It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here. Mainly due to being busy: working, traveling, looking for jobs, interviewing, finishing projects, packing, moving, unpacking…. which leads me here.

So, I’m back home in Atlanta! Absolutely love living here and hope to thrive! It’s been a crazy past year. While looking for my new place to call home, I knew I needed affordable, safe, and comfortable, but wanted amenities, convenience, location, and an awesome kitchen. I was able to get it all and more!

This past weekend, I finished moving all my belongings in to my condo. The furniture is placed, and everything else is slowly getting organized. Now it’s time to hang my artwork on the walls…. the fun part…decorating and personalizing. My most favorite piece of art is a photo that was taken in South Africa during my mission trip from the summer of 2004. My college friend, Chris Williams, an artist drew that photo with charcoal on large paper. It’s awesome; he’s such a great artist!  Check him out: http://artbychriswilliams.com/home.html

Art by Chris WilliamsI framed his drawing and have loved it for years now! It’s a reminder of my time in South Africa. My heart immediately broke for the poor and lost people and homeless children of that land. This photo of a woman carrying a bucket on her head while walking back to her shack of a home in a local township, usually reminds me of South Africa. Now, this photo, this art that hangs on my wall, breaks my heart. Literally, breaks me, my heart. I feel like a hypocrite. Here, I am in a hotspot of Atlanta in a really nice home with all these “things.” And, I wonder what’s next.   I have worked hard for my things and have come along way. And graciously, people and friends have helped and given me things along the way. But, this township woman from Alexandria, South Africa…has the few clothes on her, a bucket of water, and who knows what awaits her in her shanty…children perhaps, a few dishes, a dirt floor, tin walls and a roof with holes, no heat, no A/C, etc. The total opposite from my granite counter tops and tiled floored condo with electricity, Wi-Fi and the latest technology. She carries a bucket of water on her head, while I have an Atlanta Braves cap on mine. I’m humbled. Sickening.

As I continued unpacking old boxes, I found some of my journals from college years. I scanned some of them. There was this one entry from 2002, I was writing about a part-time job I had over college break. My boss was very wealthy and had everything and more it seemed. I was assisting her with projects around the house. Here’s a tidbit from that journal entry… While working with this woman, she made this comment to me, “People who have a lot need a lot.” This comment made me want to reverse it to, “People that don’t have a lot, don’t need a lot.”

I want to learn to live with less and not shop just because I “want” something.

Your thoughts?

She passed away two days ago, my great-grandmother.  I didn’t really know her that well.  She lived about 94 years; a long life.  That’s a lot of life that I didn’t get to know; makes me sad.  But, it makes me realize, that she also didn’t get to know me very well.  Might sound selfish; I don’t mean it that way.  But, I think I’m worth knowing, yet I didn’t spend time with her to allow us to know each other in a deeper way.  Regardless of my childhood memories of my extended family and the stories I’ve heard through the years, my great-grandmother is worth knowing!

People are worth knowing!

Cheers to REMEMBERING all my grandparents who have passed and to KNOWING (getting to know) my family and friends (and those to come) in my life!

I love him…my dad…we chatted over the phone tonight (it’s been a while).  He said he loves me.  No matter what!  I’m always his daughter and nothing will change that.  He won’t act any different (regardless of circumstances); He said he loves me the same.  It was good for my heart to hear…a reassuring love.

Left the condo this morning.  Started walking to Starbucks and a homeless man started his pitch for food.  I let him walk with me.  Along the way, I asked him questions (spurring from my sociological interest).  His name is Lionel.  He’s on the streets.  Can’t find work.  He has a lawyer in Decatur working to get him on disability; this will provide him rent/housing.  He eats during the week at the Atlanta Mission.

I told Lionel I’d get him something from Starbucks.  He requested anything with meat.  Out of their small selection, I chose a turkey sandwich and orange juice for him.  I got my usual grande caramel frappuccino and sat with him on the patio.  He had a cell phone.  Said it was a food stamp phone thanks to Obama.  I silently questioned this.  I, of course, looked online for validity.  I had no idea getting food stamps or Medicaid makes one eligible for a free cell phone.

While eating and chatting, I discovered an interest of Lionel’s is to make money by washing cars.  I asked why he’s not doing it.  He only has a backpack and nowhere to store a hose, bucket, etc.  He also gets denied from businesses for using their space.  This type of work seem to excite him.  I told him I’d ask a local gas station if their parking lot could be used for a car wash.

I left Starbucks and walked up to the corner gas station.  Pitched the idea to assist the homeless for work and food by having a car wash.  Immediately they were on board and asked when.  I said weekends would be best.  They then said, “how about Sunday?”  So tomorrow, we are having a car wash!  Pretty cool if you ask me.  I don’t know how it will turn out; not sure how many cars will get washed or how much money will be made.  But, we’re going to give a try!  If you’re in the area, stop on by.  $3 for a hand car wash and $2 extra for tire shine.

So, I figured the money made from the car wash will get dispersed as follows:  I’ll get reimbursed for the car wash expenses, give some money to the gas station for water usage, donate some back to the Atlanta Mission and the rest will be split between the car washers.  I’m thinking to buy them gift cards for food and train/bus fare, instead of cash.  Your thoughts?

If you give away everything, then you have nothing to lose.  This is something I quoted to myself during my college years.  The quote was prompted by a bad car accident I was in during my freshman year of college.  Vehicles were crushed.  I lost time and college credit.  My freshman year cut short due to recovering from the fractured disc and physical therapy.  But, I made it out alive, all of us did.  We weren’t lucky.  We were meant to be – we were meant to live!  Every now and again, something happens and I am reminded of the quote.  Give away everything – nothing to lose.  I love it; it puts things into perspective simply for me.

I’ll admit in college, this view of mine was a little skewed.  Some didn’t (and some still won’t) agree with my giving away everything perspective as if not caring about the loss.  I don’t mean giving yourself away, not having dignity or losing yourself.  It’s just a way of looking at things, having a different perspective on the situation prompting the loss.

I’ve lost a lot in my life.  We all have.  My first memorable loss was my childhood innocence, a very defining loss.  The way I see it, that loss prompted spiritual wholeness, provided growth and forgiveness, and makes me more of who I am and who I chose to be now.  It makes me remember I’m in need of grace and allows me to rise above my past.  I refuse to be held back.  I chose to be free and move forward for my future.

Another sort of loss – My MacBook Pro was stolen out of my office at work a couple of weeks ago while I was in a meeting.  When the campus police informed me, I had to tell myself that it was a tangible object that can be replaced.  Thankfully, the police found the guy and recovered my laptop within a couple of hours.  No harm done.  Of course, some good came from this:  the guy had several warrants out for his arrest-he’s currently incarcerated, our office is more secure now, and I was reminded to back up my photography and to get my business digitally organized.

What prompted the post this morning?  I came across Matthew 5:39, “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil.  But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”  Immediately, I thought about circumstances at work where I felt “slapped in the face.”  For so long, I’ve not been turning the other cheek.  Feeling misled and disappointed from empty promises – I’ve been letting frustration build up, resenting my boss and my work environment.  Not healthy!  So, I’m reminded to turn the other cheek, to not retaliate, and to “give it all away.”  Meaning, to not let my boss take away my respect, purpose or joy.  I need to make the most of the situation and continue to look for opportunities.  I sometimes find myself willing to lose it all, even my job.  I know it’s not the end to all.  There’s always something more, and better!

When I was walking home from work yesterday, I was caught in a thunderstorm.  I wouldn’t have minded walking in the rain, but I had my laptop etc with me.  I took shelter in one of the downtown building lobbies to wait out the storm.  I was there for almost two hours…on a Friday evening.  What?!  I decided to own it.  Call it down time (which I never have).  Time for reflecting.  Waiting.  It wasn’t lost time or wasted.  I needed this “down time” and what better way to be forced into it, while listening to the rain and watching the lightning display.

Give away everything.  Everything:  time, pride, money, belongings, respect, car, spirit, home, life, everything.  Nothing technically belongs to me anyway.  We all share, we barter, we give, we take from each other.  But, in the end, eternity matters.  Eternity makes a difference in what I have or what I need, especially here in the moment.

Hope is what I need; it’s what I have – and no one can take that away from me.  It’s spiritual.  Hope was given to me.  It’s mine and for me.  No one can take away my hope.  Eternally speaking, I have everything to gain.  I have nothing to lose.

More loss – I’ve lost grandparents and friends; death is hard.  Inevitably, there will be more loss to come; it’ll be my perspective that identifies the loss and my hope that conquers.

We have and we lose…we also have a lot to gain.  Has someone taken something from you?  Do you give?  Would you give it all away to gain something more?

To do what you love is freedom, but to love what you do is pleasure.

Do you agree?  Your thoughts…?

Recently, I found out that one dear friend from college gave birth to her first child and another sweet friend lost her precious mother.  So many emotions for each of these families.  Life leads to death and dying leads to living (in an eternal perspective).  I get caught up in cycles until reality hits home and I’m brought back to the raw, flesh, realness of “life”, of eternity, of things greater than myself.  To the Yancies, you’re a beautiful family-love and protect one another.  Baby Geo (Happy Birthday, Geo) is precious and I pray a long healthy life of wisdom and godliness for him.  To my sweet friend, Raquel, your mom, Ms. Debbie, showed me a love I didn’t understand.  She loved and cared for me no matter the circumstance…a love that I think she acquired from you, which is ultimately from Jesus.  She is home now.  Sending my love and prayers.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives!

Everyone seems to have a priority or a goal to attain…something they say they “need”.  Fame, money, identity, love, family, or even an office with a window.  What is it that you want or “need”?

Beach water pier

Sunshine is free!  Wake up and be thankful to start a new day!

Woke up this morning thinking about being outside.  Just had a dream I was in a grassy field picnicking with friends celebrating each other and a birthday.  The dream reminded me of a rolling grassy hilltop overlooking the mountains of West Virginia..I miss that weekend.

I miss being outside in the sunshine and soaking up nature.  I love being in the city, but I miss the sights and sounds of water and birds chirping and hiking trails that lead to anywhere and campfire smells and granola, etc.

I said in my dream I needed to get up to the AT.  I think it’s about time for a weekend getaway.  It’ll be fun to take the Jeep up to the mountains.  And my camera too, of course!

Get in some hiking and camping time…Nature rejuvenates me.

Looking forward to a refreshing weekend.

Anticipating more pines!

After moving into my new place, I decided to purchase some new furniture.  So this morning, I was home waiting for my couch to be delivered.  Anticipating the delivery, and needing to get back to work, I found myself staring out the corner windows looking for the delivery truck…

After a while, I caught myself looking at every type of truck passing by hoping for my couch to come sooner than later.

I was surprised at the amount of trucks so early in the morning.  Trucks delivering for Icehouse, InLand Seafood, Thomas ConcreteHome DepotUPS, FedEx…and of course, the Penske and U-haul moving trucks passed by.  So much freight transporting in and through the city…I love my busy corner of Midtown.

…and…at last, my couch delivered!  🙂

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"As you journey through life, choose your destination wisely, but don't hurry there. You will arrive soon enough. Wander the back roads, the forgotten paths, the unknown ways, as you keep your dreams in your heart as the light that guides you.

Seek out new voices, strange sights, and bold ideas. Such things are riches for the soul.

And if, upon your arrival, you find that your destination is not exactly what you dreamed it would be, don't be disappointed. Think of all you would have missed if not for the journey there, and know that the true worth of your travels lies not just in where you've come to be, but in who you became along the way."

~Linda Staten

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