The Gift Horse

This advertising course, said the post, would help me to understand just how to market my book. I was a little skeptical because I’d taken part in a few such courses with disappointing results. Still, I decided to enter the five-day challenge, which was an introduction to give you an idea of what to expect. I was only one day into the course before advertising was demystified and I felt less fearful and more encouraged. And it was FREE! Right up my alley. But why take an advertising course, you may ask?

“Y’all don’t understand!” Bernie Mac

I was terrified of marketing. So much, that the thought of it would make me near hyperventilate. I was so afraid to advertise that it took longer to release Pale Rider than originally intended because I kept getting hung up on the “how.” How would I get the word out? How would I do things differently this time? How would I know I was on the right track? How could I guarantee my success? For that matter, who could I trust to teach me? And as we know, fear paralyzes. It clogs up your brain with inconsequential matter so that you can’t think properly. You can only see the challenge before you and can’t get past that.

That’s when I saw the devil peeking out from his curtain (ala The Wizard of Oz movie) and realized that this was his plan to derail my efforts. So, I pulled on my big girl pants and got ‘er dun. No more procrastinating, I released my book. But I still had to conquer my fear. I called on the lesson gleaned from the ten lepers whom Jesus healed.

“Go,” he’d said. He didn’t mention how it would happen but they instinctively obeyed. They were healed, not at that moment, but as they went. The blessing was in the going, the doing, and the obedience. Following their example, I went as I felt I’d been commanded. I didn’t know the how but felt sure that he would bless me along the way. So, when this opportunity popped up, I felt like it could be a sign.

My decision made, I enrolled in the advertising challenge, and immediately began to breathe easier. I still had reservations but soon relaxed under the tutelage of the instructor. “See?” I told myself. “This isn’t so hard! You worried for nothing. You can do this.”

The second day into the challenge, things got hard! I became overwhelmed with all I needed to accomplish and fell behind quickly. Now I was playing catch up and wondering if I ever would. I was tempted to drop out then, but a thought occurred to me. What if this course was not a fluke like the others and truly the answer to my prayer? I examined it more closely. What did I ask God for?

I looked my gift horse in the mouth right then, something we’re always told not to do. I remembered being so afraid before. Paralyzed. Overwhelmed. Confused. And thinking, if only I had someone to make it clear and not so scary. I had that now. I realized, despite falling behind, I was no longer afraid. I was having fun!

After that revelation, I examined not only the gift more closely, but myself. The ad course was just another example of receiving a direct answer from God, though I hadn’t realized it until that moment. I saw then that my prayers were often answered in like fashion. I only needed to open my eyes to see.

I completed the challenge and was pleased with results and my improved mindset. I feel empowered and more knowledgeable. And I no longer sit around waiting for a golden arm to descend from the sky and rescue me. God has shown me that he will lead me to the tools that will allow me to succeed. As in the case of the lepers, I’m being blessed as I “GO!” I’m an authorpreneur now. I must learn all there is to know about this craft.

Be blessed,

Loria

Sabatoogey!

“What class are you?” When my classmate asks, I just smile. They try again.

Self-doubt leads to self-sabotage

“What year did you graduate?” Since everyone is waiting for an answer by now (which increases my hilarity), I mumble again.

“What?”

Mumble, mumble, I reply. Everyone laughs, as intended.

I think it’s super funny (for some reason, shrug) when I get questions about my age. It always takes me back to the saying: a woman never tells her age. My classmates obviously already know but I always subtract ten from the year. Just for funsies.

Suffice to say, I’m old enough to have two adult children. And, like many of my generation, I remember coming home from school to roll over laughing at the antics of the Three Stooges. One phrase that keeps coming to mind lately (and I picture Curley’s scrunched up face as I say it): SABATOOGEY!

I’ve been thinking lately – gently guided to this realization, I’m sure, by a greater power than myself – about the times in my life where I undid my own efforts. Been my own enemy. Shot myself in the foot, so to speak. Self- sabotage.

How do we sabotage ourselves? More importantly, how can we stop?

I’ve been going through an Amazon Ads course to glean a better understanding of marketing. One theme that covered two lessons: Fear. So powerful that it would make you second guess and undo your work. A voice of doubt so insidious that you will destroy what you’ve done, regarding it as unworthy, or give up too soon when you don’t see the desired results. Sound familiar? That’s because that trait is not familiar only to Amazon marketers, it’s all-too human. I received their message, loud and clear. Don’t quit just because things don’t look like you think they should.

And many a failure turns about, when he might have won had he stuck it out.” Keep Going, Edgar Guest.

Another thing God has brought to my attention is complacency. Have you ever prayed so hard for something – a job, a relationship, a house, or car – only to fast forward years later and find little appreciation for that object or person? Your job that you were sure was a blessing has now become laborious, the requests of your boss get on your last nerve, and you just want to scream and walk out. Really? From the job you prayed for. SMH. Just in case you think I’m shaking my head at you, dear reader, I’m not. I always talk to myself first and hope that my shared experience will bring some enlightenment to others. Complacency will have us feeling ungrateful and entitled until that thing we’ve prayed for has sprouted wings and taken flight, no longer a concern of ours.

My beloved Kia, may she rest in peace, was a great car. The absolute best. But then I began to get it in my head that it was time for a new car. One with less mileage, an updated exterior, and a carpet that wasn’t so ratty.

I decried my old car more than I knew, I now realize, for a friend remarked upon seeing my car: “I thought your car was old! You must think mine is ancient.” I didn’t. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized his beautiful truck was older than my car and had far more mileage. He drove it for several years after that conversation, before it gave out in Arizona.

My own car died in service to me, too, totaled in a devastating car accident. She protected me to the last, my faithful Carisma. Before her twisted frame was hauled away, I took one look back and burst into tears at the sight. I saw just how injured I could have been and began to hyperventilate. Days later, I visited my car to retrieve my personal items. I drove by her twice because I didn’t recognize her gleaming beauty. I kept looking for a much older vehicle, which she was in my mind.

It was only after the accident that I saw what my friend had. Carisma was still a beautiful car. I was doubly saddened by her loss as I shopped around and found out what it would take to replace her. I’ve had several cars, but I still miss her. We had some great times together. But I think I miss her more because I devalued her until she was taken away. It was only then that I saw her worth.

And he learned too late when the night slipped down, how close he was to the golden crown.” Edgar Guest, Keep Going.

I’m listening to an audio book that I really like right now, The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz. There’s a common theme that seems to run throughout: positive thinking. Can success really be that simple? Change the way you view the world and the world around you will seem to change. But it’s not your job, your partner, or your circumstances that will change, in reality. It’s you. Every time I listen, I grow a little more in that direction, seeing things in a more positive light and being grateful for this life that I have.

And that, I think, is key to bringing a halt to self-sabotage in our lives. How close are we to living the life of our dreams? It may be just a positive thought away.

I leave you with the great ministry of D Train’s Keep On (The Sky’s the Limit) and pray that it encourages you!

Be blessed,

Loria

Speaking of trains, if you haven’t gotten on board, you should! Pale Rider has left the station and is chugging along. Let’s help it pick up steam! Order your copy on Amazon today!

Stay tuned for updates! A book discussion, book signings, and more are coming up soon!

Bad as you wanna be

I just wanted to share some insights from this week that encouraged and lifted my spirits. I hope it does the same for you. While out shopping, I wore a simple black dress with a message emblazoned upon the front in white script: Queen. A woman who was walking down the street with her family stopped to remark: “I love your dress!” The exclamation startled me for my mind was far away, ruminating on terrible, awful things.

It was a blue day for me. I was losing the battle of the bulge, again. I’d found the pandemic weight I’d worked so hard to lose and it seemed to settle right across my middle. Normally I subscribe to the Shenaenae (from Martin) school of beauty: Keep it cute in the face and thin in the waist. But today I felt frumpy in my straight dress with its side split, even with the uplifting declaration. (IKR? Sounds totally cute.) I should have felt amazing, but my stomach wouldn’t cooperate, protruding in an unsightly manner which made for a less-than-flattering reminder each time I passed a mirror or darkened window. I felt, well, fat. When the woman broke into my dark thoughts, she reminded me, just for a moment, of how others view me. And how God sees me. Just in case I didn’t get the message (I hadn’t, for no sooner than I was out of the parking lot, I’d return to my depressing mental cage), it happened again.

“I love your dress,” said another random woman. Translation: Beautiful dress, beautiful you. It was then, that I finally received what God was trying to tell me. Even on a bad day, I’m still pretty awesome. He knows this because he knows what he instilled in me. The good news is, you are, too. We all have that innate spark within us, automatically making us capable of greatness. And, as I told my daughter during her teenage years, you are more than what you weigh. There are worse things in this world you could be besides fat. Being overweight has not been the worst of my sins, unfortunately.

So, with my head and mood lifted, I continued my day and no longer felt like a failure. I reminded myself of all I’ve been able to accomplish and just some of the things I’ve overcome lately. But I didn’t need to travel too far down memory lane to see myself more clearly. Those memories were enough to restore my crown. I was enough. And so are you. Make up your mind today, that no matter your present circumstance, or the pressures you are facing, you are enough. Straighten your crown and walk like royalty. We are rocking this.

Be blessed,

Loria

P.S. The Kindle version of Pale Rider is live. Be sure to download your copy on Amazon. If you’re a fan of Bible stories, you’ll love this tale. Also, I’m still partnering with Story Origin to get the word out about more indie authors like myself. This week I’m sharing the works of author Sherif Guirguis. Check out book two of the Agartha Chronicles, Red Soul.

And, if you haven’t seen the latest action trailer for Pale Rider, you can watch it on YouTube. I loved putting this together and I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Have a great, fun-filled, fourth of July weekend. Be safe.

It’s Personal

Don’t take it personal,” Jermaine Jackson.

Due to the subject matter, I recommend that parents read the book first and make themselves available for any comments or questions that could be forthcoming. It is well worth the conversation.” Amazon reviewer, Pale Rider.

One thing I struggled with early during my Christian journey had to do with accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for me. For God so loved the world and all that. Yes, the entire world and all of humankind. He loved us enough to wrap himself in flesh so that he could be like us, live like us, die like us but with a great difference. His death wasn’t just a cause for mourning. It was a cause for celebration. Jesus’ triumph over the grave meant freedom for all. One day, we who believe would rise again and be clothed in our glorified body, too. It’s the foundation of our faith. And I thought I believed in his love for me.

But then I faced a personal crisis so deep that it left me mute. Sure, I was still walking around and interacting with others but inside I was numb. Like an apparition I ghosted through my home, going through the daily motions. The pain was so agonizing I felt like I couldn’t breathe at times. I shut down and couldn’t, wouldn’t even talk to Him. My situation was unbearable. How could He let THIS horrible thing happen to me?

“I love you.”

His voice came to me. I brushed it aside, not wanting to hear such empty declarations. You don’t love me, I would’ve said, had I been talking to Him. If He had, this never could have happened. The days went by and I’m sure I ate and drank and did all the normal things. But that time was a void. An unfillable chasm. A deep maw of pain so great, it would surely swallow me, and I would be no more. It would destroy me, I was convinced, and I would fall into the abyss of nothingness. I welcomed the inevitable end.

“I love you.”

This time, I answered, though still dismissively. Yes, I did. Me. I blew Him off. The God of the universe. I don’t say this with pride. I was in so much pain that I wasn’t trying to hear anything He said. But He persisted.

“I love you.”

“Yeah. I know. You love EVERYBODY,” I emphasized that last word, heavy with sarcasm. “For God so loved the world, blah, blah, blah.” My inner voice sounded like I felt – flat and devoid of emotion. But then He responded with something that leaked through my pain and gave me pause.

“I love YOU. I died for you.” It didn’t surprise me that I was holding a conversation with the Lord, himself (though part of me suspected I was talking to myself, hence my easy dismissal). But I was a little perturbed at his emphasis on the last word. Me. He died for me, personally? I quickly brushed aside the thought and went back to my painful ruminations. I felt like I would die. I think I wanted to. But the conversation lingered in the back of my mind and interjected a question: How could such a big God love little, insignificant me?

I had a car accident soon after that – like a week later, as I recall. As I looked at the smoldering wreckage and then to the precious cargo I held in my arms, His words came back to me. I heard them clearly over the sounds of a multitude of cars whizzing by as kind strangers stopped to help me and my children on the expressway.

I love you. I died for you.

I never forgot that lesson, that experience. His love for us is wide and encompassing but also deeply personal. And so that is one of the lessons I share in this latest work, Pale Rider, as Ari learns about His personal love. A love so great and vast that it can embrace all of creation yet still care about you and me individually. For God, it is personal.

Be blessed,

Loria

P.S. Pale Rider will be available on Kindle June 30th and it’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited! You can preorder here! Also, check out my latest movie-style trailer. It’s EPIC!

Looking for more good reads? I’ve partnered with authors for Story Origin’s Discover them here!

And check out a short film by my buddy Aretha Tatum, Seasoned! It’s never too late to follow your dream!

 

 

Control

Fix, manage, control. One of my good buddies introduced me to this phrase and I’ve never forgotten. It’s what we do, especially when we feel that our world, our way of doing things, or our people are slipping away from us. We endeavor to not have anything in our life alter, to hold on to the way things are just a little while longer even if they no longer serve us. We panic at the thought of change. Whew. There it is. The BIG one. The most ominous word ever. Change is perilous. It’s scary. We don’t want to upset our apple cart even if that change means moving towards something greater. To paraphrase a song from my youth, I don’t wanna be a (control) freak, but I can’t help myself!

When Abraham left his hometown we might’ve imagined him marching forward on God’s command immediately, fearlessly. But I’m pretty sure that’s not how it happened! How can I be so certain? Because Abraham was only human, a mere mortal just like us. We cannot expect that he was, himself, anything other than a regular man. He had fears and reservations just as any person would have at the thought of such a move. I once took a class where they identified the most stressful events in a person’s life. Moving was right up there with death and marriage. It can be most terrifying, even if you’re moving into your dream house. Many of my generation danced and celebrated the emancipation of a young Janet Jackson as she sang about her efforts to wrest “Control” of her life away from her domineering father. We identified with her because we “wanna be the one in control!” Nobody likes change, initially. It throws our world off, leaving us to madly wrestle it back under our control. It’s where we’re most comfortable.

So, when God said to Abraham, “Go!” can we suppose that he just up and went? Not likely. Like most of us, he probably carefully planned his going down to the most minute detail. When my children were small, I couldn’t leave the house without their diaper bag which contained all my essentials for childcare. When I go on vacation, I make lists and take inventory of everything I will need while I am gone. Careful planning goes into even temporary moves. But Abraham wasn’t ever coming back. He needed to take, well, everything. If he were anything like us, he took as much as he could to guarantee his outcome and his comfort. To further hedge his bets, he took his nephew, Lot. Think about it! What would you take on such a journey?

At some point, though, he must’ve stopped delaying and procrastinating. When he could put it off no longer, he went as God commanded. How many of us would cease our efforts to control the outcome and simply obey? We would want to know exactly where we are going and how we’re going to get there. Details. But eventually we’ll need to do what Abraham did. Believe God. Step out on faith and just go. As we realize no further details are forthcoming, we can surrender to one of two options. Get it together and go OR give up the notion altogether because we’re afraid to step into the unknown. Again, an all too human reaction.

But if we want to experience the sublime, the divine, we’ll have to go as Abraham did, with no guarantees. With only our obedience to a God we cannot see. With our faith in Him and in our assignment and calling. I saw a post on social media recently that said: Sometimes you don’t need a plan. You just need to let go and trust! I felt that. It spoke to me as I delayed the publishing of my recent novel. I had questions with no immediate answers. I wanted to plan, to guarantee my outcome. But I finally realized that the kind of success I want is out of my hands. So, I placed it in His. And I’m finding that He’s revealing the answers to me, unfurling them along the way, as I obey. I hope you are encouraged to do the same. Just go. Do it.

Be blessed.

Loria

Pale Rider is live on Amazon! Click here to learn more, read the synopsis and preview, see the trailer! Or go to Amazon to order!

Also, Pale Rider is featured among other clean fiction that you can trust your family to read and enjoy! Check out Christian Fantasy and Fiction Summer Reads on Story Origin!

Outcomes

Can you believe it? It’s finally here! Pale Rider will go live on Tuesday, June 15th! It’s been a tedious road to get here but I’ll spare you the details. The point is, we’ve arrived! Now that we’re here (and my heart has stopped thumping over achieving my goal) God has put on my heart to talk about outcomes. You know, the end result.

Of course, I know the end I want to achieve – fantabulous success (and yes, I do know that’s not a word, but my writing program didn’t correct it so I’m going with it!) – but how do I get there? I’m a member of some amazing writing groups that aim to facilitate that and they all seem helpful but it’s overwhelming to be inundated with so much information. And they can’t all be right, right? Do this, do that, but never do this! Argh! (Yes, that is my pirate voice!) So, what do I do when I don’t know what to do? When confusion paralyzes me, I become terrified that there is no right action to take and fear I will doom myself because I “chose poorly.” Who can I go to for help sorting through the miasma of “helpful” information?

I go to the one who knows the outcome, has already provided for the outcome, and engineers outcomes against impossible odds. Believe it or not, the Bible exists to provide the testimonies of people who’ve overcome, not only to poke at us poor humans and say, “You’re wrong!” It’s so we could know there is a way out and that we have a Father who has provided for us and wants to come to our rescue. Even when we are wrong, we can go to him for help. (True story! You should try it, er, try Him!) I trust God because he knows my ending, declared it before my beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and promised it would be a good one (Jeremiah 29:11). I know two things for certain: He loves me, and He is pro-Loria.

So, I move forward as though fearless, while filled with trepidation. To do so is the ultimate act of faith because faith is action. It’s what we do that shows what we genuinely believe. Years ago, when I began this journey, I believed that the premise for my series was inspired by God and downloaded directly from heaven. Acting on that impulse, I began to write almost immediately and didn’t let up for years. Then life happened and my efforts were derailed. After a series of blows I began to falter and wondered if I’d gotten it right. I know how Joseph must have felt in that pit (or when he was thrown into jail), despairing of the bright promise his future once held. Oh! I do know.

But then things began to get better, minutely, then by great leaps. My life has not been completely restored but it’s getting there. I grew much in the interim and learned that He will catch me if I fall. And when the circumstances of my life no longer weighed so heavily upon me, I began to write again. I always come back to it. It called to me, telling me the story was not complete, nor was my life. I still had work to do. By faith, I brushed aside my misgivings and looked to God. It’s not given to me to worry about how it will all work out or if this will yield the career of my dreams. It’s my job to put my head down, go to work, then let it go and trust. I can’t hold on to it any more than I could my children after they became adults. By faith I released them, trusting God to keep them and make them successful. And so it is now as we count down to June 15th. I don’t know what the future holds, but He does. He is the author and finisher (Hebrews 12:2). I trust Him to engineer my outcome.

Be blessed,

Loria

Are you excited about Pale Rider? I know I am SO READY to debut my latest book for my fans. I’m in love with the characters and I know you will be, too. Look for announcements on June 15th with the link to order your paperback copy on Amazon. You can preorder your Kindle version (available June 30th) here! Meanwhile, click here to view the trailer and read an excerpt. Enjoy!

P.S. It’s been my supreme pleasure to partner with fellow authors on Story Origin: This week, I’m participating in Magic, Mayhem, and Adventures! It looks to be a wonderful collection of all the things I love about fiction. YAY! Follow the link to check out their offerings!

Strength of Adversity

Sometimes I feel like I’m repeating myself. The same lessons continue to pound into me until I get it. This morning I thought of Joseph (of the Technicolor Dreamcoat fame) – AGAIN – and got a little more meat off that bone. It’s grilling season, y’all. Eating your ribs, steak, or chicken down to the bone is an indication of two things: how hungry you were, and how good or tender the meat is! So, I return to the scene of many a good Bible story often, because that’s where the best lessons can be found. It’s a perennial best seller for a reason.

Today I was ruminating on what I intend or hope to accomplish with my success. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about that on a scope beyond what I would do for my own family. But it occurred to me today that everything I learn about this business of writing, I can – and should – pass on to others. It’s not meant only for me to crack the code, but to leave the door open for others to build a successful career through writing, too.

Call centers have been my bread and butter (and the bane of my existence) my whole life. While I appreciate all that this field has done for me, at the same time I abhor the dark side which usually emerges in the form of a dogmatic manager bent on proving themselves at my expense. I get that it’s because I’m an anomaly. They single me out because I’m different. I’m obviously not supposed to be there. We who are dreamers, creators, and writers are often found in call centers because we tend to be great communicators. It’s a natural thing for us, I think. But at the same time, it can be extremely repressive to those of our ilk. Our wings are clipped by being in such a restrictive environment.

Hence, the story of Joseph. He was a good child, gifted, and a prince among his brothers for which he was hated. Joseph was different right from the beginning. He didn’t belong. They handed him into slavery because his father loved him most and because he was a dreamer. God had given him a vision of a brighter future. Rather than grasp that future for themselves, his brothers sought to end it altogether because Joseph appeared to come out on top of them, his elder brethren.

But even as a slave, Joseph continued to shine. So much that he came to the attention of his boss’ wife. She wanted Joseph’s light but in a carnal way. Her attention was not a compliment but a threat to his entire way of life. A life he had carved from ashes. Joseph rejected her but his boss threw him in jail anyway. And he had to start all over.

In jail he was commended as a good prisoner and the jailer trusted him implicitly. He rose again (‘cause cream always does) to a position of influence and his fellow prisoners began to come to him with their dreams. The chain of events that followed may seem implausible and miraculous. But they can and do still happen; we’ve witnessed them in our lifetime. Stories of rags to riches abound throughout Hollywood, as well as the tech and the business worlds. But what appealed to me most this morning was Joseph’s actions after he rose to power and his dream came true.

As his brother’s kneeled before him he repaid them, only a little, for their actions and played a few mind games. But in the end, he brought them to be with him, to experience plenty during famine, and took care of them and their families. It was more than they deserved. But Joseph had always been different. He thought on another level, saw things on a spiritual plane. The very talent they’d despised him for became the saving grace for the entire family. They meant to do him evil, but God turned it for good.

Folks will despise you because you’re different. They will make your life harder because they can. But adversity strengthens. You may lose a job or people. It’s all part of the process. These events propel you to become the person you’re meant to be, to get to the place where you belong. God will use your struggle as a tale of overcoming. And like Joseph, you can reach back for your brothers and sisters who need to get where you are.

Be blessed,

Loria

I’ve got goodies for you! Two exciting things have happened and I wanted to share them with you. The trailer for the Pale Rider is here! The Kindle version will be released June 30th – preorder your copy NOW!

P.S. In my continuing efforts to expand readership for this blog and the Touched series, I’ve partnered with Story Origin. This week clean, YA series starters, are FREE! Click here for more info and ENJOY!

It’s here!

You can now preorder your copy of Pale Rider on Amazon! Click here to order! It’s been a long journey but we’re finally here. I’m so grateful for the outpouring of love that enabled me to finish strong. This is the book I would have written first, had I the courage. It’s my best foot forward and the reviews so far are encouraging. I just know you will love it, as well. Wanna see a preview to whet your appetite? You can read the first few chapters here! Thanks so much for your support!

Be blessed,

Loria

Just Desserts

For I, the LORD, love justice … Isaiah 61:8 (NKJV)

When I was a child, my sense of fairness was massive. I got my share of whuppings, as children of my generation often did. Now, such things are frowned upon but back then, it was just life. On one occasion, I cried and cried, not for the corporal punishment administered but because of something my Uncle Edmund had told me.

“You’re a big girl now,” he said. “You not s’pposed to get no whuppin’!”

I was too little to recall the infraction for which I was punished. But my mother often told the story of the outcome. I sobbed, broken-heartedly, saying over and over:

“Uncle Edmund said … I wasn’t s’posed to … GET NO WHUPPIN’!” My sense of outrage over the unfairness of an act that I was told could not happen was enormous. And that perception of fair play (or how I think things should go) continues to this day, though I’ve since learned not to cry so hard about it. C’est la vie, as the song goes. That’s life.

I’ve worked at many places. Done many things. My resume is longer than a page, just put it like that. When I began one job, the new hires consisted of a bunch of folks younger than I. Though my resume was more impressive, their education beat mine. I could have been discouraged but I put my head down and went to work, determined to distinguish myself. One of the new employees was full of herself, for more than just her education’s sake. She acted entitled and assumed she would go to the head of the pack. She didn’t. The class soon found that experience beats education many times.

I found out one day that she said some harsh things about me while I was out of the office. I tend to take younger folks under my wing. I treat them as I would sons and daughters. I had done so to her, despite her catty attitude. I was surprised to find that she’d disparaged me, behind my back. Her comments regarding me had to do with my standing with the company and an allusion to my salary. When I received some sort of recognition on the job (I don’t remember which), she remarked that I wasn’t like herself and the other hires. She saw me as less than them.

Still, I didn’t address it but continued to love her and treat her as a daughter. I excused her actions because of her youth. Meanwhile, I continued to work and impress my bosses. My reputation grew while her own waned. And then I was offered a promotion. Because I hadn’t let her actions phase me, it took me a while to make the connection.

With the promotion, I became more. While she had been relegated to the ranks of mundane employees, her efforts unnoticed by management, I continued to shine. Though I wouldn’t wish anything bad on her, I couldn’t help but see the justice in the situation. I had done nothing to defend myself, but God elevated me anyway. I didn’t need to seek her out to tell her off, nor hate her because of what she said about me. As far as I was concerned, there was no rivalry. There are lots of attributes which younger people have that I cannot compete with, so I don’t even try. Here’s where I can excel – in being me. I know I have that market cornered, always. But she didn’t have my revelation of security.

To this day, she and I remain friendly. She never knew that I knew what she said. I have been her friend even when she has not been mine. Not because I’m better but because I am me. To respond to such foolishness would diminish me. But God saw. He justified me, rewarded me, and avenged me without me having to lift a finger. We can trust God to do that. He loves justice. And He will get it for you.

Be blessed,

Loria

Singing, You can have whatever you like …

Champagne corks

My epiphany was sudden but at the same time, gradual. I cocked my head to the side at the revelation. Could it be that easy? I scratched my head in disbelief, but I had no choice but to believe. It had happened, again.

I’ve worked in some form of soft sales and customer service most of my life, dealing in numbers and productivity. At first, I was resentful of the reports they generated because I felt it wasn’t a true representation of myself as an employee. I was more than the numbers, especially if the numbers showed me lagging. I later found, I’m also competitive. These stats tell us where we are in comparison to our co-workers but also, in my mind, if we are worth our salary! I endeavor, always, to be that person worthy of my hire. I began to see the reports as a tool to be used to spur myself on to greatness. This day, as with many others, I looked at my numbers. I was several spots away from taking the lead. On a good day, I could do enough business to overtake the lead, but this day was slow. The last few days had been tankers as well and not my best sales days. How, then, could I hope to jump to the lead?

I looked at the report and calculated how much business I would need to get ahead. And I spoke to it and to myself, saying: I need to get so many by the end of the day to jump into the lead. Now, mind you, I had no control over how much business I could generate. That’s the problem with the numbers. Some days are just down days for sales. All I had was my spoken desire to overcome. As you might have guessed, I ended the day in the lead by one. I had met my spoken desire, exactly. And I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to attain it. With little effort expended (other than to be alert to opportunities, but that was normal), I’d realized my goal.

Just so you know, it wasn’t a fluke. This has happened many times over the years. As I looked back, I saw all the occasions where I simply said what I wanted to happen, and it did. I’ve even had some things happen that I didn’t want though I later realized I’d spoken it! Entirely my fault. True story. Agh. When I had to rebuild my life after divorce, I asked some specific things of God. One was to become “a mover and a shaker,” in the business world. After a few false starts, I found myself in a management position with a rapidly expanding company. My sister began to call me E. F. Hutton because when I spoke, people listened, LOL!

Time after time, God has shown me the power in my tongue to declare things and watch them come to pass. But somehow, I’d forgotten. The Bible is full of instances where the Israelites’ short memory failed them. God delivered them so many times, but they quickly forgot. Reading their stories, I always used to think, HOW COULD THEY FORGET HE PARTED THE RED SEA? But we do. Humans, that is. And then He will remind us of who He is, who WE are to Him, and just how far He will go to save us.

Thank you for the reminder, Lord. I hear you. In the past I’ve struggled because I see my limitations and my goals are daunting. But as the saying goes: If your goals don’t scare you, they’re not big enough! It’s not my job to worry about how it will get done or let the impossibility of my goal deter me. I see that now. I only need to speak what I want and watch you work.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)

Be blessed,

Loria