Some days, it’s easy. I get up, I put on my big girl pants and I bang out the things on my to-do list.

Other days, I get up, put on my big girl pants, get to work and hit a wall. A GIANT WALL. Think Great Wall of China wall.

Yesterday was the second type of day.

great wall of china

You see, I am building something that is so much bigger than I am. I have a purpose. I am going to take people on a journey. This journey scares the heck out of the enemy. Huh? What are you talking about Deneen? I’m glad you asked.

A long time ago, I read a book by Rick Joyner called The Final Quest. In the book, he describes an army of people, being led around in a group. There are birds herding the people, crapping on their heads. The crap numbs the people so they just keep walking around and around. This is what I see going on all around me…people numbly walking around, barely engaging in life, doing what is expected of them.

As I was just sitting down to start my work for the day, I got a phone call. I won’t go into details, but it shook me. You see…I had an expectation that as I was going through this process, that it would require hard work, but that there wouldn’t be too many road bumps. HAHAHAHA. You know what they say…you make a plan and God laughs.

Well, this phone call sent me right to bed. I literally shut down the computer and went to nap. Then, I heard a very quiet voice say to me, “Since when do things ever happen the way you plan? Do you not realize that I have so much more for you than you can imagine?”

Well, I got my butt right up out of that bed and got to work.

I had a decision to make. Choice A–I could sleep, keep my head under the covers and wait for utter doom and destruction to fall upon me or Choice B–I could get off my ass, put in a few hours and get back on track.

You face the same decisions on a daily basis. It may not be about starting a business that will turn into a movement. Maybe for you it’s calling your doctor to check out that weird spot on your arm. Maybe it’s setting a boundary around yourself to protect yourself from a toxic person. Maybe it’s polishing off your resume so that you can find a job that doesn’t steal your soul. Maybe…well….you can fill in the blank here.

Wherever you are in your journey, do yourself a favor. Do your loved ones a favor. Do me a favor. Do. Not. Quit. Do the hard things because one day, you’ll thank yourself.

do it

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Take a knee

GUWG-Kneel-2

Back when I was a kid, players took a knee when they were in a huddle, listening to their coach give directions for the game, for the next play. Players also took a knee when there was an injury on the field.

This weekend, a couple hundred NFL players took a knee.

It is your right, as an American, to take a knee for the National Anthem. Men and women fought and fight, to this day, for you to have that right. Do I agree with you doing so? HELL NO. Both of my grandfathers and my father served in the military. I have many, many friends who served or who are serving in the military. I feel like you’re spitting on my grandfathers by doing so…but it is your right.

46895107-military-pics_1200x

The question I have, though, is what are you accomplishing my taking this knee?

If y’all want to truly create change for the plight of black people in this country, you have to take a look at the inner cities. Kids in the inner city need strong male role models. After you play your game, invest some of your time and your $$$ into a program in the city to encourage kids to stay in school; invest in an after school program with qualified tutors to help bridge the education gap.

How is it that the communities have been ravaged to the point that they are?

We have to stop being so emotional about racism and attack this problem with logic.

I’m sure someone will tell me that is white privilege speaking. That’s cool…you don’t know my story, but if it makes you feel better to say such things, that’s your right. See the First Amendment of the Constitution of the US.

Here are some questions that we need answered if we are going to logically come together and solve these problems.

  • Who contols the cities?
  • Who holds the purse strings of the cities?
  • Who pads the bank accounts of so-called public servants?
  • Who has been in contol of creating the standards for our failing education system?
  • Who gives them the money to fund the substandard standards?
  • Who gave the media the contol of the narrative?
  • When did the media start controlling the narrative instead of reporting the news in an unbiased manner?
  • Who is the puppeteer and who is the puppet?

puppeteer

I am not denying that there are racist assholes out there, or that racism is not real. There are and it is. Naming racism is a start…but if we just keep crying racism and do not make changes outside of that, we’re like dogs chasing our tails.

Maybe it’s prophetic that so many NFL players took a knee this weekend. Our country is seriously injured. We all need to be on our knees praying for our country.

 

 

 

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It’s GO time!!!

My day started with a squeak. Ok…a series of squeaks. 

Let me backtrack. I have a crippling fear of rodents. I don’t know why or where it came from…but they freak me out. Last year I had a mouse situation. That little guy lived IN MY STOVE!!!!! I was literally afraid to enter my kitchen. 

My landlord set up traps. He sealed any holes between me and the outside world. He made my houseguest disappear. 

This morning, I walked into my kitchen to take my morning supplements, and I heard a squeaking. I pretended not to hear it. Then…I opened my pantry door, saw what I saw, screamed expletives and RAN OUT OF THE KITCHEN. I texted my landlord to come deal with the problem and exiled myself at a local coffee shop. 

I woke up fearful, sullen and all over mopey. Fear of an itty bitty rodent pushed me out of the house and into productivity.  Huh?

You see, I’ve been allowing my fears to keep me in my place. Today, I pushed through and made more progress in five hours of exile than I have in 6-8 weeks. Today, I decided that I need to share what I have inside me with the world. Today, I put my guts into an outline. 

This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where I put my actions where my words are. This is GO time

While I hope that mouse is now in mouse heaven with all of his little ancestors, I’m thankful for that bigger scaring me out of my house…and out of my comfort zone. You see…this is the part where I find out who I am. 

READY. SET. GOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

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The power of a smile

A million years ago, I had a friend/coworker named David. That guy was always so bloody happy…I never understood it. He was always quick with a smile, ready to listen. 

I, on the other hand, was always scowling. It wasn’t necessarily intentional. I just didn’t smile all the time. 

I didn’t have a valid reason to be unhappy. I wasn’t depressed. I just wasn’t overflowing with joy. 
As I’ve aged like a fine wine, I’ve learned the value of a smile. In the city, it disarms people…and I know, for me, when someone smiles at me, it can literally change my day. 

This morning, I almost got run over by someone while in a crosswalk. Let’s not discuss how he was on the phone and wearing an Eagles jersey!😝 On the next block, a gentleman smile and gave me a hearty good morning. 

I have a choice. Am I going to let a ride, careless driver dictate my mood, or the smiling man? I’m choosing smiles all day long. 

Now, go on and smile at someone. 

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Real Talk

Ready for some real talk? I’m on the struggle bus right now. I’m questioning every bloody thing that I do…and most decisions I’ve made in my life. 

But…I have to trust the journey I’m on. I feel kind of like the Israelites in Exodus. Moses led them out of slavery, out of captivity…but when the going got tough…those crazy cats wanted to go back to Egypt…to be enslaved…because being beaten and tortured was better than the unknown. 
I started reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly which, honestly, has pulled more scabs off wounds than I even knew I had…and I thought I had a good inventory of such things! Shame. Vulnerability. Vulnerability is actually strength, not weakness. What? You mean that fortress around my heart is weakness? But it’s my friend…my constant companion…sorry…but that’s what is literally going on right now between my heart and my head. 

That scripture has taken on a whole new meaning the past few days. I used to think that it meant that you fall in love with the wrong person…or it leads you in the wrong direction on occasion when you follow your intuition. 
Well…my heart wants so desperately to keep me from shame and vulnerability that it has erected a wall that would put the Great Wall of China to shame (pun semi-intended.) That wall is starting to crumble, and my heart is freaking out, dancing a frenetic dance with my brain, spewing lies that I thought I had dealt with long ago. 

You see…in this moment, I had a few choices to make. I could’ve denied this, written a cheerful blog about something fun and inspiring…or I can share my struggles with you. None of us is perfect. None of us has it all figured out. We’re all on this journey together. 

Some days we’re on a double decker bus tour seeing the most beautiful sites the eye can imagine…and some days we’re on the broken down struggle bus choking on the fumes it spews. 

My message is this: trust the journey. Trust the One who sent you on the journey. If you’re struggling, reach out to someone. Likely…there is someone in your life who can empathize. 

Have a fantastic Saturday! 

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Who’s in your tribe?

I live in a city of a couple million people. There are times that life in the city is fantastic. People from nearly every culture are represented. My city is infamous for its sports fans. I mean, who throws ice balls at Santa? Oh yeah…Eagles fans 🤦‍♀️

But I digress. I’ve lived in this city for 8-9 years now. You’d think I’d have a teibe here, right? It’s very small. You can count them on 1 hand. Seriously. Not counting the thumb. 

You have to be very careful with who you let in your inner circle. Jesus had levels of intimacy. He had the twelve disciples, then he had the three he was super close to, then he had John. 

I have a close knit tribe…but they are located all over the country. Pennsylvania.  New York. California. Dallas. Virginia. New Jersey. These are people that, if I need to, I can call upon any time of day or night. And they can call upon me at any time. 

One of the most important things in life is having a tribe of people around whom you can be completely vulnerable. You laugh together. You cry together. You celebrate one another’s successes. You mourn the losses and help one another up. The song Lean on Me says it best 😊

So, who’s in your tribe? 

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What’s worth the risk? 

So, yesterday I made a huge stride forward. I opened my business account. I got an email address that isn’t a gmail address. I set up merchant accounts so that, very soon, I can start pre-selling my course in BETA form. 

Then…fear crept in. Doubt crept in. Stealthy bastards, the two of ’em. 

You see, I have spent most of my life living the life that was expected of me. Went to church. Went to college. Went to work day after day. Then one day, I literally couldn’t do it for one more minute. 

I decided that I had to give being an entrepreneur a go. I have words, stories, stuff inside of me that needs to get out into the world. 

So…I quit my job. For the last month and a half, I’ve been learning, processing, and building something that is going to help people. 

And you know what? If it never takes off…and I have to try something else…at least I had the guts to try. 

What is something that you need to do, to try, even if you fail? 

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Soul on fire 🔥 

What keeps you up at night? What wakes you up at 3AM from a dead sleep? What would have you jumping out of bed in the morning? 

I’ve had a LOT of time to ponder these things. The thing is that the core of my “why” hasn’t changed…but the way that these things are going to be brought into being has changed. 

Years ago, the pastor of my church did a series on kings vs priests. At the time, all I wanted was to be a missionary. I had gone on a few mission trips…and the power of God was intoxicating. When I told my pastor this, he looked me dead in the eye and told me, “Deneen, you’re a king.” 

I should backtrack for a second. The premise of the sermon/series was that there are people who are destined to be priests…to be in ministry full time. Their primary purpose is to spread the gospel, to be a pastor. 

Then there are kings. Their function is to work…to be out in the word, still spreading the gospel but earning money. 

When he told me that I was a king, I was devastated. I was so unhappy with my work life. Deeply dissatisfied, to say the least. 

I spent the next decade slogging along, enjoying parts of what I was doing…interacting with patients, educating them on dentistry, helping to teach dentists to place dental implants…but not fulfilling my purpose. 

You see…I love helping and connecting with people, and I love teaching people. I’m still sad my “I ❤️ flossing” group never took off…lol…but I do love that I helped people start a habit that can prevent major disease. 

Recently, I’ve come to understand what he was saying. I am discovering what it means to be a king. I am no longer ashamed or sad because of what my calling is. I’m actually pretty excited to see what is to come. It’s gonna be AWESOME!!!! 

What sets your soul on fire? 

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What do you see?

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? When you look inside of yourself, what do you see?

You see, I don’t give shit what you look like on outside. YOU ARE INNATELY BEAUTIFUL. You know how I know that this is true? Because YOU have the fingerprint of God on you. When you were formed in your mother’s womb, God put His mark on you. You were born for a purpose. Because He made you, You are BEAUTIFUL.

I know this may be hard to take. I was programmed throughout my life to believe that I was fat, that I was lucky that I was smart. I literally had a relative SAY that to me. “Deneen, you’re lucky you’re the smart one.” I had another relative look at a picture SHE took tell me, “Wow, look at all of those rolls!”

With family like that, who needs enemies, right? 

Some of the most stunning people I know would be passed by if you were to judge them on their looks alone. They have hearts made of gold. They are kind, generous, supportive, talented. They invest in other people without expectation of a return on that investment. That is what makes someone beautiful.

One day you’re going to get old. Your boobs are going to sag. You’re going to get some wrinkles. You’re going to slow down. Yes, I know that there are things that you can do to prevent or slow down these things…but inevitably you are going to age.

You know what won’t age? Your spirit. Your kindness. Your goodness. The image of God imprinted on you.

Today, I want you to look yourself in the mirror, and I want you to compliment yourself. If you can’t figure out somethings, tell yourself that Deneen says you’re beautiful. Say it until you believe it. Got it?

you are beautiful

 

 

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Words matter

 

Do you stop and take stock of how you speak about yourself? I mean, really listened to yourself? Do you listen to how others talk about themselves? We are really mean to ourselves.

I won’t wear a bathing suit because my legs are fat.
I’ll never be successful, so I’m going to go back to (insert it here.)
I’ll never find someone great who’ll love me, so I’ll accept (insert bad behavior here.)
You’re going to think I’m crazy, but…
I know this is a dumb question,but…

STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!!

You see, by saying these things, you are creating your reality. What’s worse, is you’re telling me how I should feel about you. If that means nothing to you, realize that you are insulting ME by saying those things about yourself. If I value you enough to spend time with you of my own volition, then that means that I care about you. I care enough about you to let you know that what you’re doing is hurting both of us.

Today, I challenge you to take a step back and really think about the way that you talk about yourself. Are you unhappy with your life, with your job, with your significant other? Take responsibility for the way that you talk about you and see if those things don’t change. I mean…what can it hurt, especially if you’re already unhappy.

stop it

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