I have been away from this blog for quite a while now and I sincerely apologize to my followers. Time slipped away.
I have been confronted over the last several months with situations that call into question “my name.” Most have been positive experiences but others have not. These situations started me to thinking about what exactly is my name and what does it represent? My Mama used to say “all you have is your name.” I have found this tidbit of wisdom to be true. I am not discussing your given name, but your perceived name.
At work, I am known as the ”go to” person. I didn’t give myself this name but others. Is this representative of my work character? Yes.
At home, I am known as “Ma” by my birth child and others that have adopted me as their surrogate mother. Is this an accurate representation of me? Yes.
In some social circles, I am known as ”SugarK.” This nickname was given to me an eon ago. It is reflective of that sensitive side of my personality. Is this accurate? Yes. Names really do mean something.
I got dragged into a messy situation several months back. The situation could have had harsh repercussions. However, it was determined that it couldn’t have been me. Why? My name and what it stands for.
Your name is representative of who you are and your character. Is your name associated with honesty or dishonesty? Are you known as sympathetic or judgmental? Are you known as being forthright or shady?
What your name stands for is totally up to you. I realize that there are instances wherein you may be labeled something that you are not. These meritless accusations generally don’t stick so I wouldn’t worry too much about them.
I guess what I’m trying to convey here is you are what you say and do. I would rather be known as being honest than a liar. I would rather my name be associated with empathy than judgment. I want to be known as friend not foe.
The building blocks of your name are determined by your words and actions. Once the words are out of your mouth, you cannot get them back. They are out there in the universe and they will be associated with your name. Once you take action, it is almost impossible to undo that action. We all know that “Karma is a _____.”
Therefore, it is prudent for all of us, me included, to stop and think before we say and do. Why, you ask? Because your NAME is at stake.
Sugar’s Teaspoon of…Name Calling
It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here. Shame on me. Work and other obligations got in the way. However, I need to get a few things off my chest so here goes.
EVERYONE eligible to vote in this upcoming election, please VOTE!! Let me go on record and let you know that I am a supporter of President Barak Obama. I’m definitely NOT a supporter of the Romney/Ryan ticket. Here’s why….
YOU LIE – I’m sure those words are familiar. They were yelled at the PRESIDENT during his speech to the Full House by Congressman Joe Wilson. This was so blatantly disrespectful that I cursed at the television for a full ten minutes. These words in my opinion have come back to bite the Republican party in their collective rear ends. Here are a few LIES that they are spreading:
President Obama negated the requirement to seek work and/or training in order to receive welfare. This is a blatant lie.
There’s another lie that under President Obama, government spending has increased. The Republicans want us to believe that the government is throwing money around like there is no tomorrow. In reality, government spending under President Obama’s presidency has remained flat during the duration of his first term. (He will be a two-term president.)
Another lie is that President Obama has raised taxes. Really? Do you really think we are all so stupid that we will believe anything said by the Romney/Ryan campaign? President Obama has been thwarted at every turn when it comes to raising taxes on the WEALTHIEST Americans. The current tax rates are the same as when President Bush was in office. Therefore, the Republicans are talking out both sides of their necks.
Let’s discuss what President Obama inherited when he took office. President Bush started two wars with no consideration for how to pay for them. I often wonder how much this adds to the government debt.
President Obama did what he had to do to save the banking and automobile industries. The Republicans are big on saying that these bailouts were not necessary as well as the stimulus package. I suppose Romney doesn’t care about the banking industry since most of his money is in the Cayman islands. The initiatives instituted by President Obama not only saved the automobile industry, the policies made the industry more stable and more profitable.
I cannot close this post without talking about women’s issues especially since I am a woman. My reaction to the comments regarding “legitimate rape” made by Representative Tom Aiken ran the gamut from absolute outrage to hysterical laughter. Is this man really this naïve to believe the crap he’s spewing? I don’t know of any woman who would condone the legitimizing of any form of rape. The Romney/Ryan ticket wants to do away with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood provides so many more healthcare services than just abortion services. There is a large segment of women in these United States of America that have nowhere to turn for reproductive health services other than Planned Parenthood. So who’s to determine the worth of the health of these women? Romney/Ryan – ABSOLUTELY NOT!!
Thanks for allowing me to vent just a little. VOTE IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION. It’s your duty as an American.
Sugar’s Teaspoon of Patriotism
Have you ever been caught in the dark, maybe when the electricity went out unexpectedly? You grope around trying to make your way out of a room that in the light is very familiar to you, your life maybe? You stump your toe on the bed; you stretch your hands out in front of you trying to feel for the doorway before you bump into it. Have you experienced this? I’m sure it was hard to understand how or why you couldn’t get out of a room that you had lived in for many years when the lights were out.
When death of a loved one occurs, sickness happens, or you’re quickly running out of money, it’s like groping around in a familiar room in the dark. You know this room in the light, yet you get turned around and frustrated in the dark. You struggle to find your way out. You stump your toe on the bedpost. “Ouch that really hurt.” You ask yourself “Where’s the money going to come from?” There appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. You bump into the door and wonder why you can’t get out. Could it be that you’re only looking at the dark and you’ve forgotten how the room looks in His Light.
You get frustrated and stop right where you are attempting to find any pinprick of light. You stand there and wait possibly even frustrated. You remain planted in the spot of pity and pat your foot. All the while your spiritual eyes begin to adjust in the darkness. You realize that you don’t need to find the Light, He is already there.
What’s been described above could be a dark place in your life. Jesus Christ shines brighter than ever during the darkest of times.
When groping around in grief, He sends the Comforter to begin to slowly light up your life once again with tenderness and mercy. It may be hard for sleep to come and possibly you lay in the dark wallowing in grief over the many people lost in your life, your husband, child, mother, aunt, brothers. You get up in the dark and stump your toe – you rant and rave at the bedpost of grief. Could this be the perfect time to talk to Jesus? When groping around looking at the dark, begin to believe that “The Lord is your Light and your Salvation.” (Psalms 27:1).
When stuck in the darkness of sickness, you grope for a way out. You search for the doorway and can’t reach it. You stretch out your hands trying to feel for the door. You feel bad, your body aches. You feel as if your sanity is slipping away. Surgery is on the horizon. You lay in the dark in that familiar room and feel sick.
Could this be the perfect opportunity to pray? Once again you are gently reminded by the rays of sun peaking through the blinds. You stop groping with outstretched hands. You instead fold them in prayer. You stop feeling in the dark and instead begin believing that in “Him (Jesus), was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4). As the sun peaks through your window blinds – see the Light always comes right on time – you realize that you need to “look up for your Dayspring from Heaven has come.” (Luke 1:78) Choose to believe. Hold onto “Your light shall break forth like the morning [and] your healing shall spring forth speedily.” (Isaiah 58:8). Believe that “you shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.” (Psalms 118:17)
When standing at the far end of the dark tunnel of “not enough,” do you briefly wonder if the Light would show up once again to light your path? No. Something has changed. You don’t keep wondering if He will help you. You know you cannot depend upon looking, feeling or wondering. You can only depend on believing that “in Him there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17). You believe that He will “…daily load [you] down with benefits, the God of [your] salvation.” (Psalms 68:19). In other words, you stop looking at the darkness and begin believing in the Light. Is this an easy thing to do? No, it may not be at first. You feel the darkness closing in around you and you struggle – not sure how to get up or get out. You repeat what your mother may have said “I cried many a night, but joy came every morning.” You may repeat a verse of Scripture that gives you an indication of God and His infinite and eternal love for you. In Genesis 1:2-3, the Lord paints a picture which is symbolic of Jesus and His ability to cast away the darkness in our lives. The second and third verses of Genesis state: “The earth was without form or void and darkness was on the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said: Let there be light and there was light.” You see God knew you would face darkness. However, his first loving provision to you was light – His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When you’re facing darkness – repeat after me “LET THERE BE LIGHT.” (Genesis 1:2). In other words – LET THERE BE JESUS.
Moral of the story: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ….even when you can’t see past the darkness.
Sugar’s Teaspoon of Light
I have been away from this blog for just under two months. Shame on me! Life got in the way. I was immersed in a trial in Louisiana for most of January and it consumed all of my waking moments. Trials are challenging but they also provide me an opportunity to hone my skills, provide valued assistance and the money isn’t bad. I am preparing for another trial that will begin in late May but preparation for this trial has been considerably easier than any previous trials.
During my away time, I rode a few emotional roller coasters which resulted in me pulling back and taking a good look at myself. The only actions I am responsible for are my own. I cannot change what a person thinks or does. I do, however, have control over what I allow to happen, what I allow to be said, and how I allow myself to be treated. I came to the conclusion that I invested a lot of wasted time into relationships that really weren’t good for me. I kept attempting to make them work when in reality, I was better off just letting them run their course.
Not all of my relationships were mistakes. Some new relationships have flourished while other long-standing ones have withered away. My flourishing relationships have measurably enriched my life. I have learned new things, experienced new places and just had an all around good time. These relationships have provided me with a much-needed respite from life’s labors. I have found a safe haven for my heart, allowance to express myself freely, camaraderie, and a new-found love for the wonderful creations that surround each of us. My creativity has been re-ignited and I have welcomed with open arms each new adventure. It’s amazing how motivated I am when someone is cheerleading me as opposed to me raising the pom-poms and chanting “you can do it.” These relationships are truly “heaven-sent.”
Bear in mind that it hasn’t been easy to build these relationships but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. There were several times when misunderstandings threatened to shipwreck the voyage but we managed to keep rowing in the same direction. I realized that I really am a good listener and communicator. I bring something priceless to the table — ME!
Those relationships that have withered away were meant to. I often tried to keep a door open that clearly needed to be closed and locked. Not everyone should have an open door to my life. Hard lesson learned but one that has made me a better woman. My heart was bruised but, as you know, time fades away every bruise. I am very thankful that I refused to become bitter and to cut myself off from wading into the relationship waters again.
Sugar’s Teaspoon of Relationships
Today is the sort of day that I need some laughter. Maybe you do too. Therefore, I thought I would write about a funny situation that has happened in my work life. You’ve already read the story about the vultures. Now we will laugh about misinterpretations during court proceedings. Let’s take a trip into the time I worked at a large metropolitan court.
As you may know, civil and criminal cases can be tried by juries. Jury selection is preceded by “voir dire”, which is a Latin term loosely meaning to ask questions and to get honest answers.
One day, my former judge was presiding over a civil jury trial involving a motor vehicle accident. Twelve jurors and a couple alternates needed to be picked. The jury pool wasn’t large, approximately 36 people. The judge began by asking if any jurors had recently been involved in automobile accidents. A number of jurors stood up, the judge questioned them further, and they were dismissed from the jury pool. After several other questions, the jury pool was further whittled down. The last question of the remaining prospective jurors was whether each of them could render an unbiased verdict. The answer was in the affirmative.
The last phase of jury selection is for counsel for the plaintiff (the person suing) and the defendant (the person being sued) to ask the judge to swear a juror from the people left in the jury pool after the dismissal of unqualified jurors. This means that the juror is officially a member of the jury panel for the particular case in question.
Well, this is all very mundane and boring for the most part. Not this day. An elderly gentleman approached the railing when his number was called. Both counsel looked over his qualifications, gave him the once over, and both responded “swear.” Before the judge could swear the juror and ask him to take a seat in the jury box, the gentleman responded rather loudly and with much conviction “Damn it.” I think it took everyone in the courtroom by surprise so counsel just repeated “swear.” This well-kept, neat elderly man with his suit jacket and bow time responded even louder than before “GO_ DAMN IT” (I refuse to take the Lord’s Name in vain so you can fill in the blank.) The entire courtroom, and I mean the entire courtroom from the judge, the courtroom clerk, the bailiff, the sheriff, counsel for BOTH sides, other members of the jury pool and ME began laughing hysterically. The gentleman just stood there looking very confused. It took a full 5 minutes before my judge was able to compose himself and bring order back to the courtroom.
My judge proceeded to berate the gentleman for cursing in the courtroom. The gentleman responded “Well they said ‘swear’ so I did. I don’t normally curse but I thought it was required when they told me to ‘swear.” Needless to say, the courtroom erupted into laughter again. The confused man just stood there.
There wasn’t anything else that my judge could do but to tell the man “Sir, thank you for being willing to do your civic duty and to serve on the jury but your services will not be needed. Thank you and have a good day.” The man responded “Before I go judge, I would just like to say that it’s strange to make people curse to show whether or not they fit for jury duty. But I guess I didn’t pass the test. I should have said something worse but my mama taught me better.” The ENTIRE courtroom broke into side-splitting laughter as the gentleman exited the courtroom.
This turned out to be a long day. We had to get a whole new jury panel and begin the process all over again. However, this time my judge explained what is meant when counsel says “swear.” This started another round of snickering by the courtroom staff and me, but we made it through jury selection.
This is a funny moment for the record books.
The above is a true story. Names have been omitted to protect the innocent and non-cursers!!!
Sugar’s Teaspoon of Laughter
One of my most favorite people in the whole world was my brother, Tony. He was just shy of a year older than me. He had a gregarious personality and was always the life of the party. However, he had a serious side too. If you were his relative or friend, he was going to stick up for you, walk with you and even pull you along kicking and screaming if necessary.
Tony was the first one to teach me how to throw a punch. I know, girls aren’t supposed to fight. However, where I grew up, you had to learn to fight or get your butt beat every day. That wasn’t going to be me. I got harassed on a frequent basis for being “light skinned and having long hair” (like I had anything to do with that). My brother also got harassed but for a very different reason. Tony got hassled because he was an openly gay man in the early 1970s before it was really accepted.
One of my most endearing conversations with my brother happened when he told me that he had been diagnosed with HIV. At that time, HIV was new and not much information was available. This was during the time that most people thought you could “catch” HIV from being in casual contact with an infected person. Needless to say, my brother’s life changed drastically. He was shunned, called vile names and made to feel less than human.
He was scared, didn’t know what his future would be and all he wanted was to be respected and loved. With tears streaming down my face, I reached out and hugged my brother with all my might and told him that I would love him no matter what.
In hindsight, I realize that my brother was actually blessed during the long years of his illness. He participated in a lengthy study at the National Institutes of Health because he lived over 15 years with no medication and no change in his HIV status. In other words, he was an anomaly. His HIV status remained stable despite his decision not to take experimental medications. He continued to work, to enjoy his life and to help those in the same situation as he found himself. He became a fixture at the local HIV/AIDS clinic not because he was in need of medical attention but because he wanted to encourage those who had been diagnosed with a disease that was believed to be at that time a sure death sentence.
Tony would often come over and spend the weekends with me and my family and I enjoyed each and every visit. During one of my last visits with him before his death, he told me “I’m not going to live very much longer, but don’t worry, I’ve come to terms with it. I’ll see you on the other side.” The calm and peaceful look on his face told me that he spoke from a place of knowing – that place in your spirit that says your sins have been forgiven and you’ll spend eternity in heaven.
My brother developed full-blown AIDS in mid-1998. He didn’t live long thereafter, dying peacefully in his sleep in February 1999.
So on this World AIDS Day, I stand and applaud my brother Tony who taught me to embrace tolerance and to realize that we all should be our brothers’ keepers.
Get tested – know your status – it is vital!
Sugar’s Teaspoon of Brotherly Love
I did a little research before writing this post and found some great quotes regarding missed opportunities. Here are some of my favorites and my teaspoon added thereto:
“Spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.” Brian Tracy
My teaspoon: You will never see what the future holds if you are turned around looking at the past. Yesterday is gone and there’s nothing you can do about it. If you are only looking at what has happened, you’ll miss what could be.
“If God shuts one door, He opens another.” Irish
My teaspoon: God is definitely all about doling out opportunities, also known as blessings. I do not believe that God is in the business of letting his children live stagnant lives. However, He has no problem allowing us to live in the hallway between two doors. We often leave cracked the door of the past and wonder why God doesn’t open the door of the future. It’s easier and more comfortable to live in the known than reach out in faith and take hold of the unknown. Personally, I have spent a lot of time living in the hallway and I really don’t like it. Today I am once again making a conscious decision to close the door to the past. This is a daily exercise for me. A couple of verses have become my inspirational mantra regarding my past:
Psalms 103:11-12: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
My teaspoon: Stop bringing up and reminding God about something that He has already forgiven you for. You either believe you are forgiven or you don’t. It’s just a matter of faith.
Philippians 3:13-14: Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
My teaspoon: It is impossible for you to focus on the past if you are striving to accomplish your God-given destiny. God is creative. It isn’t necessary for Him to serve up the same mercy or blessing each day. I guarantee you that God has more in store for you tomorrow than He had for you today. You just need to stop looking in your rearview mirror because there’s nothing back there.
“Even when opportunity knocks, a man still has to get up off his seat and open the door.” Anonymous
My teaspoon: Opportunity doesn’t hang around long if there is no action. Each of us has to get up off of our duff and do something. Great ideas without action remain great ideas and nothing more. If not for those who acted upon an opportunity, technology would not have progressed. Medicine would have remained primitive. Transportation would have stayed in the horse/buggy era. There are many of you right now who have extraordinary ideas floating around in your minds. You may have gone so far as to write them down. And it has stopped there. You refuse to exercise your carpe diem and seize the day and the opportunity given you.
My second teaspoon: Stop procrastinating!! Take one foot – come on now – take one step and begin the walk into your destiny. It won’t be easy and you will need to put in some hard work. However, the reward of achievement will be all worth it.
Opportunity is as Opportunity does.
Sugar’s Teaspoon of Opportunity
As Thanksgiving approaches, most people begin to give thanks for the blessings of the past year. I too fall into this category. However, my thankfulness isn’t limited to just what happened good during the past year. I am also thankful for the rough patches I encountered. Yes, I am being for real.
It isn’t hard to be thankful for abundance and easy-paved roads. It’s a little more difficult to be thankful for lack and those deep-rutted roads that must be tred. I have learned to be thankful in all things. Was this lesson easy? Absolutely not. It was a difficult and tear-filled journey which made me a better person.
I must admit that this past year hasn’t been as deeply rutted as other years. My loved ones are healthy and mostly content. I am gainfully employed which, because of these current economic times, is a true blessing. I had time to take a vacation and greatly enjoyed my time away. My experiences in the presence of God have been totally amazing. The pros of my life far outweigh the cons.
Some of the rutted places I experienced revolved around surgeries that I needed. Recovery has been long and at times quite difficult and painful. Friends have lost children and my heart truly ached for them (this wasn’t my rutted road, but I walked along with them because that’s what friends do). People who I thought were in my corner turned out not to be.
This being said, the rutted places taught me to be thankful for compassionate and caring health care providers who were genuinely concerned about my health and well-being and pushed me into a place of health. I am also thankful for those times that I have experienced grief that I thought would overwhelm me and cause me to lose my sanity. Because of those deeply rutted experiences, I was able to lend a caring ear to my friends, offer them the ultimate comfort of the Lord Jesus Christ, show them the scars upon my heart that shaped my testimony, and impart a little bit of what I learned during those times. I have been told that the wisdom of my past experiences helped to begin the healing process. I am also thankful to have further learned not to put my faith in human beings because they are just as imperfect as I am. I learned to absolutely depend on God and Him alone. To be honest, everyone else when compared to Him pales in comparison.
I am thankful for those people in my life who have shown themselves to be the iron that sharpens iron. These individuals have no problem telling me off when needed, helping me wipe my tears, laughing with me, listening to me, loving me, pushing me to become the person I am destined to be. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.
QOTD: What are the hard places that you are thankful for? What did you learn?
Sugar’s Teaspoon of Thankfulness
I have lived a little over half a century and with age comes a few realizations. As a young woman, I was inordinately concerned with what people thought of me. I was prone to hand-wringing sessions whenever I faced any kind of criticism. Every time I walked in on a conversation I wondered if the discussion was about me. Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy or content during this time in my life. My self-esteem was low. I never thought I measured up against any other woman.
For those of you who know me, you are probably thinking “this isn’t the woman I know.” And you are absolutely right. I am no longer concerned with anyone’s opinion.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to and heed wise counsel. Nor does it mean that I think I am always right or that I won’t accept constructive criticism. I am still a flawed human being in need of correction.
What I have finally realized is that the only opinion that really matters is my own as framed by God. A life pleasing to God can only result in a life lived abundantly. Therefore, what you think of me is really of no consequence so long as I have treated you according to the commandment “love they neighbor as thyself.”
If you don’t like me, it doesn’t matter. If you love me, it doesn’t matter. If you gossip about me, it doesn’t matter. If you exalt me, it doesn’t matter. Stop one minute and don’t get offended by these statements. Love is important and vital to an abundant existence. However, if love has alluded you, are you supposed to live a less than abundant life? If you gossip about me, yes it will hurt my feelings. But in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter because God’s thoughts are good towards me always. If you hate me, then that is your problem and not mine so long as I’ve done nothing to offend you and if so, I have sought your forgiveness.
I suppose this could be the foundation of the principle of “turning the other cheek.” If it really doesn’t matter what someone thinks of you, then you are less likely to be offended and therefore, less likely to seek revenge.
This lesson was hard to learn and I sometimes slip back into my old mode of thinking. However, these moments are becoming less frequent.
Remember — so long as you are the apple of God’s eye — you don’t need to worry about who else is looking.
Sugar’s Teaspoon of Opinions
One of my most favorite books is “The Power and Purpose of a Woman” by Miles Monroe. This was a life-changing book for me. My outlook on my existence changed after reading this book. One of the major points that sticks with me is that a woman is a reflection of a man. This quote stopped me short because I had never thought of relationships in this way.
Monroe brings this revelation to maturity. He basically states that since God created man to lead, all of man’s actions have a consequence on his relationships. Therefore, whatsoever a man gives out, the same is reflected back to him.
For the most part, true relationships between men and women are not the norm these days. Finding a man willing to be monogamous is hard. Men have taken “sowing wild oats” to a whole different level. (By the way, at some point, you should get too old to continue to sow oats. Rest assured men, at some point your oats will turn to oatmeal, then what?)
Therefore, women simply reflect back what is given out. The saying “game recognizes game” is true but not for the obvious reason (one playa knows another playa). If men are emitting game, then women can only reflect game. If men are emitting honesty, then women can only reflect honesty. I know there are exceptions to every rule. However, it is impossible to negate God’s principles regarding relationships. At some point, the game played will be recognized for what it truly is – just a game.
Hearts of men and women are not to be handled haphazardly or with malice. One of the things I try not to do is judge one person against the barometer of another’s past actions. I take each new relationship as a blank canvas. Don’t blame me if you get game – evidently that is what is being emitted.
I’ve heard men say that there aren’t any good women around. Really? Check to see what you are emitting. You might find that if you change what you are saying and doing what you are receiving might change.
I did not establish this principle, God did. Remember, He created Adam first, then Eve. Everything God does is in divine order.
Therefore, what you see is not what you get. What you see is a reflection of you. Look at it closely and you’ll see your own actions. Selah!