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Category Archives: Miscellaneous Reflections

Butterflies v. Soul Stirring

Butterflies v. Soul Stirring

So yesterday at my church was Youth Sunday (Yay fifth Sundays :)) and the youth choir sang a song by Tasha Cobbs called “Happy”

When I heard the song in church I liked it almost immediately, well really when the song got to this part, “Your Life Saved My Life/With You is where I belong/I’m so in love with You.” Well after figuring out who sings the song, thanks @yobreezy, and listening to it a few times (had my morning praise and worship today). I started to get some revelation about my love for God.

I’ve always struggled with the love thing, getting better, thanks to having my heart broken a few times and this struggle affected me to a point where I wasn’t able to express my love towards God because I was afraid He would reject me too (wasn’t logical since God is love but a wounded person will make sense out of almost anything). Anyways, I’ve moved from that place and between hearing this song and some other recent events it kinda hit me this morning about God love v. people love which is how this post is called “Butterflies v. Soul Stirring.”

Background

Recently, I have been asking God to show me how I can love Him and love a man. Basically, in my singleness I have been really working the last two years on improving my relationship with God but I don’t want to be single forever and I don’t want to loose God, by my doing of course, when the time comes for me to get into a romantic relationship again (Dear Future Husband, God comes first punto!).

In relation to this seeking of God, one of the verses I would say to myself to God in my quiet time and praise and worship time is from Psalm 27: 8 which I know better in Spanish (I explain a bit about this below), “Me dice el corazón: <<Busca su rostro>>. Sí, tu rostro, Señor, es lo que busco;” Basically, here David is sharing with God that he is seeking God’s face. I am doing the same thing but one thing I feared was loosing God when the time came for me to not be single anymore or to be in that process of moving from singleness.

Butterflies

So butterflies 🙂 are probably one of the best discoveries of puberty, lol. I STILL remember the first boy that gave me butterflies. I was in 7th grade and he was an 8th grader. The song I had for him was Fantasy by Mariah Carey (I mean this was the late 90s).

I thought he was sooooooo cute and every time I would see him my stomach would flutter. Either that or I would think about him and sing to him, to myself, when “Fantasy” would start and Carey belts out, “Oh when you walk by every night/talking sweet and looking fine/I get kinda hectic insiiiidddeeee/Oh baby I’m so into you…” (Yes after all these years I STILL have that opening memorized :D).

So after my 7th grade crush, I knew that when butterflies showed up…I really liked a guy 🙂

Soul Stirring

So the soul stirring thing I admit is newer than butterflies. But the more I’ve listened to Christian music and read my Bible and gained an understanding of who God is and what He has done for me and us as people on this planet this soul stirring, its hard to put what happens in words, happens more and more. Additionally, I’ve noticed that I get a deeper understanding of the words that gospel artists share when they sing. My recent shift has even gotten to a point where sometimes when I listen to R&B, instead of thinking about a crush, present or past, I think about God or think that well…those feelings, as shared in the song, are a bit much to be having for just a person.

For me, soul stirring is also a feeling like butterflies but its deeper and instead of being a distraction, as butterflies often are, soul stirring focuses me. And, it allows me to understand my love of God on another deeper level. This stirring also brings up memories but God memories…times in the past where God was there when no one else was there or when God sent me things like Psalm 27 when I was struggling in Spain as a study abroad student who always wanted to go to Spain but felt torn when they didn’t like it as much as they thought they should and who was also getting over their first love. It was a lot but God came through, and I’m not sure how much I understood that at the time but it did help, and Spain got better and I had a great time and the hurt from the first love eventually healed.

So what got my soul stirring to get me to write today? My meditation on these “Happy” song lyrics:

You Make Me Happy/You Make Me Whole/You Take the pain away..I’m So in love with you/Everything about you is Right…Covers all my wrong/Your Life Saved My Life/With You is where I belong/I’M SO IN LOVE WITH YOU./CAN’T MAKE IT WITHOUT YOU/I LIVE TO WORSHIP YOU/FOREVER ME AND YOU

When I heard these words, especially those last four lines, there was this instant connection like, “that’s me! that’s my story! that’s how I feel!” Soul stirring…Then the more I listened and reflected and meditated on the words of this song and some other things that’s when I understood that the fear I felt about mixing up my love for God and the future love of a man is something I don’t have to worry about because God’s love hits me in a way that no human can! [Praise pause :)] A human can’t stir my soul and if I ever get to that point I know that something is wrong.

All of This to Say…

That I’m really glad to get the insight that I got. I’m also glad that both butterflies and soul stirring are so enjoyable and that I can appreciate both things in new ways. Finally, I’m really glad that, “I’m so in love with You [God],” and that I am more and more aware of it every day.

Thanks for reading and until next time…

DNMP

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Doing it to get Him not a him

Doing it to get Him not a him

In a moment that seems like a really long time ago, I asked God, “Why am I single? Why do others I know have boyfriends or boyfriend after boyfriend and I’ve been single or caught in ‘talking’ relationships?” Well the answer I got back from Him was basically, “If you can’t build and maintain a relationship with Me, how will you build one with a boyfriend.” Yea it’s one of the first moments where I felt I had heard God’s answer probably because it was the first time I really asked God about something earnestly.

I wish I could say that I immediately started working on my relationship with God “hardcore” and that within a period of six months I met Mr. Right or even Mr. Right Now but that wasn’t the case. I mean my relationship improved some and I made some progress but nothing reflected what God shared with me. And despite getting this clear answer, every few months I would have a moment about why am I single/why don’t I have somebody and I would be reminded by what God had told me. This continued for years…

When I moved to Seattle it was after spending a year overseas where I had found a church to go to but I didn’t go that often because I was afraid and shy and nervous about meeting new people and felt that I should have been further in my walk than I was…I mean God told me what I needed to do to get what I wanted so why wasn’t I doing it and why weren’t the steps I made enough? Anyway, back to Seattle. On my way to the airport to go “home” for Christmas, I met a woman on the shuttle I booked and I don’t know how but we got on the topic of church and she asked if I went to one in Seattle. I responded no and she shared with me the church she went to which was up the road from my house. When I returned to town after Christmas, I went to the church she mentioned. After a month, I stopped pushing away the calls to join, learning from my mistake in the DR even though I knew my time in Seattle was limited. In my short time at this church,  I had one of my moments of going all in and really working on my relationship with Him to get Him not a him. Some of the most productive months of my Christian walk, I even got the Holy Ghost for the first time. No falling out though just an authentic moment with God that must have been authentic and powerful because I’m tearing as I write this sentence. Unfortunately, when I moved from Seattle I was so connected that I could not connect with another church when I moved away. One of the most important lessons I learned from my attachment to my Seattle church, the one that finally let me move closer towards doing what God had told me in college which is build a relationship with Him, was that yes it is important to build relationships in my church and with other Christians but the development of those relationships cannot defer or delay my relationship with God. Make no mistakes, that church is a great church and I learned A LOT, that pastor still held one of my favorite Bible Studies ever where we really studied the Bible and even had tests, what happened was definitely a reflection of me and where I was at that time.

Fast forward about two years where I am a new PhD student. I knew that to embark on this PhD journey that I would need a church home and so after about a month I went to the church I kept passing on the bus and joined on the first day. At the apex of this new journey, I used the many tools available in my new church along with my longer timetable of being in NJ for more than a year, as previously I moved every year for about four years, and I finally started digging deeper and making some visible progress with improving my walk with God.

So what I have done in my time in New Jersey to make progress?

  1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race – Instead of feeling like I had to read 4-5 chapters of the Bible a day and spend an hour a day studying the Word and praying, I started with reading a chapter a day and getting consistant with that. I’ve been doing this for a little over a year and I am currently in the book of Jeremiah. Now I sometimes read and study more but this slow and steady foundation has helped my consistency.
  2. Used My Personality  – Being into the school books and playing sports as a kid  and young adult, I have always done better in group situations like sports practice or taking classes. So I started attending Sunday School at church which is taught like a class and includes structures like homework that help me increase my knowledge of the Word.
  3. Created Accountability For Action – I told someone about something I wanted to do to improve my walk with God. For example, one day soon after my pastor preached and discussed areas of the church that have low participation like the outreach ministry and the midweek early morning prayer meeting. I had one of my, what I call “sporadic in face run-ins” with my pastor. During this run-in, I told him that I planned on starting to go to 6am prayer. I used the mix of accountability/conviction that stems from human nature tendency of wanting to look good and avoid looking bad kick in. That quick “run-in” was enough and I said, “well I guess I have to start going now if I told the pastor I was going…,” which allowed me to make another step towards a deeper walk with Him.

What I have done may not work for you but I pray it gets your mind thinking about how you can create your own methods to improve your relationship with God.

Honestly I still want a boyfriend, just being real, but I can now also honestly say that it is now at a point where it really is about getting to Him to get to Him not to get a him. Deep down, I know that the him will come and when he comes great! I will enjoy cuddling again, lol. But having Him…that’s the relationship I know I can’t live without even in my most I want a boyfriend/companion/husband moments. I still don’t have it all down [aspects of a Christian walk] and sometimes I can’t even tell if what I’m doing in Him is for Him or a step in the process for getting things on my To Do and Wish Lists done but I do know that my persistence and patience are starting to pay off and forward movement is occurring 🙂 So if you are reading this, in the words of Dorie, “just keep swimming,” the day will come where the forced scheduling will become desired scheduling and your feeling of connection with God will come more quickly and often! As I like to sing to myself on the days where praising God is a bit more work than normal, “Hallejujah Anyhow.”

-DNMP

 

Boot Camp Day 5 – “You Won’t Feel Your Arms Tomorrow” & Bread Squats

Boot Camp Day 5 – “You Won’t Feel Your Arms Tomorrow” & Bread Squats

So today was day 5 and the start of week 2 and boy did the trainer go in on us. At one point, I was doing an exercise and he says, “you won’t feel your arms tomorrow.” I quickly, bittersweetly and definitively said, “I know :(”

Ironically, I said to myself yesterday, “I ate waaaayyy too much bread this weekend. This will definitely be worked off this week in boot camp.” However, I didn’t know that I would squat it all out today!?!?!? Ughhh….Not only did we do short squats as a warm up but we did this other nightmare squat exercise as our cool down, thank the Lord my volleyball coaches did not know this latter exercise existed. Basically, we would do squats for a bit and hold and then go back to more squats!!!! It hurt, a lot, but come the end of the year…I will be singing my trainer’s praises 🙂 This boot camp is really good! I am definitely going to play with my budget to see if I can do this at least 2-3 times a year. Right now I’m envisioning this as a shake up to my normal workout routine and a way to get myself out of workout plateaus.

The surprise moment of today’s workout also happened during the ending squats when I started saying the Hail Mary in Portuguese to get through a set. I’m not even a Catholic Christian nor have I ever been. I only know the words because I did a play this past summer at the Portuguese Language School at Middlebury College where we had to say it. I even remember one of my classmates messing up the lines all the time because she only knew the Hail Mary in Spanish. If you think I’m kidding here it goes….”Santa Maria Mãe de Deus rosai por nos os pecadores…” I’m not into the whole “oh the Holy Mother” thing, I’m more of a straight trinity Christian, but I think this came up based on a mix of calling on God to get through this workout and calling on my route memory to keep me distracted so I could get through this workout 🙂

Well as a reminder I’m boot camping at Total Core Fitness Boot Camp. If you are in the area check them out and no they are not paying me to say this. If you want more one on one training I have personal training contacts in NYC and in Central Jersey; click a link or leave a comment so I can send you their info.

Happy Monday,

DNMP

P.S. – Hope I can feel my arms a bit tomorrow :{

 
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Posted by on 25 April 2011 in Health, Life, Miscellaneous Reflections

 

Boot Camp: Day 2 – My Arms Are Weaker Than I Thought & Praise and Worship

Boot Camp: Day 2 – My Arms Are Weaker Than I Thought & Praise and Worship

So what did you accomplish by 7:30am today? Me? I had 5:30am prayer, 6:00am boot camp and 7:00am praise and worship (okay so the latter was unexpected but good :)).

So today’s boot camp workout was focused on cardio but boy did he work our muscles in the process. The crazy thing is that my arms are weaker than I thought. I knew doing boot camp that they would suffer the most in this “kick starting my body again” exercise but wow oh wow its bad. My arms are hurting as I type and my triceps…olvidatelo 😦 I mean I called out Jesus more times in that workout than I think I have in prayer 😦 …I was doing Catholic crosses between exercises, saying “My Lord,” and I even did a rendition of my running powersong “Jesus is My Help.” Beyond that there was one exercise that almost had a merengue type rhythm so I even kept myself going during one set of this exercise by saying “mambo, mambo,” keeping my legs moving in a slow, very slow, merengue rhythm.

So boot camp ends and I get into the car and I have been playing the Israel and New Breed Alive in South Africa CD, great CD by the way, and next thing you know I get in a nice praise and worship in the car. I was boppin and even raised my hands. Have you heard the song “To Worship You I Live”? well the version they do…”yes Lord!”

The part where he goes, “And when you have no words left just go ‘ohh ohh ohh ohhhhh’.” That just hit my spirit in such a way…I could hardly speak…right in my car (Thank the Lord for those unspeakable moments in praise & worship and that it was a red light when it happened today). Probably between the remnants of the 5:30am prayer (Pastor Mary always goes in in an unique and special way) and all that Jesus calling I did in my workout added by the fact that this week is Holy Week (I kept thinking during boot camp that, “this workout is nada compared to the beating and abuse that Jesus got this week and that if He can go through that for me…I can get through this workout for my goals”). [whew…sorry spirit writing pause…its soooo amazing the sacrifices He made for a maybe…but I digress]

Well I will end here…tomorrow is a weight train day at boot camp but I’m worried because my arms are like jello (J-E-L-L-O) now…and will be worse tomorrow (the second day is always worse in soreness land).

Have a great and blessed day!

-DNMP

P.S. – Let’s go Celtics!

P.P.S. – I love how the little smiley man, isn’t he so cute?, fits both parts of my blog’s subtitle i.e. my weak arms & those weak arms in praise and worship 🙂 yay!

 
 

Boot Camp: Day 1

Boot Camp: Day 1

So today was day 1 of the bootcamp I signed up for (Thanks Groupon!). Let’s just say I had flashbacks (read nightmares) of volleyball pre-season and I don’t know if I will be able to move my arms tomorrow :{ However, it was a good workout and I know the trainer will have me working muscles I don’t really ever work, like my now suffering arms. I mean let’s just say that when I choose to run over an exercise…it’s hard!

If you are in Central Jersey check um out! Total Core Fitness Boot Camp. The head trainer says he has not repeated a workout in four years.

My favorite funny moment so far was actually from orientation yesterday. We had to do a plank for 30 seconds and I started singing the Spelman Hymn. Why? Because when I was in high school, when we [the volleyball team] would do wall sits we would have to sing our alma mater and do a cheer and basically we were done when our class was called during the cheer (let’s just say senior year was hard, lol). Well since I don’t remember the words as well to my high school alma mater I started singing the Spelman hymn. Crazy or not, singing a song with these types of things is actually quite helpful as it allows your mind to focus on something else besides the pain 🙂

Anyway, I can’t wait to see my results in four weeks 🙂 as this is the shake up to my workout that I was looking for (My 10 year high school reunion is in November & Homecoming is a month before that).

Tomorrow is a cardio day…yay :{ …please pray for me.

 
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Posted by on 18 April 2011 in Health, Miscellaneous Reflections

 

While I Was Running…What Was Up with the Knicks’ Shot Choice Yesterday?

While I Was Running…What Was Up with the Knicks’ Shot Choice Yesterday?

So last night I went to the gym later than normal but got excited when I realized that I could actually catch a good NBA game while I ran. So I turned to the Bulls v. Knicks game and Derrick Rose showed why he should be MVP for the league but I digress…but not before a Rose/Bulls are so NOT the 2010 Cavs break, lol:

Anyway during the portion of the third quarter I watched I noticed that the Knicks kept shooting these longer shots that they were missing. The odd part was that after missing two longer range two point shots someone (may have been the same person, mind you I was running during this) put up a three pointer also missing. I’m no expert on the game of basketball but something just seems wrong about this strategy. I mean unless you are a Jesus Shuttlesworth that your niche on a team is to shoot 3s maybe getting some layups as regular points or on a fast-break may be, just may be, the better way to re-build momentum and increase your shot success percentage when you are down in a game.

So what is up with the Knicks’ shot choice last night? Was this just a third quarter thing? Or is this a general Knicks problem? Also, is this a pre or post ‘Melo problem? It may be just me but I feel that the Knicks were on a better trajectory towards getting back to their Ewing & John what’s his name (you know who I’m talking about, right? lol) like success days/years prior to the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony than now that he is in the fold. But that’s a topic for another day…

My original plan was to tweet the above question to Mr. Trilliam Shakespeare who is the resident Knicks fan on my Twitter TL but I couldn’t get my question ok my intro to the question with the question down to 140 characters or even in two tweets. So here I am writing this post. So Till, if you are reading this I would be interested in your thoughts and frankly anyone feel free to chime in because in my 3/4 focus on running and 1/4 focus on watching the Bulls/Knicks play I was just baffled by the Knicks’ shot choices I mean you just hit a brick in the last possession and now you are shooting from further away?!?! #OneOfTheseThingsIsNotLikeTheOthersOneOfThingsJustDoesntBelong

-DNMP

P.S. – I would have loved to show you what I am talking about via video but the NBA doesn’t do highlight video of poor play decisions :{ #JustSaying #KanyeShrug

 
 

And Let There Be Light…if The Bible was a Soap Opera

And Let There Be Light…if The Bible was a Soap Opera

So when I was a tween and a teen I really got into Soap Operas…watched General Hospital faithfully for ten years. I also watched Days of Our Lives and Passions for a minute. Anyway, I don’t really watch soaps anymore, unless you count Grey’s as a nighttime soap not a drama, but I check in on GH every once in awhile for a trip down memory lane.

Anyway, in my Sunday School class we have been reading the Bible from the beginning and really getting deep into the meaning of God’s Word instead of just doing a sprint read through and it has been great. One day in Sunday School we were reading about the story of Joseph and how there is nothing new under the sun i.e. the same scandalous stuff people are capable of now happened in Biblical times and I got the thinking, “what if The Bible was a Soap Opera?” We can even say drama if you will. I was thinking it could be a great show that not only teaches The Word but also shows the timelessness of the things people have been dealing with since the beginning of time and a way to reach out to new audiences and get them The Word from where they are at.

One scene that comes to mind that would be perfect for this is when Potiphar’s Wife tries to get with Joseph. I could definitely see her incial come on at Joseph as a Friday afternoon cliffhanger that would leave people wondering “ooohhhh look at that scandalous Potiphar’s wife” or “what is Joseph going to do? She’s hot. Is he gonna sleep with her or not?” Of course I think it would be important to interject the bigger picture and the lesson to be learned in this process so maybe this Soap would have an afterschool special feel to it where at moments you share where to find this part of the story in the actual Bible; other stories that have similar lessons to learn and then maybe even a podcast or video where a preacher gives a short message (they do know how to do that right? ;D lol) about what God is teaching us through this story.

I don’t think having The Bible as a Soap Opera is the perfect solution, the only perfect solution is Jesus really, however I do believe that this could be a fun and effective way to reach out and get souls for Christ. A similar concept, dealing with ending ethinc/racial conflict, has had some success in Africa and elsewhere (the show has productions in Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal and Palestine). This Soap Opera places young people of these different nations together showing these young people getting along as a lesson for them and their elders. Check out The Team:

In a increasingly globalized and interdependent world, it is time for the Church to find new ways to reach people that are lost and to get our message out. As much as we need to lead people forward towards a stronger relationship with Christ, we can’t move them forward unless we get them into the door; we have to find new diverse ways to get them engaged. More importantly, we have to seek them out not sit at the pulpit or in the pews and wait on them to show up (credit for this idea/statement goes to Bishop Eric Clark). Doing things like creating a Biblical Soap Opera could work; if nothing else it would give people a different view of those from Biblical Times and may allow them to see the lessons that God wants us to learn that they may have not otherwise seen.

What do you think? Would you watch a Biblical based Soap Opera? Take the poll!

 
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Posted by on 29 March 2011 in Miscellaneous Reflections, Religion