If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.  If it is giving, give generously.  If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.  And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. (Romans 12: 8, New Living Translation 2007)

The message in this scripture reference is so plain and simple that it should be simple to follow.  Unfortunately, you and I both know that in this human life and some of you, on this Christian journey, that it can be difficult to indoctrinate into your daily regimen. 

To make it personal, as sure as I was trying to convince my girls’ group that we are responsible for ourselves and our behaviors despite what others may say or do to us – I still have to remind myself of this several times throughout the day (seemingly every day). 

In my purest and truest essence, I desire to encourage… give… lead with responsibility… and most importantly to me… be kind.  In my human nature I am tempted to give the world what it gives to me.  So my continuous reality check is not only important, but invaluable for my optimal livelihood. 

(Sidebar…I’m starting to love blogging…I can write what I want when I want…well with conditions and personal accountability of course ; )

Back to our agenda ; )

How many of you believe that “practice makes perfect”

I do!

Under adequate physical health conditions and/or sufficient mental capacity, all living things (yes all…even plants can be trained ; ) are capable of developing a routine. 

You may think… “Where is she going with this?”

Well, I’ll tell you. 

It’s not that hard to be good.  It’s not that hard to do the right thing.

What is difficult is to not be super-critical of your every mistake.  If you are having a bad day, and are short with a colleague or friend unintentionally, don’t beat yourself up.  Just make an effort to gently apologize and make a mental note to have patience in the future.  Specifically, I have to remind myself that it is unfair for me to unload my bad day on someone else who has absolutely nothing to do with it.  Remember, it’s not too difficult to slow down and show that you care.

I encourage you to try it…you’ll be amazed at the outcome ; )

God Bless!

Hey Loser! This one’s for you ; )

As a loser, what have I gained?

 A sad story?                A new perspective?            A changed heart?

God is definitely in the heart changing business, but how you perceive your loss definitely depends on your perspective.

As a researcher – every time my peers and I work with a new group of girls, we ask the following question:

“Is life easy or is life hard?”

Without a shadow of doubt, an overwhelming portion of the group, if not all, will run to the side of the room that indicates life is hard when playing polar opposites.

And I have to say I agree…

at times.

I say, “at times” because for a huge part of my life I would experience joy and then worry about getting “too happy” – or I would follow the old saying, “don’t get your hopes up”. In fact, I worked hard not to get my hopes up – in anticipation of the next…

 BIG LET-DOWN.

I mean really “too happy” sounds like an oxymoron to me.

This, my friends, is fear at it’s finest…Hahaha! Lol! Gotcha! – or at least that’s how it feels when you allow nasty thoughts to seep into your beautiful mind.

A former business mentor of mine, Mr. Robert Dean, is notorious for saying, “Don’t get your hopes up?!” “What am I supposed to do…keep my hopes low?!” “…and there you are walking around with these low hopes.”

PPPRREEAAACH BROTHER!

‘Cause the devil is a liar.

Coming to the realization that I will be a loser for the rest of my life, I, Valencya Thompson, vow to relish in my victories to the fullest extent for …the rest of my life!

Won’t you join me?

We should shout in our victories because The Bible tells us that, “…in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,”(Romans 8:37, NIV).

That’s right I’ve said it before to you and I even have to make a mental note, at least once a day to myself, to not allow the words of others – or disappointment to stifle me. You know what I’m talking about…you arrive into your job, your school, a family member or friend’s house, and you are on Cloud 9. ; )  

After being in the building for one moment, someone gives you some bad news, or just says something negative (because he or she is unhappy). Then it starts… this state of pessimism tries to overcome you. If you’re wise enough, you recognize this spiritual attack, and you work to immediately replace those death-thoughts with thoughts of inspiration, encouragement – anything positive at all…and it’s hard! But, if you persist, you’ll soon learn that this, too, shall pass.

The enemy is fighting you and chanting, “Hey Loser!” “Yeah you!” Remember when that professor said he was going to correct your grade…turns out that was a lie.” Haha!” “What were you thinking?”. “What will people think of you now?”

WAIT A MINUTE!

STOP!

THIS SELF-MUTILATION

MUST END NOW!!!

Whew that was tough. I can see myself sweating just thinking about it. If this is you (feel free to insert your personal experience above ; )

Because the truth of the matter is, when you have lost – you are relatable. When you have lost – those who come behind you, will know that they, too, can achieve. When you have lost – you will gain perspective on recognizing when times are good, and that those times are to be appreciated and celebrated.

Most importantly, when you have lost – you will recognize that you are and have been tremendously blessed, and that our Heavenly Father does indeed love you!

So now….

HEY WINNER!

Let’s celebrate!

God is able, He won’t fail.

In a season when many people find themselves at a closing point in their lives, it is important to keep yourself grounded and hold fast to your beliefs.

The closing of a life-chapter can be a scary and tumultuous time, if you allow it to be. Once accustomed to a particular practice or way of doing things it can be hard to transition, especially when you have no idea of where you’re transitioning to next.

I like to think of these times as Faith examinations by God. If we would take a moment to reflect and be honest, we can say that we’ve all been there/here before. Now whether or not you recognize your test for being just that…a test, depends on where you are on your life’s journey.

During my time on this earth, I have come in contact with all types of people. This makes life very interesting. People who have internal locus of control ( I control what happens to me) and external locus of control (things just happen to me) as referenced in psychology. As a believer of Christ – I would pose myself as having protected inner locus of control.. I define this as using the free will that God has given me to choose to allow His arms of protection to guide me on my daily walk. Nothing is just happening to me, I am purposed by the only true and risen savior to do His will on earth. As a result, amongst God’s blessings, I have and will experience spiritual attacks from the enemy: Satan. I am confident in knowing that he cannot touch me.

Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.

(Psalm 91:7). Whew that’s heavy and to early faith-walkers a little frightening. I encourage you to fear not because God is with you (See Psalm 23 – I’m trusting you already know it; believers and the yet to decide– it’s made several movie debuts ; )

Well I digress, so back to business – The devil’s infamy is based upon his tactical ability to provide illusions for you to focus on in efforts to distract you from the will of God for your life. Once you realize the definition of illusion: sensory distortion, you will understand that none of the seeds the enemy plants are real. Your response to these illusions, is what becomes real in your life. So, don’t fall for the suckerpunch! Be alert at all times.

Ask The Lord what you may do for Him today, and allow Him to worry about the rest.

Remember that you can only be responsible for the words that come out of your own mouth no matter what someone else says or does to you.

Most importantly, don’t allow the ups & downs of life to impair your better judgement because…

God is able and He won’t fail.

A story about a Saab…

Anyone who is close to me knows my car story – that since I have set my foot behind the wheel of a car, I have been plagued with car troubles. Being that I’m a full-time student, my husband and I make it a point to get our vehicles fully serviced during refund check season ; ) We always ask to have everything taken care of (while we have the money) – yet it never ceases to amaze me that we always end up having to return right back to the repair shop the same week. We turn around because either…

the original problem returns or something new breaks/goes wrong.

Well during the present car trouble season, my husband’s truck has been cutting off, so we got the alternator replaced. Wouldn’t you know that thing starting cutting off again? Then we got some reprogramming done…
Yep, you guessed it, truck still cuts off.

I know what you’re thinking, we need a new mechanic!

Well we’ve been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt my friends!

In spite of our efforts, we still experience what my professor, Dr. Kruger coined as, ” bad car karma”.
Those of you who know the optimistic believer in me know that I did not want to receive those words.
Those of you who know the wit in me know that I liked the sound of those words- summarizing my automobile woes in lieu of a long-winded story (shocking I know ; ).

Either way, Jerrell and I have been riding together in my Saab (just got her in November – story for another day) and it has been an adventure of its own. Well those adventures came to a halt (temporarily) this morning.

Why? Good question.

Here’s a story about a dog named Max.

Max is our 1 year, 2 month – old Boxer who is as cute as can be, but a rascal nonetheless. Sometime this weekend while I was folding laundry and Jerrell was editing photos, Max was left to his own devices. Jerrell assumed that I was watching Max, and I assumed the opposite…well we all know what “they say” about assuming ; )
Back to this story that is so funny and so sad at the same time that you will want to cry from laughing or cry because you can feel our pain. All the while Jerrell and I were making these assumptions, Max was curled up on our bed (where he is not allowed) going to town on my key. For those of you who need a translation, Max was chewing my key to pieces (at least that’s what it felt like). When I discovered Max, I immediately ran to the front with the key and asked Jerrell if he knew where the dog was. After stating the obvious, Jerrell assured me that the key had separated before, and I shouldn’t worry.

Some of you might not get what the fuss is about with this key…well let me show you:

                                                                                20120221-142237.jpg  20120221-142845.jpg

Hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to laugh to keep from crying. ) :

Time for a little Saab education- if you still don’t understand what the big fuss is all about. Saab was bought out by GM, some years back, and GM recently went bankrupt (though they appear to have had great profit success over the past year). With this being said, I attempted to order a spare key for my new car when I purchased it in November, only to be informed that there was a back order for several months, and I couldn’t even make a request.

Do what?!

Fast-fwd back to this morning: Jerrell puts on his superman strong and pumps up the flat tire on his Tahoe with a bike pump …oh yeah I left out the flat tire. Somehow, by the grace of God, we made it to Jerrell’s job with no car cut-offs.

I immediately head to Discount Tires (who removes a screw?) And plugs the tire for free!

Yippee…Winning!

I, then, get to internship, frantic that my supervisor is gonna be fed up with the hang-ups in Valencya’s so-called life. I am greeted by a teacher who blessed me with a word last week, who now showers me with birthday gifts, and a supervisor who showers me with compassion and understanding. Patrick (supervisor) even shares a word of encouragement about his woes of scraping up change as a struggling intern to get a bean burrito, only for it to be eaten by his dog. Lol! How sweet! Me, being the softy that I am, smile in efforts to camouflage the tears that are seeping out of my right eye.

My Aunt Yvette calls (always at the right time- I swear God keeps this woman on speed-dial!) and encourages me.

And what do you know…I also got my girl scout cookies back today!

20120221-141937.jpg

Happy Camper Indeed ; )

What is all of this partial venting and random mono/virtual dialogue about anyway?

In the midst of a minor breakdown, because of a culmination of little things, God’s light still manages to shine through ; )

Did I mention my Sweetie, Jerrell blessed me with the greatest prayer this morning in the car during my brief moment of “hysteria”? Luckily my uterus found its original home again, and all is right in my world (confused? research the origin of the word hysteria ; )

Love to love you and remember everything’s going to be alright!

Who’s Your Opponent?

“Who’s the judge?”

“The judge is God.”

“Why is He God?”

“Because He decides who wins or loses, not my opponent.”

“Who’s your opponent?”

“He doesn’t exist?”

“Why doesn’t he exist?”

“Because he’s a mere dissenting voice to the truth that I speak?”

~ The Great Debaters

This quote is one of my favorites, featured in the movie, The Great Debaters.  Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker were a part of the movie’s cast, which was released in 2007,  if my memory serves me right ; ).  Every once in a while, I enjoy snuggling up with my blanket, and watching a good movie that tells a story of overcomers.  “Overcomers of what,” you may ask?  I say, “overcomers of anything”!  Despite the many differences we battle over in society, we can all respect a story of those who survive… with excellence, against all odds.

I particularly enjoy the story of The Great Debaters, because it represents a positive image of my people during a time of racial segregation in the United States.  This is a story of scholarship and faith in God.  I believe it is a story that many can be inspired by, no matter what their ethnic make-up, social economic status, or current religion may be.  We all can be inspired because we all can relate.  As my former professor, Dr. Brian Dew, once said, “to be human, is to be relatable,”.  We all have feelings, emotions, wants, fears, needs, and desires.  Our sociological foundations and spirituality is what drives those entities.  I ask, “What drives you?”

Some have been driven by pure rage,   and I can attest that will get you no where, but with a stumped toe at the foot of your bed real fast. ; )

Some are driven by passion.  Passion can be beautiful or ugly depending on how you channel it.  If you use passion to justify doing injustices to your brethren, especially in the name of Our Father, then, you my friend have just wandered into some pretty ugly territory.  If you, instead, use passion to love, especially those who need it most, then you might just be on the right track.

Don’t allow negative thoughts to penetrate your mind, and jeopardize the power and authority that God has given you.  It’s so easy to give up…don’t do it.  So what… people are talking about you…or so you think. So what… your past isn’t perfect.  Show me one man in history, other than Christ, who was perfect.

Loral Langemeier, the millionaire maker, once said,

 “If you can’t go back, you must go forward. If you must go

 forward, then failure is not an option. If failure is not an

option, then you must succeed!”

Which direction will you go in today?
As you press towards the mark, remember who the judge is, and who your opponent is.

Realizing both, you should rest assured in knowing that you have already won, if you run the race that God has set for you and you alone.

Ready? On your mark, get set, go!

Bare necessities: No heat? Warm it up!

Thoughts from 2/13/12 – This morning when Jerrell and I jumped into the car we soon learned that the heat went out.  Frustrated, Jerrell asked for the window scraper, which I couldn’t find, and he then quickly dashed to get a warm bucket of water to melt the ice.  It was cold in the car, but I thank God, it wasn’t as cold as Saturday…reportedly the coldest day Georgia has seen in ages.

In my discomfort, my mind immediately reflected on the homeless population. Here in Atlanta, I have seen a growing number of African Americans forced to live on the downtown streets.  This is undoubtedly a culmination of any of the following: hard life, bad economy, mental illness, physical disability, displaced veteran, and, or drug/alcohol addiction.  Hard facts I know.  What is anyone doing about it?  I can think of a few missions and causes that address the needs of the homeless locally.  Some of these organizations include Hosea Feed The Hungry, and one organization whose leadership I know personally, Innovation Church (www.facebook.com/Innovationchurch).  The brainchild of Rev. Terence and Mrs. Cecilia Lester, Innovation Church – currently operates out of the couple’s home, yet they provide more “Heat for the Streets” (recent project where they fed and provided other resources to the homeless population) than most.  Keep your eye on this budding church during its planting season and beyond…I promise it’s a movement you don’t want to miss.
       As for the temperature in the car, I warmed it up with praise ; )

   ~God Bless

Lency Got Somethin’ to Say!

“Before anything became easy, it was hard.” 

I originally saw this quote on the wall of an elementary school teacher’s classroom for gifted students.  I have been sharing it with kids ever since.

This quote is significant for adults to keep in mind as well.  Let’s face it!  How many of us have unconquered dreams that persist onward only in our minds, due to the fact that we tried to take the first step…

and fell/failed? 

 …Or so we thought.  Outside of anomalies in the human population, very few of us exited our mother’s wombs knowing how to do anything when first attempted.  To my critical thinkers out there…Yes I know that infants can grasp or grip with their hands, and gaze with their eyes immediately, but they must be taught/learn how to do everything else!  I believe if more adults were candid and transparent with young people about the struggles that they have faced and overcome in life, they could liberate so many young people who have come behind them…The ones who are still looking for those shoulders to stand on.

Who will you liberate today?

 

REMEMBER EVERY NEW EXPERIENCE HAS A LEARNING  

CURVE, SO DON’T BECOME DISCOURAGED BY THE  

PROCESS ; )

Below I have featured one of my most favorite poems that was introduced to me by my mother of course ; ) May it inspire you, as it continues to inspire me.

Equipment

by Edgar A. Guest


Figure it out for yourself, my lad. You’ve all that the greatest of men have had, Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes, And a brain to use if you would be wise. With this equipment they all began, So start for the top and say, “I Can.”

Look them over, the wise and the great, They take their food from a common plate, And similar knives and forks they use, With similar laces they tie their shoes. The world considers them brave and smart, But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill, You can be great if you only will. You’re well equipped for what fight you choose, You have arms and legs and a brain to use. And the man who has risen great deeds to do, Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face, You are the one who must choose your place, You must say where you want to go, How much you will study the truth to know. God has equipped you for life, but He Lets you decide what you want to be.

Courage must come from the soul within, The man must furnish the will to win. So figure it out for yourself, my lad, You were born with all the great have had, With your equipment they all began. Get hold of yourself, and say: “I Can.”

from Collected Verse of Edgar Guest NY:Buccaneer Books, 1976, pg. 666