Roses in a Garden

IMG_1405(Garden pictures: Courtesy of Laura Duncan Murphy)

 

When I was a freshman in high school, I heard the guidance counselor say, ‘I was not going to amount to anything…’ when we held a group discussion about college applications. Her message was imprinted in my mind and heart for close to three decades!

Over the years, I struggled with fears, doubt and insecurities yet I persevered thru it all!

I still do…

In Christ, anything is possible.

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A few days ago, I received a group text message from the Regional Administrator sharing a compliment from TN Commissioner. Her text was brief and to the point, ‘the Commissioner complimented Dr. Morales’ unwavering child focus.’

What she talking about me? I asked myself then read the text message few more times in disbelief.

I  praised God for His wisdom and discernment in the midst of challenging circumstances and most importantly the passion I have for children.

I replied back with a grateful heart and attributed successful outcomes to team work.

I was indeed energized to move on to the next challenge. It’s non-stop, and fast-paced work style. Regional leadership roles are demanding yet rewarding when walking in Christ.

In Christ, anything is possible.

Earlier today, I realized the impact of ‘unwavering passion for life’.

Jesus reminds us we will have trials and tribulations in our lifetime yet our spirits will never be crushed. He gives us strength, inner peace and joy. He promises us an abundant life when we surrender our hearts and lives to Him.

His Word renews our minds, transforms our lives and our hearts will never  be the same.

He then creates a masterpiece just like my friend’s colorful garden of roses.

I choose Jesus and never a lie again!

Just know, we were fearfully and  wonderfully  created by our Abba Father who loves us unconditionally. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

In Christ, anything is possible.

Choose Jesus!

 

 

 

Unexpected Wind Gusts

Waking up at midnight to 70 m.p.h wind gusts,  thunderstorms,  ‘Memorial Day’ weekend, was unexpected! 

Losing power for 24hrs was unfortunate but some of our communities in Memphis area were drastically hit.


I was not ready. 

How could I be ready for the ‘unexpected‘?

Where were the candles and matches when needed? How could I brew coffee in the morning for breakfast? How could I wash long, curly hair with cold water? How could I wash the dirty laundry without electricity? The alarm system ‘back-up’ battery would not even last a day… 

No electricity, coffee, hot water or working alarm system were just a few of my concerns.

Was it an inconvenience? It sure was!

I heard the neighbors and the customer service representative say, ‘it may take a week for electricity to be restored’.

I heard the Lord say, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I was in disbelief at first then I felt quite vulnerable. I soon realized God was in control. 

He always is.

I reminded myself to just take one minute at a time and not anticipate the worst in upcoming weeks.

As I quickly adjusted my morning routine and ‘attitude’, I vividly remembered the impact of Hurricane Andrew in South Florida in Spring of 1992. Neighborhoods were destroyed by winds over 165 mph, category 5 hurricane, and total property damage was over $26.5 billion… my family and I were blessed for not losing our homes then.

Praising Jesus as I’m writing these words today. 

We just lost electricity for 24 hours, experienced minor inconveniences, some distress and nothing else.

Yes! we were able to lock up our front door of the house, drank complimentary coffee in Church, heard 5 valuable nuggets from the book of Acts:13, worshipped Jesus, and enjoyed a hot meal after Church service.

What else could I ask for?

Having no electricity made us think about life creatively! 

Dad would always say in his native language, “when there is a need, there is a way.’

My husband asked me to play UNO and Jumbling tower with candlelights at night, helped each other NOT to cheat, laughed quite often, rested from TV watching and internet browsing, and listened to the birds sing outdoors.


We were blessed indeed!

Walk Humbly

“This is amazing work!… thanks for your commitment to this process”

I was proud and elated when I read these written words expressed by the Executive Director of Regional Support. I had implemented team concepts discussed at a Statewide Collaborative in several regional divisions, and the impact of my recent work was starting to show across the multi-faceted, complex system.

“I need to add this email to my portfolio for the upcoming evaluation” I quickly made a mental note.

IMG_0397“Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
‭‭Micah‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭CSB‬‬

“Walk humbly Lord!”

As I finished with a creative-journaling entry, I reflected on this verse and prayed over it.

Yes, It’s easy to take full credit for success.

In Joshua 23:1-3, Joshua acknowledged God’s presence in his life and credited all of his victories to Him at the time of his retirement.

I want to be more like Joshua indeed. He is definitely a wise, faithful and strong role model.

“Lord, I’ve got to check my heart and attitude every time I succeed at work. Forgive me for being prideful and taking full credit for recent success. I’ve got to be mindful of the unique resources you entrusted me with. All of my talents, skills and expertise are to serve you in your Kingdom. Lord, I want to walk humbly with you at work and everywhere I go. I want to be more like Joshua who pointed his people back to you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen”

Overnight Delivery –

“I haven’t received the certified mail as of yet, Tita”   Niece had sent a text message Friday afternoon.

In disbelief, I wanted to reassure niece the package was going to be delivered soon or I was going to scan and email her a copy.

Mom had traveled to Florida on Thursday.

After 38 years of residence in Miami, mom had finally applied for U.S. Citizenship for the first time. She was ready  to complete her fingerprints.

We were all excited for  Mom was on her way to be a U.S. citizen.

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By Monday afternoon, I was quite flustered, discouraged and had ran out of possible solutions.

Time was running out!

Mom’s appointment was scheduled for the next day at 3 p.m.She had not received her appointment card as of yet.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge”, Psalm 62:8 NIV

The Holy Spirit nudged me to contact the local UPS store at 5:05 p.m. on Monday afternoon and so I did.

“The UPS truck picks up at 5:30 p.m. today and your delivery is guaranteed by tomorrow morning” I heard the well-mannered, staff from UPS store say on the phone.

I  rushed to the store, contacted sister for temporary mailing address, and delivered the appointment card by 5:25 p.m.

“Whew! How come I did not think of it sooner?”

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When I heard sister say, “the package arrived 15 minutes early than expected and we will be on our way soon”

I realized I had focused on the challenging circumstances ‘way too long’ and had not prayed at all …

Praising God for His faithfulness in the midst of uncertainties.

Mom is relaxing today in South America while she waits for the formal interview to be scheduled.

“Lord, I believe. I’ve got to pray more often”

Shut the door and never look back!

 God delivers us from tenebrous wilderness.

He never leaves us nor forsakes us when chained to self-defeating patterns or

strolling down the broad path of today’s world!

He is FAITHFUL!

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison

to those who are bound…” Isaiah 61:1

The Lord heals the brokenhearted, frees us from captivity and guides us towards an abundant life filled with Hope and eternal promises!

“It is a relief to be in His presence each moment!”

A path only a few may find.

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He is FAITHFUL!

Periodically, the Lord opens up another ancient door from a prison cell so we may shut it permanently and never glanced back at it ever again.

 “Idolatry”

Excessive internet shopping and social media updates, busyness, seeking approval from others are few barriers we may encounter when building our relationship with the Lord.

“No more bondage!”

“Let me walk out of this prison cell and shut the door at once!!” She whispered to herself in disgust one late afternoon.

She surrendered her desires for ‘more stuff’, approval, and social media involvement,

“Lord, help us stay focused. You are our only Hope to overcome strongholds in life. In Christ, anything is possible so give us the inner strength, focus, and determination we need for just today. In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.”

A Prayer for Macy

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How sweet when Scriptures are ‘active and alive’ in the midst of unsettling circumstances.

Jesus reminded me of his Truth, 1 Corinthians 4:12. His timing was perfect too.

“We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly…”

On Friday, I noticed a young woman’s desperate cry to save her kitty on social media.  People demanded the young woman to consult with the vet immediately without acknowledging or addressing the core treatment barrier.

The reality was ‘Momma cat’ didn’t have the money to pay for the vet bills after she had rescued ‘Macy’ from a gloomy, rainy, cold winter night.

After reading multiple, critical and harsh commentators on Facebook, I established a ‘gofundme’ campaign.

Some contributed and supported the campaign, others ignored it and few were insulted by its noble mission.

And, who knows ‘how many’ individuals reported the link to the page’s administrator after the campaign was posted on his/her social page!

Praising  Jesus right now!

I’ve got the Veterinarian and mamma cat’s contact information. Macy is on her way to the clinic at this very moment and I will be able to wrap up with the campaign this week, and most importantly follow-thru with Macy’s progress after her eye surgery💕

Her eye will be surgically removed in the next 24 hours.

I heard Jesus say in my disbelief, ‘pray for those who reported you and for the administrator who banned you from the page!’

“Are you kidding with me?!” it was the initial, candid response.

I was angry, disheartened and in disbelief when I found out I was banned for posting a campaign on social media. There were no warnings or alerts regarding rules.

Since then, I’ve been taking all negative thoughts captive to Christ and will continue loving ‘unlovable’ citizens on this earth today and always.

I love Jesus.

He wants us to love everyone 💕 including the unlovable ones.

Please pray for Macy’s eye surgery and post-recovery phase.

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(Courtesy picture: Gwen Dean — 5 weeks after the eye surgery)

If you like to donate to Macy’s campaign, please click the link below:

http://www.gofundme.com/help-ms-rescued-kitty

Sisterhood

 

‘Misunderstanding’ is a forceful presence among friends dividing hearts and perhaps abolishing today’s divine plans.

‘Open communication’ promotes  fresh insights, diffuses anger and grants clarity to challenging occurrences.

 ‘Transparency’ is the cornerstone of genuine, mature friendships.

‘Forgiveness and Grace’ are vital ingredients for  friendships to flourish over time and weather the rugged times.

Even if our human tendencies is to distance ourselves when angry, it’s pivotal to be intentional about the reconciliation of our hearts.

All of us possess strengths as well as quite a few character flaws.

“I am happily imperfect. In God’s eyes, I was wonderfully and fearfully made!”

We all think and communicate differently.

When steered into troubled or heated discussions, let us be mindful of our differences and let us honor these inequalities with great respect and in love.

 Cindy and I embrace each other’s strengths,  and sense of humor at all times!

‘How many times should I forgive?’

“Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Christ wants us to forgive others not once but as often as necessary.

If Reconciliation is possible then pursue it today!

Our days are numbered and tomorrow is not secured.

God knows our hearts and He will work everything out in His perfect time!

“I’m Greatly Disappointed, You are Forgiven”

Lester and I immediately connected when we first met at Wood Grove.

The Holy Spirit brought us together on a sunny day!

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Lester has a leadership role at an H.R. department and executes life-altering decisions daily.

We shared about our recent struggles in leadership.

“How do you handle disappointment?” I solicited.

His candid response was “I am greatly disappointed but I immediately forgive”.

The core of my soul was forever touched. A fresh perspective was unexpectedly heard as I strolled down the streets of the neighborhood with my hubby.

God had answered a prayer in His perfect time.

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How many times family or friends disagree with our views? How many times do co-workers ignore our suggestions? How many times do others reject our participation in a decision?

Way too often!

We may feel betrayed or disheartened along the way.

What matters the most is how we process these emotions? Do we hold onto them for a prolonged period of time? Do we let them go?

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”  Prov 4:23 N.I.V

Our tender hearts need to be protected from negative emotions. The Lord wants us to forgive immediately. Not once or twice but ‘every’ time someone disappoints us.

Forgiveness nourishes the heart, saves our souls and it is the ultimate antidote for bitterness. Taking every negative emotion ‘captive’ to Christ, confessing, repenting and praying over our sinful hearts are key ingredients to healing and spiritual growth.

“Lord, help me release any angry thoughts I may have right now, cleanse my heart from ‘un’forgiveness, protect my heart from resentments and alert me of bitterness. Remind me of taking every thought captive when feeling angry so I may surrender upsetting thoughts and related emotions right there and then. Help me forgive those who are offensive and are evil in their ways.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen”

Set Apart

When a friend invites others in our presence and suddenly we are invisible…

An employer chooses another candidate for the career opportunity we had applied for…

A relative or friend forgets to reply back to the text message we recently sent…

Yes! I have felt uninvited, rejected and lonely when  I was set aside.

The hurt runs deep and our emotions may blindfold us instantly.

When our hearts are filled with unforgiveness, the mind is unable to reframe circumstances.

Life may be unbearable all of a sudden!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
‭‭John‬ ‭10:10‬ ‭NIV

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What if God has set us apart for better career opportunities and nurturing relationships in life?

God is love.

God’s desire is for us to embrace an extraordinary life.

A journey filled with joy, contentment and loving relationships.

While people or circumstances set us aside, God sets us apart for an abundant life!

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Perhaps, we are meant to spend a quiet evening with our loved ones so our relationships are strengthened over time.

Perhaps, we are meant to accept an alternative career opportunity instead of the one we had originally applied for.

Perhaps, we are meant to nurture friendships who are readily available, have common interests and who are mindful of our needs.

Perhaps,  we are meant to serve our Lord and be part of His extraordinary blueprint for a lifetime.

Yes! Lord.

‘Set me apart’ so I may live an unforgettable, abundant lifestyle for years to come.