Life

Expect the Unexpected

Last week I wrote, Trusting God’s Plan. Two days ago, Pastor Steven Furtick posted, “This is the year of things we didn’t expect. Don’t underestimate God’s ability to bring something beautiful out of our unmet expectations.” Both are confirmation that letting go and allowing God have total control will yield the best outcome.

Letting go means not thinking about what is to come, or how a certain story will play out. If you are anything like me, you sit and think, “If I do this, this will happen.” And “this will happen” usually leads to 100 different scenarios. Lol.

Story time! I promise to keep it short. Lol

Sunday I wrote about a situation with my neighbor and his dog. Monday morning I decided that I was going to knock on his door and ask him not to tie his dog to my tree. Had the entire scene played out in my mind. Actually, I had several scenes played out. You know, “If I say this, he’ll probably say blah blah blah.” Well, let me tell you how it actually went down. As I was heading to work, he and his wife were walking the dog. The wife had stopped to talk to one of our neighbors and he was talking on the phone. Y’all, everything happened so fast. I flagged him down and got his attention. Afterwards, I explained that my son was taking classes virtually and that I worked from home most days, and how the dog’s barking was interfering with our work. He quickly apologized and returned to his phone conversation, and I went on to work. None of that happened as I thought it would. I wish I could say that it ended there, but it didn’t. All morning I kept replaying the scene over and over in my head. Kept wondering what he thought of me. What his wife thought of me. Did they think I was rude? Was I rude? Couldn’t I have waited to address the issue? I mean, this really bothered me. I kept hearing God say, “Let it go,” but I could not let it go. Thankfully I became engrossed in something I was working on and forgot about the situation. When I got home, I went over and introduced myself (something I should have done before the incident), and I apologized for being so abrupt that morning. They also apologized and said they didn’t know anyone lived in my house. Umm… how could they not know, but… okay. As I walked back home, I noticed that they had removed the leash from my tree. Smiling

I said all of that to say, when I finally gave it to God, He worked it out. Is anyone else hearing, “Turn it over to Jesus, he will work it out. He can. He can. Work it out”? Y’all, I hear songs all day long. Lol.

Anyhoo.. I did not expect that outcome. I expected some kind of pushback that never happened. None of the scenarios that preoccupied my mind that morning, or even the day before, were close to what actually happened. But isn’t that how it usually happens. Nothing ever happens the way we imagine. Which means we really need to concentrate more on being present and less on what will happen next. Y’all, it is sooo freeing to just let go and let God do His thing.

Along with Pastor Furtick’s post was this image that said, “Are you missing what God wants to give you because of what you thought He was going to do?”

Expect the unexpected.

Be Blessed,

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday!

Looking for a diplomatic approach.

I am going to jump right in. So, a situation has developed over the past few days. My neighbor has been tying his dog to a tree outside my bedroom window… on my property!

When I heard the dog barking on Friday, I went outside to see what was going on. It seemed as if the dog had encircled the tree and somehow became entangled. The poor thing was barking uncontrollably. I considered knocking on my neighbor’s door and asking him to come get his dog, but decided it was not worth the trouble. I wrote it off as a one time thing because it had never happened before. I know he has a newborn baby. So maybe the barking was too much and he decided to put the dog outside. But why on my property?

That was Friday. Yesterday afternoon, he did the same thing! First of all, he never untangled the leash from around the tree. He just put the dog back on the leash and added a bowl of water. Umm.. now it seems like he is trying to make this thing permanent. Guess I should have addressed it Friday.

Honestly, I kind of feel sorry for the dog. Friday was the first time I saw the poor thing. He looked all old and worn. If you have ever watched The Dukes of Hazard, he looks exactly like Roscoe’s dog, Flash. Just sitting here shaking my head thinking about Flash and my current situation. Y’all, I really wanted a basset hound when I was a little girl. Now, 40 years later, I have one tied to my tree. Hilarious! My life…

Anyway, if this continues, I am going to have to address the situation. I’m just trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. I have heard this guy talk to his son and the dog aggressively. So I have to be careful how I handle this. Especially with people being killed over the simplest things, nowadays.

Just thinking.. Maybe my tree is Flash’s (yes, I named him- Lol) little refuge. I just wish he would not bark so much. UGH!

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday!

Moving forward.

Yes, it is Sunday again! Seems like time is passing at warp speed (Star Trek- lol). I would love for it to slow down a little. I need time to process a few things.

Woke up thinking about the turn of events over the past month or so– personally as well as professionally. Even though I have been blogging since 2018, it was not until May of this year that I was ready to share my blogs with the world. In May, I also started volunteering again. It had been ages since I last volunteered. And, when I woke up this morning, I logged onto my professional social media accounts and began updating them. Also, this morning, it finally dawned on me why I had neglected those accounts for so long. Y’all, I did not want to be that person anymore.

Okay… moment of full transparency.

It all began two years ago. Whew, I never thought I would talk about this. At the beginning of 2018, I was asked to do a presentation for an association that was having a conference in Mississippi. I was so honored and hyped about it. I was given a topic, asked to come up with a few objectives for continuing education credits, and told I would be working with a local chef on a menu and food demonstration. Y’all, it was like a dream come true! It was everything I imagined I would be doing at this point in my career. I was ready!

The first hit I took was when I found out the association I was presenting for was not a diverse association but a national, all-Black association. Some would say I should have been honored. However, it was like receiving a blow to the heart. You see, I was asked by a predominately (99%) white company to deliver the presentation.

Just to give you some background on my relationship with this company. For several years, I had been invited to attend their sponsored events. At that time, I knew the state and regional directors well enough to contact them personally whenever I needed a sponsor for one of my events, educational materials for health fairs, or incentives for community projects. So when asked to give this presentation, I automatically assumed it was because they valued our relationship, not because they needed a Black registered dietitian to present to an all Black audience. That stung!

The second thing that happened was they changed my entire presentation. I was initially told they wanted the session to be fun and interactive. Which was right up my alley. I hate boring presentations! Well, after submitting my presentation for review, it was returned to me butchered. Y’all, the entire flow was all wrong. They kept the objectives but added random information. Even the fonts were inconsistent. They also added pictures that did not go with the text. Now, I might write crazy things in my blogs, and make all kinds of grammatical errors, but when it comes to my professional work, it has to be almost perfect before I present it. Honestly, I felt like my work had been sabotaged. Y’all, I cried.

The third thing that happened, and what finally made me question if I even wanted to be in that space anymore, happened during the night of the event. As I said– FULL transparency. This was a month and a half before my hysterectomy. My cycle had just started. Which meant I was extra irritated, cramping like crazy, and blood was pouring out of me. I wore a navy blue suit, and put on an adult diaper lined with two overnight pads, to hide or prevent any accidents. Y’all, I did not want anything going wrong. Well, I arrived at the venue and EVERYTHING was white. I mean— EVERYTHING! The floors were white. The linens were white. And ALL of the chairs were white– white cushioned chairs, that is. Talk about anxiety!! All I could do was pray– “Lord, please don’t let me have an accident on all of this white.” I kept thinking, what would I do if I stained one of the chairs? I tried to remain calm, but I was all nerves. So when I got up to present, no matter how professional I tried to be, it did not happen. Here is how the night went.

When my audience arrived, they were tired from attending hours of educational sessions. I was later informed that they thought my presentation was supposed to be entertaining. HA…so did I! Y’all, they had access to an open bar, and boy did they drink. Some, a lot more than others. Needless to say, I was giving a presentation to a room full of tired, tipsy people. As I said, my presentation had been changed. What I did not mention is that I had only received the revisions a day or two before the event. Which was not ample time to thoroughly review the changes, so I felt unprepared. I also did not have a microphone so I had to walk the room so that everyone could hear me. Funny story- There was this elderly lady that kept yelling, “I can’t hear you!” The night was a mess. When I tell you this crowd asked questions I had “zero” answers to! LOL! Funny, but sooo not funny. Y’all, I felt like a failure. Most of the night I deferred the questions to our host, the one who revised the presentation. At one point I stopped presenting because a few people would not stop talking. Y’all, one thing I hate is rudeness. And when the entire audience can hear your conversation, you, my friend, are being rude. So I stood there and glared at them until they stopped talking. Was I unprofessional…HECK YES! Y’all, I was fed up, I was sick, and I felt humiliated. I felt like an imposter– WOW! I just pinpointed when I began feeling like an imposter.

After that night, I swore I would never attend another one of their company’s events. That was also the last time I really posted anything of worth on my professional pages. I went into my shell and never wanted to come out. Honestly, I had given up. I had lost my confidence. That was two years ago.

As I mentioned, May was my turning point. Slowly, I am regaining my confidence. Maybe I did need two years to Reflect, Regroup, Refocus, and Rebuild. I do believe I am wiser and better prepared to handle the unexpected. I am also working on the way I deal with my imperfections. Recently, I attended a Zoom call with a lot of unknown attendees. At first, I was not going to turn on the camera. You know, leave the nice, edited picture displayed. At the last minute I was like, why not! I did not have on makeup. I had on a t-shirt and my hair held back with a headband. And my lighting was bad. But, I decided to show the world me. Part of my personal and professional growth is about me becoming comfortable with my imperfections. Slowly, but surely, I am growing.

Y’all, I am so grateful God loves me. Moving forward.

Shaun

Life

Independence Day 2020

Freedom is not free. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

What legacies are you passing on? What will your descendants say about you?

Please watch NPR’s YouTube video, Frederick Douglass’ Descendants Deliver His ‘Fourth of July’ Speech, and please, please share. Note: The actual speech is titled, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

Here are my thoughts after watching the video:

I believe Frederick Douglass’ descendants reading his “Fourth of July” speech is just as powerful as the speech itself. It is up to us to continue the difficult conversations surrounding racial issues, even on Independence Day.

Honestly, I considered not sharing this video. I did not want to interrupt the happy celebrations. But are the celebrations truly joyous? Because after the fireworks, BBQs, SAFE social gatherings, and “Happy 4th of July” pictures and posts, racial inequality remains. I mean.. only a few days ago Mississippi finally removed its racially divisive flag— in 2020!! What year did the United States gain its independence? Umm..1776. What year was slavery abolished in the United States? Supposedly 1865. And what year is this, again? Hmm.. 2020 in the 21st century.

Y’all, we cannot continue to pretend everything is okay, because IT IS NOT. Change is happening NOW, and WE must keep up the momentum. We cannot sit back and wait for another great leader to come along and tell us what to do. They have already done that. They have already equipped us with everything we need. Now it is our time to follow through. Not tomorrow or next month, but NOW!

Who’s with me?!

P.S. Be sure to watch the commentary at the end of the video. POWERFUL‼️

‪#HappyFourthOfJuly‬

Shaun

Uncategorized

Praying . . .

Today is June 1, 2020. It is the first day of my birthday month. Although my birthday falls towards the end of the month, I am usually celebrating right now. Everyone who knows me knows I love my birthdays! Y’all, right now I should be happily planning my celebration and counting down the days; however, I am not. This year, for the first time since I was a little girl, I am not excited. Do not get me wrong, I am grateful.. very grateful, but not excited.

Honestly, how can I celebrate while our county is in turmoil? We are outraged about the murders of our black men and women by the hands of those who swore to protect and serve our citizens. We are angry about injustices black and brown people face daily due to systemic, overt, and subtle racism. We are angry because we are angry! Believe me, this is not the country our forefathers imagined. They would be devastated to know that we are still fighting for civil rights in 2020. When will it end?

So, this year, instead of spending time planning my celebration, I am going to spend it praying for our nation. Yes, I believe in the power of prayer because GOD is still in control. My prayer is that God places His arms of protection around our families, friends, and neighbors. That He breaks down ALL negative barriers to include hatred, racism, anger, and divisiveness; and that He unites our nation through love and peace. Y’all, I truly believe, with my whole heart and soul, that love conquers all. I am not saying that bad things will not happen or evil will never exist. However, I do believe that there is more good in this world, than bad. I refuse to believe otherwise. Praying. . .

Shaun

Uncategorized

Breathe

This new normal seems to be wearing on me. It is becoming harder and harder to stay focused. I am so tired of online meetings and conference calls. They seem to disrupt my days. I always have to regroup afterwards. My To-Do lists have been replaced by completing tedious work logs, which have added another level of stress to my life. I seem to spend most of my time thinking about how I can show that I am being productive than actually being productive. Ugh! Talk about stressful! All I want to do is, do my job. I want to work without the added pressure.

Then there is the lack of face-to-face interaction with others. I am a people person. I live for saying “Good Morning” as I pass others on the way to my office. It brightens my day. I miss my morning trips to Starbucks and Einstein Bagels. Again, because I get to interact with people. Y’all, I miss having real conversations with colleagues and students. Yes, I am having a difficult time. And I realize others are too. I just wish I could adjust, already!

Anyway, yesterday I had to take a step away from everything and remind myself to breathe. I had to remind myself that after the work day was over, it was OVER. No thoughts about what I had not completed. I had to let it go. After shutting everything down, I gave my 16 year old, who I feel like I have been neglecting, my undivided attention.

I remembered that this is also a new normal for him. He has been out of school for two months. He also misses his friends and teachers. This new normal has to be just as difficult for him. Last night he told me school ended last Friday. How did I not know this? I do not remember receiving an email or text from his school. I wanted to cry. This new normal is anything but normal.

Going forward, I am going to be a little more lenient with myself. I am going to focus on what matters most, my sanity and my children. Life is too short to continue focusing on stressors. So, whenever I become frustrated, I must first remember that I matter; I am loved; and God has me in His hands. Then I can focus on others and work, too.

Breathe.