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Memorial Day: A Visit

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May 26, 2017

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Genesis 50:24

It’s Memorial Day weekend.  I have some plans and I expect to enjoy myself.  I hope that I will see some of my husband’s family that I have not seen in a while.  We will laugh; catch up on each other’s lives.  Look at all the new grandbaby pictures etc.  And of course, we will eat.  You can’t have a Radford gathering without eating.

Sounds wonderful.  I love my in laws or in loves as I prefer to call them.

However, there is another place I would rather be.  Nothing would make me smile more than a visit with my mother.

I would pull up to her house, knock on the back door, and hear her sweet voice telling me to come on in.  Then she would say, “Calvonia!” with a smile on her face that spread from check to check.

We would probably share some of her good cooking.  Talk about the goodness’ of the Lord and eventually we would end up sitting outside in her spot.  Just sharing precious time together.

Those seats by the back door are empty now. I can’t visit her anymore.

I miss my mother immensely.  I find comfort in knowing that one day I will see her again, at that great reunion in heaven.

Until then, God visits me.  Yes, he does.  He comes to commune with me. He comforts my grieving spirit and wipes my tears.  He lets me feel a strong sense of his presence and gives me hope for tomorrow.

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday where we write for five minutes about the prompt without stopping.

The prompt this week is VISIT.

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Operation Graduation: Now What?

Dilemmas! The little girl within me stands on the curbside waiting for someone to take my hand and lead me across the street.

May 23,2017
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Have you heard the chorus to Mikey Rooney’s “Put one Foot in Front of the Other”?  The lyrics allude to someone having difficulty walking. The suggested solution is simple yet profound.

It is so much easier to sing these lines than to walk them out. No pun intended.

So many times in my life I have stood at decision corner and pondered indecisively.  Should I go right or left?  Should I forge straight ahead?  Dilemmas!  The little girl within me stands on the curbside waiting for someone to take my hand and lead me across the street.

David, The Psalmist had similar feelings when faced with the Now What’s of his life. How did he discover the perfect path?  He prayed.  Let’s listen in on his conversation with God.

“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you” (Psalm 25:4-5).

Did you pay close attention to the way he asked God to deliver the directive?

David, shepherd boy turned King, handed God a lesson plan template and asked him to fill it in.  HIs lesson plan addressed every learning style.

  1. Visual – Show me.
  2. Kinesthetic – Point out the road for me to follow.
  3. Auditory – Lead me by your truth and teach me.

David covered all the bases, didn’t he? It is as if he prayed with someone other than himself in mind.  Maybe David knew that today, in the year of our Lord 2017, I would ask the question, Now what?

Let’s take one more look at that song, Put one Foot in Front of the Other.

If you want to  change your direction

If your time of life is at hand

Well don’t be the rule, be the exception

A good way to start is to stand

Mr. Rooney and his cohorts are giving us a call to action. A call to be the exception.

You see the majority of people standing on the brink of a change will just sit there.  Some complain that good things never happen to them.  Others make laundry lists of why they will never succeed.

Many will follow the crowd.  Any crowd.  It doesn’t matter where the crowd is going.  At least it’s moving, right? Better than just sitting here, isn’t it? No!  As the song says,”A good way to start is to stand. ”

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore.” Ephesians 6:13-14a

Our scope of vision is limited, my sister.  It is not ours to chart the course.  God knows where the potholes are and the safest route.  Trust him to be the navigator.

So what do we do?

What is our action plan?

STAND! And, having stood until you think you can’t stand any longer. Just STAND!

“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you” (Psalm 25:4-5).

I was ecstatic when I descended from the platform on graduation day, balancing optimism on my head like a stack of books.  Yet, The Pew Research Center reports 44% of college graduates are underemployed. Thus the dilemma.

Do I continue in my current job? Do I research graduate school opportunities or do I send out a trail of emails praying for an open door?

Maybe you like me are seeking God’s direction regarding a career.  Or, your dilemma may concern a church home, a new house or an inevitable divorce.

Whatever the decision, God already knows the best route and guess what, he knows the destination.  He reaches his hand to guide us! Let’s go!

 

I’m linking up with my blogger friends below this week..

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Operation Graduation: I am an overcomer!

May 13, 2017 Calvonia RadfordAfter graduation

Today, I stood at the top of the steps listening for my name to be called as warm wet tears rolled down my face.

I heard the screaming voices of my family and friends and felt a cocktail of emotions all encapulsed with a sense of pride in my accomplishment.

I felt overwhelmed with thankfulness and worship began to flow from my lips.

According to the National Center for Education, 60% of college freshmen complete their bachelor’s degree within 6 years. Therefore, 40% do not.

I was one of the 40%.

I started my bachelor’s journey at the age of 17.

Young,

sheltered,

eyes popped out at anything and everything that got my attention.

Focused, yes!  But, not on academics.

I remember trying to prepare my English II term paper in one weekend.

Foolish!

In retrospect, I see myself preparing my own expulsion letter.

I was under-prepared and lacked realistic expectations about college.  Add to the mix, I had an infant child at home that my family was keeping so I could be better prepared to care for him financially. I neglected an opportunity and misused the precious time afforded me.

If I had only known

how difficult it would be to achieve the goal as a non-traditional student.

If I had known

I would be going into work early so I could leave for class without losing leave time.

The level of exhaustion after working all day, going to my 5:00 – 7:00 pm class and the 45-minute drive home.

Had I imagined

The difficulty of comprehending and retaining information when you’re in your fifties.

I should have considered

The need to digest Biology, Math, Social work, Literature and a number of Early Childhood Education classes.

The intimidation of sitting in a class with young tech savvy students while trying to create a movie.

I should have sensed

The embarrassment of reworking all my math problems while sitting with people who actually learned this math in high school.

Needless to say, in those early years the instant gratification of staying up late with my friends playing spades was a top priority and that English class, well it could wait.

Over the years, I have taken classes here and there, sporadically.  But. 5 years ago I committed to doing whatever it took to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

The nights have been long and the process has been hard. I have read so much and had so much screen time that my eyeglass prescription needs to be changed.

I’ve battled some nay-sayers.

Most of them internal, reminding myself that the odds were not in my favor.

Some negativity came straight from the enemy, satan himself, sprinkling deceptive ideas of doom, gloom, and defeat. Of which I had to cast down because it conflicted with my father’s promise.

I could write a book of anecdotals about being fifty something on the college career path.  This journey has had many hills and mountains.

Yet, I praise God!

I praise him because through every obstacle he has been there.  His voice has constantly reminded me of his promise, I would overcome.

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37

Today, I donned the cap, gown and honors stole.

I proudly walked across that stage as my family and friends screamed various congratulatory phrases.

As I anxiously awaited my name to be called, I was overwhelmed with a strong sense of pride in my accomplishments and an even greater feeling of gratefulness!

I took my stance,

held up both my hands,

pointing to my heavenly father who made all this possible.

Operation Graduation

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Operation Graduation: I should pray!

I’m joining #FiveMinuteFriday over at Kate Motaung’s place. The word prompt is SHOULD. Below is five minutes of free flow writing. The words START and STOP indicate where the timer started and ended. Go!

last semester

START

The last semester of a undergrad career is the worst semester!  In my opinion anyway.

I thought I was saving the easiest, most fun courses for the last semester.  I love sign language and have dabbled in it for many years.  I learn it quickly.  Therefore, I thought, it would be a breeze.

Was I wrong, or was I wrong?

This semester has found me sitting in front of my laptop, with my head resting in my hands as I gazed repeatedly at the same video lesson. Over and over and over again.  Often to no avail.

My stress level at times was extreme.  I fell into bed feeling defeated.  Thankfully, those feelings were fleeting. I met each day with new determination to succeed and a willingness to endure.

Fast forward to today.  I feel like Paul, when he stated….

 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” II Timothy 4:7

Literally.  I passed the class, with God’s grace and mercy.  I didn’t get the A I was striving for but I earned a B with my sweat, tears and the help from my tutors.

This should be a day of exuberance and excitement. Right?

Not when the institution you are visiting will not send your grades to the institution you are graduating from and the institution you are graduating from requires all grades submitted no later than 4:00pm EST today.  Whew!  I hope you sensed by frustration.

Paul, in his letter to the Philippians gave just the encouragement that I need today,

“Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks.  And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6

STOP

I have done everything I should do to meet all the registrars’ requirements.  This transcript is the only barrier preventing me from graduating.

I do not believe God brought me this far to fail.  This victory will be for his glory.  The mere act of me a former college student on academic expulsion walking across that stage with an honors shawl is a testament to his redemptive power.

Thank you Bro. Paul for your sustaining encouragement!

I will not worry.  I will pray and ask God, the one who can do the impossible, for favor.  Thanking him in advance for his divine intervention.  I will watch him shower me with his peace that just doesn’t make any sense.  That’s the kind of God I serve.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story!

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Operation Graduation: I am MORE than a conqueror!

Here I stood, in the doorway, with my hand tightly gripping the knob when a flood of reasons why I probably would not pass this class.

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No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

I have struggled with low self-esteem most of my life. It laid dormant for quite a while, until I stood on the brink of a college degree.

Here I stood, in the doorway, with my hand tightly gripping the knob when a flood of reasons why I probably would not pass this class.

I have done the work.

I have studied.

Stayed up late.

Met with a tutor.

Contacted friends who had already completed a similar class or above to be on guard for a SOS call.

However, this class has been rough.  It has been very difficult to learn the second level of American Sign Language in an online class.

I think I have rewinded these videos so many times that the screen itself was crying in agony.

When I was a child, I felt the anxiety of passing the dreaded math class. Yet, now when success was so close, it seemed so far.  I felt that it was too good to be true.  Too good for me.  I must not deserve MORE!

What the what!

I am a child of the Most Highs God!  He has promised me the desire of my heart if I would delight myself in him.

Satan the deceiver was having a field day and I had to kick him to the curve.

He knows who I am!

I am MORE than a conqueror.  Not because of who I am, but because of who Christ is.

He conquered the grave.  Because of his victory, I claim that I am victorious. I Corinthians 15:55-57

So here, I stand again.  In confidence. With my head held high.

No one is giving me that degree.  I am not going to take it from anyone.  I have earned it.  It is a merit award.

I have met all the requirements and God is faithful.  He will see it to pass.

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9

P.S.  I passed my final!

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Operation Graduation: the last scene!

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But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27 

I have not posted a blog in a while.  

Currently, my focus has been completing the last course in my Bachelor’s degree program.  I have been working in early childhood for over two decades.  My goal has been to let a graduation diploma catch up with my experience.

I am now in the last two weeks of the Child Development and Family relations degree at Kentucky State University.  Surreal doesn’t adequately describe how this feels 

This semester has been the most challenging semester thus far.  Go figure.  I am earning this one.

I have watched God paint a beautiful panoramic picture of the impossible transforming into possible.  It is in my view.  I can taste it.  I can almost touch it.

Just as I was getting overwhelmed, a sweet lady from my daughter’s church volunteered to tutor me weekly free of charge. It was a new scene in the picture that opened my eyes broader to God’s grace.

I received an email last Friday from the university informing me that I would be graduating with honors.  WOW!  Just the motivation I needed to keep on keeping on.  I must dawn those cords and march with pride in my performance.

“I think I can, I think I can…..I know I can, with God, I know I can…….” can you hear my voice declaring that truth?

I started this blog almost one year ago and I have struggled with my inability to post current blogs.  However, I have been compelled to finish the course strong which has not allowed me to do both.

Thank you for your patience and more importantly for your prayers.  I covet your continued prayers that I will successfully finish this program and thereby walk more confidently into the things God has placed in my hands to do.

I look forward to meeting you here on a regular basis in the very near future.  Until then, Blessing to you.

May 13th, here I come!

Operation Graduation: One Step at a Time

 

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Time management is a challenge for me.  Mostly because I am easily distracted.  For example I’m trying to write this blog, so I find some good listening music on YouTube.  I notice that there are some good artists on the right side of the page that I haven’t heard in a while or a song I don’t know.  Twenty minutes later, I have not written one word.  Yuk!

Can you relate?

Distractions, poor time management, and procrastination are my own worst enemies.

There are less than five weeks left in the last course of my Bachelor’s degree.  Yippee!  It has been a long time coming.

Over the years, I have taken a few classes here and there.  However, the life of being wife, mother and business owner got in the way.

When my youngest child started college, I committed to taking two-three courses per semester until I graduated.  Now here I am, in the last class of the final semester.  Praise God!

I’ve taken my biggest obstacles to progress; procrastination and poor time management to the Lord and he is teaching me how to overcome those hindering spirits.

One of the ways God has been transforming my mind in that area is through the book, “Taming your To Do list” by Glynnis Whitwer Ms. Glynnis has been in my face with that book, sharing scientifically why I struggle, looking at my life historically to identify the root cause and providing me with practical strategies to win the battle.  I love her.

I also listened to a podcast this week by Chrystal Evans Hurst entitled, “The girlfriend’s guide to getting it done.”

Now listen to this!  While surfing the web for some tools to help my staff with time management, I found an article on Time blocking. This method has proven among other things, to increase concentration and minimize distractions.

God is humorous!  He has strategically placed resources in my path for such a time as this. Is it possible you needed to hear it too?

These resources and the Holy Spirit’s power are leading me away from mental disorganization and disarray.

Do you struggle with distractions, putting important things off, and not completing tasks?  If so, I invite you on this journey of completing what we started.  Here are a few strategies to get us on our way.

  • ASK GOD FOR DIRECTIONS AND WRITE THEM DOWN

We must be more diligent with writing specifically what we need to do and when we need to do it.

I have formerly used my day planner and to do list as my go-to organizational tools.  After listening to Chrystal Evans Hurst, I am researching the Bullet method.  I probably will not follow that method to the letter but I am gathering some wonderful tips to improve my current system. http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/

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“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

 

  • SET THE TIMER Timer: in 5 minutes with clipping path

Have you heard the Creighton Abrams quote, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” Rather passing a course or completing a degree, we must finish one thing at a time.

Designate small chunks of time toward the task.  15 to 30-minute time blocks encourage productivity, allowing us to give the task our undivided attention without getting distracted or exhausted.

Then we can walk away, have a snack or take a walk.  Whatever small reward we choose for successfully working during that timeframe.

 

No  matter how much you want, laziness won’t help a bit, but hard work will reward you with more than enough.” Proverbs 13:4 CEV

  • REPEAT

After the break, go back and do it again and again, repeatedly until the task is completed.  We have to adopt the Nehemiah mind-set.  We have work to do and we cannot come down until it is completed. (Nehemiah 6:3)

For me, it is the last course of the Bachelor’s program.  What is your task or project?  Whatever it is, we can do this!  We have God on our side and there is nothing too hard for him. Repeat

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5 ESV

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27