Monday, January 31, 2011

Natural Hair!

So my natural hair is back! In October 2009, I had relaxed my hair and during that time I learnt a lot about my hair. The one major thing I learnt is that you don’t really need to relax your hair every 6 weeks or as often as “they” tell you to. I had not relaxed my hair in a year and two months and everyone was ‘none the wiser.’ With a flat iron to straighten out the new growth, I was contented.

When I had relaxed my hair (after being natural for 2 years) someone asked me if I missed my natural hair. And my answer was no. To me, hair is hair…and the best time to play/experiment with it is when you are young and actually have hair to play with! Because there will come a time when your hair may thin out or start to disappear. So why not try new things with your hair? Cut it, it will just grow back…Relax it, you can always cut it…Dye it, your natural color will eventually grow out…it’s just hair!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trinidad – My Friends & Mother

“How was your day?” the nurse asked. “It was good,” she said, “could have been longer.”
Right before I left NC, I was talking to a friend about my upcoming trip to Trinidad…I was telling her about how I was planning to make this trip different…in a better way…

I developed a routine of sorts every time I come to Trinidad. There are about 5 people I usually make it my business to connect with. (Separate and apart from family). Before coming, I would usually send an email letting them know when I would be coming/leaving and express and interest to connect with them. And for the most part I am able to connect with them. I started noticing however, that the longer I am away in the U.S. the more distant some of my friendships have grown. So while I am hyped to meet up with these friends, I have started to sense that they are a little less than enthused to see me. While I would move mountains to see them, I don’t really get that same sense from them…So my crazy friend told me to let them go and make some new friends.

Last year a similar situation happened when I tried to connect with a friend from Trinidad who lived in another state. I was visiting that state and as in normal Kaara fashion, I emailed her prior to my arrival asking if we could link up. At first she said that she “should be available,” and when the time gets closer, we will confirm. Well, before I got there, I emailed her…no response…I called her twice and left voice messages, no response…then I texted her and asked her if she got my messages and she responded that she did and told me to “have a nice trip.” A little taken aback by the response I reminded her that I was in town and wanted to connect…since she never responded to my messages, I asked her if she missed that part. She in turn responded, “Did you miss the part where I said I was under pressure?” WOW. I must say I was a bit disappointed by that…I mean I had even left in my message asking her about bible class and what time they have it, if they go etc to see if we could link up then…In my mind I was like seriously? You are soooooooooooo busy, I cannot come by for 10 minutes?? Seriously? I then later find out that she spends Saturday evening with her family who are also mutual friends and who happen to share the same faith…Again, in my mind I thought that she could have invited me to drop by…But here I was…willing to go out of my way during my vacation time to see you…while you could care less! This is basically what I have to contend with my Trini friends.

And so it’s hard. I am such a relational person that it’s hard for me to let go of relationships that I have cherished for so long. While at the same time it’s easy for me to get hurt by those simple instances I mentioned above. So what should I do? According to my crazy friend I should stop running after the people who are not able to demonstrate love and focus on those around me who do. And I agree. I have been hesitant to let these friends go because I feel if I lose them I will lose my connection to Trinidad and in turn feel disconnected…But in the grand scheme of things, that’s okay. Cause I am connected elsewhere…

So in usual Kaara fashion, I emailed 4 friends…Heard from 3 and confirmed with one…and I am totally okay with that. This time, I am not going to try to move mountains to see anyone unless they are willing to do the same for me. Sorry guys. As another one of my friends said, “why should I make you a priority in my life, when I am optional in your life?” So my focus this time is to just look around and observe…Think about these relationships, and determine which of these relationships are worth keeping based on the other person’s value for our friendship. At the same time, I am going to try to connect more with those who are more willing to connect with me…And even open my heart to those who I may have never connected with before.

In my last post I talked about how last year was the year for letting go…which is no easy task for me. But part of letting go also involves starting something new…Fostering closer relationships with friends you have and opening your heart to make new friends. I only have a week so we will see how that goes!

As I talk about opening my heart to start something new, I have to talk about my mother. A sore spot for me and not something I like to talk about much. I was telling my friend that since I was not going to place as much emphasis on my friends that I was planning to focus more on my mother…and take her out and try to spend time with her…BUT I told her, I don’t really feel the same way that other people feel about their mothers…You know, I don’t have that “lovey-dovey” feeling that a lot of people have for their mothers. And she said to me, “that’s okay”…Don’t force yourself to feel that way if it’s not natural because then it would never be real…That was the first time someone ever told me that it was okay to basically feel the way I felt…(thank you!) She went on to say that I have a lot of bad memories about my mother and my younger life with her…So what I need to do is create new memories that are good memories and fun memories. Honestly, that is a hard concept to imagine but I was willing to try…And I was willing to try because I wanted to make this trip purposeful…And challenge myself beyond my comfort zone. And with that I set out to engage with my mother in a way I had not done in years…I mean probably more than 18 years!

My memory is still haunted by the recent scenes of when we had to take her out of the house by force and carry her to the mental health hospital…the prison like atmosphere made my heart sink when I thought about it…And the mental and emotional anguish anyone would feel being there…I am saddened by our system…our third world system…I mean, I know in my heart of hearts that was the best thing for her…But the process was gut wrenching…Since her release from the hospital we found an elderly home for her to stay in. She describes it as being in a place with only old people, caged in like an animal because you can’t go anywhere. Granted she never went anywhere when she lived alone but when you KNOW you can’t leave it really does make you feel trapped…And so I feel kinda bad that yet again, in my little third-world county, we really do not have the facilities that is most appropriate for her…I hate that we cannot do better…I feel guilt I cannot do better.

During the early months when she was placed in the home I attempted to call her every week. I went from not calling at all to regular calls…But the calls started to weigh on me, and I viewed it as my token responsibility and not something that I WANTED to do. As a matter of fact I started to dread every time I called her…It was a doom and gloom conversation that always went the same way…She complained about the home, had nothing much to say, silence, and goodbye. When I came to Trinidad in July of last year, I took my in-laws with me to visit her…and I sat in silence as I forced myself to make conversation with her…It was uncomfortable…not because my in-laws were there, but simply because I just don’t know what to say or what to do…Our relationship feels so unnatural…It does NOT feel like a mother-daughter relationship…It feels stressed and strained…And I quickly want to get out of there!

So, I went from calling every week, to once every couple weeks to once a month. The first time there was a one month gap between calls, our conversation lasted 12 minutes instead of the usual 3-4 minutes! Though short, that was really a long conversation for us…What made it even better was that she DID NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING…I mean she was able to have a conversation without complaining about the home she was staying in and about how she wanted to leave the place! I was so shocked I sat in my chair almost elated! I was happy. The next month, the same thing happened! Maybe it was not just by chance, maybe this was real change on the horizon…But I still had my guard up each time I called waiting to hear her complain…But up now, I have not heard her complain, and it has made our conversations more than just bearable. Even the director of the home has mentioned that she is more settled, and talking more with the folks there…

I had no faith that the medications would work…She had been sick for soooo long and lived without medication for way to long that I feared that her brain was just hard wired. My husband told me that there is no telling with schizophrenia. Sometimes the meds work other times it does not. Each patient is different and you will never know…

Maybe the medication is working? Maybe prayer is working? Something I don’t rely on nearly enough! I hope someone is praying for me and praying for her!

My mother has often felt like a burden to me…Since I was little and had to care for her by managing the household bills when I was 13…and making groceries…and cleaning…even organizing myself for school by getting my own books and uniform, making sure I stayed on the straight and narrow by taking MYSELF to church with the neighbors…and just trying to be responsible at 13!! It was a burden…And I think I am okay with acknowledging that its kinda crazy for a 13 year old to be given that heavy load to carry. That was not fair to me!!! And so that burden I have carried unwillingly ever since I can remember, I could never seem to let go. Coupled with the fact that I am carrying a burden for someone that I don’t “feel” I love…In the sense that though I may go through the motions of “trying to do the right thing,” I have never felt that I was doing it because “I loved her” as opposed to, “it was my responsibility…my lot in life.”

So as I work on letting go of the dead weight in my life…I am simultaneously working on establishing relationships or strengthening relationships that do matter…My mother being top priority….

The number one thing that will make this trip different than any other trip before is that I am going to open my heart to my mother, and allow myself to start something new with her…I am going to allow myself to learn how to love her…and be with her…and not see her as a burden but as a person…and person, who like me, needs love, acceptance, affection, attention, and grace.

And so the day after I landed, I journeyed to P’town where she stayed and took about 50 million taxis to get to the mall. She was so happy to see me, and finally get out of the house…She had been at the home for 14 months and never left except once a month for her clinic appointments. She was pleasant, and even engaging. We went to the shoe store and tried on shoes…and she even found a really cute pair of shoes! Then we had lunch at the food court, and she had ice-cream afterwards…then we went and got our toes done!! I mean I can honestly say that this was the most engaged I have been with her in YEARS…I cannot even remember the last time I was able to just hang out with her…and really, have a good time…without feeling like it was a burden to bear. I even took some pictures…I never take pictures of her because she never allowed it…and after a while I didn’t care to. Who wants pictures of bad memories anyway?

Thank you my friend for encouraging me to create new memories…That was the best piece of advice I have ever gotten regarding my relationship with my mother! And thank you for telling me that it’s okay to feel the way I feel…Another burden has been lifted off my heart.

“How was your day?” the nurse asked. “It was good,” she said, “could have been longer.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Well, my trip started off to a bad start since I was struck in Miami airport for 9 hours!!! All because of “air traffic” when we landed that kept us on the runway for 30 minutes!! With 5 minutes to spare, I ran to the counter to be greeted by an unsympathetic flight worker. “Door just closed one minute ago,” he said, as he continued to type on his computer. “Is that the plane?” I asked. “Yes, but once the door is closed its closed and we can't open it.” He went on to say that they waited 5 minutes but that was all they allowed them to wait because they didn't know if I was coming. Ohhhhhhhh, I was so mad. When airlines run late they could care less about you. The 30 minutes we strolled around on the runway, they didn't offer any explanation!! That's what gets me. Not one word. And of course these people have access to my flight info and know I would miss my flight. They could have called them and asked them to wait 5 more minutes! I don't know if I ever had a flight that left exactly on time. (An international flight that is). Steups, hell, the flight they rebooked me in was 20 or 25 minutes late! Again, no explanation!! Hmmmm, so they couldn't be 20 minutes late this morning!!! I know, I know, I just need to let this go! Well the one good thing is that I met a girl from Dominica who fell into the stress as me. So that was nice to have someone to chat with for a while. Then I did some work for work so I could reclaim my flex time at work. I think the most frustrating part for me is that I had made plans to hang out at the young adults class tonight for the first time ever! And I was really looking forward to it since every time I come to Trinidad I was never lucky enough to catch it. What a bummer.

I had said to myself that this trip would be different. Because I am different. So much has changed within me over the past year. Heck, over the past few months. One of the biggest change that is taking place within me right now is learning to let go. Learning to let go of people, friends, and family. Learning to even let go of past hurts and pain.

Over the past year I totally let go of one friend. This dude had stood me up about a year ago when I was in Trinidad and said he could not tell me why. Well you know what, I put my foot down because I felt that I deserved better than his lousy apology. And since then things have not been the same. But you know what, I am okay with that. Because even though I loved him dearly, I have to accept the fact that people change, they have the right to change, and that change can even mean leaving me behind. It happens every day to married people who the fell in love and then look around twice and realize their spouse is totally different. That is why you have to pray that you will always grow together in the Lord. And when you change, you change for the better. That is my eternal pray for my husband and I. That neither of us would grow out of each other, but that we would grow together, not leaving the other behind. At the same time, I cannot and will not take for granted that it can happen…even to us…

My next change came when I started letting go of my sisters. From ever since I was a little girl, I wanted and craved that sister-sister relationship. I have finally accepted that even though I chose them they don't have to choose me. I am the outside child (according to one friend) and no matter what I do, I will always be the outside child...come on now...don't get me wrong, letting go is not easy but I have started and I have come such a long with that!

Through another incident with another friend, I learnt that I was holding on to the idea of what was and not what is. When you are friends with someone for a long time it’s easy to hold on to that friendship for dear life because of what you used to have or what you thought you had. And that was a hard lesson to swallow. I was holding on to an idea not something real. Because if it were real it would be real for both of us not just me. I learnt that the way I felt about her was not the same way she felt about me. I learnt that even when you share your heart with the most trusted person it can still be broken. I learnt that we give too much power to people...the power to allow their actions to cause immense pain. For the longest while I wanted to know why she abandoned our friendship and from the moment I found out it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. But why did I need her confirmation that she didn't love me the way I thought in order to "set me free?" That should not be. It was as if I kept myself back just waiting and hoping. Sometimes we are going to find ourselves in situations where we will just not understand why...Why did he cheat on me? Why did he abandon his child? Why did he kill himself? Or why did she have to die!!? No matter how hard we try we may never get the answer to these whys...but we have to figure out a way to let go completely and not allow this to hold us back emotionally…I am learning slowly…

So last year has truly been the year for letting go. But when you let go of these things you have to replace it with new and positive things. It might mean making new friends or forming closer relationships with the ones you have already. It might mean that you focus on what you do have and not what you don't. It might mean seeking God first knowing that every experience you have is one to make you love Him more.

When I left Trinidad for school in 2003, I became so patriotic. I hung flags in my room, had my car dressed with my national colors...and would just be proud to be a Trini. When we leave home we become so patriotic we learn to have a greater appreciation for what we have...the food, the culture, the music, the people...especially the people...You just love up on your country extra hard. You say things like "I am a Trini to de bone," you start collecting local music, when you visit you take pictures like you is ah of de road, the buildings, everything you taking pictures of. You never noticed it before. But now dat you is an official Trini to de bone you savor everything! When you in America and you hear a Trini accent, is like you become friends instantly. But when you home you hear the same accent on the bus everyday but you don't even bat an eye. Being away from home just creates that unspoken love for your country. You start to think that your people and culture is the best thing since slice bread. You unconsciously start looking down on other cultures by making yours the best. Better than everybody else. You fear losing your accent and hate it when people tell you don't sound like a Trini. You even look down on those who have lived here so long by calling them Americanized.

When I came to America I was proud NOT to be American. I was a super proud Trini. I fought hard not to adapt to the culture here so I could remain a “pure” Trini. But now I don't care. Now I can appreciate my culture and other cultures. Now I don't have to say we have the best food, music, culture etc. because now I can appreciate the value in I know that love has no respect for culture or national I value the people who are in my life but not from my culture. Now I take pride in just being proud to be me...And proud to be a Christian...because God has placed so many people from all walks of life to be in my circle...and right now, I have more friends who are American than I do who are Trini. Soooo proud to be Trini? Always...but more proud to be me :)

I started off by saying that this trip will be different because I am different...I will keep you posted.
***P.S. If you see any typos please email me and let me know so I can edit it. Thanks!

Monday, January 10, 2011

In Moments of Sadness...

HOW COULD YOU!!!!? Screamed the wife in tears…How could you do this to me? Do this to your family!!!!? Your children!!!? HOW COULD YOU!!!!! What did I do to you to deserve this? She said as tears streamed down her face. Rage, anger, hatred, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, frustration all imploded in her being all at once…She thought her head was going to explode! She could see no relief from the agony…that her lover, friend, and soulmate has caused her. Her heart was grief stricken…She couldn’t think…Every thought made absolutely no sense! WAS IT ALL A LIE!!? She exclaimed!? All those times you told me you loved me…were you just fronting it!?
No, he chided quietly…appearing to be hurt by her disposition.

THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU DO THIS TO ME!!?? I thought our love was precious! I thought you were a man of God! I thought you…you…were my friend…she said, as she panted for breath to talk..

In an instant, her world, as she knew it changed…In an instant, her equilibrium was shifted to a place she had never gone before…To a place she had never known…
She stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her…She sat crying silently on the bathroom floor…Her body trembled with the tears of agony…She moaned, and asked God why…Why God? Why did this happen to me? God, I did not deserve this? I was faithful! I was a good wife! I was a good Christian! WHY GOD!??? WHY!!?
Do you know this woman? I feel so emotional writing this…It’s not my story…BUT it’s someone’s story…reflected in exactly how I would feel if it were me…And the thought is enough to make me cry.

It’s amazing to me what we are capable of doing to our “friends.” The people we love the most…It’s amazing to me how much of ourselves we invest in others…whether our family, spouses, friends…But do we invest as much energy in ourselves? In our souls? Are we able to recover when our world is shattered at this very instant?

A couple days ago I was reflecting on a situation that happened a little over a year ago…And I asked myself, “why didn’t she fight for me? Why did she give up on me? On us? Was I not of value to her?” The confusion in my mind, brought tears to my heart…Because I just could not understand these unresolved questions. So was it a lie? The last 15 years…was it a bad friendship? Did you not really care for me? What about the time you talked about protecting my heart? Where did that go??And so the questions go…And the feelings of fury and sadness return…

She was not my lover…she was simply a friend…a regular gal pal. She was not my soul mate, the person I want to spend the rest of my life with…But she was a friend…And I thought to myself, what she did, is nothing compared to what others have done…Its nothing compared to the wives, families, children, husbands who have been abandoned by their significant other.

As a human, you have to realize that you are capable of helping someone climb a mountain, or pushing them off the mountain. As a friend, you have an even greater impact…Because friends allow each other to come close to their hearts…They allow each other into that personal space reserved for a select few…And when that trust, is broken, or that space is taken advantage of, persons are left scared, damaged, and hurt.

Have you seen the "Craigslist Killer" or the "Social Network?" What stood out for me in those movies were the friends that just did each other wrong...I am sure the facebook dude's best friend was hurt by what happened? Though rich, I am sure a part of him wonders how could he have stabbed me in the back like this? My heart really did ache watching that movie...Because I saw how "easy" its us to hurt each other...through selfishness, greed, or stubborness...and What about mister craigslist...Mister was in medical school for crying out loud!!! About to get married to a fellow med student. NO WAY did she see that coming! Can you imagine how her life must have been turned upside down and rightside out!?

But this I can say…thank God for God! In times of sadness and despair, our reaction is often to run…To hide from it…to avoid it…We might do this through work, becoming over involved with life…never having a dull moment…also known as never having a moment to think…about it…We tire ourselves out with life, that we rarely if ever give ourselves time for self-reflection…But as soon as we have a quiet moment, life comes crashing down.

But I want to encourage us to not run from “it” but face it…Deal with it…Face the hurt, anger, pain, and allow yourself to go through it…Seek God, and He will provide a circle of support and wise council for your journey. There are resources out there to help you and me…Whether it’s a partner to walk with on a spiritual journey, a prayer partner, a counselor or therapist, a self-help group...when you seek to better yourself, windows and doors will open up! It’s when we hide, we often feel alone…But when we face our “its” we can prevail triumphantly. We can grow…And we can look back at the periods of sadness, and depression, as a moment in time, that God was allowing us to face adversity, so we could be a better me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happiness is Fleeting

Sunday (Dec 26) we were itching to go somewhere for vacation…But where could we go…St. Louis? New York? If it was not for the SNOW we would have done that…But we craved for somewhere warmer…And so we decided on Florida, Orlando FL! IT was probably around 8:30pm that night that we decided that we would just go for it, and figure out everything else along the way. The only “plan” we had was that we would just leave whenever…whenever we finished packing and booking out hotel room the next day. We had a tentative plan to leave at 2pm…We didn’t leave until 4pm!

So we booked our hotel using our points from our Amex credit card. Now I must pause for a cause here…I am not one to promote the use of credit cards, but this one deserves some hype. If you are capable of using a credit card like a debit card…that is you don’t spend what you don’t have…and pay it off right after you charge it, then get the Starwood Preferred Guests credit card from Amex. This card has a reward system like no other. In 2010, we stayed in Atlanta GA, St. Louis MO, Dallas TX, Jacksonville FL, and Orlando FL for FREE! A total of 12 nights at Sheratons across the U.S. was all free! I could probably do an ad for them for real. They also allow you to redeem your points for gift cards…So instead of the free hotel stays, I could have gotten twelve $50 gift cards to places like GAP, old navy etc. We have never done that because we can ALWAYS use free hotel stays valued at least $100 per night! If you know of a credit card that pays you at least $1,200 a year in rewards PLEASE LET ME KNOW…We use our credit card to pay all bills that allow us to pay with AMEX, we also use it to purchase gas, food, entertainment, travel, shopping etc. Since I don’t really use a credit card for the “credit” part, the most I would do is buy something knowing that I will pay it off at the end of the month when we get paid. Also, using a credit card allows me to keep track of my spending…believe it or not, I am more likely to spend more carelessly if I use cash!

Anyhoo, so Monday morning we booked our hotel, and we left home 4pm that afternoon. Nothing was planned! When we decided that we were going we had no idea where we would stay, what we would do in FL, how much money we would spend…Now for those of you who know me, this is a first for me. I am a planner at heart…Usually when its vacation time, I research possible activities, make a budget, and even research deals…I research which Sheraton we will stay, hunt for the best flight deals weeks, even months in advance…So, to decide today for tomorrow to go somewhere 10 hours away was huge for me! This was not the first time we had a spontaneous trip, but it was the first time it spanned a week!

I must say, I totally loved the spontaneity of this trip!!! It will go down as one of our best trips ever!! AS a matter of fact in 2010 we had some boss trips!! My theme for last year was basically to go for it…If I want to do it…then do it! And with that, we visited my sister/best friend and her husband in St. Louis, we went to an Alicia Keys concert in Atlanta , saw a hilarious Tyler Perry Play, went to a few comedy shows including Sedrick the Entertainer, NY Comic Strip live, and Goodnight comedy club for my birthday. We for the first time, had a unique experience in NY and went to Broadway play at last – Fela! We finally saw the Color Purple, made 3 trips to DC and saw the monuments, a steelpan show, visited friends in VA/DC…Went to the Caribbean lectureship in Trinidad and had a beach getaway in Tobago for our anniversary…then we went to Texas and met Margie and Weldon…a trip that has touched me like none other…So this Orlando trip simply ended the year off with a bang! We went to Seaworld, Aquatica, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure! On Tuesday we walked along the shore of Jacksonville beach and talked about our personal goals for the new year…IT was low key and sweet. We brought in the new year, tired as ever at universal studios or was it islands of adventure…they were right next to each other…

I look back on 2010 and I feel like I accomplished what I had set out…I tried a lot of things...Had I not decided on that theme, I would not have done half the things we did in 2010…I would have stopped myself because “someone” did not want to go…Or because it was too expensive…In 2010, I turned NOTHING down because of the price! I am proud to say that if I wanted to do it, I did…I often told my husband that he works very hard and he deserves to cut himself a break and enjoy something for working so hard…And with that said, I said – let’s do it! Forget price! Let’s do it! I want to see my sister…forget how much it costs…let’s do it…You have someone you want to visit…just do it…You never know how life is going to change…Don’t assume that you will have time to visit them “later.” Better to do it now, than to visit them at their funeral. That’s my mantra…I have given myself permission to spend a couple hundred dollars to see a friend…because my friend is worth more than that to me…I so, I hope to repeat many of the things we did in 2010 in this new year…I want to make sure I visit my sister in St.Louis and my dad in NY…and of course Trinidad and Jamaica…I also want to go to Hawaii, and on a cruise! AND, to the Caribbean lectureship in St. Lucia.

You are probably wondering where I am going to find the time to do all of that!? I only get 12 vacation days a year…But where there is a will, there is a way!! I will work an extra hour Monday-Thursday, that would allow me 2 days off using flex time….I will do that on the months that I need to take a week off…That way I would only use 3 vacation days for every 5 days I want off. I would also do the same for holiday weekends like Labor day or memorial day….Since its already a 3 day weekend, then I can add a day of flex and a work from home day to allow me to take a Wed-Sunday trip to visit friends and family without actually using a single vacation day. That way I would be able to stretch my vacation days and turn it into 5 full weeks off!! And if for some reason that does not work, I would gladly take a week of unpaid leave so I could live a little! Some companies offer flex time that does not expire…in that case, if you work an extra 8 hours a month by working an extra 30 minutes a day, you would be able to easily take 2 weeks off at the end of the year without even touching your vacation time…because your flex time basically turns into vacation days. Unfortunately BBBS does not allow us to roll over our flex time…So I would have to work within the limits and use it each pay period. Another thing I have done in the past, is to ask for a week of vacation instead of a pay raise. I did that after my first year because they only offered 5 days after one year of employment.

Anyway, I digress…I would like to share one thing that I have learnt through all my adventures in 2010…As much fun I had doing a million new and exciting things, I have learnt that happiness is fleeting. When you live in the moment, you are happy in the moment…It does not last…It does not carry you…and it does not make you a happier person…IT does not make you forget your problems, it does not hide your insecurities and it does not stop the tears…It does not stop the things that hurt you…The things that hurt me are still there…A friend who abandoned our 15 year friendship, family who blows me off, my dad not coming to visit, the hole in my heart because I don’t have a mother, the sadness I feel at times when I call my friends and they don’t call me back but I really needed someone to talk to, the stress of caring for a mentally ill mother, or even the feelings of abandonment I contend with from time to time…As much “fun” things you do with your life, it does not change the problems in your life…And therefore, it’s a temporary band aid that takes you away from life, and into a world of pure bliss.

The last 5 days, I was on a high! I was flying so high I could touch the sky! Each day I woke up happy to be with Jared, happy to be with my best friend, and happy to be flying on roller coasters, and swimming down a water slide, and just being a kid again…it was problem free! Pure bliss! Pure joy! Only smiles!! But then…we had to pack our bags and start our 10 hour journey home. As I sat in the car a wave of sadness just came over me…For no reason in particular, I just started to feel sad…Perhaps it was that a new year does not really bring a new you…Cause you still have the same problems? Perhaps it was that I was going back to work! And I got the back to work blues…But I don’t know if that’s really it…What I do know, is that happiness is fleeting…It does not last but a moment…

But joy, is something that is within your soul…Joy you get not from doing something fun…it’s from the life you chose to live…It’s from the decision you make to follow God…Pure joy is found only in God…And it is when we take our eyes off of the prize, discontentment in many aspects of our life set in. Discontentment is the killer of joy! Perhaps I am not content with my family life…perhaps there is something else I feel that I am missing…and with that, discontentment can easily replace my joy. Don’t allow discontentment to steal your joy…Put your blinders on and keep your eyes on the prize…Focus on God, and everything else will fall into place. I KNOW THIS…Sometimes I just need to remind myself!

Be blessed!