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Who Do You Listen To?

In March I pinched a nerve and was laid up for quite a while. Only recently was I able to go back to work and only light duty for 3-4 hours at a time. I am happy because I’m finding that each day I can do a little more without bad pain! Praise God! My first day back was great! I felt like I came home seeing familiar faces. There were new faces as well but it was great seeing everyone again. Our GM passed away in July and it was the first time I worked without him. He was wonderful at what he did and who he was. So, here I go back happy to see everyone and anxious to get back into the swing of things. Needless to say, the swing wasn’t what I was familiar with. Of course, there’s always some drama in every workplace. I got bombarded with so much just a short amount of time back I didn’t know who to believe! As always, I sat back and watched and let the truth unfold.

Just this experience made me think of life itself. We all have those “voices” that tell us right from wrong ~ but which one do we listen to? Do we justify our actions and words by telling ourselves lies or by convincing ourselves that it’s not really that “wrong” (whatever ‘that’ is)? These are some powerful questions for all of us, definitely worth taking time to think about.

Recently, I was counseling someone and spoke about finding strength and peace in God and His word. She mentioned she had a Bible app and devotionals. All of that is great ~ but, my first instruction was to get rid of the technology and pick up the Book. Yes, you read correctly. Many times over we find ourselves so caught up with technology that we listen constantly to others on videos, their thoughts, etc. Pick up the Bible itself, hold it close to you. There’s something supernatural that happens every time I pick up the Bible itself; then more so by reading it.

I want to urge everyone to take the time away from what everyone else is saying and listening to ‘their’ thoughts and words. Pick up the Bible and let God speak to you; especially in today’s world with so many wrong teachings of His word. The Bible has answers for every question about what you need to do when you have questions. You may not like the answer but it’s there. We always ask other people what to do, what they believe, etc. and yet He is the last one that is turned to for answers and guidance instead of being the first one we should go to. So, in closing I ask you ~ who do YOU listen to?

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

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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.

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.

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.

When Tears Fall

Last night I was blessed by chatting with some Facebook friends I have made in the Philippines. One of them being a young girl whose parents’ home was destroyed in the typhoon. It now appears that her college will have to wait and this saddens her. She is truly devoted to her family and is trying to find a job to help. As she put it ~ a lot for a 17 year old.

We chatted for a couple of hours, which for me turned into wee hours of the morning due to time difference. My fatigue today and pain in my hands (arthritis) from typing so much was well worth it. Everyone wants to be strong and doesn’t want to let others see them cry. Crying is seen by most as a weakness but not in my book. It actually takes courage to cry and admit to yourself that you’re sad and/or emotionally exhausted. I also can never see crying as a weakness for in the Bible is the shortest verse ~ “Jesus wept.” Jesus was not weak in any way and yet even he cried.

The physical aspect of when someone cries is an emotional release which is healthier than keeping things bottled in. Stress builds up when negative emotions keep piling up which will harm the body. So yes ~ cry, scream, go take a walk, get into a cleaning frenzy ~ whatever works for you to release everything. It’s only after you do that your mind clears and you can start taking positive actions.

Life is full of it’s ups and downs. It is boot camp for heaven for it’s through these trials we learn to walk in faith. We always want to ‘fix’ things and this frustration comes when we find we’re not succeeding. The problem here lies we aren’t turning it over to God. My point of view is to turn it over to Him, he’s up all night! If He can create this whole universe I’m sure my issues are a walk in the park.

In closing ~ it’s when we feel we’re reaching the end of our limits when tears begin to fall. That is also the point at which God can start doing something because you finally are letting go of it.

God Bless you all ~ and may you let Him wipe away your tears.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Raw Diet

With Thanksgiving coming up in two days everyone is planning their meals and beginning to prepare their side dishes for everything to be ready and on the table for the yearly feast. The Thanksgiving Dinner has been a tradition for many years which follows with the agony of overstuffing yourself. I am sure there are many of us who never learn the lesson to eat moderately and we eat to the point that our bodies cannot hold anymore ~ then we follow up with dessert. 🙂

This is about the only time, other than Christmas dinner, people nowadays take the time to prepare a home cooked meal. In today’s fast-paced world running through a drive through and grabbing some fast food for dinner has become more and more common. Along with eating the fast food comes the decrease in society’s health. Scientific studies have shown this over and over. The people who live in what we consider ‘poor’ countries survive with raw diets, fruits and vegetables and nuts, and by far healthier. For most of us it takes the decline of our health to really start doing something about our diet, not just how much we eat but what we eat as well. More and more it is becoming popular to eat a raw diet and people are experiencing those side effects ~ they are healthier!

In our spiritual life our diet, if you will, is what we put into our minds. Take a close look at what music you listen to, TV shows you watch, etc. and do a reality check of how positive they are. God’s Word is the best ‘diet’ one can mentally have, to engrave His words into your heart and mind. Take a little closer look though. Even with the Word there is what I call ‘fast food’ and ‘raw diet.’ There are many who will be reading and come across a scripture that really hits home, something they don’t want to hear or change, the page is turned immediately or the Bible may even be put down at that time. Ah, the fast food kicks in. Read what you want and makes you feel good for the moment about yourself. When you take the time to read the rest though, you get the raw diet. There are no additives, no preservatives, no sugar coating ~ just the raw truth. You will find that if you start to switch from fast food dieting in your spiritual life to the raw diet, your daily walk with Jesus will be more filling.

I urge you to look closely at your Spiritual diet and see if you have the fast food diet. If so, start the raw diet today. Your Spiritual life will be healthier and you will be happier.

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.

Why Not Me?

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Here’s the short version of my history. I started having seizures and got epilepsy at the age of 9 and was constantly teased. My music and playing the piano was my comfort. In my teenage years I went through statutory rape from my friend’s father. Later I went through an abusive marriage, got fibromyalgia, died from a seizure resulting in PTSD, got carpal tunnel and had the surgery. I ended up with complications from the surgery and arthritis in my hands, can no longer play the piano and even writing increases the pain in my hands. Wow ~ a lot for one person? Maybe. Sometimes I wish it were different and I didn’t have all of this happen to me but – why not me?

When my son went to war someone once asked me if I was scared – DUH!!! I did tell them I was concerned but did view it as why not my son? Why did it have to be someone else’s? If I did lose him in war it would be honorable. I don’t know, maybe I’ve watched too much Star Trek and got the Klingon view. 🙂

Why am I sharing all of what others see as tragedies in my life? Too many people sit around with the “Why me?” attitude and not enjoy life. They feel sorry for themselves and get to a point where they just don’t care anymore. This is sad. You have to realize that we are here for God’s purpose and it’s not all about us. Also, if you go back and read Job you will realize that you don’t have it so bad. Read a little more into the chapter where Job starts questioning God and you’ll find that God asks him a few questions! I love that part! I am going to do some serious paraphrasing here but it all boils down to who are we to question why? It’s not like we created the universe and are all that and then some; yet, we question God. Did that one hit home?

You see, if God is going to use you the enemy will attack you because you are a threat to him. YES ~ you can become a threat to Satan!! You just have to realize it for what it is. When I went through everything when I was young all I said was I wouldn’t wish epilepsy on anyone, not even my worst enemies. And the statutory rape, well as long as he bothered me he was leaving someone else alone! Yes, my life has been a constant mess. But without a mess you can’t have a message!!! I was able to later counsel many people who went through similar things. I can take something good and ruin it but God ~ it’s so awesome how He takes something horrible and works it all for good. (Romans 8:28)

In conclusion, instead of seeing your life as “Why me?” try saying “Why not me?” God doesn’t call the qualified – he qualifies the called. Remember, because you aren’t sometimes seeing how what you have gone through has somehow helped someone else doesn’t mean that it hasn’t. It’s wonderful to be used by God and remember the ones who make the biggest difference in others’ lives are the ones who have gone through something. Change your view to ‘why not me’, give it to God and start watching what happens.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Feeling Alone?

There’s not one person who hasn’t gone through times that they didn’t feel totally alone, even in the most crowded of rooms. When life starts getting rough it is too easy to fall into depression and most people stay to themselves more then resulting in an increase of aloneness. Others handle this feeling at the total opposite end of the spectrum and will stay out and keep themselves busy until they can no longer go anymore and then sleep. Any of this sound familiar? It does to me. None of us are strangers to feeling alone or depressed.

One thing to remember is that feelings are temporary and not to let them control your life. You can have multiple feelings at the same time in fact. Also, think about right after you get married and that cloud nine you’re on. Ah yes, the honeymoon stage. At some point you think something’s wrong with your marriage because you don’t “feel” the same as you used to. The cloud nine’s in life are wonderful but also temporary. In a marriage love is a commitment, not a feeling. Surprised? Well, be glad because being angry is a feeling too and you don’t want to stay angry your whole life either!!

There are a few things you can do to help bring yourself out of this funk. I have found that going for a drive, a walk, sitting by the river or waterfall, anything that surrounded me with beauty and God’s presence. Also, embrace these feelings and recognize them for what they are, temporary and then the next day make a commitment to yourself to do something that makes YOU happy and feel good. There have been many times when I was single and living on top of a mountain that I experienced feeling alone. When I finally realized what was going on I would make a tray of veggies, deviled eggs, cheese (you get the picture) and put in the frig. Then I would fill the bathroom with candlelight and soak in a hot bubble bath with smooth jazz music playing. After the bath I would bring out the tray of goodies, put in a movie “I” liked and would end up having a nice evening. After a good night’s rest and feeling at peace I would set out once again to conquer the world until the next time.

During all of this I continuously reminded myself that not only was this a temporary feeling but I was never alone for God is always with me. There were other times I just started cleaning with some great Gaither tunes playing and felt better because not only was I productive, but singing along with Gospel tunes lifted my spirits as well.

There’s no particular set thing (such as bubble baths, driving, walks)  for anyone to do to just make this feeling go “poof.” The one thing we can all do is pray and count on the fact that God is listening and He will help you through this time if you ask Him to. Also, remember you are not alone ~ we’ve all been there ~ it will get better. May God bless you all!

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Encouragement

As an author of her first book I truly have experienced how much a few words from others can mean. Of course, most people focus on the few words others say that have hurt them. Imagine how we would all be if we spent more time focusing and remembering the encouraging words, even if they are few and far between.

First and foremost when we feel the need for encouragement and/or inspiration all we truly need is to open the Bible and read God’s Word. We can also turn to Him in prayer and find a sense of peace in the darkest of storms. Then there are times when we need something with a little more flesh – someone we can ‘literally’ talk to and hear from right here, right now. For instance, a child may have a nightmare and you can assure them they’re not alone because they have God watching over them. Even with that assurance the child still doesn’t want to be physically alone. We need to remember we are God’s children and He recognizes our need to have someone here and He does put people in your life to help you for that very reason.

Take a look at your life very closely. Do you find yourself encouraging others or always telling them how much better they could do things (which in it’s own way is discouraging)? Every word we say to others makes a difference and we need to be conscious if we are making a positive difference in others’ lives or are we subconsciously tearing them down. I know that when I look to see how many views my page is getting, how many ‘likes’ my posts are getting, comments, etc. it encourages me to keep writing no matter how hard it may be that day. I thank you all for your encouragements.

Let’s all start this week out focusing on encouraging others as God instructed us to do in His Word. Yes ~ one person CAN make a difference.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

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