. So when a paycheck does not hit my bank it can start an avalanche of problems.

I was told by the payroll employee on Friday that my check would not be an automatic deposit like it normally was. They said I could come by the office to pick it up.The office I work for is 25 miles from my house and can take an hour to drive there and another hour to drive back home. My company does not reimburse a penny for that.

So I told them to drop it in the mail. They assured me it would be in my mailbox on Saturday. It wasn’t in the mailbox. I was pretty angry about the situation and was praying about it in the church I go to.

Some people seem to think that they can take advantage of me. MHI PLANTATION HOMES, ROSA’S HOME HEALTH, HOME DEPOT… The list goes on and on; especially when I start talking about family law attorneys and judges.

I will give Home Depot a pass because they were actually awesome about finally fulfilling their word to me.

But when you have so many people who are clearly incompetent it can make a girl feel as if no one has any brains anymore. Either that or they are just sloppy as hell and want to take advantage of good, honest, hard-working people.

I have had to fight so many fights in my life I find it difficult to continue.

While I was in the church God brought to my mind Jeremiah 29:11 –11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

If God is on my side then it is my responsibility to put on my boxing gloves and get back in the ring.

He wants me to prosper, not to live in a house which is falling apart within the first ten years. He wants me to work for a company which is honest and pays their employees in a timely manner.

Sometimes I think that people think a good Christian woman should lay down and be a doormat for people who are scoundrels, liars, and cheats.  I don’t see how God can be glorified in that and it doesn’t appear that that is in His plans at all.

IT STARTED WITH TALKING…

It happened a few weeks ago. It was in my Bible Study group. This lady started talking and she went on and on and on.

“Oh, no,” I thought. “Here she goes again. Why does she always have to talk so much? Usually our leader ropes her in but this time he was not leading. Another person was leading the group. I wonder how long she will go on talking.” Big sigh.

Seriously, these were the thoughts that were trampling my mind. They were thoughts of self-importance, arrogance and judgement. My mind was so cluttered with judgement, I was not even listening to what this lady was saying.

I stopped the train of judgement and jumped off. I started listening, really listening to this woman and you know what?

She is kind of interesting. I mean she had a story to tell and she told it well.

As I stumbled to my feet after jumping off the train I realized something about me. That is that many times I do not connect with people on a deeper level because I am too busy telling myself that they are not good enough for me. I mean cause I must think I am all that!

What an arrogant jerk I have become. This is in no way a Christ like way to treat someone, even if I hide it in the realm of thoughts. This kind of thinking stems from pride and self righteousness.

What right do I have to think I am better than anyone else?

Christ, God’s son, didn’t act all up in the air when he came down to earth. He didn’t demand a palace and a chariot. He had no home and he rode a donkey when he wasn’t walking. He was always healing or feeding or teaching.

He did get a bit out of sorts with the Pharisees, but that was because they thought they were better than others. (Kind of like me, right?)

So I have been asking God to help me think like Christ does. I am going to start by meditating on Philippians 2:1-11.

Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit,if any tenderness and compassion, Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross


DEPRESSION

There are times that I feel the incessant knocking at the door of my heart by that vile enemy, depression. I have struggled with this for many years. It is rare that my life is without difficulties. There is always something which vexes my heart and soul.

The other day I opened the door to the enemy. This is a frequent issue for me. I continue to have thoughts which are very self defeating. I let depression wreak havoc in my brain.

I finally asked God if He could help me with this. It is amazing how many thoughts traverse through my mind which are negative. If anyone else said these thoughts to me, I would walk away and choose not to engage that person again. Yet, every day I struggle to be kind to myself. To be accepting of my weaknesses. To gently encourage myself as I encourage others.

The other day I was in quite a mess, thinking I did not have enough friends. Depression started to trash the recent memories of good times I had had with my friends.

Then I met an angel at Jason’s Deli. She was a remarkably beautiful woman. I tried not to stare, but I did compliment her on her attractiveness. She immediately said she was broken hearted. She started telling me a bit about her life and I asked if I could sit with her.

She opened up and told me that she was estranged from her daughter. She had recently discovered that her boyfriend who she hoped to marry was engaged in an immoral affair. She had had a good husband, but he had passed away during a time when they were separated. She was currently unemployed and was about to receive her last unemployment check. Yet, she was still praying and seeking God.

I felt as if reality slapped me in my face. I had so much to be thankful for. I do have friends. I have a lovely relationship with my daughter. I continue to work at a terrific company. Although I do not make much money I love my job and my coworkers. I have a terrific boyfriend who spoils me rotten and I have a God who I absolutely adore.

In the Bible in 2 Corinthians 10:5 it talks about making every thought captive to Christ. I am struggling to accomplish this, but I don’t think that self defeating thoughts are ones which glorify God. So every time a depressive thought comes to my mind, I need to not open the door to the devil of Depression. I would like to be able to quote a verse which I have committed to memory. For when Jesus was tempted by the devil he used the Word of God to win that war.

Is there anyone else who struggles with thought control? Do you feel that this is something which leads to depression? What ideas have you come up with which have assisted you in becoming kind to yourself? Or do you allow the devil of Depression to wreak havoc in your brain also?

PLANTATION HOMES PROBLEM

I bought a home close to ten years ago. It was a beautiful home and I had it built so I thought there would be no problems with the home while I was paying it off.Unfortunately, I did not do my research on the home builder which was Plantation homes. They do not have a good reputation.

I told them within the first couple of years that they needed to do something with my foundation. They had some goofballs come by and take pictures of my foundation and they said there was no problem.

Then last year I had some more cracks in my walls and I told them again that they had better take care of my foundation. Then they hired some more goofballs who came and measured my foundation and said there was nothing unusual.

This year the ceiling of my cat walk started to come down. Interesting that the ceiling demise was right in line with a long crack on the ceiling.

They said it was a roof leak, even though there was no water spot. They must be thinking I am one dumb broad.

For their information my IQ may be higher than their whole company collectively.

This year I complained again and they hired the same goofballs that had come by last year and said there was no problem. By this time I had a crack running the entire expanse of my ceiling and another crack at the seam of the peak in my living room. I was pissed to say the least.

I was put out with the goofballs that they kept sending my way so I hired my own structural engineering firm to do an analysis of my foundation. They said I had a problem and it needed to be fixed.

Plantation homes then said they wanted another firm to come and check out my foundation. They swore that this firm did not know who they were and they had never done business with them. So it would be an objective analysis.

Well, the first thing the guy said when he walked into my home was “My firm has done plenty of work for Plantation homes.” I kind of felt that that flushed the “objective” opinion idea right down the toilet.

So we were going to meet for one last meeting. The construction manager called and said that it was gonna be on Thursday or Friday. He would call me to confirm which day. I never got the call but apparently I am supposed to have ESP because they showed up on Thursday afternoon expecting me to be there..

So because their construction manager either has brain fog or smokes too much weed, or both, they gave me the shaft. They said they were not going to do one blooming thing for me.

Well, you don’t know how pissed off I can get until you treat me like I am nothing. Then you got a whole other level of me that most people don’t suspect I can get to and it ain’t a pretty level either.

But I am a Christian woman and I am supposed to be submissive right?

Yep, you are right. In the Bible it says I am to submit to my husband if he is willing to die for me.

Let me make one thing clear, I am in no way married to Plantation homes, nor would I ever consider marrying someone who works for a company who treats a single mother the way they have treated me. So submission is not an issue here.

I was still struggling with how to handle this issue and then I went to church this morning at Vibrant Church. Our pastor had the coolest sermon on James and he said how we go through trials to learn how to persevere. My definition of perseverance happens to be: you stand your ground when you are right until the jerk that is wrong finally caves in and does what is right.

In other words, Plantation homes has messed with the wrong chick. I have a right to be pissed and I have a right to demand that they honor the warranty that they gave me ten years ago.

If they have any doubt that I will wear them down, they need to go talk to my friends at Home Depot who just put in the coolest screen door ever because I refused to be treated like nothing.

(Refer to post THE STORM DOOR  for the low down on Home Depot.)

SEEKER OR FOLLOWER?

I must admit that I am a sinner, first and foremost. There are times in my Christian life that I have acted entirely like someone who did not know Christ. Although there has not been a moment in my life in which I have not been a seeker of God.

Most thoughts of mine are always directed towards God. In essence, I am in constant prayer. If I am such a seeker of Christ and the Godhead, then why do I sin?

I believe there is a difference between being a seeker and a follower. A seeker is someone who yearns to know Christ in a more intimate relationship. A follower is someone who abandons self to become more like Christ.

There is a multitude of people who think they can live their life as they want and God will sanction their sins. There is no doubt that He is capable of forgiveness, if one does confess and repent of sin. Yet, He seeks to free us of our bondage because He knows the consequence of sin. Sin hurts either us or others.

As I have matured in my Christian walk I have laid down at the cross, desires and weaknesses which have hindered my relationship with God. This is a constant journey, not a short jaunt.

I have come to the belief that it is not my right to judge others. For how can one who has scars of sin marking their own heart, judge another who is slashing their heart into pieces with the same sin I had once committed?

I cannot judge, but what I can do is lead, as I am following Jesus. I will not sanction someone else’s sin, telling them it is okay to continue in something which will cause them heartache.

In John 14:23 the Word of God states: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my Word. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Recently I met a woman while having lunch who was so beautiful I had to stop and comment on her beauty. She immediately told me she was heartbroken. As she shared her story with me, I could see that she was allowing the devil to slash her heart into tiny little pieces. She had opened her heart to heartache when she removed the breastplate of righteousness by engaging in premarital sex.

She is a God seeker and says all of the right things.

Just like I used to as I walked through life without my breastplate of righteousness.

Now, as I follow Jesus, I try my hardest to keep His word. It is not easy but as I draw close to Him, I realize He is putting people in my path which need to step away from sin. It is my great joy to grab their hand gently and guide them into a path of following Jesus and abandoning the heartache which sin so often favors.

 

PERSPECTIVE ON PARIS

I used to detest Paris Hilton. She seemed so self absorbed and the media was obsessed with her. I remember the days when I would watch the news and it seemed as if she was always mentioned as if she were some life-changing phenomenon.

She was strikingly beautiful, but I didn’t see anything more than that because the media made her out to be a very shallow and selfish person.

Then all of a sudden she disappeared and who comes strolling through the door of self absorption next? Kim Kardashian. Gads. It was enough to make me want to puke every day.

It was more than a month ago when my daughter slipped into my room. It was the evening and I was working on my laptop.  She asked me if I had heard about what happened between my niece and Paris Hilton?

I said, “No, please tell me.”

Apparently the nurse that is taking care of my niece, who currently has cancer, had a brother who is dating Paris Hilton. The nurse told my niece that and my niece didn’t believe her. So this sweet nurse face-timed her brother and gave her phone to my niece.

My niece got to talk with Paris Hilton! Turns out Paris Hilton is an absolute doll. Very sweet and kind. My niece and her chatted for a bit. Then Paris was amazing enough to donate to my niece’s go fund me page. It was quite a nice sum of money.

This puts my perspective on Paris Hilton into a tailspin. I realized that I wouldn’t have been near as gracious to an absolute stranger as she was and I may not have been as generous either.

Now every time I see her picture on the news, internet or in the magazine I realize one thing. She is strikingly beautiful on the outside, but that is just the tip of the iceberg as far as how deep her beauty goes.

 

MY DAUGHTER’S CAT

My daughter is living with me and has been for the past four years while she has been working to get her degree. In addition to my daughter, I have also housed her two felines.

One of her felines is a flame point Siamese cat. This cat is beautiful. He has orange highlights, set against brilliant, silky white fur and bright, sky blue eyes.

He is an inside cat, but he has an identity issue, because he thinks he is an outside cat.

This morning he flew past me as I went out to attend to things on my back patio.

He wanted to eat some grass this morning and there is plenty of grass in my back yard to eat.

Whenever I open the front door, he either sneaks around to stroll through my front bushes or he walks down the sidewalk. He likes to roll on the cement in the hot, summer sun.

Then there are the times I go to my garage and I look down at my feet and yes, he is right underfoot.

I am a bit worried that something may happen to him. We have some dogs in the neighborhood who are under the impression that cats are a free lunch. So, I try to keep him contained in my house. It can be a very time-consuming effort.

So, this morning when he slipped out my initial reaction was to run after him and chastise him while I threw him back inside. I stopped before I got to him. He was just eating grass and sometimes cats need that for their digestion. He was in the backyard and no dogs were around.

I stood there on my back patio, watching the cat and then I looked up at the clear blue sky. A few wisps of clouds hung in the air as if they had been painted on the canvas of sky. I breathed in deeply, noting no wind was trying to steal my breath. A bird flitted through the air and I inhaled the sounds of nature.

As I gazed at the expanse of the sky, I whispered “You are magnificent. You are just magnificent.” I looked at the beauty surrounding me and my heart was filled with gratitude for my God.

Sometimes worship can be in church, but I find fellowship with God is unhindered when I am in the midst of nature. Maybe that is why my daughter’s cat is always slipping outside…

A SKIN CARE MLM

I had just started doing this blog when I met a dynamic woman at a networking event. She was on fire about some skin care cream. It was associated with a MLM company. I asked her if I could have a sample? She said, “Sure!” and handed me one out of a set.

I tried it and to be honest, I didn’t think it worked with my skin type.  However, I got sucked into selling it because it was associated with a Multilevel Marketing group.

Plus, I really liked the woman who had shared a bottle with me. She was a super woman to work with.

There are several aspects of this MLM company that I had concerns about:

The thing about Multilevel Marketing groups is that you got to drink the Kool-aid.  You got to believe that the product is the best thing on the market.

This product did not have that distinction.

The next thing is that you have to be able to sell. I used to be a good salesperson when I was younger, but as I have grown older I have come to relish my solitude.

In any MLM group you pounce on your family and friends and regale them with stories of how this product has transformed your life.

Well, my family wasn’t going to buy it and my friends didn’t want it either. Plus it took being very involved with strangers, which is something I try to limit outside of my working hours.

I threw one party and just a few people came to my house for the presentation. No one bought into the lie. That may be because my friends are pretty smart people. My family members had other priorities also.

So I struggled and prayed. I thought that this may be my ticket to paradise which would be to have a job that I could work from home. That way I could write more hours.

Well, this dream was never realized.

The best thing that could have happened was to develop a friendship with the lady who got me into the group.

That was impossible. I started avoiding her, because all she could talk about was this skin care cream. I wanted to invite her to some events that I had been invited to, but held back because I thought she might be offensive to other people.

I went to a few meetings with the group but soon I had returned to nursing and I didn’t have the time to be gone once a week or even an extra hour to host parties anymore.

I finally came to the conclusion that I did not have the personality for this kind of business. I am a writer first and foremost and writers are somewhat solitary creatures. So I pulled out little by little and eventually ended the relationship with the company entirely.

Every now and then I thought about this company and the people I had met through it. I hadn’t heard much about them lately. I started to search the internet for information. I realized that some of the people that were in my “upline” were getting sued by the owner of the company for quite a chunk of change.

All of the people I knew were now selling a different flavor of  “Kool-aid.” Apparently the owner did not like this so he filed lawsuits against some of the top earners. In fact, that company now has lawsuits coming and going like a wildfire in a California drought.

If I had been wildly successful in that company I may have been named in a lawsuit. Because the lady that was being sued was the best friend of the woman who got me to join.

In Proverbs 16:3 the Bible says: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

I committed my way to the Lord during this time in my life and due to His grace He allowed me to fail. We always think that success is the only path that the Lord blesses. In this instance, I believe He blessed me with failure.

 

GRADUATION

Last week was my daughter’s graduation from college. She graduated with a Respiratory Therapist degree and had a job offered to her at a hospital before she even graduated. She just started working at the hospital this weekend.

I am super duper proud of her because during high school her main subject was “socializing.” She would flit in and out of the house going from one social event to another. She was relatively popular and still has a handful of friends from those days. Her bestie and her have been tight since they were in Junior High.

I have never felt as unpopular as I did while being her mother when she was in high school. She rarely said kind things to me and the glare she could throw me stopped me in my tracks.

Through the past four years, she has been living with me and God has healed our relationship is such a miraculous way. I delight in seeing her as many days as I can. Sometimes she stays with her boyfriend in the city instead of me out in the suburbs. On the weekends when she is staying in the city it gets lonely out in the burbs.

My middle son used to be her target for bullying. She could be cruel at times to him but their relationship had also matured to a point of mutual love. He and his girlfriend were flying in to attend her graduation. When talking with him he mentioned that my daughter’s boyfriend was planning a party to celebrate her graduation.

I didn’t figure I would be invited to this party because I was the parent. So I talked with my boyfriend and we made plans to attend an event in the city.  That way we could be close by, in case anyone needed a ride home, or in any way became uncomfortable.

The week was busy and on Friday, the day of the party, I had planned on taking my daughter, my son and his girlfriend to an art museum. There was just one thing I had to do before I jumped in the car to take them to the museum. I had to check on my bill pay. Apparently, the system I use to pay bills had not processed my payments to two different credit cards. This was the third time they had messed up on my bill pay and it was putting my stellar credit score at risk.

In a bit of frustration, I quickly got on my computer to check the account I had set up to pay my bills. I made some phone calls to Discover bank which does my bill pay. I told them that because of their incompetence I would be closing down all of my dealings with them in a matter of months.

But something else happened when I was checking my bank account.When I got my computer up I saw a flash to the right side of my screen saying that I had been invited to my daughter’s graduation party! I was so excited! Her boyfriend told me later that I had been the first one on the invite list.

Although I was still upset with Discover bank over their incompetence I was thankful to God that He had allowed it to happen on that day. Without the incompetence of Discover bank, I would have missed my daughter’s Graduation party which was a lovely affair.

This brings to mind the well known verse in Romans 8:28 – “For God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”