Always There

In preparing for a Kentucky Derby themed party I was faced with the question every woman asks “What do I wear?” I did what most women do, I went to the mall. Checked out a couple of my favorite stores and found the perfect dress in The Limited. The next question I was “Where am I going to find a hat?” Most people know that my mom was the queen of hats and accessories. I didn’t consider her things because they aren’t necessarily my style. After looking around and texting friends I came up empty and disappointed. Once I got home and settled (to my mom’s house) something told me to look in the closet. Low and behold Mom had a hat that matched perfectly with my dress. A hat still in the plastic wrapping with the paper stuffed inside. I pulled out the hat and tried it on and it wasn’t too much or too little. It was just right. As I looked in the mirror I felt my mother’s presence. It almost seemed as my reflection were hers looking back at me. I laughed and said “Thanks mom for always being there.”
I am reminded of the life of Jesus Christ. He lived, taught, prayed, suffered and died. He left part of Himself here in the form of the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf. The Holy Spirit also comforts and reminds us of His love. Often times we don’t consider Him in the things we do but when we operate in the spirit, His presence is ALWAYS there and can ALWAYS be felt.
Thank you Mom for reminding me of how Christ operates in our lives when we are tuned into Him. Thank you for showing me what it means to have a close personal relationship with Christ. To ALWAYS know that He is ALWAYS there for us even when we aren’t there for ourselves.

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In Loving Memory of Patricia Thomas

Dear “Momma Pat”,

Thank you for your life, love and laughter. You were the ultimate role model for your daughter Chanta, anchor for your family, and the life of the party for your friends.

As I sat during your service and listened to the wonderful things people said about you, I began to understand more and more why it was so hard for Chanta to let you go. “Pat had a light and a smile about her that was known wherever she went.” You were an incredible woman. A woman after God’s own heart, just like my mother.

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Rev. Carl Hardy said something that really spoke to me, “Things happen in a person’s death for things to happen in another person’s life.” When someone close to us dies, we question and sometimes even deny it. As much as we try believe that it is all in God’s ultimate plan for that person to leave us, we have a hard time believing that there is an even better plan for us. The only thing we see is the cloud of grief and the pain of the loss. Until the clouds pass away and the pain hurts less, I will have to remind myself of the “Pat Lessons” that you lived by and left for others to follow.

1. Be true to your commitments. (Family, Friends)
2. Bounce back from setbacks. (Through it all enjoy life. Life must go on.)
3. Love on family and friends (A hug, kiss, phone call and visit go a long way.)
4. Keep God in the center. (All things happen in God’s time.)

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it. ~Mother Teresa~

I promise to look out for Chan for you. It’s unfortunate that our losses brought us closer together but it is a bond that can never be broken. “All things happen in God’s time.”

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Love,
Merical

Happiness

Always on my mind; forever in my heart.

April is approaching and it is the cruelest month ever. While others are basking in the introduction of spring and all things blossoming and beautiful. My family is dreading the anniversary of my moms passing.

Life is never the same after losing a parent even as an adult. For the first time, the person who knew us best, loved us unconditionally and who from the moment of our birth had always been an integral part of our life is no longer alive.

Gone are the expectations of my mother seeing my son grow up, sharing his achievements and his joys, and him sharing in her abundant love, kindness and wisdom. Everything just ceased to exist on the afternoon of Saturday, April 7, 2012.

Life will never be the same.

Eventually, I believe it’s possible to be happy again, or so I’ve been told. Im trying to find happiness through my relationship with God, my son, family and friends in my life. The love and kindness my mother so generously gave to me, is hard to share with others. It’s hard to give something that is so cherished to me that originated with her.

While, I graciously accept the gift of my mom’s life. I also accept that our greatest gifts are not ours to hold forever – but to appreciate and give back to God. But death leaves a heartache that’s often times unbearable therefore, how can happiness be apart of that equation? I try to think of ways to help others as a means to feel better to help my own healing process. Encouraging others, encourages me. When I give back, I’m honoring moms missionary legacy. When I find myself thinking of the time she is having in heaven, I smile and that gives me a small piece of happiness.

As the days go by and I allow God’s healing to take place, I pray daily that the emptiness and unhappiness I feel sometimes will be filled with the reminder of God’s promise to never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6) and to be with me always (Matthew 28:20). Mom is not here anymore, but God is. He has and will always be there.

God called and Mom answered. Who am I to question or be angry at God? Who am I to want to deny mom a better life worth living?

Philippians 1:21-26 (NIV)
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

I should bask in the life she had and enjoyed here and how happy she is in heaven. My happiness should merely come from the fact that she is happy and sitting with God. She’s not suffering, she is having the time of her eternal life the way we remember her. Mom was taken well care of, loved and cherished when while she was here. She’s getting the royal treatment now! Its not fair to be selfish but I’m human and it DOES hurt to not have her here. The daily struggle is finding the balance, can I be happy in my life without my mom? Will what should be my happy moments be overshadowed by her absence?

Everyone’s journey to happiness isn’t the same. The distance between the depths of our sadness and road traveled in order to find happiness is different. The best way to honor her would be to not just find individual happiness but to make sure that the rest of the family is happy and cared for as well.

The reality is that being happy doesn’t mean that mom is loved less or forgotten. It just means that we stop allowing the grief to consume our lives. What will honor her memory is for us to live, love, laugh and enjoy the life she helped give us.

I Wish You Enough

I can’t remember where I found this but I thought it was too good to not share.

I love you and I wish you enough.

I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?”

When it’s said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.”

They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them and an entire life to forget them.

The Big Race

You know how when you haven’t worked out in a while and the next day you feel sore and want to quit? Well, that’s because your body isn’t used to the new and improved you. Your body isn’t used to working out or being on the new diet plan.

How about when you got saved? You feel like the world as finally been lifted off your your shoulders. The day you feel Jesus’ presence and get baptized you feel cleansed and renewed.

Remember learning how to ride a bike? For me, it was fun riding with training wheels. But, the day came when those two lil wheels came off and I was all on my own. I had the feeling of accomplishment and independence.

After all that training, washing and riding somewhere down the line you backslide. You cheat on your diet, skip gym sessions, stop reading, and you fall off the bike. The common denominator is you can eventually get back on track IF you want to. You simply weigh your options. Healthy living over diabetes, Jesus over the world, and faith over fear.

Life is a race. From the day you are born you are conditioned for the “race of your life”. Your parents teach you all they can and at some point during your race you are taught some form of religion. I was raised in a Christian home and a Baptist church. I am the fourth generation to serve in my church. From then on, I learned to not only do what my mother said but to do what God said. When I went out into the world I was armed with what Mom taught me and the best reference book, The Bible and from that day on my race started.

I have three life coaches. The Father (watches over me), The Son (died for me), and The Holy Spirit (guides me). I was also given a physical and living coach on this side of the world. That coach was my mommy. She prayed, kissed, hugged, comforted, supported and unconditionally loved me. I’m sure there were and still are conference calls on what to do with me. No matter how far or long I’ve been gone I’ve always had a place to call home. A place I could go back to. My mother’s home, her arms and the church’s alter. In those places I found all of the things I needed to continue my race. Things that I may have forgotten or dropped when I lost my way. When I began to feel better and I see the road ahead of me I notice that right around the curve are the hurdles.

Who would have known that there would be so many hurdles? Choosing Jesus over the world isn’t an easy part of the race. Is there even an easy part? I was given a Bible for a reason. It is my spiritual water. I drink it to replenish my body, to give me energy, to keep fighting and to remember to have faith. At the finish line are the gates of heaven. The reward is seeing my family sitting at Jesus’ feet and surrounded by The Holy Ghost.

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I’ve had the honor to see my Gran run her some of her race. She was so graceful and regal when she ran. Gran ran as if she was the only one running. People would stop (minding their own business so to speak) running their own race just to see her pass by. I’ve heard stories of her races before I was born and all I could do was imagine what it must have been like to see her in action, live and in living color.

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God blessed me with the chance to watch my Mom run hers, to even participate in it. To pass her the Bible (her spiritual water) when she was thirsty. To hold her hand when she was weak, to wipe her tears when she cried and to hear her prayers just before she reached her finish line. Heavy heartedly I cheered her on with tears in my eyes.

I’ve gotten off course since Mom finished her race. I guess it’s because having her here made my race seem easier. As I put my running shoes back on and grab my Bible, I am reminded of the runners before me. They never quit or gave up and left me with all the tools I needed to continue on running. I must run my race with same dignity and tenacity they had.

One of the tools they left me with is encouragement. To encourage the runners who are running with and after me. While I can’t run your race for you, I can help you along the way. I can share my joys, sorrows, accomplishments, mistakes and lessons.

So as you read this and run your own race be encouraged. Know that even when you feel you’re alone, you’re not. NikeWhen you feel like giving up, don’t. If you have to take a break, it’s ok just make sure you get back up and keep going. Enjoy the race when you can. Stop and smell the roses. You don’t want to run your race and reach the finish line only to look back without having a sense of accomplishment. Don’t let precious moments in life to pass you by. Be faithful and prayerful, you’ll finish strong.

Dedicated to CB…

Broke The Mold or Did He?

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Not too long after Mom passed, I stepped out on faith and did something that I would never do. I entered a Model Call/Ambassador Call for a local organization called “Natural Girls Rock”. There were forty or more young women wanting to be part of this Natural Hair movement that taken over. I became one of the chosen few. With that being said, I want to take this time to thank Kelly and the Natural Girls Rock team for taking a chance on a grieving young lady who was simply trying to pick up the peaces of her life and put herself back together again. My Mom would be so proud and in love with the work that I have done with the organization. She was about community service, missionary work, teaching, inspiring, encouraging and love. That’s what Natural Girls Rock is about. What better way to honor her legacy by being apart of something that represented who she was? Most people don’t know, is when Mom first started feeling sick, long before we knew what was really wrong, I cut my hair. It represented newness, patience, it taught me what it really meant to be faithful and consistent and above all to honor my mom. Mom eventually lost her hair due to treatment but it didn’t define who she was. Needless to say I am attached to my hair because of the journey. It irritates me to hear people say “Oh it’s just hair.” because to me it’s not. It means more to me than anyone will ever possibly even care to know.

I was given the opportunity to do a photo shoot in September (nervously), a fashion show in which I walked in November(even more nervously) two days before my first birthday without my mom, and participate in other events that allowed me travel and to share my story and encourage others. Little did I know that my story, my journey and loss would inspire others. I have met some amazing women along the way, women who have continued to comfort and encourage me. (Thanks, ladies… you know who you are!) I have received so much love from people who I didn’t think paid much attention to me. Thse people saw my light, a light that I thought had dimmed the day my Mom passed.

What I have realized recently is that had Mom not put God in my in my life and had I not seen His light for myself through her I would NOT be the light that people have gravitated to. I never knew that encouraging others would encourage myself. “This little light of mine, I’m gone let it shine!” I don’t know where my light will take me or how many more lives it impacts but I go faithfully. He didn’t break the mold when He created Mom but I believe He left a lil bit for me.

“Believe it or not you’ve inspired me in many ways. Besides you’re ridiculously perfect fro, my spirit natural accepts you. You are very genuine . I admire your love for your mom and how you strive to overcome your loss. Your happiness comes through and brings joy to others. You da chic id see in a crowd and say I wanna hand out with her.” ~Shelya, FL~

“Thank you for being you! When I come to your Instagram page you make and brighten my day! You’re inspiration in every sense of the word.” ~Nacole, Fl~

Thanks http://www.naturalgirlsrock.com
Photographer: John Thomas (for natural girls rock)
Other pics were taken by me