Nov 22, 2010

Are You Gonna Go My Way?!

Santorini, Greece
I was bitten by the travel bug at 6 months old and I still love to travel to this day. I realized this past year with work, my mom's hip replacement, and line sisters having babies that I hadn't been on many trips. For me this is UNUSUAL! I come from a family of travelers who are always on the go. I also have subscriptions to Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, and several Blackberry travel apps as well. 
The past few years have included: 
  • Bermuda for my birthday 
  • Line Sisters Cruise for our 10 year reunion
  • Phoenix to visit my cousin 
  • Myrtle Beach for my family reunion
  • Orlando for a cousins graduation trip
  • Pebble Beach for work
  • Las Vegas for another cousins graduation trip
  • Fort Washington, MD to see my aunts
  • Back to Bristol (ESPN) to see my friends
This year was a weird year and I can't believe I didn't have a BIG trip (and no Bristol, CT does not count). I was reading one of my magazines and started making out a list of the places I need to go next. Some of these places I've already been but they were so much fun that I think it's time to go back. My family always took an annual trip to Virginia, Beach so as you'll notice it's a lot of sand in this list. 
  1. Bermuda- As you probably noticed - I LOVE BERMUDA. I loved everything about my trip there. The weather, the people, the pink sandy beaches, the lack of pollution- I could go on for days. I feel like I could spend an extended amount of time here. Say- after I retire. 
  2. London, Paris, and Rome- I grouped these together because when I was 16 I went on a two week trip to all three of these wonderful cities. I want to experience them now as an adult. I want to see London through the eyes of a 30 year old and see how much has changed in over a decade. I want to experience the romance of Paris through the eyes of a grateful adult and not the eyes of a privileged 16 year old. Rome has a special place in my heart. I remember it like it was yesterday. I want to see the beauty of the country now that I have lived more of life. 
  3. Berlin- I took seven years of German beginning as a Freshman in high school. I have always been interested in Germany, German history, and of course the Berlin Wall. A former co-worker brought me a piece of the Berlin Wall and it remains one of my prized possessions but I want to see where it was. I want to hear people speak German fluently and see if I've still got it. 
  4. Martha's Vineyard, MA- I've been going there for a few years but now that I no longer live in New England it's hard to get back. This is one of my favorite places on Earth! I love it in season, out of season, any time. It's quiet, quaint and a great place to write. I might try to spend more than a day or so there next time. I also love the Black Prep history there. Oak Bluffs, The Inkwell. Very few places in the United States have been as welcoming to the moneyed Black folks as long as the Vineyard has. 
  5. Aruba- Have you seen pictures? Why wouldn't I want to go there? A tropical paradise with great weather. Sign me up. 
  6. Santorini, Greece- This looks like Heaven on Earth. I want to see the white homes and buildings that seem to come out of the cliffs. Now THIS is a dream trip for sure. Beaches, good food, and a country that I've never traveled to sounds like a great plan to me. 
  7. San Francisco, CA- Ma and I have been dying to get out to San Fran. We've never been. The last time we went to CA together we went to the ESPY's in LA which is a world away from Northern CA. I want to take in the history of the city as well as take a train tour. 
  8. Alaska- No not Sarah Palin's Alaska. I'd like to take an Alaskan cruise and see America's last frontier. 
  9. The fly over states: Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah- Why? Because my ma and I have an all 50 states challenge where we want to see all 50 states but she is FAR ahead of me. I guess since she has 29 years on me that makes sense. One of these days I will catch up with her. I have no idea what I am going to DO in these states but I at least need to get there. 
  10. The South Pacific Islands: Fiji and Tahiti-  I have done the Caribbean. It's time for the other side of the world. I want to stay in a hut on the water for weeks.

Those are just the top ten (in no particular order). There are so many more places I need to revisit or see for the first time. South Africa, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Seattle, San Diego, Iceland, Prague. The list goes on and on. Now it's time for me to start planning. Where are some of your favorite spots? Where's a place that you'd love to visit? If you've been to any on my list I'd love tips. Have a good one! 

Nov 5, 2010

Dear God: How long do I ask, seek, and knock?

Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 
Sounds pretty easy right? Ask, seek, knock. But FOR HOW LONG?! Like when is when? I laughed the other day because my prayers and conversations with God sound a lot different than they used to. I spent the majority of my twenties whining and fighting with God about my lack of a husband. I wanted to be a young wife/mom all by 25 and at this point be on my way to becoming the first black housewife turned Governor of Tennessee equipped with the husband and the 2.5 mocha brown children. Of course NONE of that happened. So now instead of whining about my lack of a husband I actually thank God for my blessings and go on about my day. I am truly blessed and realized even I was getting tired of hearing myself whine. My issue now is that I feel like I've given up my "dream" life by not asking God about it and in a way given up on God (for that part of my life). I no longer pray for a husband or kids for that matter. Does that mean I've given up? Did I get tired? Do I not care any more? I have no clue. If God hasn't sent my husband already does that mean He's not going to? Years ago I would be crying as I wrote this post wondering WHY OH WHY hasn't God blessed me with a husband. Now I am laughing at The View with my mom while writing this. What changed? I'm more confused by my lack of anxiety about not being married than I am about not being married. Weird right? The logical part of my brain says "Black Deb you've stopped caring." The emotional side says "you're tired of stuff not working out." I know it's a relief to not think about it until I start thinking about how comfortable I've gotten in my routine especially how easy it is to get up and go when I want. Since God knows me better than anyone doesn't he know that I'm a creature of habit? Again who knows? I find myself laughing at how sad I used to be. I don't want to be like Sarah in Genesis who gets caught laughing at God, who promised her a son at an old age, but then on the other hand He came through on His promise. She was given a son. Maybe laughing is the way to go cause crying was for the birds!

Nov 1, 2010

My "Greatest" Friend

I was thinking the other day about what I tell my friends. I tell them about good things, bad things, insignificant things...basically EVERYthing. I noticed early on in my twenties I treated God like my psychiatrist. I told him problem after problem but I never told him the little things or the good things that happened in my life. Instead of talking to God about my problems I began talking to Him about us. As in me and Him. I started praying about who He is, how powerful He is and most importantly how wonderful He is. I began thanking Him for things that I had long since taken for granted. I HATE when people only call me if they have a problem and I realized I should never treat my God that way. I don't want God to only hear from me when I "need" something or have an issue I just can't deal with. I work hard everyday for a better conversation with God and it has been a humbling but awesome experience. Instead of being tense after talking about my problems I feel relieved knowing that I can talk to God about anything. We all must avoid being "takers". Those that take but never give. God gives and I feel no problem with giving thanks, obedience, love, and worship. 

God created us in His image so that He could have a personal relationship with us. God is seeking an intimate heart to heart relationship with each of us. There are some very good parents, my mom for example, that have friendship with their child, while still being a parent. God is our Father but He desires friendship with us as well. (James 2:23 NKJV) And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.

A parent that we can trust as a friend is a refuge of security, someone we can go to without hesitation about any problem, or temptation. God desires that we let Him be that kind of friend to us. (Psalms 91:1-2 NKJV) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shade of the Almighty. {2} I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."

Jesus calls us His friends because He communicates with us. (John 15:12-17 NKJV) "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. {13} "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. {14} "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. {15} "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. {16} "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. {17} "These things I command you, that you love one another.

Our relationship with God is the most personal relationship we can ever have. God is a jealous God; we are not to let anyone or anything come between God and us.(1Timothy 2:5 NKJV) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. We are to be in Christ and Christ is in God, it is the Holy Spirit that unifies us together. God has given us His Holy Spirit to counsel, teach, and comfort us. Jesus said in (John 14:26 NIV) But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The Lord is not just my problem-solver who swoops in with a cape when I play "damsel in distress". God is my everything, even my friend and I appreciate Him more and more each day.