the faithful ramblings a late bloomer. . .

the faithful musings of a four letter word user on a quest for authenticity.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Go Ahead, Call Me A Hypocrite

I live in a resort community on the eastern coast of Florida.  It’s a great small town with gorgeous beaches and the beautiful blue waters of the Atlantic.  Consequently, there’s loads of money here.  Old money, new money, lots and lots and lots of money.  

There is also no money.  Money and no money are quite literally divided by a set of train tracks here, the Florida East Coast Railway that runs parallel with US down the east coast of Florida.

I work with no money, but I worship and play with money.  I witness the great divide of the haves and have nots on a daily basis.  Often, I am unsettled about the world I live in, compared to the world I work in.  I try to take the feelings of shame of having what I need and most of what I want and counterbalance them with as much gratitude as I can offer up.  So far, that's the best solution I can come up with as I've never felt God's call to give it all up and move to a third world country.   

Generally, that does the trick, but when I pulled into a church parking lot last Friday evening at 5 o’clock to prepare for a dinner Habitat was hosting there, and saw the pastor and his co-pastor wife getting into there very gorgeous white BMW, I couldn’t help but pause and question the situation.

It’s the second time I’ve seen it, too.  My previous priest, drove a 2 door convertible Lexus coupe.  I remember the first time I saw him driving up to a church picnic and thinking to myself, “ToTo we’re not in Kansas anymore”.  Turns out that priest had a serious vanity problem. . . and an authenticity problem as it would later be revealed that he was involved in a 17 year relationship with a female priest who was not his wife. He is no longer a priest however, he is now driving that luxury automobile to the homeless shelter that he’s directing.

I am in the process of finding a new church and was considering visiting the church I was at Friday evening.  I’ve been there before and liked it and was considering giving it another try, but honestly, now I’m not so sure.  I've been burned once by an affluent priest.

I know these ministers have worked for many years to be where they are financially, just like the CEO of the local bank.  They have raised their children, likely paid off their mortgages and certainly have the disposable income to drive anything they like.  So why do I struggle with them displaying their level of financial comfort?

I should insert a disclaimer here.  I have a Saab. It is going on 6 years old, but having had newer ones, I will admit that I would probably be driving a newer one if I could afford it. Those with money don’t give THAT generously to Habitat though!  I like a luxury car just as much as the next guy, and generally feel that as long as you’re not over extending yourself for vanity sake, and you like it, then go for it.  

I really have no room to judge them though as I pull up to Habitat every day in a luxury brand and will fully admit to coveting those driving the new E-class Mercedes. Hello, have you seen them?  They’re gorgeous!

Anyway, I digress.  I’m wondering how YOU would feel if you pulled up to church and saw your preacher driving a Mercedes.  Perhaps you have?  Is it wrong? Is it fine?  Please, help me out with this one!  I could be missing a great church over this one!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ordinary Things

One of my best friends, Melanie, went through a horrible divorce a few years ago.  She found herself ready to forego the rest of her life, for the peace of the after life, one night and prayed as she went to sleep that night that God would take her on with Him while she slept.  She was praying that she would die in the night.  She no longer wanted to face her existence when she awoke the next morning.

Upon her eyes opening that next morning, she was immediately devastated.  She was so sure the night before, that she was going to meet her maker. . . that He would answer her prayer and take her on home with Him.  As she opened her eyes and realized that He didn't answer her prayer, she was overcome with heartbreak from an unanswered prayer.

As she came to terms with the reality, she laid in her bed, sobbing.  Over and over, in her head, she heard God speak to her four simple words, "Go Make The Coffee".  Problem.  She didn't want to go make the freaking coffee.  She wanted to be dead.

Eventually though, she got up and made her way to the coffee pot.  There, she found a peace she had never felt before.  So much peace, that it left a lasting impression, not only on her life, but also in mine. As I have faced my own depressions, I have thought, "go make the coffee".  just go do the next thing.

In today's My Utmost for His Highest Entry, Oswald Chambers writes:  "When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. . . His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-- things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there."

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT THAT GOD IS IN THE MINUTIA!  We don't have to be on some lofty religious playing field to see and feel what He's doing in our lives!  He's in the little things!!

What little ways do you see and feel God at work?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where Do I Go From Here?

Something is just not right.  I don't know what it is.  The only way to describe it is that it seems like there is some imbalance between my head and my heart.  It's hard to explain, but it feels as if I'm somehow missing the point.  Like God is either trying to scream at me some truth that I just can't seem to hear, or like He is taking the more subtle approach and letting me figure it out on my own.  Either way, I do not even know what it is about.

It's affecting my writing which scares me the most, since I jumped on this crazy rollercoaster ride, thinking He at the controls.  I feel like I'm just missing the point.  I don't feel like I've found my voice yet nor has a focus for what I'm writing about still hasn't seemed to float to the surface. 

Wordpress is becoming my mortal enemy.  I have no idea why in the world I feel so compelled to use it, but I know that is the next step in the journey, however, after weeks of trying to figure it out, it still doesn't click in my brain.  Last week, I reset my password and now my dashboard is gone.  Honestly, that feels more like the enemy's attack than anything else, because now it is a hurdle I have no idea how to jump so I'll likely put it off a few more weeks.  He found my weak spot and went right for it.

Am I not reading the write book?  Do I need to go to a conference?  What is it? Church has been sucking so I haven't been going.  Leaving my church doesn't seem like the right thing to do right now, so I guess I just need to find another way to get fed during my little sabatical.   I try to feed myself by reading and watching sermons, hoping for some spark of understanding, but it feels like I'm trying to light a candle over and over again and it just won't ignite.

What do you do in situations like this?  Where do I go from here?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Special

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  Today, I'm thrilled to be a part of a blogswap with several new and old friends of mine and I'm excited to post a blog about a topic near and dear to my heart written by, new friend, Regina VerowWhen you are done, head on over to to see my blog for the day!  Hope your day is filled with love!

The Sound of Love

The assignment seems deceptively simple: Write about something you love.  But that isn’t the real assignment.  The assignment is in actuality: Write about something you love and don’t suck, because this is someone else’s blog you’re posting on, missy.
So I have to admit off the bat, I’m feeling a little intimated.  But here it goes:
I love music.  I LOVE music. Music has been an integral part of my life for nearly forty years. I’ve sung in choirs, choruses and glee clubs. I’ve been in rock bands and folk groups. My high school years were marked by which musical I was rehearsing. I attend concerts and music festivals alone if I don’t have anyone to go with me. I’ve played, with uneven success, piano and guitar. I write music although not as much as I want. I go to a church 40 miles away because their music is THAT much better.
Music has the ability to immediately change my emotional state.  I can feel apathetic, angry or depressed and the right song pulls me up out of the fog and points me back in the right direction. I have a theme song (and you should too!). One study shows that music activates the same pleasure centers in the brain as sex does.  If that isn’t a reason to listen to music everyday then I don’t know what is.
In middle school I called radio stations with fingers poised over the “record” button on my boom box hoping the DJ wouldn’t talk over the intro to my favorite song. I’ve practiced my guitar until blisters prevented me from holding onto the strings. I’ve traveled huge distances and willingly gave up large amounts of sleep to spend a few precious hours with my favorite bands.
I’ve used music to get through countless late-night college assignments. I’ve sung to my newborn daughters in the middle of the night every song I knew just to get them to sleep. I’ve sped down country roads on late summer nights with the windows down and the radio up.
I’ve cried over breakups not only because my heart was broken but because I also lost a man who could make a kick-ass mix tape.
Most of us have stories when music saved our lives.  Musicians put into words what our hearts yearn to express whether it is love, despair, or anything in between.
Music can make friends of enemies by providing a launching point of common ground. It can take people who’ve never met before and turn them into life-long companions. Music doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, how you dress, or about the color of your skin. Music doesn’t tell you whom to love or what religion to practice. Music is unconditional.  It touches your soul and expects nothing in return.
So today I celebrate my love for music.  As journalist Eric Olson once wrote, “Music is what life sounds like.


Regina Verow is a personal coach, workshop facilitator and author of the blog Creatively Conscious: Aware. Awake. Alive.  You can find out more about Regina at, on her Facebook Page, Creatively Conscious: Aware. Awake. Alive. or follow her on Twitter @reginaverow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm working on a few guest posting gigs so I haven't been able to get much up on here this week, which stinks!  I'm missing the two of you who actually read this drivel! My need for immediate gratification would surely love your feedback on the stuff I'm working on, but it must wait.  Hopefully, we'll all find it worth it.

Just a few nuggets I'm chewing on this morning:

* Super glad I didn't talk trash at the half of last night's Carolina/Duke game.  Refraining wasn't easy, but it's nice not to be eating crow this morning (especially since I wasn't even watching the game).

* I'm supposed to be working on a post about something I'm passionate about finding that one really challenging for some reason.  Perhaps I'm not really passionate about what I'm supposedly passionate about.

* I totally get that Valentine's is overcommercialized and flat out stupid on many different levels.  But is it really all that bad that we have one special day where we recognize and celebrate our relationships that bring so much joy and fulfillment to our lives?  It really doesn't seem so horrible to me.

What nuggets are you chewing on today?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Listen Up

One of the pervasive thoughts I’ve had over the last few months that people just need to be heard.  We, as humans, have an innate need to feel understood and that need is often satiated by having our thoughts and concerns heard.  

One of my perceived weaknesses is being diplomatic in difficult situations.  I can often be too blunt and want to just cut to the chase, but I have recently been seeing how LISTENING can be quite the diplomatic tact and I am starting to really see how it is no coincidence that the word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT. 

In my work recently, I’ve had several situations where someone came to me completely pissed off at a person or about a situation.  Rather than participating in the conversation, I just listened and as they were winding down, the blather-er had come to one of two conclusions. Either it wasn’t such a big deal OR they suddenly grasped the root of the problem and felt like they could deal with it.  

The vent session enabled them to deal with the problem.  

They get to that conclusion by verbally drawing out all of their opinions and feelings.  Once their thoughts or opinions are out there, the realization comes that it is really not such a big deal or suddenly they can see where the offender was coming from.

So often we just need to vent, in order to process the situation.  Through the processing, we evaluate the scope of the problem and whether or not it is really relevant and/or we diagnose the root of the problem.  With that diagnosis, we can then attack at the root and solve the problem.

We all need someone to vent to although we are generally not stoked about being the one who is being vented to.  It’s certainly  no fun to listen to someone go on and on about a problem but I would encourage you to give this a whirl when you are next faced with an unhappy camper.

Please let me know if you have any of you, too, have seen this in your journeys?  I'm interested in any and all feedback on this one!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Marathon Wrap Up Pt. 3

(Thanks for bearing with me this week as I commandeered the blog for my own purposes of documenting my experience with the half marathon this past weekend.  Truly sorry to those of you who have been bored to tears by it!  This is the LAST post about it!  Pinky swear!)

Since the race, people keep asking me how I did it.  Looking back on it, it wasn't that hard, but I've learned over the years how to manipulate myself into doing things.  The following are a few things I feel like I did right, which ultimately led to me being able to finish the race, with a faster time than I ever would have imagined! (2:16)

1-      Do it with friends- Accountability was everything for me.  The only thing that would get me out of the bed in at the butt crack of dawn, was knowing that someone was meeting me at the park for our runs.  If someone else was investing themselves in the effort, I certainly didn’t want to find myself being the weakest link.

2-      Just sign up for a race- Whether it’s a local 5k or the Miami ING, paying the registration fee invests you in the journey.  You have a commitment on the plate.  Not only to your partner(s) in the process, but to justify the expense.

3-      Make it fun- I sent out an email to every girl I thought *might* be interested in joining me.  We had a little get together on a weeknight where we poured a few glasses of wine, individually registered for the race, planned training schedules, and shared music from our running mixes.  Additionally, we chose to make the entire event fun, by doing it in a fun city, making dinner reservations at a great restaurant and booking a nice hotel.  Making it a little get away weekend, made it so much more fun!  A few weeks before the race, we all got together again at Happy Hour at a local restaurant and solidified our travel plans, reservations, and race day prep. 

4-      Mix up your normal routes- variety is the spice of life!  Keep it interesting.  Run with new people, talk while you do it, learn about what’s going on in their world.  Socialize outside of the runs.  The entire experience can deepen relationships, because you’re sharing a journey!

5-      If you’re the least bit spiritually inclined, I would encourage you to use the time and experience to deepen your faith.  There are going to be runs that SUCK.  There are going to be days when you desperately don’t want to put on your shoes, when you doubt your ability to do it and your sanity.  But incorporating prayer and relying on the strength of the One able to do all things, will intensify your faith.  The morning of the ½ marathon, I had no intention of running the entire distance.  My half assed plan was to run 3 miles, take a walk break, run 3 miles, rinse and repeat until it was over.  But as the race began, I felt a strength like I’d never experienced before and it came from the knowledge that while I hadn’t trained to complete 13 miles, 13 miles was nothing to the One who strengthens me.  I decided to rely on that strength rather than my own, and finished the race without one single walk break, running through water stations gulping sips as best I could and finishing far faster than I’d ever dreamed.  

It ultimately had very little to do with me. 

                    (me with friends Emmee and Ashley as the race began)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Marathon Wrap Up Part 2

She was filing my toe nails when she said the words, I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would hear applying to me.  

“You have runner’s feet”.

Insert record scratch here. Whhhhaaatttt???   “I’m sorry, what did you say?”  She repeated it, and since this was no typical pedicurist, she was perfectly clear in her delivery, and I had, in fact heard her correctly. 

 “You run don’t you?” she said.  

Looking around, realizing she really was directing her question at me, and too that, it actually did apply to me i fumbled for and found  “uh, yeah, i guess, uh yeah, i do.”

I’m pretty sure the sun was shining inside my soul as I processed what she had just said.  I literally felt my chest puffing out and my head becoming three times larger than it's normal circumference.

Four months into training for a half marathon there was there it was.  Physical proof, that I can now add a healthy new hobby to my list that also includes cooking and eating, a lot. I am a runner.

You see, for the first 10 or so years of adulthood, I was pretty lazy. I certainly considered myself lazy, and  I even became pretty overweight at one point.  Fortunately, by the grace of God II realized it pretty quickly and somehow managed to get it off.   Regular exercise, however, wasn't part of the equation.

I began “jogging” when I moved down here five years ago. Inspired by such beautiful surroundings and with more time on my hands, I found that I did enjoy it. On occasion. But generally it was never more than 2 or 3 miles and never with any regularity or accountability.  If I was feeling a little thick, i made time for a few runs and cut back on my food intake a little bit until I started to feel better about myself.  

A year ago or so though, when saying I never imagined myself actually doing a race, one of my friends challenged me just to sign up for a race.  I heard her words ringing in my ears for months, “if you sign up for it, you will train for it” and eventually bit the bullet.

Sure enough she was right.  Apparently, I have a thing for that “go big or go home” mentality though, and I skipped right over local 5k’s or small 10k’s and went right for the big daddy Miami ING Half Marathon. 

After months of training, and anticipation, I completed the race and have lived to tell about it, so, in an effort to encourage others of you who have that same little desire niggling in the back of your brain about wanting to start running or completing a race, tomorrow i'll bring you a fresh list of how I went from feeling like a fatty patty to runner’s feet in 5 steps or less!

To have it directly sent to to your email when it’s posted, click on the rss feed button to subscribe to my blog on the right hand side of the page!  

I'll show you how you, too, can be sportin’ a medal before you know it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Marathon Wrap Up Pt. 1

It’s now a couple days after my first half marathon and I’m still trying to process the experience.  From lining up in a sea of 21,000 people (and tripping over one or two of them), to the pain in my left foot that continues to annoy me two days later, I am so thankful to say that it was one of the most profound experiences of my life.  After 6 months of training, a shit ton of money spent on gu’s, shoes and a weekend in Miami, I’m completely and utterly grateful that the experience actually ended up being meaningful.

It made a lasting impact in several ways. When the race began, I thought, "only one/twenty-onethousandth of this is about me". However, as the race started I soon realized it was all about me.  As I was training and prepping for the race, people kept asking me what charity I was running for. My mom even asked me just the week before.

My response: "me".

Surely that sounded selfish, but while I was running, somewhere around mile 5, while feeling a little selfish about the whole thing as I’m passing (yes, i said it) men pushing kids in wheel chairs and others on cancer fighting missions, it occurred to me that this selfish investment will (hopefully) make me a greater asset to my family and community around me.  

Several months ago, Perry Noble wrote a blog about paying the price for being a leader.  While running this thing wasn’t about leadership for me, rather about personal development,  I believe there is also value and honor in paying a price for growth.  If you’re not willing to invest in yourself, why would anyone else be?  When I wrote the checks for Blogrocket  and Tentblogger it was out of the same mindset, that any cost that gets you closer to the goal, is worth it. I want to be a writer. . .that takes time AND money. I want to be a better me . . .that takes time AND money. It takes money, to make money.

A word of caution though. You have to be cautious that whatever activity it is that you choose to invest in, will truly have a long term impact.  If you use this approach just to validate a desire saying, the money and time I am investing on this trip or hobby, will make me a better a person, you could very well be wasting the resources God has given you, if in fact it doesn’t take you out of your comfort zone.

It is outside of our neat and tidy little boxes, that we grow.  Where we change.  Where we become the individuals God has called us to be, rather than the robot the world expects us to be.  It is in those last two miles, where everything hurts and burns, when you’re leaning only on God and not on your own strength or ability, that you realize that without Him, you are nothing.  That there is no way on His gorgeous green earth, that you could do this of your own accord, and that without pain there would be no reward.

to God be the glory, great things he hath done, IN me.