Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Million Parts

I have come to the distasteful part of moving where I have to go through my possessions to see what stays and what goes.  If there were more storage in my wonderful house, I would just pack everything away until I am psychologically ready to literally unpack my baggage.  God and His perfect timing has seen it fit to pick this moment in my history to look back and reflect.  I feel like I have lived a hundred lives.   I look back on the old pictures and I ask myself, "Is this me?" I hope you have the opportunity to live hard.

Every picture is a story.  I told my daughter that I would sit one day and tell her all of the stories the same way I sat with my grandmother and mother and I heard all of their stories.  There seems to be a million parts of the story.  Where do I tell these stories?  What do I do with these memories?  

A dear friend is in flux at this time too.  She is going through quite a bit and there doesn't seem to be a lot of time to linger.  I think of her.  I think of what her circumstances are.  I pray for her.  We are not rescuers of people.  We are only meant to live as neighbors with one another.  We are side by side walking toward the light.  What do we do with those difficult people?  What do we do when we find someone in difficult circumstances?  Do we try and rescue them?  I know some who would want to try.  We make our own choices on who to follow and  what makes us happy.  I can't force that on someone.  I can only pray to the One who can rescue.  I can beseech the One who makes me happy.  I can pray.  I pray for strength and solace.  I pray for worship.  I praise God from Whom all blessings flow.  

Serving God is a backwards life where the first become last and the last become first.  Where we are called to love and serve the hard and toxic.  Where our neighbor comes before what we want and where the meek are to inherit this earth.  Where we lose our lives if we try to save it ourselves and we save ourselves when we lose ourselves to God.  Where we give of ourselves, our million little parts so that we can become part of the millions that serve the One.  Praise the Lord!

Monday, December 20, 2021

About the Car... Part 2

 So, now that I have gone through all of my psychological and emotional processes, let me write about the car.  I was driving a Nissan Versa.  It was a 2014 car.  I bought it in 2016.  It was acting weird even from when I bought it but I was told it had a CTV engine and I had to look it up but I understood that the engine was compromised even then.  I drove it all over the state.  The car had a name, Zippy.  Because it made zipping noises any time you tried to accelerate.  I remember driving to Vegas with my sweet dog in that car.  It had issues with the serpentine belt but it was my car.  It was kind of like me, kind of a mess.

Zippy, the car, had been have issues and I knew the end was coming.  However, this is not exactly the best economy to have to buy a car in.  The director at my work said, "Good luck if you are buying a house or a car."  I had to get both.  I didn't need luck, I have God.  

I knew that when we moved there would be issues.  Living 3-5 minutes from my job and making the commute was not too bad of an issue but living 11-15 miles away was another story.  I was going to need a car.  Talking to Geoff, he knew of the chip problem that had been plaguing the car industry.  He said that we would have to get a used car to last until I could get something better.  

We went to the Toyota Dealership one day after work.  He picked me up and we went to browse.  I can't tell you how expensive the cars were!!!  I mean, a car I would buy for about 7k was going for way more.  There were cars that I couldn't afford with about 190,000 miles on it.  I also noticed that the online price was sometime much lower than the in person price.  

In the end, I got a crush on a bigger Rav 4 with almost 100,000 miles on it.  It was purple and it matched my pants.  It was just in my budget but I was thinking of tryin to get pre-approved and this changed the whole entire process.

Geoff called me the next day at work to tell me that the AutoNation where we bought his Audi had a nice little Q3 in my price range.  When I called for the approval I based my loan on that car.  Geoff had to go there for service since he has a miracle Audi himself, and that is when he saw the car.  He picked me up at work and we hit up a few more dealerships just to see what was out there.  I liked a used Tiguan at the Volkswagon dealership and I thought I would just get that car if I didn't see anything else.

And then we hit the AutoNation.  There was no Q3.  It has been sold.  I had been pondering if I was the type of person to drive an Audi.  I decided to look at the other cars.  Geoff thought that I should go back and get the Tiguan, but the blue of the car called me.  It was so pretty.  I saw the color first.  Then I saw the price tag.  What!!!  I could afford this car?  This is what I was thinking.  And then I saw that the make was BMW.  What was a BMW doing in my price range?  How does it make sense that the only car that  I was able to afford was a BMW?  And then the salesman told me to get it.  Slipping into that driver's seat, I was falling in love.  I think my sweet husband knew then.  I was smitten.  He was so certain that I was going to buy a car that he brought with him the new Puerto Rican keychain he got for me.  Yes, I bought the car and I was even able to sell Zippy, the Versa to them.  God is good to us! 

It is taking me time to get used to this car.  I love figuring out the features.  I bought it wit 45,000 mile on it, a true blessing.  It was on a lease and then an older couple owned it.  It's a 2016 model and it isn't top of the line.  It's a 3 series.  Did I even say that right?  I don't know.  I'm learning.  I feel blessed when I drive it.  It's a lot of car for me but, again, it is the car that I could afford.   I am thankful to God.  Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

About the Car... Part I

 I am not what one would call fancy.  I mean... I like fancy things.  I'm not going to lie but... it has taken me a long time to find what really merits investing and what doesn't.  In fact, I can remember when I first started wearing lipstick, I would buy it for a dollar at the Korean store on White Plains Road in the Bronx.  This is also the place where I would buy my royal blue eyeliner and hoop earrings, also for a dollar.  I thought I was so fancy with that lipstick.  One day, a friend lent me her L'Oreal lipstick.  It was super fancy.  It smelled fancy to me.  It was $7.00 for just one tube!!!  I could buy 7 lipsticks from the Korean store.  One day it dawned on me, quality over quantity.  I don't know how but I got my father to buy me the L'Oreal.  I felt so fancy.  In fact, I liked the way I felt.  I felt different.  I felt better somehow.  

I admit that I have had a mild shopping addiction.  I guess you could say that it started with that store.  There were plenty of things to buy other than rubber black and multi colored bracelets.  There were lace gloves and bandanas.  I didn't really get an allowance but somehow, I managed to have money.  My dad thought it would be a good idea to have money to be around.  I would try and save as much of it as possible and then use it to shop.  I remember one day waking up and thinking, "Do I need all of this stuff?"  I found that I didn't and I kind of stopped.  

College reopened the need to shop and now, someone saw fit to give me a credit card and I was working.  I can tell you that I was one of the ones who fell into the spending trap. I mean, a girl has to look nice, right?  I'm thankful that I had my father to bail me out of my spending mishaps.  It wasn't anything like shopaholic but I recognize that I had learned some unhealthy habits.  

This is much longer than I think it should be.  Let's fast forward to my adult life.  I fell into the shopping habit again.  This time, I found something that is not true in New York.  You see, I loathe thriftshops in New York and I'm naturally cheap.  I love bargain hunting.   I think there was one Goodwill that I went to once and got a cardigan.  There was something about wearing second hand clothes that bothered me.  

Here, in Arizona, there are thrift stores everywhere and everything is a deal.  I mean, you can really get yourself in trouble shopping out here.  It's easy to pick up clothes and then just throw in the washer.  Voila, you have a whole new outfit and no one is the wiser.  It wasn't limited it to just clothes.  I would buy purses, books; anything that looked useful.  I accumulated so much junk.  I felt bad and I would go out and shop.  I should have brought my issues to God and let Him handle the psychological stuff.  

I mean, I would go and buy something for a dollar like socks, just because I can.  I have a lot of socks. I have a lot of everything.  And for no reason.  I'm downsizing; in my life and in my house.  I have struggled with what to have and what not to have.  I have needed validation because I know that I am lacking in so many things.  I am not thin.  I am not that pretty and every day I look in the mirror, I know that I am getting older.  I'm not that smart.  I can sing but I'm not the best singer.  I mean, I think I have nice nails.  That's about it!!!

Everything else about me that is good is God and because of God.  I mean, I didn't even make my nails so all of it is God, really!  

They preached on Sunday about boasting in God and I have a lot of boasting to do.  God has done a lot for me.  So, I am thankful.  I'm working on bringing everything to Him.  Praise the Lord!

Be on the look out for part 2 of this post.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Needing a Rescuer

 I can not seem to keep up with the changes in my life.  Life is chugging by faster than I thought.  It is in these fast messy moments that I need to remember to slow down and give thanks to God.  I realize as you read that I am one of those people.  "What's wrong with her?"  You may even ask.  You should know that I'm not a great Christian.  I am not even that good of a Christian.  Here is why I follow Jesus:

I was lost.  I was born kind of lost.  It took a long time but I realized that I didn't have a lot going for me.  I'm thankful for this because my story would be different if I did have something going for me.  I mean... I can sing a little and believe me that I tried to parlay the little voice I had into something.  I prayed for it day and night.  One day, before I was really awake, I felt myself praying to God to allow me to become a famous singer.  I heard in that half-dream way, "I never meant that for you."  Oh!  This was my response after I had a demo and was going on auditions.  Oh.  Okay.  Then I had to set out to find another way in this life for myself.  God had teaching in mind. 

I was pregnant and living in New York with my late husband at the time.  It was after 9/11.  I needed a job.  My friend, Haja recommended something I had been thinking about, The New York City Teaching Fellows Program.  I had been running away from teaching since my college years.  I was like running away from Nineveh to end up in a whale like Jonah.  But... I was the whale, because I was pregnant.  It was through this program that allowed me to provide for my family through teaching.  It has been hard but fun and rewarding.  I'm looking for something else to do.  

Here is the thing.  The more you look at yourself and find yourself lacking, the more you realize how much you would like to be rescued.  Not by a Prince Charming, to come and rescue to place you in an ivory tower.  Or... rescue you from an Ivory Tower.  Uhm... you get what I mean.  A rescuer to give your life purpose and set you on a path where there are challenges and hard things but never to be alone and develop things like faith, hope and love in the process.  I am lacking and glad to be so.  This is how Jesus found me and this is where I have gotten to know Him.  Praise God.

And I am happy to say that I still don't have it all together.  I still am in need to be rescued by a Savior.  How thankful am I that I have one!  And not to say that I haven't had a little pain in my life.  I mean, there are moments when loss hits so hard that it is like someone physically hitting me.  It hasn't been exactly easy but I am still thankful to God for being with me and allowing me to bring my every thought to Him.  Prayer is such a powerful thing.  

So Friends, I hope that when you find yourself lacking and needing a rescuer, you will consider mine.  His burden is light.  Praise the Lord!