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November 2017

Inspiration and Motivation

Checkmate!

November 30, 2017

Checkmate…a term used in the game of Chess or other chess-like games when the king piece is in danger or under “direct attack”, from which there is no way out (Cambridge Dictionary, 2017). When a player’s king piece is placed in such a position, defeat is imminent.   Well, I had a few “Checkmate” moments this week. I hope that you are ready for my whirlwind of a story…LOL.

Hmm…where should I begin…O yes! Let’s start on Monday.   So, this Thanksgiving, my family and I traveled to Georgia to be with my husband’s side of the family. We all had a great time, as it was so wonderful to see family and friends. However, despite this very wonderful time, I dreaded going back home, because I knew it was going to be a whirlwind and a game of catch-up all week long. Okay, so we arrive home early Monday morning (after 1am), from a 16-hour drive. Yes, you read it correctly, 16 hours in a van with 3 children, one of which is an infant! Are you feeling sorry for me yet? It was definitely not an easy trip back home. Anyways…thank God we made it home safely.

Alright, so it is now after 1am on Monday morning, my husband brings our entire luggage inside, and I begin showering the children as quickly as I can so that they can go to bed because they had school in the morning. Yes, you read it correctly once again. Yup, I sent them to school. Growing up, my mother sent my siblings and I to school all the time… no matter the situation. LOL…I can’t help but laugh out loud as I type this. Man, my older sister, younger brother, and I received perfect attendance awards all throughout elementary school all the way up to high school. My mother was no joke! Okay, back to the story. So, I got the children ready for bed as my husband held our crying infant son, who was extremely exhausted from the trip. Long story short, I did not lay my head on my pillow until close to 3am on Monday morning. As you can tell, the start of my week was not heading in a good direction.

The next morning, my husband gets up around 7am to head out to work, and I got up out of bed around 7:30am to get the children off to school. As Murphy’s law states, everything that could go wrong, went absolutely haywire that morning. My daughter was whining in my ears nonstop, and I ended up getting breakfast on the table later than usual, which caused everything to get delayed. After a mad dash out the door, the children arrive at school right on time by the skin of their teeth. Sheesh!!! I was sweating like I was training for the Olympics!!! The struggle was serious. I could feel a “Checkmate” moment approaching. Nonetheless, I did not give in to my emotions—I kept on pushing.   By the time Monday night rolled around, I was completely exhausted. I wanted to throw myself face first into the pillow, but guess what??? I could not, because guess who was looking at me bright eyed and bushy tailed…uh-huh…my infant son. He had a huge smile on his face. It was if his smile was saying “Party Time!”

“I feel you coming, Checkmate”.

Eventually, little man fell asleep and so did I. Now, Tuesday had arrived, and the day was going smoothly until the evening rolled around. My husband had to finish up his work, so I volunteered to take our two older children to their swim lessons. I also had to take the baby, so that my husband could concentrate on his work duties.  

Are you seeing where this is going?…“Checkmate!”. Side note, the children’s swim class actually began at 5:30pm, but I mistakenly thought it was 5:15pm, so I was running like a mad woman around the house trying to get everyone ready to be at the pool on time.

So, we arrived at the YMCA at 5:17pm. I was thinking that we were late…so of course, I started to sweat again, as I was rushing my two older children to hurry up. So, we get to the family changing room, and my daughter takes her clothes off and throws it on the floor. UGH!!!! I got so upset with her…all I could see was germs…eek eek eek!!! LOLOL!!!! This just raised my blood pressure even more. We made it to the pool deck, and I am still rushing them to hurry up and go join their class. My daughter obeys after some reluctance, but my older son, says “Mommy, that is not our class”. I then say to him “What do you mean? This is your class, go and join them right now!”. He refuses and keeps telling me no, it is not his class. By this time I am seeing bright red in my vision pathway… “Checkmate!” “Checkmate!” “Checkmate!”   I was furious. I then said to him… “Wait until we get home”…with the meanest face ever. He was going to go straight to his room after dinner. I hope that all of our readers can find some humor in this…because it is truly very funny. Okay, so my daughter runs over to the other students in the water and tries to go in. The instructor then stopped her and said, “No, you are early. Your class will begin in 5 minutes.” At that point, she ran back over to me and said at the top of her voice (which is very loud), so that all the parents on the pool deck could hear “I told you, Mommy, this is not our class. You were wrong!”  I must admit, that my son was initially correct. I did mix up the times and classes… “Checkmate!”

By this time the other parents were looking at us…I was so embarrassed.   Nonetheless, I put my pride aside and I publically said, “Alright, you both were right, and I am sorry for being wrong and mean.” Growing up, my mother NEVER said sorry. No matter if she was blatantly wrong. It was a West-Indian cultural thing. However, I promised myself when I had children, that I would not be too proud to say that “I am sorry” if I was wrong.   So, I apologized and the children’s swim class did begin 5 minutes later and things seemed to be on cruise control. Keyword,“ SEEMED…”

I wish my hectic story could end here…but nope! I was scheduled to teach a Zumba kids class at 6:45pm and when we finally got to the van, the clock said 6:39pm. “CHECKMATE!!!”  Okay, I had to think fast. I called my husband, and asked him to meet me at the school to pick up the children so that I could go straight to teach and be on time.   My brain was rattling! I ended up making it in time for my Zumba class, but 10 minutes had passed, and my husband still had not arrived (we live two minutes away from the school).  AHH!!! I literally had to do my routines with my 20-pound son in my arms. Talk about a workout! I later found out that my husband went to the wrong location. He eventually arrived and took our daughter and infant son home with him. My older son stayed with me, which I was so thankful for the extra class help.

Is your brain exhausted from reading this? LOL! I know!

Later that night after the children ate and were ready for bed, I turned to my husband in surrender and said, “I need some personal time to myself”. I then went on to confess, how quickly I went from 1 to 10 on the anger/frustration scale, and how I was not proud of it.   I told him that this was a clear sign that I am “In too deep”.   I really have to step away from all the chaos and take a moment for myself, which is an extremely hard thing to do as a wife and being a stay at home mom of three children. I am in desperate need of a mental health day. I plan on scheduling one much sooner than later…because being “Checkmated” is not an option that I ever want to entertain.

Below I have included some signs that indicate an impending “Burnout” from Psychology Today, which is defined as “a state of chronic stress”(Psychology Today, 2013). If you are experiencing a few or more of these symptoms, please take the time to step back from life, and schedule some regrouping time.

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion:
  • Cynicism and detachment:
    • Loss of enjoyment
    • Pessimism
    • Isolation
    • Detachment
  • Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment:
    • Feelings of apathy and hopelessness.
    • Increased irritability
    • Lack of productivity and poor performance. 

Remember to take a moment, and try to implement some R&R (Rest & Relaxation) into your busy schedules. We all need to find the time to stop and smell the roses. If not, you may be approaching “Checkmate” faster than you can see it coming. That should never be an option for any of us. You can do this …Stay strong!

~Contessa Thomas

 

References

 

Cambridge Dictionary (2017) Checkmate Meaning. Retrieved on November 29, 2017 https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/checkmate

Psychology Today (2013). The Tell Tale Sign Of Burnout. Do You have Them? Retrieved on November 29, 2017 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them

 

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

I Don’t Want Your Love!

November 26, 2017

Please forgive me for my rant, but do here me out.

I know that I spend a lot of time writing about love… but you see… love is the answer.

People in this world are suffering, because there is no love.

We so often think that loving others is simply a feeling.  I love you because I like you.  You make me feel good, so I love you.  You never hurt my feelings, so I love you.

Love is so much more!!!!

Many, many years ago, when I was a child, I was the victim of sexual abuse.  Sadly, a close family member victimized me. When I should have hated, I loved.  I forgave. I pardoned. I treated the individual as if no wrong was ever done.  I showed this person love. 

Loving is NOT easy, but it’s what will make this world a little bit easier to live in.

Living in a world full of hatred, it’s hard to find a place where true love abides.

If you had to identify a place where unconditional love should reign, where would you guess it to be?

***CHURCH***

Church should be the place where love abides. Hands down, no questions asked. 

I cannot speak about all types of churches. Therefore, I’m making reference to the Christian church.  Whether it is Adventist, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical,

Lutheran, Methodist, or Pentecostal—just to name a few.

How could I make a statement as such- “Church should be the place where love abides.”?

Well, churches are typically Christian, which means that they are following Christ.

Who was Christ and what did he have to say about love?

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who left his heavenly home to minister to humanity, and because of LOVE, he gave his life as a ransom for the world. His life was given as an act of love, so that the world would not perish, but that all would have the opportunity for everlasting life (John 3:16).

When Jesus came to earth, he taught the people many things. One of his greatest sermons that he reiterated over and over again was about love and loving people.

Through the inspired words of godly men, we learn that love is patience and kindness.  Love is not exemplified through jealousy and boasting. Love is not arrogant or rude. Love does NOT encompass the notion that it’s my way or the highway.  Love is not resentful. It does not take joy in doing the wrong things, but it takes pleasure in truth and honesty. You can find more about the definition of love in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

A great deal of time is spent in the Bible, teaching about love. We can learn about God’s love for people, and we can learn about how WE should love others.

This notion of loving others has weighed so heavy on my heart this past week, because I personally experienced the effects of a church filled with no love, or better yet…questionable love. 

I know that different people have different concepts of how to love others, so I’m going to reference love from the Christian perspective. I will base my definition of love on the greatest example of love that I know.

A church is a place where everyone should feel loved, regardless of what they did. They could be a monstrous person, but they still should be loved. I know…that’s a heavy pill to swallow.  Hey, but look at the biblical figure Saul. History revealed that Saul was a devout man of God, a Pharisee who sought to follow the Jewish ceremonial/moral laws strictly. Saul made it his mission to persecute ALL those who followed Jesus Christ. He was responsible for the death of many Christian believers.  Despite all of the wrong that he did, love was bestowed upon him.

As Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, he was met by love. Love confronted him. Love showed him his wrong and pardoned it. Love forgave him!  It treated him as if he did nothing wrong. 

Looking at the historical account recorded in Acts 9:3–9, we learn that

as Saul almost reached his destination of Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. He fell on the floor after which he heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul responded, “Who are you, Lord?”.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Get up and go into the city, and there you will be told what you must do.” said Jesus.

Saul got off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could not see anything. So the soldiers that he was accompanied by led him into Damascus.

This story exemplifies love.

An individual who was responsible for the persecution of many received love.

It breaks my heart to know that those who profess to be followers of Christ fail to replicate the same type of love that he showed.

People from all walks of life, with all types of baggage, deserve to be forgiven and loved.

In a recent discussion with a friend, we realized that love does not truly abide in the hearts of those who profess ‘Love’.

Romans 13:8 states that we owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law of God.

I don’t believe that refers to conditional love. Simply put, “unconditional love is the answer”.

I know that everyone is not a Christian, but love is a universal language.  We all CAN in some way, shape, or form understand the concept of love.

Loving others unconditionally is not an easy walk in the park. My sweet friend L.R. shared a Facebook post that reveals the struggle with loving others.

“I am a Christian and I can’t stand some people’s ways sometimes (very few people though). Sometimes my heart says—I don’t want anything to do with this person because of their personality, their character, and/or their ways.

However, when I meet them, I’m kind to them and I smile…and I might hug them. I might even kiss them to greet them.

Does that make me fake and hypocritical?

Not necessarily. I know my heart is wicked. I know that my heart is deceitful. And I know that I shouldn’t follow my heart. I know that there are things in me that people don’t like either. My flesh and His Spirit are fighting to take over my body.

It’s a real struggle.

I pray to God to change my heart every day. So when I see that person, I choose not to let my flesh win. I choose not to let my heart win. I choose to love him/her. I choose to put all my feelings to the side because it’s not about me.

I choose life.

I choose Christ.

It’s not hypocrisy. It’s trying to be a true Christian….. every day.” L.R.

I want to experience unconditional love. If you can’t love me with that unconditional love, then I don’t want your love.  If you cannot exemplify compassion instead of anger and hatred—I don’t want your love.

I want to be loved with the same love that I’m striving to give…UNCONDITIONAL love. 

I’m not perfect, but I’m trying my best…

The beautiful thing is that, regardless of all the conditional love that MAY be sent my way, I will always make the conscious effort to love unconditionally. 

Remember… Love is the answer!!!”

~ Candace Mezetin

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Inspiration and Motivation

Learning To Smile Differently

November 23, 2017

An old Chinese proverb once said that there was an old man who felt as if his life was in complete shambles. As the story progresses, he takes a walk through the town and personally begins to witness the intense misfortunes of his fellow townsfolk. At the end of his very long stroll, he came to the conclusion that his problems, which he initially thought were so immense— were tiny in comparison to the suffering of others. There are times in life, when it seems like our circumstances are so unbearable, but let us take a moment to look around. Just like that old man, if we were to take a good look at the world around us, we would more than likely come to the conclusion, that our problems are not as massive as we initially perceived them to be. In fact, our grimace of a smile, I am certain would transform into a compassionate, warm, and caring one— that we could use to encourage those around us.

A few weeks ago, as I was doing my chores, a dear friend of mine popped into my mind. Over the years, I have learned that whenever someone pops into my head, it is my cue to check-in on them. Time and time again it has happened where a person has popped into my mind, and I followed my inclination to see how they were doing. As our conversation progressed, it was evident that they really did need a word of encouragement, or to know that someone cared about them enough to call. I truly thank God for this gift. Okay, back to the story, so I immediately picked up my phone and text my dear friend. Let me just give you a little background on this awesome friend of mine.

My friend and I met many moons ago at work. Our friendship started out kind of strange, in that we would speak on the phone almost every other day. Our conversations initially started out being solely centered on the research study patients that came into the Radiology Clinic that I worked in. Eventually our conversation grew more and lasted more than a mere minute. As the saying goes, be kind to everyone, because you never know when you will meet up again. Long story short, I eventually transferred positions from the Radiology clinic to Radiology research. As the cookie crumbled, I ended up working with my very good friend, that I got to know over the years through our frequent phone interactions.

We worked together in Radiology research for 5 years, until I received a promotion and went to a different department. One thing that I can say about my friend is that no matter how difficult things got, she would always seem to go with the flow. Another thing that I remember about my dear friend, was that her smile always seemed a little strained. Like there was an invisible chip on her shoulder. Don’t get me wrong she is super awesome, but there seemed to be an underlying sadness.

Moving forward to a few weeks ago, my dear friend sent me stunning pictures of her maternity photo shoot during our text conversation. In the pictures she was sporting a stunning smile that was so huge. It was as if she was smiling with her entire soul. Following the receipt of the pictures, as if she read my mind, she said “Tessa, I smile differently nowadays, because I’m truly happy.” Those words gave me instant goose bumps (which is a good thing) because her happiness meant so much to me. Her words truly made my day, because I knew that she endured some very difficult situations in her life. In fact, she is the inspiration behind this article. In that moment my heart was truly overjoyed, because I knew that she finally found the true happiness that she deserved.

You see, in my opinion, all the misfortunes that befell her throughout the last few years really starved her of true happiness— so much that it reflected in her smile. However, now her and her husband were preparing for their new bundle of joy to enter the world. Amidst all the lemons that life had dealt her, she had learned to make a quite thirst-quenching batch of lemonade. I am super proud of her, and I want her to know that I love and respect her so very much.

As today, marks the time of year where we all sit down to eat and spend quality time with our loved ones… Let us not forget to be Thankful! Thankful for the good and the bad, that at times may cross our paths. Let us focus our efforts on loving and appreciating those special people and moments in our lives. Like my lovely friend, let us all “learn how to smile differently”. Yes, from deep down within and with our entire being.

~Contessa Thomas

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

Just a Conversation …Little Black Girl Pt. II

November 19, 2017

Coping
Instead of moping
Those flashbacks so real
But they seem so surreal 
In the land of the free & the home of the brave
Trapped by my fears, living like a slave 
Bound by my battles
Weighed down by my past
I wish I could just shake it…
Erase it
Pretend it never was…
But no matter how much I try to hide from the pain, it always seems to find…

Me.

There MUST be a reason why these cards were dealt to me
There MUST be a purpose!!!

As life would have it, I was asked to open my personal history book again…

The book that dictates my story of…abuse…self degradation, and humiliation

The book that reminds me of my lack, and the way it has impacted…

Me.

An open book that caused me to relive experiences that literally killed…

Me. 

A walking dead.

To resurrect every emotion and pain that I tried so hard to bury…

To be reminded of my worth…

Uugghhh…

My worth…

Based upon my track record…
I have no worth…

ZERO…

*Mic drop* 

Oh little black girl,
Pick up those downcast eyes!
Don’t you know who you are and WHOSE you are?

You were specifically created with a SPECIFIC purpose and plan

You are worth more than silver,  
You are worth more than gold,
Your life IS a testimony 
That only YOU could have ever told! 

You are strong 
And powerful, you just only have to see it.

Open your eyes my child…
Look up and believe it. 

Despite your plight,, you continue to fight, to claim your right, please don’t lose sight…just believe it. 

Your life is an example of what it means to be strong, brave, persistent and even resilient. 

Despite the battles
You HAVE won the victory.  
You did not let your past define you. 

Look at me little black girl…
Look straight at me.
Stop looking down. 
Pick your head UP.

Let me tell you something

When I see you… I see pain transformed into strength…

When I see you…I see hate transformed into love…

When I see you…I see insecurities become your personal empowerment 

When I see you, I see a beautiful black girl with scars that gave her beauty beyond compare. 

No one could EVER look like you.  

You are who you SAY you are.
Speak your existence into being.

Your past only helped you to become the person you are today.

Read your story, share it with the world.  Let them see you.  When they see you, they will see Him. 

Him.

The One who gave you the ability to pull through your mess. 
The One who saved you from unresolvable stress

The One who gave you a heart so willing to forgive
The One who loves you unconditionally, so it doesn’t even matter what you did. 

Your history actually became His Story, because His blood covers you. 

Stand tall
Live strong 
Fulfill your purpose 
Share that history 
Even though it’s a mystery 
Someone’s life will be better because you did. 

(http://becomingself.com)

~Candace Mezetin

~Love is the answer

 

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

Life Can Be a Real Venus flytrap

November 16, 2017

Life can be a real…Venus flytrap. Let me explain…

According to britannica.com, the Venus flytrap, officially known, as the Dionaea muscipula is a plant that grows from a bulb like rootstock. This plant also bears small white flowers on the tips of its erect stem that grows to about 8- 12 inches long (www.britannica.com/plant/Venus-flytrap). Additionally, the Venus flytrap’s leaves are 3-6 inches long and possess blades that are stationed amongst the midline of the plant, that extends to the circular lobes of the plant, that closes when it is eating insects, or other very small animals. It is very different from all the other plants out there, because it is considered to be carnivorous. This is quite strange for a plant to be carnivorous. In fact, it is the only member of its genus [plant family](www.britannica.com/plant/Venus-flytrap).

Taking an initial glance at this plant, one would say that it is rather an intriguing, but scary looking plant. The inside of the leaves/trap is a beautiful pink color. Insects and small animals are lured into this death trap by the beauty and vibrant color. This so reminds me of what we call life. At first glance, life is intriguing and luring, while at the same time quite scary. In fact, a lot of the time, life shows us some beautiful and vibrant things that seems so promising, but in all actuality it is a trap. It is very important for us to recognize life for what it is. We have to be diligent and careful in how we navigate life; if not, before we know it we become it’s fallen prey.

This week I was frequently reminded that life is like a Venus flytrap. Starting off on Monday, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness that I couldn’t shake off. No matter how hard I tried, the feeling just would not go away. I had in my plans to do some studying for my group fitness instructor exam, work on my book chapter for an upcoming project (http://becomingself.com), and to look for some freelance positions. However, my bouncing baby boy decided that he was going to have all my attention that day.

Tuesday, I woke up with high hopes, ready for a successful day. I got the kids ready and off to school, and then I went to drop off some medical forms for my son at the pediatrician’s office, and did a quick store run. Upon leaving the pediatrician’s office my infant son decides to have a fit and wouldn’t stop crying. After finally getting him to sleep, I placed him back in his car seat and decided to drive off. So great, he’s asleep, but that wouldn’t last too long. He was soon sitting up again, crying his head off in the grocery store. This persisted all the way home for the most part and continued as we went into the house. Finally, he settles down for a little nap and I think to myself, “okay I’m going to get some work done.” Guess what??? That was a nice thought, because in all actuality, he woke up again. All the plans that I had for my day— search for more freelancing opportunities, and writing my blog faded away so quickly. In the blink of an eye my day was over, and I had not accomplished anything that I set out to do. If that wasn’t frustrating enough, around 10 p.m. that night I got a call from my uncle letting me know that he just underwent surgery, and that my grandmother was back in the hospital. This time they found something in her colon after months of her complaining of excruciating pain. Life, you are a Venus flytrap. Let me not fail to mention how that same feeling of sadness and uneasiness still lingered throughout the day on Tuesday.

Anxiety engulfed my inner being as the fear of losing the woman who helped raise me was becoming more than I could bear. Tears began to well up in my eyes, as my heart sank in my chest. A large lump developed in my throat. I felt as if I was standing in a pile of quicksand, and the more I tried to get out of it mentally the faster I seemed to be sinking emotionally. I went to the bathroom, brushed my pearly off-whites (a little comic relief), and then I picked up my journal and began pouring my heart out to God for strength and wisdom, to safely navigate the treacherous roads of life that imminently lie ahead of me.

Life, you are a Venus flytrap and I see you for what you are, but you will not get the best of me. No, I will not be your meal ticket today, nor tomorrow, nor the day after that. I’m determined to keep a positive outlook about you, even though you have let me down so many times. I will remain hopeful, because I know that regardless of what you throw my way, I will spread my wings and soar throughout the rest of my life. The oil deposits that you to tend to leave on my wings, with the sheer purpose of trying to weigh me down WILL NOT prevail!

I want to encourage all our readers today, that no matter what you are going through… hold on and try your best to be strong. Again, life is a Venus flytrap whose goal is to lure us into what seems to be something so beautiful and promising, but we must not be foolish. Let us see life for what it truly is, and ask for/embrace a type of wisdom that extends BEYOND what this world offers—in order to navigate the challenging trenches that await so many of us. In other words, wisdom is the tool that will assist us, so that we won’t get stuck in life’s disguised traps.

Remember…life is not always going to be easy, and it is going to test us time and time again, but you can do it; you will do it—rise up and soar! 

~Contessa Thomas

 

References

Brittanica.com: Venus flytrap: www.britannica.com/plant/Venus-flytrap

 

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It’s Not About You!

November 12, 2017

It was another day of getting ready to run some errands, and so I rounded up the kids and got them dressed to hit the road. After getting the kids secured in their car seats, instead of turning on the TV (a force of habit every time we get into the car) I decided to turn the radio on, so that I could hear some inspirational music.  The moment the TV did not go on, I heard my eldest son repeating the phrase, “TV please… TV please… TV please… TV please”. After ignoring him for about 30 seconds, I decided to look at him and in the sternest voice that I could make; I said to him, “It’s not about you!”

I then went on to say, “When can I have a turn to listen to something I want to listen to? Every time we get in the car I turn on the TV just for all of you. When will you all take a moment to think about me and consider that maybe mommy wants to listen to the radio this time?”

I was so mad!

How often do WE find ourselves moving about, doing all our little “duties” thinking only about ourselves… thinking only about what WE want…thinking about OUR gratification?

Do we ever consider others when we push our own agendas?

The phrase, “It’s not about you” actually comes from the movie, “The Incredibles”. It was a part of the scene where Helen (wife) and Bob (husband) were talking about Dash’s (their son) behavior in school. Being that he is a super human, he has the gift of extreme speed; hence his name being Dash. Helen tried to remind Dash not to use his super powers in school in order to avoid causing trouble. Additionally, she also encouraged him to do his best to be a “normal” kid.  However, Bob started talking about how good Dash would be if he were allowed to be himself (using his speed to participate in sports and other activities), and then somehow the conversation shifted to what Bob really desired for himself (since he now had to put his super hero work aside and try to live a “normal” life). The conversation became tense and Helen had to check him with those deep soul searching words…”It’s not about you! “

After running my errands, I was heading back to the car and began thinking about my son nagging me about the TV. He definitely opened up a can of worms within in me and I immediately started to do some reflecting.

We are people driven and motivated by what WE want.  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to push for the things your heart desires, but what I am saying, is that I don’t believe it’s right to push our agendas selfishly.  Furthermore, I think that it is wrong to not take into consideration how our actions or desires could impact someone else’s life. 

Selfish motives are the foundation of our society. 

Let’s face this harsh reality… our world functions on self. Me… Me… Me.

A great example that specifically stands out in my head is the food and pharmaceutical industry.  These two power houses DO NOT really care about the health and well being of the American people.  PLEASE NOTE that these are my personal observations/opinions based on facts.

Research has shown the impact certain foods have on the onset of diseases. Despite this reality, these same foods are still being sold on the market for very cheap prices. On the contrary, the foods that are ideal for optimum health and development can only be afforded by a small percentage of America.  Why is that?  These top people who are running the food industry know that these ‘death’ foods bring them $$$$, so keeping it real with America is far from their agenda. They will do all that they can (lie and mislead) to ensure that they keep their pockets full of money.

“It’s not about you!!”

Medicine is a wonderful practice that has saved millions of lives. Medical doctors and all medical professionals do exactly what they have learned in medical school.

BUT…

What is the motivation behind medical school curriculums?  What is the motivating force behind the pharmaceutical industry?  Why aren’t medical doctors taught and trained to eradicate diseases by getting down to the actual causes of diseases, versus treating the symptoms and prescribing medications?

This one is personal for me as a couple of months ago in my blog post series, “Frustrate Eato”, I shared with the world that my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). His doctors DID NOT tell him that he should change his diet.  They DID NOT advise him to cut out inflammatory foods, to eliminate gluten, to take certain vitamins and minerals in order to stabilize and help his immune system improve.  No.  They DID NOT tell him to make sure he rests and to keep his stress levels down.

Instead…

They wanted to prescribe him with a form of chemo to suppress his immune system, so that it wouldn’t “attack” itself anymore.  Even though, he actually needs his immune system to help him fight off the other millions of germs that could knock him out in a blink of an eye.  They also told him that if he didn’t start treatment immediately he would be at risk for another MS attack soon. 

Instead of the doctors offering my husband options to heal his body, they offered the option that would simply treat his symptoms. My husband would have to be dependent on these meds for the rest of his life! Side note…this life long medicine sentence would have definitely shrunk our pockets further, while continuing to grow the pharmaceutical industries’ own more.

“Its not about you!!!”

So my next question is,  “What or who is it about then?”

This is a good question!!

Who is it about?  All people.

What is it about?  Love.

I believe that if we learned to LOVE ALL PEOPLE, there would be no room for selfishness.  If we denied ourselves, so that we could help someone else…there would be more love and happiness in our world.  The more we love and give of ourselves for others… the more we actually receive!!!

If pharmaceutical companies loved people genuinely, they would not be able to prescribe certain meds or vaccinations in good conscience, knowing that the harm of the medication overtime outweighs the good. 

An example of this can be seen on those commercials advertising new drugs on the market.  It promotes the benefits of the drug, using actors looking all nice and happy, with white pearly teeth. However, when they disclose the side effects and negative impacts of the medications, it is spoken of so fast that you can hardly hear the words being said.  Also, the side effects list is SOOOOOO long…I mean it’s longer than the condition it’s supposed to be treating.  It makes me wonder if it’s better to deal with the illness itself than with all the side effects, which includes possible DEATH!

Love is what this world needs.  We need to stop letting greed, selfish desires, power, and control consume us. We need to stop and think about doing things for someone else.

I want to challenge you today to put aside what YOU WANT, and do something for someone else.  Nothing that will compromise your belief(s) of course, but something that would exuberate love, 100%.

If we truly loved and lived selfless, this world would truly become a better place.

Love is what this world needs!!!

~Love is the answer~

-Candace Mezetin

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Inspiration and Motivation

You Shot Me You Got Me…Again!!!

November 9, 2017

One shot, two shot, three shots…four

How many more millions will we as a country try and underscore?!

 

How long will we continue to cast a side eye to the many innocent lives

that continue to fall by the wayside.

 

Anger, depression, mental deprivation (illness)…

Whatever the cause…does not excuse nor dim the havoc that continues to be caused

 

NRA (National Rifle Association), Congress, or maybe our dear President (deep sigh)

Will hopefully come to realize that our precious lives are worth more than their pocket size!

 

How many more lives must be taken before our government and our laws reflect and bring to pass something that is ground shaking?

 

What do I mean by ground shaking? I mean to write and pass laws that protect the lives of us dear citizens.

Yes, you read it correctly, and I am stating this unapologetically…

 

REGULATE THE SELL OF FIRE ARMS…

Before another life or family is foolishly torn apart.

 

“In God We Trust” is our nation’s motto, but how long will we continue to ignore

the power that He admonished to us all to care for each other and to appease one another’s sorrows.

 

The real question still remains…what will become of our tomorrows

If every time we leave our homes we fear and knit our brows in a furrow

 

Afraid that some lunatic, or uncompassionate prick may take it upon

Him or herself to carry the sickle stick…

 

Yes, in the form of a metal weapon(s), stock with little pieces of explosive death

When?!?! Please tell me when…will we get to finally rest and take a true deep breath?

 

We as a nation have to continue to take a stand…against all this senseless violence…

That has started to leave a lot of us with emotions that are way too bland

 

We won’t rest as a nation….

Until our government wears its responsibility shoes,

And take the leadership for what we elected them to do…

 

Protect us…our lives…our future.

 

**Mic Drop**

~Contessa Thomas

 

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

I’m So Grateful!

November 5, 2017

Every morning when you wake up, and take in a deep breath of air…you should be grateful.

Every morning when you open your eyes and you see everything in front of you as it was before you went to sleep, you should be grateful.

Every morning when you wake up, and you hear the whining cries of your children begging for breakfast, or your dogs barking, or the morning weather forecaster predicting the forecast, you should be grateful.

I am SO grateful for life, health, and strength…I’m just so grateful to be alive.

It has been almost a year since my life could have ended…BUT GOD….

December 11, 2016 was the day that one of my closest cousins was planning on getting married to her best friend in Berrien Springs, Michigan. This event was significant for me as we both were waiting for this moment our whole lives. You see, growing up, we spent long hours fantasizing about the day we would get married to our “Prince Charming”, so being that her moment had arrived it was very important to me. She wanted me to sing in her wedding, and she wanted my husband to be the main pianist for the wedding as well. Even though at that moment when we received our invite we didn’t know how we were going to get there ($$$$), we could not miss this wedding for the world.

Financially, we were not in a place to fly to Michigan with a family of 6, so the only reasonable option was to take the 13-hour drive. My red Honda minivan was not able to handle such a long journey, but praise God because He blessed my husband with a GMC Envoy right before the trip. As a result, we were able to go. Even though all of our ducks were not correctly lined up in a row, by the time we were ready to head to Michigan, we still loaded up the car with our kids, clothes, food, and $400.00 to travel with and left. 

As we were driving towards Michigan, we were informed via weather stations, and from family members, that there was going to be a great snow storm heading that way for the weekend. The roads were projected to be dangerous and unsafe. We prayed to God that He would keep us safe. As we drove through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and finally Michigan; in the span of 13 hours, we witnessed in this particular order– rain, sleet, snow, sunshine, rain, and snow. Praise God we made it to Michigan safely.

That Friday night it was snowing, and the weather forecasters predicted more snow for the weekend. By the time Saturday morning arrived the snowfall was heavy. A little panic had set in my heart, but I quickly erased my fear with praise. “God has this under control.” That Sabbath we went to church, we praised God, we had the wedding rehearsal and dinner. Everything seemed to be going smooth, except for the weather, but we managed. Sunday morning, was finally here!!! Wedding day!!

That morning, the weather was worse. The road conditions were poor. My cousin seemed overwhelmed, and there was a sense of disappointment because of the snow. I sought to encourage my cousin and remained positive. I curled my cousin’s hair the night before, so I needed to meet her at 9:00am at another location, where all the bridesmaids and photographers were meeting. We got up early, got the children dressed, shoveled the snow off the car (with the help of a dear friend) and set off to meet the bridal party. As we were driving, the roads were extremely slippery. I kept praying in my heart, as I was nervous. As we were driving down a hill, carefully and slowly, the car spun out sideways off the road down a slope. Thank God we were safe and my husband was able to reverse and drive around back to the main road, and everything was ok. After that we drove even slower.

We went to the wedding, everything was beautiful. We cried tears of happiness and joy. I especially cried when the stepfather of the groom sang a song by Travis Greene entitled “You Made a Way.” The words of that song were so powerful, and it made me reflect on where my cousin and I came from, and all the struggles and hardships we faced during our childhood. Despite those situations we were “standing here only because [God] made a way.”  Following the wedding, we had the reception and once again it was beautiful. After we ate, sang and fellowshipped, we informed my cousin that we had to leave early because we had a long trip back to NY. 

We went down from the reception room to the waiting area, and changed the children into more comfortable clothing. As we were changing my other cousin (the bride’s brother) came up to me and started talking to me. He discreetly pulled me off to the side and puts $50.00 in my hand. I was shocked and tried to give it back, but he said, “No. Keep it.” Then he walked away. I stood there and was like, “God Thank You!.”  So, we left the Campus of Andrews University where the wedding was held, and set off back to NY during this snow storm. We were driving very slow and took our time. Prior to getting on the highway, we stopped at the gas station to fill up. While we were pumping we realized that the gas was being dispensed at an irregular slow speed. I mean a young man purchased gas after we did and left before us and we paid for a lesser amount. We couldn’t understand why our gas was taking so long to dispense. Nevertheless, we waited until it was done and set off. As we were driving down the highway we noticed numerous amounts of cars over turned and tractor trailer trucks that were jackknifed to the side. Those were horrifying scenes, as we watched other trucks and cars speeding by us in the snow storm. We were driving about 35mph on a 70mph highway.

Once we entered Indiana, my youngest baby started crying and screaming that he had to pee. We placed a pull up on our 2-year-old (at that time), but when you’re potty trained according to this little man; it’s never ok to pee on yourself. So I unbuckled my seatbelt and turned around to help him pee in a bottle. He cried and cried that he didn’t want to pee in a bottle, but rather in a bathroom. I told him there were no bathrooms and he had to pee in the bottle. The air in the car was heightened and very stressful. I just turned back around and sat down. I sat down quickly, but before I could put my seatbelt back on, the car started spinning vigorously out of control off the road. My husband’s face looked so bewildered, as he tried to regain control of the car. It was like a movie clip…something you NEVER want to experience. We did a 360 turn twice on the busy highway, and slid down a steep hill off the side of the road into a ditch. We were stuck. We sat there stunned. The kids were crying. I was shaken up, and my husband looked stumped. He tried to move the car, but nothing happened. We sat there wondering what we should do next. So we prayed. We thanked God for keeping us safe, and we asked Him to help us. Right after our prayer, a highway patrol pulled up and set up flare lights. It was a miracle that he saw us as we were pretty low in the ditch. He checked on us to see if we were all ok. He let us know that he had called a tow truck, and it would arrive in about 30 minutes. He advised us to sit tight and stay in the car. We sat and watched him leave and literally 1 minute later a tow truck pulled up. We praised the Lord for His mercy. The tow truck driver came down, and assessed everything and gave us specific instructions on what we had to do so that he could get us out. We did not know the severity of damage to the car, or if we would even be able to get back to NY. We didn’t have money to do anything, so we were in a little bind. After 2 attempts, the tow truck man was able to pull us out of the ditch and get us back on the road. After he rang up the total cost, everything came to $125.00.

After I gave him all the money we had left to travel back to NY, I remembered the $50.00 sitting in my coat pocket. I began to praise the name of God!! My cousin giving me that $50.00 helped us to still have enough to get home. God knew what was to come, and provided for the need before we knew we needed it. The tow truck man looked at the car and realized that the muffler came down a little bit. He put it back up and praise God, we were good to go. After driving even slower than before, we stopped at a rest area to eat and sleep. When my husband went inside to get food, I got out of the car, looked at the car and the song “You Made a Way” came back to my mind. I started crying hysterically, overwhelmed with all the events of the day, but praising God at the same time for “making a way”. We could have all been dead!! When we were spinning out of control, we could have been hit by an oncoming car or truck–but God made a way for my family and I to be standing here today. Thanks be to God; we drove back to NY with no additional troubles. It took us almost 20 hours to get back, but praise Jesus, we made it back alive. God is so awesome.  I thank Him for ALL of His blessings and provisions along our Michigan journey.

 

Never take your life for granted…ALWAYS be grateful.

~ Candace Mezetin

~ Love is the answer~

 

 

 

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

The Matters of The Heart…Making A Real Difference

November 2, 2017

I LOVE people!!! I believe one of my greatest strengths is being able to connect with individuals and build meaningful relationships. In addition to loving people, I LOVE to tell stories to explain concepts and to validate my points, which I use to help individuals and give purposeful advice. This week one of my colleagues Dr. Joan Samuels sent my sister (Candace) and I, a PDF attachment of a book chapter written by Pastor Rick Warren that pretty much spoke about how Jesus reached and changed the lives of others by meeting their needs. I know that religion and biblical topics are sensitive matters, and in fact, at times I hesitate when talking about God, because I am usually not in the mood to ruffle anyone’s feathers— figuratively speaking.  

However, the point of this article is not to preach to anyone, but rather point out how a man named Jesus, touched the lives of many individuals whom he came into contact with. One main point that stood out to me in Rick Warren’s chapter was that Jesus first met people where they were. He focused on meeting the needs of the people. This really made me reflect on my life and think about the ways in which, I have chosen to connect with people throughout my journey here on earth.   From since, I could remember as a little girl, I would get into a lot of trouble and arguments because all I wanted to do was help people fix their issues, and stop them from making mistakes that could eventually hurt them.   I really cared, but at times my delivery was just so wrong. It was rough and severely unpolished to say the least. I ended up creating more friction than I actually wanted to.   I could remember people wanting to fight me or curse me out instead of thanking me for my offered help. As I progressed into adulthood I started to pray and ask God to help my approach in reaching others. I soon began to focus on meeting the needs of others. For example, I can recall telling myself over and over to keep my mouth shut and just listen to certain friends and family vent. Throughout the years, I realized that it wasn’t about me, and what I had on my hidden agenda to say. I could not actually force my views into the minds of people, even though I had the best intentions to help them. Instead I learned the hard way, which was to put myself aside, and focus on what the people I was talking with NEEDED the most.

Okay…back to the piece written by Pastor Rick Warren. As I read through the chapter my heart began to warm immensely, and my skin started to tingle all over as I became enlightened.   You see, in the Bible Jesus would draw huge crowds wherever He would go. Rick Warren was clear to point out that Jesus did not start off talking about religion or salvation, but instead He met the people’s needs. He healed the blind, crippled, and fed those who hungered. Once he met their preliminary and immediate NEEDS, he then offered them life altering advice and guidance.

So what is the moral of my story here? The point is that we as individuals can make the biggest and greatest impact in the lives of others, by FIRST meeting them where they are. Yes, addressing their up front needs. Those needs may be emotional, physical, or mental.   Whatever category they may fall under, if we truly want to make a SIGNIFICANT impact, we should focus all our efforts on initially meeting their needs. Once again, how can we expect to capture someone’s attention and overall trust if we ignore their most obvious needs (e.g. – hunger, mental, and/or emotional fulfillment).  

I encourage all our readers to please take a moment and reflect on what I am saying here. “The Matters Of The Heart” are many, and run a river deep. In order to reach those often hidden issues, we must first attend to the more superficial concerns in people’s lives. Don’t be afraid to get your hands ‘dirty’. A lot of us want to stay surface so that we don’t get too deep into the mud of other’s lives. However, it all boils down to self-sacrifice. There have been so many times in my life where I did not ‘feel’ like ‘getting involve’ or talking to people about their issues, because of the things that I was going through at the time. Nonetheless, I denied myself and I listened and tried to be of help the best way that I could.

Funny enough, by being of assistance to others, and seeing how I could make a difference in their lives, remedied my heart. As a result, all of the frustration and anguish that I may have been feeling at that given moment from my issues seemed to just melt away. Yes, that is how life works.   From my personal experience, fulfilling the needs of others is one of the best prioritizing remedies in life.   Things that we get caught up on, just don’t seem as pressing anymore, when taking into account the hardships that others face on a daily basis.

In the words of Diana Ross’ famous song “Reach Out and Touch”:

“Reach out touch somebody’s hand

make this world a better place if you can

Take a little time out of your busy day

To give encouragement

To someone who’s lost the way

(Just try)

Or would I be talking to a stone

If I asked you

To share a problem that’s not your own

We can change things if we start giving

Why don’t you…”

I do not know about you, but I take the words of that song to heart—along with the principles of how Jesus reached others, and changed their lives FOREVER by simply meeting their NEEDS first.

 

~Contessa Thomas

 

 

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