Category Archives: Honest

Remember when…

The other night my son was over and we were all on the back porch talking about “back in the day.” The conversation consisted mainly of the early years which included the stupid things we all did as kids, teenagers and early adulthood. It also made me think of when I took care of Mama during her last two years of her life. Even though she had dementia and her short term memory was not its greatest, she had no problem remembering even the fine details of things I did growing up that even I forgot! Hahaha! Not to mention she had no problem reminding me of them as well…

It’s interesting to look back at who you were and who you are now. Hopefully, everyone sees growth in themselves. I love thinking back in childhood years about good family times we had and my friends growing up. Even though some of us went different directions, there are still some that have remained true and by my side that I know will be there forever. It’s so neat when we talk and reminisce years gone by and laugh so hard about the mischief we got into.

Ah…but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven. How wonderful it will be to have an eternity with no pain, no sorrow, and no problems. I also thought about what it would be like to be sitting with Jesus and how the conversation might be. One aspect hit me ~ to look at Him and say “Remember when…” and His reply before I would even finish my thought would be “No.” Wow! That was quite a realization. In the Bible we are told that when we ask for forgiveness for our sins it is thrown as far as from the east to the west and remembered no more. So, that ends that conversation right there. The conversation may continue with Him saying “Remember when…” and pointing out something good you did that helped someone else, but it will never be about your mistakes if you have asked forgiveness.

I urge you to think about this concept for a while. Do you ask for forgiveness daily? I know lately I have come shy of asking for forgiveness in my prayers. In Corinthians 13 we are also told that love doesn’t keep count of wrongs. Just as our wrongs will not be thrown up in our face we need to try to live a life where we don’t throw up someone else’s wrongs in theirs. May all of our “Remember when(s)…” be positive and of good times when we speak to each other.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

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Reflections

I looked through my Timehop app and saw photos from when we first bought our home. We made sure everything was brought in one at a time and put up before something else was brought in. It was meticulously clean and organized. As I sat on my back porch and looked around and walked through my office I wondered what happened! I sat in my office looking around and saw pictures of our wedding. You can always see that look of love in the eyes in wedding photos. Years later, life goes on and things aren’t what they were. Yes, the love is still there, but getting caught up in everyday life and its demands, exhaustion is what is seen in most couple’s eyes. The house? Well, it’s still nice but not as organized. It’s lived in. These reflections made me desire days gone by; the thrill and intensity of the love when one first gets married; how wonderful the house looked when first bought, not to mention the smaller sizes I was wearing! My, how time changes things.

Time does change things whether we are aware of it or not. For instance, our home does look better in some ways due to new carpeting and paint. It’s just the hectic part of life that causes it to not get the attention I would like for it to, not to mention my health getting in the way. Love, it’s always there, just different. We all tend to get into our routines that sometimes it can feel empty. Remember when you first got married how every good-bye and hello kiss was so wonderful? Years later, even though the feelings are still there, it’s a peck on the cheek. And of course, as we age our metabolism slows down and all of a sudden those jeans shrunk!!!

Looking back at the photos was a reflection for me; it made me think of how things were and how they are now. Why is there such a difference? We allow the difference a little at a time and before you know it, bam ~ it slaps you down! I sat and thought more about differences and what I may have possibly allowed to dwindle down. The worst one, the amount of time I spend in devotion and in the Word. I’ll never forget how strong I was when I would come home, read some of the Word and also Joyce Meyers’ books. I wasn’t watching TV or on the computer, I didn’t even know about Facebook. I was happy and my faith was strong and there weren’t any dark days. My love for God hasn’t changed and for sure His love for me hasn’t! The difference is how much time I’m not spending with Him relative to how much I was, and how it has affected me, my attitude, my walk ~ my whole life.

So go ahead, have a “throw back Thursday” as they say on Facebook. Take a look back at your spiritual life when you felt closest to God and see what is different now and why. I say it’s time for an old-fashioned house cleaning before the winter sets in. Not just the ‘house’ ~ but ourselves as individuals as well ~ as a parent, as a spouse ~ as a child of the King. If your reflection today isn’t what you want it to be, there’s no better time to change it than today.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

To Be or Not To Be

Famous quote ~ “To be or not to be..” ~ my friends, that IS the question of the day. Lately I have experienced a lot of tragic circumstances in my life, the main being the passing of my mother. I still tend to pick up the phone to call her. Especially on these days that the walls of life seem to feel as if they’re caving in. Yes, I miss her and especially talking with her and getting advice from her; yet, the answers come to me as if she were on the end of the phone ~ always pointing me in one direction ~ God and His Word.

Yes, to be or not to be, it’s all up to me ~ and you. First, let’s take this in the mild top layer, success and happiness. It is totally up to us as individuals whether or not we will be successful and happy. To rely on someone else for either is a mild form of either ignorance or stupidity. Was that blunt and to the point? Yes. Does that make it not true? No. I have to continuously remind myself when I start feeling bummed that it’s up to me to make myself happy. Yes, there are those “low” days and sometimes phases that no matter how hard we try, for some reason we’re feeling bummed. Answer: pray it away. If not for yourself, pray for someone else. Repeat until all better. LOL. Sounds simple, it is. See, there was a time where I hated being alone and one particular night really stands out. I was dating someone who was agnostic and I didn’t want him to leave because I just felt so alone. His response before leaving, “If what you believe is true, you’re never alone.” Wow!!! That truly hit home! Why? Because it is the truth!!! A lot of times our unhappiness comes from the ‘feeling’ of being alone. Put on some good upbeat music, after praying of course, and start dancing, cleaning, whatever may take your mind off of how you ‘feel’ for it’s just that ~ a feeling; and feelings come and go. Tomorrow’s another day.

As always, everything has it’s layers. Let’s take a look at our Spiritual life. To be or not to be an every day Christian ~ yes, that choice is always up to me, and you. What does that mean? Have mercy people, open up your Bibles and read what that means! Loving and forgiving others, giving to those who are in need, not judging others; and the list goes on. Now, some people think that there’s so much you can’t do if you’re a Christian and living a Christian lifestyle. Again, read the Word ~ if you look closely you’ll find there’s a whole lot more do’s than there aren’t don’ts; so if you spend your time doing the do’s you don’t have time to even think about the don’ts. Ever feel like your life isn’t ‘exciting’? Go ahead, start walking everyday with Jesus and get ready for the ride!

Digging down deep now. Let’s take a look at our home lives as spouses. Our marriage, to be or not to be. “Things just aren’t like they used to be.” Nope, sure not. People grow up, have children, responsibilities and all of a sudden there’s the feeling of “I don’t have a life.” My friends, yes you do. That IS life! Satan continuously attacks in the home putting thoughts of what we’re “doing without” and our fleshly desires and he’s good at it. You have to realize it for what it really is. All of us have a tendency at some point or another of bringing up the past when disagreeing. Stop it! Satan wants you to look at the past so you can’t even believe in a wonderful future that God has in store! We’re human. We have flaws and we make mistakes. In 1 Corinthians 13 there is a verse that specifically states, and I’m paraphrasing, that love does not keep count of wrongs. Look it up! That’s God’s instructions! So, at this point we have a choice when we feel like all hope for our marriage is gone: our way or God’s way. To bring this “Christian” lifestyle and thoughts into our marriage will make your decision whether this marriage is to be or not to be.

Yes, we need to look back once in a while so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes. At the same time, don’t pitch a tent and camp there ~ there’s too much of a future ahead of you and you don’t want to miss out on what God has in store for us! God loves you and forgives you daily, show this love to others, especially within your own family. In every aspect of your life you have a choice. To be or not to be ~ you decide.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Where are You?

On June 7, 2014 I received a call I was not ready for ~ my mother passed away. It wasn’t as if it were a total shock for she was 93 years old and had lived a wonderful life. There just wasn’t a forewarning of her going to the hospital, getting worse ~ nothing. I received a phone call from my sister and she told me she had been at Mama’s all day, my only response during her pause was “OK. What’s up? Is anything wrong?” A silence came over the phone and then I heard those heartbreaking words ~ “Mama’s gone.” At that point I fell to my knees in tears as my sister spoke to me trying to help me through the phone line. Assuring words we all hear at this time “She’s in a better place” just didn’t matter at the moment. I am so grateful Peter, my husband, was here that day. I don’t think I could have made it without him. I called my son, my Pastor and friend, Bob Stacy and other family and friends so they would know. Within the next week me, Peter and my son, Marcus, made arrangements and travelled to Florida for the funeral only to turn around and come straight home. The two men in my life were there for me when it mattered the most.

I was expecting a funeral that would be about my mother but it wasn’t ~ it was about salvation. You see, my family meant the world to Mama and in her heart, so did their salvation and their walk with God. She truly lived a Christian life by example and anytime my life went astray she would always tell me I needed to get back into Church, have a long talk with God and get my life straight; not necessarily in that order either!

About a month and a half prior a girl came to my house and while we were talking she opened up to me all of her problems and issues in her life. My response was “So, how is your spiritual life?” This question was asked by Bob Stacy during our marital counseling and I never quite understood it until these last few months. I find myself asking people this question to help guide them back to God and His Word for answers and guidance.

I’m sure by now you are wondering what this has to do with my mother passing away. Nothing. But they do intertwine. I wasn’t prepared for the phone call even though I lived with Mama for a couple years and saw her health decline. Yes, it did help in the grieving for over those two years I periodically broke down as I saw that I was losing my mother. Here’s the question(s): Where are you? Are you prepared to meet Jesus? How’s your spiritual life these days? No, it doesn’t matter what church you were brought up in or belong to ~ how’s YOUR spiritual life? Are you talking with God? Are you in His Word? Are you seeking His guidance?

In closing I would like to remind everyone to take the time and look closely at your spiritual walk with an honest eye. Just as I was not prepared for the phone call, are you prepared for the Angels to blow their horns? If today was the day you would meet Jesus face to face ~ are you ready? Don’t just assume you are, make sure you are ~ know where you are.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Identity Crisis!!!

I don’t know about the rest of you but lately I am going through some serious identity crisis issues! It really boils down to my life changing from being able to live doing anything I put my mind to, to a life of hardly being able to do anything. There’s a big difference in being born with some disabilities than having them occur later in life.

Within the course of my life I have accomplished most anything I put my mind to. Let’s look at the list: President’s Physical Fitness Award, Beta Club, Honor Roll, 1st chair 1st clarinet in band, majorette, A.S. in Computer Programming, B.S. in Biology/Chemistry with a 3.924 GPA, worked in accounting, legal secretary, owned a bookkeeping business, traveled playing piano, recorded CDs, music director for Anni in Theatre, EMT, even a black jack dealer! The list actually goes longer if I look at smaller stuff. Not to mention mother and wife and now Grandma. Hmmm, with this list one would kinda’ wonder where someone could feel insecure and lost? I lost my capability to do most everything overnight. I am finding it hard to be content with “just being”. Since I have played the piano since the age of 5 my self-esteem has always relied on my accomplishments. I have always had a lust for life and living it to its fullest ~ now to find myself spending most of my time sitting watching life go by and not being able to “live” as I once knew life. It can leave one feeling dead while they’re alive.

I think everyone has had this empty feeling from one degree to another. It’s not something that you have to have disabilities to relate to. The feeling of just merely existing. Why does this happen? What causes this? How do we conquer this feeling? Oh yeah ~ like there’s a simple answer to these questions!

One thing we all tend to do is to allow our identity to be what our job is, what car we drive, the income we make, our abilities, etc. And yet, it’s ignorant for us to continually think this way as Christians. One thing I am learning is just how useless I really am. This blanket statement is really for everyone though ~ without God we ARE useless. As Christians our identity is being a child of God, our abilities and everything else are gifts. So, why do we allow ourselves to get hung up in everything else? We’re human. We’re all Peter. Think back to when he was walking on the water. As long as he kept his eye on Jesus he was fine. Once he took his eyes off Jesus he started sinking. That’s basically the answer to all questions in my opinion.

In closing I would like to remind you to keep your eyes on Jesus. If you start feeling bad about your life, your accomplishments, etc. just remember ~ Jesus, the Son of God, came down in human form and was a true humble servant. Should we think we should be more than that? When we get to the core of our lives, we are not here for us, it is not all about us ~ we are here for Him and His purpose.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Dress for Success

I recall reading the book “Dress for Success” back in the late 80’s with instructions on dressing for success in the business world. Everything from the length of your skirts to your fingernails was covered. One thing that I read in the book that really stuck in my pea brain was what was known as “power” colors – black and red. I guess there was a definite need for books on dressing for the corporate world just as there are for etiquette.

When I first became a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant my nightmare started in building my dream. I was to wear dresses or skirts. I am such a tomboy that the only time my husband had seen me in a dress was on our wedding day, at least until Mary Kay came into my life. It was the best decision I had made. Within a few short days, I started becoming the woman I wanted to be without knowing that was my dream. In fact, my husband told me I went through the “Miss Congeniality” transformation overnight! J One thing that was suggested through the years of success by Mary Kay Ashe was to dress for business even when you’re working at home. Sure enough, it does affect how much you get done, your focus, and even affects your conversation while you’re on the phone. I am so grateful for that suggestion – especially today.

It is hard to dress for more than lounging around while taking care of my mother. Usually my day consists of staying inside and no company. Her house is out in the country, so any occasional visitors are family. I knew I needed to get back to writing and remembered the simple suggestion of getting dressed for work even in your home. I sprang up, got a shower and got dressed for work. Writing may not include the same dress as Mary Kay did, but sitting around in lounging outfits had made me want to do just that – lounge around.

As I was getting dressed, and all of these thoughts ran through my mind, I thought of dressing for success as Christians. In Ephesians, we are told all about the armor of God and to wear it daily. So, in our everyday terminology let’s break it down. Are you dressed in God’s armor? Carrying His sword, etc.? As always, I’m going to go another layer deeper. Everyone can picture this outfit (armor). So what about the bling? Ladies, you know what I’m talking about! Guys, you accessorize as well. J In this instance, our accessories are things like our attitude; are we forgiving; are we positive, and that list you can finish without me. The deepest layer ~ are you wearing Jesus? Can someone look at you ~ everything from how you dress, your eyes, your conversation down to your smile ~ and see that Jesus is first and foremost in your life? Can they see Him at all or do you save that face just for church time?

In closing, I urge you to not only make sure you are wearing God’s armor in your daily life, but to accessorize with His Son.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Comparisons

How many times do we continuously, whether conscious or subconscious, compare ourselves to others? It is so human to do especially in this competitive world we live in today. The sad part is when our self esteem is affected by this. Being a woman I can so relate to this!!! Peter is always getting onto me about comparing myself to someone else when I see their figure, smile, and the list goes on. Once again I am reminded that God has made each of us the way we are for a reason and we need to be happy with ourselves. That doesn’t mean not to do the best you can to improve but it does mean don’t compare yourself to someone else.

Now since we’ve touched comparing on the outside and how that can affect your self esteem let’s bring it a little deeper, shall we? How about how we think of whether we are successful or not? Once again, another comparison. Usually people will consider themselves successful by the amount of money and/or assets they have. Even in that sense how do you compare your success? For example, do you compare where you are this year compared to last year, last month, last week, etc.? We need to be careful with how we compare our success but especially by what standards as well. Compare yourself to Will Smith and his success – yeah, well – you see where I’m going with that. As long as you know at the end of the day you have done your best that is success no matter what ‘category’ you think you’re in.

As always there are layers so now we’ll touch real deep ~ thrashing deep. How many people are glorifying themselves as Christians by comparing themselves to others and talking about how they aren’t “stand-up” Christians? There are many that proclaim to be a Christian because they say they believe in God and know the Scriptures. OK, my turn to compare. Satan believes in God AND knows the Scriptures so now, compare yourself to that thought and what makes you stand out differently? Oh, I get it, you go to church. My friends, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian or open the doors to Heaven. Does it help? Of course! It always helps to surround yourself with like-minded people. Also, we are instructed to be around other Christians worshipping. Just always remember though, we are instructed NOT to judge others and where they stand.

You want a real comparison? Compare yourself as a Christian to Jesus. Are you forgiving? Do you love others unconditionally? That list definitely goes on. Being more Christ-like is a goal but also unattainable for we are human and have many flaws. For improvements we compare ourselves to Him but never get discouraged when you do. You can also compare where you are now in your Spiritual walk to where you used to be for a closer look at yourself. Just make sure you’re honest when you do because He already knows the truth.

In closing, I urge you to only compare yourself to you, where you were and who you were to now. Don’t make the constant mistake of comparing yourselves to those of the world or even those you consider Christians. Focus on you for you are the one who will answer to Jesus about your life. One last thought ~ if you truly want to feel and be successful, make a difference in another’s life. Then you have succeeded.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Trust and Honesty

What a powerful topic ~ trust and honesty. There were many values I was raised with and one in particular my father told me was the most valuable thing one has is their name and to make sure you could take it to the bank. That also falls in the same guidelines as honesty. When one is honest they can be trusted. My mother has always told me I’m too honest for my own good. Well, everyone ‘says’ they want honesty; that is, until it’s something they don’t want to hear.

Many relationships fall apart because someone abused the other’s trust. There are marriages ending up in divorce, friendships ending, problems between parents and children and on into the work place as well. This lack of trust isn’t immediately there, one has to do something for this to occur. There are circumstances that make it hard to trust, i.e. abuse, adultery, etc. and in these situations ~ yes, do let experience teach you but try not to make others pay the price for what someone else has done.

Of course we are all familiar in the world of being a child where we weren’t honest with our parents to keep out of trouble and see how much we could get away with. How many times have you heard or said to your child “I just can’t trust you…”? Well, I guess it’s time for me to confess I am definitely familiar to hearing it! I wasn’t always this sweet!! 🙂

Also, be careful who you trust. Remember, Satan was once an angel. The One we can trust explicitly is God!!! All throughout the Word He proves that His promises are always kept. He will be there for you, He will guide your paths and His way is the only right path. The more you spend time in His Word, seeking His guidance and walking daily with Him, the more you will experience that without a shadow of a doubt ~ you can always trust God.

In closing, let’s be honest ~ we can’t rely on ourselves 100%. Talk with God, ask Him to guide you and take that step ~ trust Him with your life.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

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