The Year of the 24

Can I tell you guys that I started year 24 with a lot of hope. I was determined that it would be my best year yet especially, as my supervisor reminded me, it was my year according to the Chinese. Year 24 has been challenging, frustrating and rewarding. Most importantly, it is the year that I’ve learned to be brave and find and define the positives.
 After almost three years of chosen singleness, I felt ready to be open and step out again. Fear and indecisiveness ruled me until my friends took matters into their own hands. Before I had time to think, I was agreeing to do to something different. My friends would ensure that I went on at least one date per month! 
That challenge was successful in a way that I didn’t expect! It turns out that my friends’ taste in men may be as atrocious as mine but these were experiences worth having. I still haven’t found “the one” but these were experiences worth having. For example:

  1. Mr. April, a friend, reminded me to listen. I was blown away the simple yet considerate touches he made to ensure our date was memorable.
  2. Mr. May, the lawyer who boasted constantly about himself and his successes reminded me of the grace and dignity which exists in being humble. 
  3. Mr. June, the guy who felt the need to tell me exactly where he thought a woman’s place is – in the home and breeding – reminded me of the importance of chasing after what i believed and never letting anyone, but God, stick a label on me.
  4. Mr. July, the guy who made me laugh until I cried, reminded me of the joy that came with smiling from within and being silly just because and the joy that exists in sharing that light. 
  5. Mr. August, the guy with the gap in his teeth who tried to grope me, gave me two lessons. The gap reminded me of a close friend I had a few years ago who disconnected when we had a major fall -out. Realizing how much I missed him, I reached out and we reconnected. He also reminded me of the importance of treating persons in the way that I expected to be treated. I walked away without giving him the kick my indignation said he deserved.
  6. Mr. September taught me to be open to expressing myself and slowing down and taking the time to savour the things I enjoy. I now ensure that I take the time to stop and smell the roses and, most importantly, to relax.
  7. I didn’t go on a date with Mr. October but he reminded me of the biggest and most painful lesson of all. Crying when disappointed or hurt is not an indication of weakness or defeat but of strength, especially when after you are done, you get up and get back in the game swinging with all your might. Weakness is your unwillingness or inability to deal with the hurt/disappointment and allowing it to take root and fester inside. He reminded me to BE BRAVE!

More than 3/4s of my experiences so far haven’t been anything to write home about but they have been very eye-opening. In fact, I look forward to continuing the challenge right up to the end of March 2018. You see guys, no matter how despairing, disheartening and disappointing the situation may seem, it’s all about perspective. 

I prefer to believe that there is a good reason or positive light to every negative. God has too much in store for you for you to only focus on the negative side of any experience you have!

The glass is only half-empty if you choose to see it that way. As for me? I prefer my glass half-full with a lot of room for possibilities, opportunities and…good wine. šŸ˜‰ What about you?

XOXO
ChaƱel.

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Death Could Not Hold Him Down

For the last few nights, I’ve had difficulty sleeping soundly. There has been a few things on my mind and I kept taking naps before my sleep patterns kept getting disturbed. This habit has made me restless, edgy and tired. I also recognized that if I kept it up, I would soon be unable to function efficiently.

To make matters worse, I was ridiculously ill yesterday. I spent the day in pain, popping pills, nauseous and dizzy to the point where I kept digging my nails in my palms to fight the waves. Only God knows how I managed to stay on my feet for practically the whole day as I worked non-stop. I was unable to keep anything down until dinner. When I finally went to bed, I found that once again I was unable to sleep properly.

This morning, rare for me, I got up before my first alarm, my thoughts centered on a project that I am currently at the tail end of. It has been a long couple of months and let’s just say that the last few days have not been easy as we draw closer to the end.

Early morning found me talking to God about the project and all the moving pieces that refused to settle as well as my health. For the first time in a while, I pulled up a Benita Washington medley to listen to as I completed my morning routine. I headed into the shower singing along to the worship medley. My shower time turned into a worship session. The thought that struck with me was:

No matter how dead your situation may seem, remember you serve a God who not even death could hold Him down. Our God is ALWAYS victorious.

God used this opportunity to remind me of the many dead situations that He had resurrected in my life. He reminded me of His story where not even death could hold Him down. He, Reigning King, had conquered death and the grave. He reminded me that He’s got me covered.

For the first time in a while, my soul felt still and comforted. I knew then that everything would be okay despite what seemed to be a storm.

Folks, God is simply better than slice bread. He always sends a word or shows up on time. Today worked out well and although there is still much to be done and there was a moment when things seemed really dark, He came through.

Then again, if He is a God who conquered death, why should I worry about seemingly threatening discombobulating situations. He has never lost a battle and is always victorious. Death couldn’t hold Him down!

XOXO,
ChaƱel.

What Letting Go Has Taught Me…

After a long week, I took some time to just reflect on life and where I’ve progressed to since the year began. I realized something about myself. Many of the persons I had started the year with, has disappeared. This made me pause and reflect on how I felt about their disappearance. I realized I was okay.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about keeping persons to your standards. A confession, sometimes I write very good advice but I am generally the last to take it. What do they say about the counsellor? They need the most counseling… For weeks after that post, I would find myself getting annoyed with myself when people walked all over my standards and I kept them around. Frankly I was miserable and I decided to actively do something about it. I must say that once you begin to stand up for yourself, you will be amazed how quickly persons either pulled up their socks or disappeared.

Some of these persons tried to reappear later but I stuck to my mantra and eventually they would leave for good once they realized what I now stood for. I can’t moan about the disappearing acts, frankly, good riddance.

Another thing that changed was that I stopped allowing persons to drag me into their drama. I am a regular Miss-Fix-It. Maybe that is why I make such a good Project Manager… It is simply amazing how much energy it takes to deal with other persons’ drama. What makes it worse is when sometimes, these are the persons who you can never depend on. It made me wonder, what was the use, if these persons were only in your life to drain you. Now, whenever I want to say something or intervene, I beg the Lord to hold my tongue or simply walked away.

My final habit that changed was my “Superwoman mentality”. This on many occasions caused me to burn out and persons often took advantage of my inability to say “no”. I have begun to say “no”. Frankly, it feels good to be able to have time to myself and be able to do the things that I want to do. This meant that a lot of people walked away once they realized I was no longer available to be twisted around their fingers. Frankly, that set leaving was a breath of fresh air.

Friendship, I found, is never about quantity. It’s simply the quality. I would rather have a few good friends who look out for me than an entire army of friends whose actions are a guarantee to my destruction. I prefer to walk into my peace. Don’t you agree? Let me know your thoughts on the subject in the comments area below.

XOXO,
ChaƱel.

Speak in Haste, Repent at Leisure

While I am a very laid back individual, I happen to have a temper button that few people know how to hit the right way. Over the last few years, I must admit that I have become a bit complacent as I went through life without coming across anyone who disturbed my gratifying peace.

The last two weeks found me under some immense stress. A lot of things were happening on all levels of my life and I had began short-changing myself in order to get them done. I felt weary and out-of-sorts. This was when the attack came.

Someone made some really snarky comments to me. In the moment, I read, put in the to-be-processed-at-a-later-date queue and went on with my life. That later date came Sunday morning, I re-read and felt annoyed to my core. I tapped out a response in seconds. Now let’s just say, when the old me (the fool) gets mad, her aim is generally to wind the other person up and make them madder by telling then the truth in blunt terms in a condescending manner. The old me (the fool) emerged in scathing form and succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. This verse was proven true in a negative way:

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. – Proverbs 25:11

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A Ziplining Lesson

Recently, I went on a work trip. Part of the trip took us to Y.S. Falls where I tried 5 ziplines for the first time. Like any first experience of that active nature, I didn’t quite know how to feel but as the experience continued, I picked up a couple lessons on the way.

Before we could start, we were locked into the relevant gear including helmets. As we stood waiting for all our team members to be geared-up, we had a couple of persons who had done it already and they were the ones who tried to alleviate some of our fears. However, in talking, these were the ones who made facing the experience even more fearful.My level of fear was slowing vamping up as I stood listening. I realised then that whilst God has not given me a spirit of fear, fear could be found within the uncertainty of excelling at the unknown and from external factors like well-meaning individuals. At that point I stopped listening and told myself that I could do it.

The walk to the first zipline was long especially since I haven’t done any exercise in months. Again I found myself wavering as my lungs struggled for air and my knees protested and threatened to buckle. Just when I was about to give in to my wavering mind and protesting body, I reached the top and it was beautiful! From this experience, another lesson emerged. The hardest step to fulfilling your dream is the preparation stage to beginning. Sometimes everything will seem to be against you as you try to put things in place. You may even consider giving up but if you hold out, your destination (starting point) will be incredibly beautiful. With everything in place, you will be filled with an incredible pride and satisfaction as you stand on the brink of conquering the world.

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Je Ne Regrette Rien! (I Don’t Regret Anything!)


I sat at my desk working while listening music and the strangest thing happened! James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful started playing and immediately I had a flashback concerning my ex that left me with the hugest grin on my face.

It was two weeks before my 18th birthday at 2am. We were up on the phone again after I had weaseled him into staying up, for the third night in a row. I still can’t believe how he always yielded to me. This time, he was the one asking me to do something. He wanted me to sing him something before we headed to bed. I refused as a plan formulated in my head. The next morning, as I headed off to school, I called him and sang him a rendition of “You’re Beautiful.”

In the early stages of the last few years, my brain focused on the ugly aspects of my past relationship. I was hurt and angry and so, my heart focused on all the reasons he was the enemy. I forgot our good times and the lessons these experiences taught me. Here are a few lessons these better moments taught me:

  1. He gave me my first impromptu driving lesson although, I didn’t get far before he started yelling at me to turn the wheel correctly and I yelled back. That was my first and last lesson from him but it taught me the importance of helping your partner in anyway you can. This means that you should always be open to teaching your partner because neither will know everything.
  2. The first time we met, he tried to flirt with me but called me the wrong name. I ignored him. Later in the day, being the tomboy I was, I climbed up to a cliff only to realize that I couldn’t get down by myself. He ended up being the one to lift me down. That bit of kindness opened my mind to him. This taught me the importance of being careful of how you treat people. You never know when you will need their help.
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