Friday, August 30, 2013

Thoughts on Moving - Age and Stage

The first time I ever moved I was 12; we migrated from the Bahamas to the United States. This was not a move of choice but again, of circumstance. Due to political upheaval at the time our family was forced to leave since my parents were not Bahamian. As a 12 year old I did not understand any of this; it was an adventure to be on a plane for the first time, it was an adventure driving from JFK and meeting my cousins, and it was delightful eating lasagna for the first time and staying at my uncle's house. It was also cold, very cold and my skinny island body did not like it. Apparently we arrived in spring, but it felt like winter to me. I could not understand how other children were outside during recess playing. I froze. School was also an adventure; due to the British education system in the Bahamas I did very well at school and teachers love smart kids. In class I remember it being the first time I was called a young lady - in the Bahamas we were treated as children. Here we were expected to take ownership of certain things. It was all an adventure, and I made the necessary adjustments without too much resistance.

For my parents it was not an adventure - they were starting over in a new country with 7 children. They had to hit the ground running. Within six months they were able to purchase a house. My dad had to start over as none of his mechanic credentials were valid in the states. He eventually joined his brothers working at a bakery. My mom decided that it was too cold to only wear dresses and skirts, so she started wearing pants and eventually went back to school. My mom had always envisioned moving to the states. As is the case with many from the Caribbean, an uncle was supposed to send for her, but never did. When it was certain we were moving to NY, she embraced it wholeheartedly and never looked back.

Moving at 12 was an adventure, moving in my 40s not so much though I tried to remain hopelessly optimistic. Prior to moving, I thought it wise to seek out others who had made such a move and get their thoughts. For the most part people were very positive and encouraging.  But then I spoke to someone who had nothing but bad experiences in her move to the west coast. According to her, this was the worst place on the earth.  Being the practical person I am, I weighed her thoughts against the others and the good outweighed the bad, but those negative words stayed with me for months and it was not a good way to start this journey. Her age and stage of life may have had a lot to do with her perceptions of her situation.

Age and stage makes a huge difference in how you handle your new location. I've heard it said that geography is irrelevant because wherever you go, you still have to deal with you. As a child I didn't have a care in the world. As an older woman in my 40s, I had begun to think differently about many things. I had raised children and learned many things from doing so. I had tempered some of my views and many of my Christian beliefs were reinforced. I used to be a black and white person, and as I grew I realized that there were many grey areas in life and not all of them were bad. Life was not as neat as I would like it to be. Moving made me realize just how neat it wasn't, but I now felt I had the mental fortitude to deal with whatever came my way.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10
Does age and stage matter or is it just about the location?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thoughts on Moving - Time To Do It

Our major move was dictated by circumstance. Prior to the change in our circumstance, we had talked and thought about moving but at the time seemed to have no compelling reason to do so, until a much needed job offer materialized on the west coast. After months of thinking and praying about it, once the offer came everything was set in motion.

We had lived in our current community for more than 15 years. We initially moved there because of the schools and the upward mobility of the area.  Over the 15 years there had been a steady decline in both the schools and the area and unbeknownst to us, some of these negatives had started to seep in to our household. Besides the negatives, community is what we had and enjoyed at church, school and home. It was no big deal for friends to stop over unannounced or for someone to call randomly because they needed help. I knew teachers and leaders at the schools and volunteered and stayed in touch as often as I could. Church kept us busy yet grounded. It was a full life.

But it was time to move.

After being out of work for a year my husband had gotten a good offer on the west coast. As a wife, it's hard to see a husband not do one of the primary things he's called to do. so regardless of where the next opportunity was, I was willing to go so that our family could be whole again. (I did that Ruth Naomi thing!)

Moving was daunting and overwhelming. We had to pack up 15 years of living in 2 days - THANK GOD FOR MOVERS.  I tried but I could not do it.
We had to sell the house - which means finding an agent, listing the house, and preparing the house. Ultimately we decided to sell as is.
I sold a few things over craigslist but everything else came with me and I'm glad they did.
They were lots of goodbyes - to the point where I just wanted it to be done so I could move on.

My biggest initial take aways:

  • Make sure you have a reason to move - it may not be the wisest thing to pick up and move with no thought to where you are going.
  • Pray about it - often; don't try to rationalize your plans with what God has in store for you
  • Having a support system is vital - mine was family and friends.

I had a lot of time for reflection once I got to the west coast, which I will share in upcoming posts.

.....The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Acts 7:2-3

Have you ever moved? How long were you in your old location prior to moving? Was it easy or hard for you?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Away Way Too Long

It is my intention this time to write on a regular basis, going forward.

In my life, there's lot's of stuff happening and lots of teaching moments that I want to share with you.  My brain feels like it's a cup of juice that's constantly being stirred.

I've been thinking about:

  • Moving and what it has meant to me
  • Marriage and how its beautiful regardless of where you are
  • Young adult children - the transition for them and me
  • Being fit and how hard it seems sometimes especially as we get older
  • As a woman, carving out time for myself
  • Family, immediate and extended
  • Spirituality how it's intertwined in everything

My posts are random just like me, and run the gamut from the inane to those of consequence. I've struggled with doing a series or keeping my thoughts ordered, but that's not the way my brain works, though I will try if it makes writing about certain topics easier.

I also want to say thanks to those that read, follow and leave comments.  Sometimes it's just the bit of validation that I need.

I'm going to keep writing and hopefully you'll keep reading.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


For the past three weeks I've been travelling.

We spent one week in the Bahamas and two weeks in Jamaica. One of those weeks was dedicated to a family reunion on my husband's side, which was a whole lot of fun. The remaining time I hung out with friends and family.
Highlights from my Bahamian trip in pictures:

Where it all started; first house in Bahamas
Straw Market in Nassau

lovely view

Beach we went to on Saturdays

meeting my namesake - that was fun!
Church we attended

Every family should have a family reunion. No family is perfect but the time spent reconnecting and getting to know each other is priceless. One of the best things about reunions is seeing the younger generations connecting with each other. At this reunion we celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and we even had a proposal. We spent a lot of time just laughing, reminiscing and having fun with each other.
Highlights in pictures from Jamaica:
Condo Rios
The Beach at Condo Rios

Having a good time in the pool

Cousins in the pool

Pretty ladies
Billy Goat at the Farm
I hope you are taking a moment this summer to recharge and enjoy your families.
PS - if you click on one picture you can use the arrow keys to navigate and view all pictures.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Habits + Discipline

It takes 21 days to form a new habit - that's what we are told when we want to incorporate new behaviors in to our routine.

It takes no time to form a bad habit, but if it is something beneficial we have to work at it.

It takes time to unlearn bad behaviors.

What does it take to maintain a good habit? Discipline.

Discipline allows you to be repetitive for the long term.
Discipline says I'll do it even if I don't feel like it.
Discipline will get you through when the going gets tough.
Discipline produces a proven result; with discipline you have a guaranteed outcome.

Good habits without discipline is a set up for failure. Everyone needs discipline.

Discipline is  training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character (

To acquire discipline:
  • Have a desire
  • Commit to certain steps
  • Strive to be consistent
  • Have an accountability partner
In my own life I have seen the benefits of self discipline. For example, I always wanted good grades in school therefore I took my school work seriously - this was easy as youngster but became more challenging in college. When I joined the track team in HS, I didn't realize the rewards I would reap. One of the best things that came out of my track life (besides medals) was a new appreciation for discipline and how to apply it to every aspect of my life. I took the lessons of discipline that I learned and applied it to my:

Spiritual life - I start every day with pray and devotions
Work life - when dealing with difficult situations I realized that I had with in me to persevere
Physical life - labor and delivery; pushing myself to keep a home running; not complaining about fatigue
Life in general - pressing on when we don't always know what lies ahead

The only way to maintain good habits is through discipline. BTW – you can always tell a person that lacks discipline as they have no self control. 

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. Proverbs 13:4

Are you aware of your need for discipline? How do you exercise discipline in your life? Does this become easier as we get older?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Life is Not a Race

Since I've been on vacation, I've gotten three calls about people dying within the space of a week.

All that sadness, makes me want to appreciate life a little bit more (so I've included a few pictures from my vacation.)

As I was running recently, I got to thinking about life and realized that life is not a race. We hear it so often, but I don't think we stop to think about why.
Life is not a race because:

  • A race is a defined distance - whether very long or very short. Because we know this we can adjust our pace accordingly based on where we are. If you're running a marathon, pacing is very important. If you're a sprinter, you run as fast as you can until you reach the finish line. In life we don't know how much time we are allotted, which makes it very difficult to know what pace we should be running at which time.
  • A race has other competitors - when competing, we become familiar with the field and gauge ourselves against the others. Our goal is to win or do the best we can. During the race we are competitors, but afterwards we don't have to be. Competition breeds comparison. Since life is not a race, we shouldn't get stuck in comparing ourselves to others.
  • You don't always have to stay in your lane - At the start of a distance race, you stay in your lane but for the majority of the race, after the cut over you can run in whatever lane you wish. Sometimes you have to run on the outside to pass people or to avoid others. Sometimes you can pass on the inside. A race is won from all lanes.
  • We don't all have to run in the same way - Do you remember Michael Johnson? He had a very unconventional form, yet he was able to break many records.  Many coaches tried to change the way he ran, but he only had great success when he ran the way he was inherently made to run combined with some techniques. There is conventional wisdom and then there's what works for you. 
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Life has similarities to a race. With God's help, we can persevere and navigate our way through this life and receive what He has in store for us.   

Beach in the Bahamas
Boone Hall, Jamaica

Another Beach in the Bahamas
Hubby & I in Paradise Island, the Bahamas

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I have seen patriotism in many forms and while I can't understand it, I can appreciate it.

Jamaica's 50th Independence Anniversary happened last year on Aug 6th and as such the entire country was a display of national pride. At church we sang the National Anthem as part of the service! I do love witnessing the national pride in Jamaica - the proud display of the colors, the lilt of patois  (I wished I spoke patois), and the incorporation of the green black and gold in to everything.

This year, I had the opportunity to visit the Bahamas, the country of my birth. It was my first time home in about 30 years. I had a flood of emotions while there: refreshing, relaxing, sad and scary all at once. The Bahamas is beautiful and small, and upon reflection I am glad I came from such a beautiful place.

I also had an opportunity to visit Barbados 4 years ago. While I was born in the Bahamas, my parents are from Barbados. Bajans (what Barbadians are called) have a very strong accent, so I primarily sound like a Bajan more than a Bahamian. As a child at school this was something to tease me about, and it sometimes made me have an identity crisis. When I visited Barbados, I felt like I had finally come home - the people sounded like me; I finally knew what I sounded like to others.

So, I married a Jamaican, who really loves his country. I was born in the Bahamas, my parents are from Barbados and I live in the United States. I have finally come to the realization that no one place is home for me because each place holds different memories and associations that I hold on to. National pride is evident in each of these countries.

Though I have a couple of earthly homes, I truly know that this world is not my home, and God truly out did Himself when he created such natural beauty in so many far flung places.

For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come. Hebrews 13:14

Are you patriotic? Do you have a place that you call home? If you don't, how do you deal with it?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dating and Relating in the 21st Century

As someone who has been married for close to a quarter century, I am beyond thankful that I don't have to navigate the murky waters of dating, mating and relating today. However, I have young adult children and I sometimes wonder if I've given them what they need to handle in this area.

So many of my Christian friends have children that are not married with babies - so this is an area where I see many Christians struggle. It's almost as if they don't believe what the Bible says about purity, the motivations behind it and the blessings you reap. I have had friends say to me, "They're going to have sex any way, so what's the point?"

What's the point? God's guidelines bring us happiness not discontentment. If we all recognized this we wouldn't be so easily bamboozled in this area.

So in communicating with young adults this is where I start. There has to be a standard, a benchmark. There is a standard. Who sets the standard? God.

Why does that seem so hard? If you've seen God at work in other areas of your life why not your dating, mating and relating life? Why not?

It is also helpful to have boundaries defined prior to being in a situation. The best book I ever read on relationships that discussed this issue was by Les and Leslie Parrot. From a Christian point of view it talked about things we dance around - kissing, petting, touching and knowing where to draw the line. It was not formulaic.

As your children get older it may get harder or easier to communicate with them depending on the child and the circumstances. As an adult your beliefs determine your actions (i.e. it does no good to believe something and then live and speak contrary to what you believe). As much as possible, the elders should keep communicating with the younger ones about this area especially if they believe the guidelines that God has set.

Don't change your standard based on the culture; stand firm. Someone needs to do it for the next generation.

There is a way that seemeth right, but it also ends in destruction (Prov. 16:25)
"Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31).

What are your views on the dating scene as it relates to young people? Do you think there are more negative than positive influences today? How do you maintain dialogue in this area?