Life

Wednesday Writings

This morning I woke up with Whitney Houston’s I Didn’t Know My Own Strength playing over and over in my head. Truthfully, how I have made it thus far is a blur. As I look back over my adulthood, I’m amazed at how many challenges I encountered and actually overcame. Some, I thought I would never make it through. Yet I’m here. I made it!

Transparent Moment –

Last night I received a credit alert informing me that my credit score had increased in double digits. In tears as I write. Allow me to share why this is so significant. Here’s my story.

When I was 23 years old, I filed for bankruptcy. At the time, I was a single mom with a debt I believed I could not repay. My daughter was almost two years old and daycare was eating up most of my paycheck – especially when I worked 12 hour shifts on nights and weekends. Therefore, I relied on credit cards to purchase food and necessities and pay bills.

The other day I was looking through old photos and came across pictures of my first apartment. I had moved from a small, fully furnished trailer/mobile home to this huge empty apartment, and the only living room furniture I could afford was two black bean bag chairs and a small stool, which held my lamp. I remember sleeping in my daughter’s toddler bed (I’m short- smile) until I could get a bed of my own. Which, of course, was purchased on credit. Needless to say, by the time my daughter was two, I was drowning in debt. I knew I had to find a way out and I believed bankruptcy was the solution. Some of you may ask why I did not ask for help since I was in the military. Well, I was too embarrassed to ask for help. I was constantly being praised for being a young, single mom with my life “together,” so it was hard asking for help. Talk about the stress of trying to be perfect, all while falling apart inside. It was too much!

Just like the day I decided to join the Air Force, deciding to file for bankruptcy was a spontaneous move. I did not have a plan in place nor a lawyer in mind. One day I just woke up and decided to search the yellow pages of the phone book for a bankruptcy lawyer. Listen, one thing about me, when I’m fed up with my circumstances, I will find a way out. Sometimes I do not make the best decisions but I get out. After finding a lawyer who seemed kind on paper (and he was very kind), I scheduled a meeting. Two months and $850 later, the majority of my debt was gone. I still had my car and furniture notes, but I could breathe again. It wasn’t until years later that I actually looked at the amount of debt charged off – $6500. Only $6500 worth of debt. I cannot believe such a small amount of debt caused so much anguish.

Fast forward to about eight years ago. For the second time in my life, I was drowning in debt, but this time I was married and making more money than I ever had. Two incomes and I was living off of payday loans – five payday loans to be exact – three local and two online, plus credit card debt. Yep.. that’s how I was living. I was a mess! I have never been into material things (clothes, shoes, bags, cars, etc.), but I loved to travel and I loved food (and still love both – smile). Honestly, I’m not sure when everything got out of hand, but it did. The sad part is my ex-husband had no idea. He was clueless about what was happening. He never knew how I made ends meet because everything that was in his name was always paid first. I made sure of that.

Months before we separated, I had watched the documentary Spent: Looking for Change . Y’all, that documentary changed my life. I finally felt like I wasn’t the only one who had gotten in over my head and couldn’t get out. So many of the stories resonated with me. The thing that mostly stood out was the sharers willingness to make hard sacrifices to get out of debt. Afterwards, I was inspired to change. Unfortunately, at the time that I chose to clean up my debt, my marriage was also ending. I remember finally paying off my last payday loan only to have my ex reroute his direct deposit to another account. This caused our joint, and my only, account to be overdrawn. All of the automatic payments that came out on the first of the month were either paid through overdraft or returned. I was hundreds in the whole. The only way I knew to get out was to either write more checks (payday loans), try to get a long-term loan, ask him for money (which was what he wanted) or let it ride. I decided to let it ride until the electricity was cut off. Sigh. I’m not going to retell everything that happened during the following months because I don’t want to relive it. Just know that that particular year was one of my hardest – from driving a car that was on its last leg to foreclosure, but I made it through!

Now, here I am seven years after the separation (now divorce), making far less money, in a fairly new house and car (no car note), barely any credit card debt, money in my bank account and savings, bills paid and my credit score increasing. Yesterday, I went to start my car and the battery was dead. Now I’m really in tears. You don’t know how good it felt to be able to purchase a battery without worrying about where the money would come from or what sacrifices I would have to make just to purchase it.

Y’all, I have come a long way to get where I am today. It was not easy. Believe me, the struggle was real. I’m so grateful I stuck with God and allowed Him to lead. For real! It was because of Him that I made it. One day I’ll share my entire story. Believe me, it was all God. Yep.. I’m crying. It was ALL God!

As always, thank you for reading. Wishing you an absolutely wonderful day.

Be Blessed

Shaun

Life

Wednesday Writings

Found this quote in a journal entry. Not sure of the context but it must have stood out for me to write it down.

Suddenly is an accumulation of events that happened while you were waiting.

Pastor Joel Osteen

Over the past week or so, I have found lists of goals in random places – journal entries, saved notes, and scribbled on pieces of paper. Every time I find one, I am always amazed at how many goals I have actually achieved without ever revisiting the lists. Honestly, I am not sure how things happen without me actively pursuing them, but somehow they do. Which leads me back to Pastor Osteen’s quote. Suddenly really isn’t something that happens randomly, but an accumulation of events that were set in motion once written down.

Yesterday, I found another list and added updates. Then I made a new list. Can’t wait to revisit it in the future!

Y’all, I hope this all made sense. I really need to stop writing so early in the morning. Especially when I am half asleep. Ugh! I’m on day 137 of continuous blogging and it is also Wednesday, so I had to write. (Smile)

Enjoy your day!

Shaun

Life

Wednesday Writings

Facebook memory: September 22, 2019

Good Morning! It’s September 22, 2019. No social media find today, only my thoughts. This weathered, folded note is a journal entry I wrote on September 22, 2014. I call it my “purse note.” I have kept this one, and a few others that I’ve added over time, in my purse for years. I actually read them quite often to make sure I’m on track, especially when I become discouraged.

This morning I just want to say, don’t give up. Don’t settle. No matter how things look, hold on. Because, what’s for you, is already yours. Remember that God’s blessings are better than life! I love y’all.
🙏🏽♥️

Honestly, I have not read my notes in a while. Started with one note that I was supposed to read daily. Now I have several ranging from 2014 – 2021. They keep me motivated and encouraged. They remind me that no matter how things appear, I am still on track.

The other day, while reading journal entries from the late 90s, I came across a list of goals I had forgotten I had written. After reading them, I was surprised to see that my goals really haven’t changed much. What I desired to achieve then, I still desire to achieve today. Overall, nothing has changed.

So here is what’s in the photo – a copy of my first “purse note” from September 22, 2014 and my goals from March 30, 1997 (both unedited).

Goals. Dreams. Motivation.

Well, as you can see, I keep and document just about everything. From personal stories to current events, I have them documented somewhere in my journals. Whenever I come across an entry where I have documented major events from someone’s life – births, marriages, etc. – I screenshot the passage and send it to them. They seem to love it.

I love my life.

Thanks for reading! Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday.

Shaun

Life

Love

Or until you read old journal entries. Lol!

I have been writing a lot lately. Guess you can say I have had a lot on my mind. Those darn journal entries! Lol.

Last year during quarantine, I found a few journals I had forgotten about. Well, last night I decided to read one from a couple of decades ago. Have you ever been in love with someone who did not feel the same? I’m not talking about being in a relationship where love is clearly one sided. I’m talking about being in love with a friend. A friend who, from what I read, sent out so many mixed signals. From everything I wrote, one would assume he was somewhat in love with me too, or was he just teasing me – if so, how cruel! The reason I say this is because of some of the things he did and said were not things you would do and say to a friend, but to a lover. Eventually, I told him I loved him. Y’all, I don’t remember doing this and cringed while reading it – how embarrassing! The only reaction from him, that I recorded, was him ghosting me for a week or so then he was back like I never confessed my love for him. And we carried on as usual – late night phone calls when we couldn’t sleep. Going places together. Him cooking for me. Teasing each other. I mean, nothing changed except I learned to keep my feelings to myself.

Eventually, I left that duty station and we remained in touch. After I found myself missing him like crazy, I decided to find someone who would make me forget about him. Boy was that a mistake – a big one! Word of advice, don’t listen to people who tell you the best way to get over someone is to find someone else. From my experience, that NEVER works. Believe me, more than likely you will end up regretting it.

Today, I still talk to my friend, who is now happily married. Until last night, I honestly had forgotten about how in love I was with him. Years ago, when we reconnected, I felt like I had found an old friend. Never once did I think, “I was in love with him.” Now, I will say, I always told people he would have been the one I would have married had he asked. Honestly, I would have done it without hesitation because he was my best friend. I loved being with him and everything about him.

Side note – Y’all, I was really in love with this guy and completely forgot about it. Hilarious!

Anyhoo… talk about transparency. I’m pretty sure if he were to read this, he would know it is about him. It’s okay, though. Those feelings are long gone. I am just happy to be his friend and so happy he found love. One day, the same will happen for me.

Okay.. I believe this is enough transparency for today. Maybe for the year. As usual, thanks for reading my ramblings. Wishing you a fabulous week!

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”Jeremiah 1:5

That scripture came from my morning reading. This next part was amongst my Facebook memories from September 19, 2018.

Quote – “God is calling you, equipping you, [and] preparing you according to His purpose.”

And this was my caption in response to the quote:

I’m so thankful God chose me to fulfill His purpose. Despite my quirkiness, He chose me to carry out this part of His mission. So grateful He loves me as I am. There’s NO love like God’s love!

Based on everything written above, sounds like God has a lot of work for me to do. The humbling part is, I do not have to change who I am to fulfill His purpose. As the scripture above suggests, God already knew what kind of person I would be even before I was conceived. He knew I would see and do things slightly different from others. He knew that no matter how hard I would try, I would never fit anyone’s mold. “. . . before you were born I set you apart.” Whew!

Y’all, I needed this reassurance. Sometimes I do not feel like I belong in certain spaces, but for some odd reason God keeps placing me in them. From here on, whenever I feel unqualified I must remember – God chose ME!

Same for you. If you ever find yourself in spaces that you feel unqualified to be in, just remember – God chose YOU! You are the ONLY one qualified to fulfill that specific part of His purpose. Yessss, YOU!!!

Listen, always remember who you are and Whose you are, and everything will work out just fine. Enjoy your week!

Shaun

Life

I’m Learning

Listening to God and following His lead is fairly easy when we are in agreement. However, when I don’t completely agree with where He is leading me, or unsure of the outcome, it is quite difficult. But I’m learning. Yes, slowly but surely, I am learning.

I often reference journal entries and Facebook memories because they give me a picture of where I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes I find that I have grown a lot. However, sometimes I find I haven’t grown at all. That I have only gotten older. Just being transparent.

This brings me to the point of giving God total control to lead. Which means I have to listen and obey without having a hand in the outcome. I am not going to lie, sometimes I do not like following God’s lead because His guidance can result in loss, disappointment, and heartache. Just keeping it real! However, in the end, things always seem to work out for the best. Hmmm… funny how that happens.

Well, what led me to write this blog was a journal entry from September 18, 2017. In the entry, I mentioned two individuals I was dead set on helping even though God kept telling me to cut ties. Y’all, I couldn’t do it. God sent so many signs, but I had other plans. I wrote how it was not about me but the “bigger picture.” But whose bigger picture? Mine or God’s? Honestly, not letting go caused more damage than it would have if I had listened and let go when I was instructed to do so. It took me a minute to be obedient. However, once I was, I began to grow.

As I said, I am still learning. God sees and knows all things. He knows our heart and intentions as well as others. He knows what keeps us stagnant and what promotes growth. Slowly, but surely, I am learning. Anxious to see what God has in store.

Shaun