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.

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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First Crushes and Loves

Today, at lunch, a conversation about giving the bird and the bees talk turned into our outrageous actions done in the name of primary school crushes. I found myself fondly remembering my first crush.

I was a nine-year old who had just moved to a new area. Moving meant leaving all my friends behind and starting a new school after sitting out almost half the school year at grade two. I remember feeling really awkward and missing my friends terribly on my first day as a grade three student in a new school.

It was around the time when I was getting really familiar with the school that I noticed M. There shouldn’t have been anything special about him. He was just an ordinary boy from a different class. An ordinary boy who did one thing. He made my heart pound just a bit faster. Out of principle, I took to avoiding him because frankly I didn’t like anything that I couldn’t understand. I certainly didn’t understand my reaction to him!

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Really? But I Don’t Want To!

I recently had a fight with an acquaintance. We both have strong personalities and let’s say, when we disagreed, we ended up in a cycle of being stubborn and wanting to win. None of us wanted give in, lose or be wrong. We were both too full of pride. Following this, we both walked away.

A few days after that fallout, I came across something, that I knew upon reading, that the person would be interested in. Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted to pass it on but my pride spoke quite loudly, “if you send it, the person may feel that you are giving way or chasing them.” I hated that thought and so the internal debate began.

After an hour, the debate was no closer to a close. I decided to ask God for His input using the Gideon technique. Going to bed, my two options to Him were:

  1.  Send: Wake me before 5am ( I was tired enough to sleep the entire night.)
  2. Don’t send: Let me sleep without waking throughout the night.

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Your Tongue and Faith – The Dynamic Duo

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There is life and death in the power of the tongue! Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains! Faith “calls” it done and that settles it! There are so many scriptures/quotes that deal with the individual powers of the tongue and faith. Can you imagine if they were put together as a dynamic duo?

It was the summer of 2012. I had just completed 6th form and gotten my acceptance letters for 3 universities. One in the States (giving me a 1/2 scholarship) and two in Jamaica. I decided to forgo the one in States because this girl was dumb and in love (not that I regret the decision now).

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