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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.

Be Still…

Yesterday had to be one of the roughest days I’ve had in quite a while. Usually I like to write blogs that will encourage and be uplifting. As I spoke with my pastor yesterday he recommended that I blog. I would love it if my life was always rosy and I never had any dark moments; that just isn’t reality. We all have those from time to time, no matter how strong we are.

 As we have all experienced with relationships, there tends to be seasons as well. Recently, it has just felt like a cold, bitter winter at home. Realize the key word is “felt”. The problem was the actions because of the feeling. Another big part of my life ~ my book. The enemy is doing everything possible to discourage me and yesterday I reached the point of ‘why try?’. Yes, your uplifting blogger/author who has written about these times forgot her own words she wrote in her book and previous blogs. Then there’s the J-O-B. There is new management there and going back after being out for a while with a pinched nerve ~ it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right to me anymore. Again, the word ‘feel’ comes into play. On top of all of this my back is keeping me from taking care of a lot of things that need my attention!

Needless to say by the end of the day I was in tears and a wreck. I called Bob Stacy (my pastor) and we spoke. I told him how hard it is for me when I’m doing everything I can and it seems like no one else is doing their part (at least what I think they should be doing). I followed up saying “I don’t know what to do.” Bob replied, “Yeah, what can you do?” The words immediately went through every fiber of my being and out of my mouth ~ “Be Still…”

I seem to constantly be getting this reminder from God through every day trials. When I speak to others I always say “God’s got this!” and it’s repeated back to me over and over. Practice what you preach ~ that’s the lesson. As I continue to write and talk with others about having faith in God more trials come my way testing my own faith. Do I fail? I’m human ~ that’s why I hit the dark spots. That’s also why God puts others around us to help us up when we fall and need that encouragement, compassion, prayer, and even phone hugs. I remembered in James 1:1-2 we’re told to be happy and thankful for the trials. Through the tears I thanked God for the words He sent to me.

 How is everything today? I am much better! I listened when the Holy Spirit gave me the words ~ “Be still…” When things are chaotic, you’re trying your hardest, nothing is turning out as you need/want it to….just be still… You see, after you’ve done everything you can, just be still…leaving the rest up to God and watch what He does.

 I will close by dramatically quoting Psalm 46:10

 “Be still, and know that I…..AM…..GOD;”

 This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

It’s Not Logical!

Many times over we as humans need something to make logical sense in our pea brains. Yet, the two major aspects I find in the Bible spoken of over and over doesn’t have any logic ~ faith and love. To “walk in faith” of an unknown God is held very true to my heart, yet doesn’t necessarily ‘fit’ into the logical realm of things. Love ~ it’s never logical! Ask yourself why you fell in love with your spouse. Again, there’s no logic to a feeling that you know with every fiber of your being to be real.

Sadly enough, many people choose to disbelieve in God because of the logical thought process. No matter how much people can debate back and forth on evidence, it isn’t logical. Even as a Christian I can say it isn’t logical and I DO believe and have faith! (I also love my husband. Hahaha!) In fact, when we met he wasn’t working so if I would have gone by ‘logic’ we never would have gotten married. When people asked me why I said it was because he brought me coffee. But, there was a connection with him I had never had with anyone else for no logical reason, yet it was there. At that time I let my walls down and got bit by the love bug. I had loved before and found I had never been ‘in love’ until that point in time.

As a Christian, I’ve always believed but it wasn’t until I broke my back and was alone on top of a mountain that I once again, let whatever walls down I wasn’t aware I had up, and got to know Jesus ~ I mean really have a relationship with Him. Some may say it was because I needed something to cling onto. Well, it remained the same once I got off my back ~ literally! We all go through spurts where our spiritual walk is better than at other times. I know I have since then and yet I still have that deep love for Him. Logical? You answer it.

I do know that many times over I giggle about the “illogical” aspects. Hear me out. An entity to speak words and the universe is created ~ and to top that one off, He already knows our history and future before creation! We are to walk in faith and believe in someone we haven’t seen or touched. OK, from the outside looking in logic has no place in belief. That IS where faith comes in. The last half of John 20:29 says “…Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” (MSG) Reading that assures me that I AM BLESSED!

I will close with this one statement. For those who believe no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

It’s the Little Things

My birthday was in April and it was the hardest day I have experienced in a long time. It was the first time I didn’t have Mama to call and sing me Happy Birthday. Sound silly to you? Well, in a way it did to the logical side of me as well. At the same time, I found myself crying on and off all day for it really made me miss Mama even more. I also realized how much it meant to me that she did that every year. Just a simple phone call and her singing to me. When I was working and she couldn’t reach me she would still sing Happy Birthday on my answering machine at home or voice mail on my cell. Another hard lesson how much the little things in life really do matter and not to take them for granted.

Many times over I have heard girls speak of the expensive gifts their boyfriend / husband got them. When I was asked why I married Peter my answer was, “He brings me coffee in bed.” The days I’m in extreme pain he gets me an ice pack and moves my heat pad to the living room so I can at least lie on the couch and watch TV. He may despise some of the little things he has to do when I’m laid up, but sooner or later he will get to it. So many little things day after day that seem to go unnoticed, and probably do once in a while; it’s these little things we need to remember when times get hard.

Recently, everything that could go wrong has. The enemy has been attacking us from every direction from health to finances. It’s time to remember the little things that God has always done for us during these times. For example: the many times He calmed my storms when I have been close to a seizure, the many times He has provided financially at the last minute, the time He sent an officer to help us out of a ditch we slid into on an icy road, and the list goes on and on. Every day God blesses each of our lives but because it’s not a major bush burning experience we tend not to pay attention to the little things He is doing and working in our favor.

I want to take the time to urge you to STOP! Stop worrying and start praying and praising. Take the time to remember when He has been there for you to help you through the times you are going through now. Start living in faith instead of talking about having faith.

This is Devaughn ~ bringing it home.

Investments

I am finding that people in our society today have become more materialistic than I have ever imagined. For example, it’s “cool” if you invest any money in a new car but take the same amount and invest it into your health, your smile, etc. and you’re considered foolish. Every dime we make is invested one way or another and we choose whether it is going to be something to benefit us for the long haul or to satisfy a fleshly craving. Of course, who doesn’t want the brand new car and/or European vacation and/or two week cruise?! We all want these things! As I get older I realize that where my money is invested is more and more important. Almost a toss up sometimes ~ be cool for a little while with newer things or be healthier longer. I choose the not so popular ~ healthier.

As we have also always heard time is money so how we invest our time is even more valuable than we consider. Do you spend too much time on the internet or Facebook? I know I have gotten caught up in it a few times. So, as always, let’s look a little deeper. Are you investing any time at all in your spiritual growth? How about checking the Word in the mornings to see what message God has for you BEFORE you check your emails, Facebook, etc. We are all guilty of this and can all use some improvement. How much time is spent talking with Jesus in your daily life? Do you pray often or more like an emergency room Christian ~ only when there’s a crisis. Prayer every day is really preventive medicine ~ helping our spiritual health.

I am going to encourage all of you throughout December to start incorporating Christ into your every day life and not just on Christmas. Let’s start little by little changing some of our routine to include Him. By starting this now, more like tomorrow being December 1st, by the time the new year arrives we’re already there! New Year ~ New You!

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Damaged

How many of you like to shop second hand stores? I know I do!!! Especially the thrift stores that still has the tags on brand name items, there’s just a minute flaw that hardly anyone could see! A lot of times the truth behind the saying “Another man’s garbage is another man’s treasure” comes into play as we hit garage sales, estate sales, consignment stores, etc. Now, there’s two different views that go with this ~ one is the shock that someone would actually get rid of something so wonderful and the other is the sales associate who can’t believe we’d want something with flaws. If we didn’t cherish “things” with flaws how can we love another human being? We’re all full of flaws!

As I’m heading towards the end of my manuscript to be submitted I realize that a large portion of my book I have put myself out there for everyone to know my mistakes, heartaches, flaws, etc. Once someone asked me why I would do that, let everyone know all about me. Well, I answered honestly. I just told him/her that my mother already knows everything about me and still loves me so what do I have to be afraid of? God still loves me!

Many times over so many people have gone through so much in their lives they consider themselves “damaged goods.” I know I did for a long time. Even though I didn’t say it, my subconscious was continuously reminding me how horrible I was because of all of my mistakes. Subconscious? More like the enemy! In a conversation with Rick Curren, III, I was asked “When did you make that conscious decision that you don’t deserve better?” That really hit home. I mean, I really had to look hard in my rear view mirror and realize when I did. It wasn’t a matter of “if”, my life already showed I “did.” Then came the reminder from my roots ~ Jesus thought I was worth it ~ why didn’t I?

One last thought ~ if Jesus thought we were worth dying for then why do we ever have low self-esteem? He knew we were damaged and yet gave his life for us! So, the next time you doubt whether you’re good enough, look at your past to evaluate who you are, etc. remember, Jesus loved you before you were born. He died so you could have salvation, He knew exactly every mistake you’d make and all of your flaws yet you were still worth dying for. You were worth it to Him.

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.

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