Martin’s Monday

Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have to say that I love Martin Luther King Day. First of all, he is one of the few men in whose presence I wish I could have been. That I would have loved to hear with my own ears, seen with my two eyes and stood seeing, in his vision. That I would run to see and stand in the masses yelling, “YES!” One who inspires, challenges. Dignifies. One who saw light and truth and transformed humanity with his own understanding. So today is a special Monday and I will not ignore this great man in my Miscellany Monday post today! My daughter actually won an award in her 5th grade Speech Meet as she recited His famous words. Every single one from that famous speech. It saddens me I was not there to see it. Yeah, that job I no longer even have cost me that opportunity. Won’t happen again. Trust me. Here are some of my favorite quotes by him.
I pulled these from The Quotations Page.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.

Well I do have an interview scheduled tomorrow. Prayers welcome. However, it seems, my Inner Writer and Inner “Lazy” Child are having an affair to remember. They have kicked my Inner Personal Trainer to the curb and she appears to be down for the count. Hopefully they will all pull themselves together and cooperate for the interview tomorrow. Perhaps I should consider employment as a Librarian, as my friend Susie has considered, and retire from torturing the hopelessly, unmotivated masses. I am slowly moving into that terrain, myself, Egad!

A wonderfully contemplative week. Rain and puddles helped.
I will be sharing some of my reflections this week.
Some of you have already read about one rainy day with my daughter
this week!
My girl has re-discovered the joys of Play-Doh. Hooray!
I am thoroughly enjoying this little Library find!
Wonderful. I may have to read The Prince of Tides. Maybe. 

A place I used to frequent,back in the day.
Revisited, with a dear friend made my week sweet!
rue de l’espoir =  How you say? Delicious. 
Friends make life sweeter, indeed.

 Life is Short!
 Enjoy your friends as you enjoy dessert!
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

The Gift Revealed

The little paperweight that sits on my desk.
It’s never too late to be who you might have been.
George Elliot
          I am a little tickled today as I write this post. Giddy, perhaps. No, I haven’t been drinking.
 I had what Oprah (She did NOT say the name, did she?) calls an ah-ha moment or uh- huh, whahoo, whatever she calls it, I had it. But really, it was what I believe is a defining moment. Remember my “Redefining Me” post, and the fact that I have been struggling a bit with my own job loss and lamenting the treatment I received from my former employer? Well today it dawned on me that I have been seeing it wrong -this person (Horrible Bosses) would agree, hence why I was let go. Was I just sarcastic? Or is there a Christian term for sarcasm? I am kidding, don’t panic. I know Oswald Chambers calls sarcasm “The weapon of the weak man”. My hubby prefers to say “The devil’s pitchfork”!
Redirecting post in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
I am here to say that I realize that this difficult time, though it has presented challenges, is still a gift!
No, I have not lost my mind.
OK, maybe a little.
     I want to write her a thank you note for that formal “termination of business arrangement” letter she so thoughtfully sent me. I am grateful. You think I am kidding, right? Well, I am serious. I think it may be the best thing that has ever happened to me. It dawned on me today as I left the local Chamber of Commerce’s women’s business focus group. I stood up and I spoke truth and I hate to stand up and speak (except to tell YOU what to do of course IE. Fitness Trainer).
God has given me my voice.
My true voice.
My passion is writing.
I hid this gift.
I did not realize it was a gift.
I kept it to myself, in journals, on loose papers.
I kept words trapped, swirling, around in my head.
They have always been there,
waiting to be released.
Paraded humbly AND proudly.
They are after all ideas, concepts, thoughts and visions
that long to be
joyfully expressed in many beautiful ways.
Today, I thought that the real gift was the fact of being released (nice way of saying it, huh?)
 from my job, but I recognize now it was the freedom be what He has called me to be.
More Fully.
It still remains to be seen.
Yet, each step of faith seems to bring me closer to something completely
familiar and new at the same time.
Crazy, huh?
Today I am grateful that God has given me a gift to be shared.
To be enjoyed, employed and used up to fulfill His good and perfect will in my life!
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18-19 
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
1 Corinthians 9:15
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles
the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27

“Whether or not you write well, write bravely.” Bill Stout 
“I put a piece of paper under my pillow,
and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.”
Henry David Thoreau

The Marriage of Joblessness and Depression

There once was a man,
who married a girl,
 perfectly matched, 
they believed.
Thinking they had
 not a care in the world-
blindly, they were deceived.
When they met,
they thought they were set,
secretly in their affair
So they set there hearts
on pleasing themselves
soon months had turned to a year.
Time crept on, the marriage grew strong
but alas they had no career.
So to each other they clung ever tighter
and together
 they raised Despair.
I have been contemplating and reevaluating my beliefs and perceptions about two things lately. It’s funny how once you are the one experiencing the circumstances, how that changes everything. I am no stranger to the subject of Depression, unfortunately, but it’s one of those things that is not exactly a topic people are comfortable discussing. It can be a skeleton in the closet for some, but more likely like myself, it is like a friend you see less and less, but who still pops in for the unexpected, unwelcome visit to remind you that they are still around. I really thank Jesus Christ for any victory I personally have experienced with this condition because that is where I have been able to find hope and strength. Personally, secular psychology offered what I only saw as treadmills with chains. That is just my opinion. My personal journey to healing, from the pain of childhood sexual abuse , as well as some of the complicated choices that stemmed from it, came by the transformational power of the Living God. Medication and group counseling at the suggestion of a Psychiatrist sent me running. Actually the two forms I turned to were writing (extensive journal writing) and the gym (this is the time I was pursuing competitive lifting). Research supports what I was living at the time: these are valid forms of therapy. I trained to the extreme, I poured my heart out on paper. But I found salvation though the saving grace of the One who holds the answers for this present time and eternity. The only One who can care properly for the soul. I want to mention something to be clear and fair. I believe that hope comes from Jesus Christ but help can come from anywhere (as he ultimately directs the paths of all).
I was not receptive to the modes of therapy suggested at that time, but that is not to say that Christians, and others cannot be helped by those that were offered to me. It is just I was not receptive to these at that time in my life. OK, clear? If you have received healing and help from a combination or otherwise, I am not invalidating your experience in anyway or here to argue. Phew. Just want to be clear. God’s arms are big enough to embrace all. Moving on…
The Joblessness aspect is something that I have rarely (if ever) had to experience. It has been both a gift and a burden. Lately the later, as our income has been cut in half and my hubby continues to carry the full financial load. I entered the field of Fitness and Exercise early on and truly God just completely directed my path both prior to my conversion and on to the fateful day a fellow competitive bodybuilder introduced me to the Savior. I remember being asked by a very influential client who had multiple homes in Europe and America, “How did you get to be the Creme de la Creme of Personal Trainers?” Trust me, this was well before the industry had grown to the huge capacity it now has grown! There were only a handful of trainers in our small state. My career seemed to be guided and blessed beyond what I could have done myself. My reputation and client base grew and flourished. Even after I left the field on sabbatical journeys (once the first few years of marriage and the second to Home school my daughter for one brief year) God directed and provided perfectly.
However the Lord gives and takes away. His name still remains. Faithful and True. Yet the enemy daily bears down on me and that is where I am at this time. Wisdom, discernment, perseverance and patience are needed. He is with me in the valley. But the valley can be a dark and lonely place. So here I am with Depression and Joblessness on either side of me. Despair calls from close proximity, tempting me to close the shades of my soul to light.
But I remember who I am. This light will NOT be extinguished. This light will continue to shine.
The fact is I never realized that the loss of a job could be as painful as any other loss.
 I remember my husband losing his cushy management position at Starbucks after graduating with a business degree from college. I shrugged it off and responded something like this: “Oh well, you always complain about it anyway- it is probably a good thing”. He looked at me as if I had sucker punched him. He still brings it up! We actually were not married at the time but BFF’s! The fact was he was rejected and rejection feels WRONG, ugly and bad. It also brings up and magnifies the negative aspects of life for the person who is going through the experience. It can make one call into question almost every aspect of their life.
Ok, Lord, I get it now, so can you kindly bestow the perfect job upon me? 
Potentially under construction.
The lot that is me!

Lessons to Learn from Horrible Bosses

…submit yourself to your masters with all respect,
not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.
1 Peter 2:18-19

     It was ironic, right? There I stood at the movie theatre this Summer with my husband looking up at the Kiosk with a banner advertising a new movie called “Horrible Bosses”. It put me into a sweet, semi-guilt free giggle. I had just been “let go” from a five year journey with my last boss. OK, I confess. I felt the rise of my flesh and took a picture of that darn kiosk. There were banners everywhere for this upcoming release. You might think it was the best movie coming as there were innumerable posters. I don’t even remember what we actually went to see that day, so you can see the state of mind I was in. I was wounded.  I have never been “fired”  before but, I am sure most will agree, it is not a fun experience.

     Two Disclaimers: 1. I have not seen this movie, nor is this post written to encourage anyone to see this movie. The movie itself is irrelevant. It was the title of the movie that confronted my psyche that day and this is the focus of the post. 2. I have to say I have worked for some amazing bosses who were generous, patient and gracious as well as savvy business people.
*Fair warning: This post is not about these bosses.

    In honor of Horrible Bosses everywhere and especially in light of my recent experience getting the shaft, as well as for all those who have ever had experience with a Horrible Boss, I have some lessons to share which may benefit ALL parties involved. Here are some Red Flags, not to ignore when you see them, so you are not surprised when the excrement finally “hits the fan”. It will. People are who they are all the time. Maybe that’s the biggest lesson of all. There is no such thing as Personal and Professional realms. That is a secular load of garbage. Don’t buy it. When you look in the mirror you see who you are ALL THE TIME. I have hit this in another post (probably multiple posts) since my own former boss reflected on our professional “incompatibility” and decided to cut me loose.

The Boss Who Hits On You: I experienced this early in my career. Actually this never can work out for long. It goes along with dating the boss or a client. It’s a big NO. Even when you think you have a handle on it.  I noticed these incidents seemed to be more prevalent when I was younger and new in the field of fitness, before sexual harassment and the Anita Hill scandal. It has nothing to do with who you are but is reflective of the character of the one in the position of power. One of my former bosses is currently in prison for murdering his girlfriend. I can remember two things about working for him. He seemed to target young, inexperienced girls to work for him. He was extremely manipulative and an expert deceiver. If you have a boss or client who makes an inappropriate advance, best to put them in their place, fast. Or run.

The Boss Who is Impossible To Please: If you find yourself feeling inadequate and like you can never measure up to the expectation, or the expectations keep changing, be prepared for the fun (not) ride. Working for this boss is like riding a roller coaster. Be prepared for jolts, whiplash and sudden turns. One day you are their Creme De Le Creme, the next you are chopped liver. The ups and down of this relationship are like an amusement park ride gone awry. The quicker this ride ends the better. One of my former employers had their business shut down due to mismanagement.

The Boss Who Thinks That They Are God: They are a god in their own mind and ultimately they serve themselves. This is the worst kind to have because they are usually very successful and are excellent at dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. They know how to cover their tracks as to keep up proper appearances and above all, appear professional. These bosses could be actors and actresses, they are so good at theatrics. With all false gods the theme becomes sacrifice and compromise-both at your cost. The danger with this relationship, is once you have served their purpose- they dispose of you. One of my former leaders decided one of the new staff needed to be fired and I would need to deliver the news. Not being of the same mind-set, I convinced them to allow me to work with the young trainer on the targeted areas of improvement for a season. This particular person became one of our biggest assets and a wonderful Personal Trainer.

     So, where is God in all this you ask? Oh, He has been with me all along. He has guided me on this journey and continues to. The reality is wherever we are, we bring the light of the Lord with us. Some may not like that. Some may accept it for a season and then reject it. One of my former Boss’s claimed that they had their own Gospel. I know that in the end I am accountable to Him. I know that no matter how horrible a boss I have, it is God’s will that at the time I am employed by another, I must do all as unto Him. However, when there is ethical compromise, lack of integrity or outright abuse, you can be sure that God will have me hightailed right out of that situation. He promises.

    In conclusion, it is always possible to glorify God in your work place. He cannot be unfaithful. If we seek to do His will He will guide us. In the end, we can trust him to deal with those who deal with us unjustly. We only need to trust Him.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and good.
Proverbs 15: 3 

 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Romans 12:18-20

As you reflect on the many (or any) bosses you may have had, can you think of any thing redeemable from your experience?
If so, please share in a comment about it and what you have learned!

Finding Time For Fitness – and other lazy tales

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things,
holding promise for both the present life
and the life to come.
~ 1 Timothy 4:8

       Today was a back to reality day. I knew this day had to come. It started with the doodling in the journal. Having designed exercise programs for close to 30 years, it’s something I just do. Actually it’s something I love to do. But after, my job loss in June, I have been feeling a bit soured toward the field of fitness and even towards exercise in general. I have been on a Summer Sabbatical. However, today I may have turned a corner back to my former reality. Tweaking and fine tuning programs for a variety of exercise enthusiasts, athletes and non-exercisers, is something that I have enjoyed as a career, by the hand and pleasure of my Maker. As a carpenter visualizes the building to come by taking down information and jotting down stats needed for construction, my pen began to script the routine, as my mind wrapped around the possibilities as well as the potential obstacles. Nothing elaborate. One must consider the client. Hmmm, yes, close to 50. Post injury. When was the last check up? Oh, no – not going there. If I took me on as a client, I would require a full work up. After all – over 45. Current level of fitness? Lazy. OK, that might be a bit harsh. Relaxed, after suffering serious physical injury. Attitude? Physical Therapist described me as “burnt out” of the exercise field. I don’t fully agree, I am just awaiting further instructions from my King on where He wants me to direct my energies. Meantime, I have really allowed myself a full break. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. I have been immersed in this field for a good portion of my adult life. It has been quite a journey. It is where I met my Faith: from one bodybuilding competitor to another. It is where I enjoyed success, freedom, growth, expression, creativity. It is where I have lived out some stories which have yet to be told. Maybe that’s where the story needs to end. Or not…people make so many assumptions about one another. Sometimes I resent this. I have been a Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Coach for a good portion of my life but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle now and again with motivation. And, even laziness. Well the fact is that working in the gym, or thinking about working out doesn’t make one fit, anymore than going to church or reading about Christianity makes one a Christian. Fact is we all have to put in our time. I am not one who has ever fancied one dimensional living. The fact was and is now, I do not define myself by my career, or any of the roles I live out here on this side of eternity. I have embraced the new life and long to live out fully the ultimate role of serving my King, wherever I am, whatever I am doing. I have seen such idolatry in our culture with regard to fitness, exercise and health. I sometimes joke and tell people, “I don’t bow down to that god, anymore”. It’s not a joke, really. Sometimes I have been so disgusted by the magnification (deification?) of what is essential, simple and good (healthy living- defined by moderate living and being active) to something that becomes unbalanced, unhealthy (I have observed to the psyche, especially) and idolatrous. As I blog about it my passion returns and I am fueled with a desire to be heard for the sake of balance, simplicity and PERSPECTIVE. Maybe I am fueled enough to get my behind down into the basement for the 2nd workout of the week. Maybe, I will return to taking on clients again in the future and birth the Fitness Blog “baby” I have been carrying within me, …or maybe God has a new role for me to take on. Either way, I will meet Him beneath the surface and trust in Him for a fresh breath of faith for the next step.

‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
~Acts 28:17

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