Almost there…. ONE MORE LAP TO GO!


We are rounding out our 5th week in our 6 WEEKS TOWARD CHANGE and it has been quite a journey and there have been challenges and changes that we did not anticipate from the beginning. My 4 year old nephew, Donovan, left to return to Alabama this past weekend after spending 2 ½ months with us. Everyone has had to adjust to the absence of our little SPEEDY and regroup.

NAKED POPCORN!!!
All was going well with our young men’s duties around the house until we decided that they should switch responsibilities and master other chores… so that they could be ‘well rounded’ young men. Well, we forgot that we would have to retrain them in their new positions. It felt like we were back at square one again, even though the LISTS are there and the ‘SHEETS DON’T LIE!!!’ they are acting as if everything is written in Japanese. It is coming together again, but slowly.

I bribe them with NAKED POPCORN. If I promise it to them, they move much quicker. It is only the air popped popcorn with a little cooking spray and Butter Buds on it, but they act like it is better than the extra buttered and super salted popcorn at the theater. I guess that is a good thing. They are intrigued about the science that goes behind the little kernel of corn transforming into the fluffy piece of popcorn. Actually, the little guys like it best but the older guys can’t stand for them to get anything that they don’t get, so it works out GREAT! I think they just get a kick out of yelling ‘NAKED POPCORN!’ throughout the house.


GIMME A D! GIMMIE AN I! GIMME AN S!…..

And then there is a time that comes faithfully when I do not care about discipline, exercise, good nutrition and, least of all, a SCHEDULE! During those times, something in me just wants to have an opportunity to go back in time and spend about five minutes with Eve in the garden. Right before she approached that tree and reached out her God-etched hand to touch the fruit, I would GRAB her, SHAKE her (maybe even POP her one good time) and ask her, “EVE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS DECISION RIGHT HERE IS DOING TO ME?!! GIRL, LEAVE THAT FRUIT ALONE!!!!!”

I am grateful to report, however, that, although I haven’t always been happy about it, I have followed THE PLAN, and I have been able to see where I have been tripped up so many times before. Much of the reason that I have not completed personal tasks and goals is because I would give myself a way out when I don’t feel like it. I have evidence all around that stands as proof that living life solely motivated by feelings yields undesirable results. It is one thing to be motivated because we are promised tangible gain or reward for our actions… or it is required by an outside source like an employer. It is entirely a different scenario to work toward goals when the only person pushing you is you and the reward is most valuable to you. So I have a new found appreciation and respect for DISCIPLINE. Who’d a thunk it?! (Don’t smile too hard, Babe.)

This DISCIPLINE THANG has allowed me to complete my Counseling Courses! YAY!!! WHOO HOOO!!!!! Go, DREA, Go! Actually, it’s more like GO, JESUS, GO!!! I have been learning a lot from the instructors. God is so faithful. I usually end up crying through most of the classes. I am finding that God is allowing me to be ministered to and healed as I am preparing myself to be used as a ‘helper’ to others. I am getting more out of the experience than I had expected. God’s timing is impeccable! Everything is happening just when I need it most.

BRINGING SEXY BACK
Gene has been over here trying to ‘BRING SEXY BACK’! He’s worked his 2 liter back to a 6-pack and he is probably trying to get small children to swing from his arms like his Dad used to do him when he was younger. He’s even back to showing people how to make ripples on their biceps. (It’s a cool trick, you gotta ask him to show it to you.) I think he’s just trying to convince me to go buy him a few ‘one size too small muscle man shirts’ so that he can be my eye candy. He says he’s gonna bring the ‘light-skinned’ brothers back in style! He is GOOFY!

He has been an athlete most of his life and when I met him at Tuskegee he was a hooper. These days, I refuse to rub him down after every evening of him dunking and trying to relive his glory days on the basketball court. So as part of his six week challenge, he has taken up running, something he used to do in high school. He has been doing well. He has made it up to 7 MILES and I am VERY proud of him. He desires to train and run in the Chicago Marathon someday. Now, all I need to do is convince him that he isn’t 21 anymore and he needs to be more careful with my investment.

He is VERY competitive and finds it difficult not to turn any sport or activity into competition. If there are no other players involved, he will compete with himself. The other morning, he gave us both a scare. He had not been listening to his body or giving it the kind of fuel it needed to be most effective as he trained. God is GOOD and he is on the right track now, but I am still ‘telling on him’ (and if you do that to me again, Babe, I’ll do my Drea Thang and tell the WHOLE STORY… you know the LONG, DETAILED, DRAMATIC version!)

THE LOCKER ROOM
We are learning new things about one another as we are working with each other financially. Gene brings his competitiveness to the situation. It keeps him motivated and single minded towards the goal which is to ‘DESTROY’ our debt. I, on the other hand, am perfectly fine with the ‘DESTROYING’ part, but I need to feel some hope along the way… see some colors… celebrate some victories. Of course, no good athlete would celebrate at half time, so we are feeling some tension in ‘the locker room’.

My ideal ‘locker room’ resembles a day spa. I feel the way to become invigorated is to be in an atmosphere where there are inspiring visuals, soothing aromas and peaceful sounds that bring me to a place of serenity, so that I can think clearly about how to approach a task. Any perspiration would come from the sauna that is helping me cleanse as I am focusing on deep breathing.

Gene, however, is more traditional in his approach. The musty ‘locker room’ with its rusty lockers gives him the ‘EYE OF THE TIGER’. He envisions Rocky about to fight the Russian, a seemingly unbeatable foe, and he (literally) tells me, “It’s time to go to the shed!” It’s time to train! It’s time to sweat! He calls me to a group huddle, and gets in my face (figuratively), does his ‘WAR CRY’ and yells something that probably means, “To the victor goes the spoil!”

Neither of us likes the other’s ‘locker room’, so we try to meet in the middle. Gene says it’s like having the players and the cheerleaders in the locker room together. All Gene needs to get inspired is a black marker on a white surface and some X’s and O’s. When I come in the room lighting incense, putting on soft background music or trying to draw hearts and flowers around his markings with colorful markers (to create a canvas that will give the room a better aura), then there is potential for things to get really HOT in our ‘locker room’. We are figuring some things out and making some compromises. We’ll see how it goes.

We are working hard to keep the momentum going so that, when the six weeks are up, we are in a position to be launched further into our purpose and closer to our destiny.

Thank you for your support and for serving as a form of accountability for us.

Drea

Two weeks in… THE SIX WEEK JOURNEY


“A person with a clear purpose will make progress on even the roughest road.A person with no purpose will make no progress on even the smoothest road.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

July 1, 2008

Well…

We have two weeks under our belts on this SIX WEEK JOURNEY TOWARDS CHANGE and the one word that would describe what is happening over here is … “OUCH!” Other phrases being used are: “But WHY… ?” “Not that, too!” “Can’t we deal with that later?” “But…but…but…”

We are pleased with the changes that we are making and the progress we see so far with our schedules, nutrition, education, finances, etc. Our young men are adapting well, although they are discovering loop holes to our plans that require us to tweak our guidelines frequently.

I understand more and more each day that the CHANGE that I desire to see in my life requires that I develop a new way of looking at routine aspects of my life. I have to allow myself to see from another perspective so that my mind is changed and renewed. There are situations that I have passively stumbled into, however, in order to get out of them I will have to make some tough decisions. Dave Ramsey says that there are situations that have to be approached with ‘GAZELLE INTENSITY’ as if being chased by a CHEETAH!!!! I have to want FREEDOM bad enough to fight to get it.

An example of this would be my body weight that I now refer to as my LOVAGE. (Isn’t that HOTT? My brother gave me that!) Well, because my name is Drea and I don’t respond well to negative reinforcement, I decided to change the way that I view and refer to weight on my body, while still being truthful about what it is. The glass is half full, my friend!

F-A-T is ‘stored energy or fuel’ in the body. It is only there because I have chosen to take more food into my body than my body could burn at one time… along with over indulging in STUFF that did very little to maintain or promote wellness in this AWESOME, life-giving, self-healing machine that I call my body, but God calls the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Well, just like the STUFF that is in my garage and closets that I keep ‘just in case I need it’, but have not used in YEARS… If I haven’t used it by now, I ain’t gonna use it and it’s gotta go! All it does is create CLUTTER or, as I like to call it, extra LOVAGE that is not required to do life WELL as DREA!

I am learning a lot of things through our process. Some of these lessons have been personal revelations, while other concepts I gleaned from others. These words and ideals are proving to be a source of strength for me.

I love this quote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~Marianne Williamson

When the Masons come to your heart…
Just keep prayin’!
Just keep prayin’!
Just keep prayin’, prayin’, prayin’!

Love ya!
Drea

SIX WEEKS TOWARD CHANGE!


June 16, 2008

HELLLLOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I just wanted you to know that for the next 6 weeks my hubby and I will putting our household through a mini BOOTCAMP! My (personal and collective) goals for these 6 weeks are:

· To begin to loose excess weight and develop healthier nutrition habits that will assist me in becoming the best me. I will follow this plan and, hopefully, come away from it with healthier life style and eating habits that I will continue to incorporate into my daily life. Geno has also established goals for himself regarding his health and fitness.

· To complete counselor curriculum that I have had since Mar 07. It is a Christian curriculum in counseling that I started but never finished. I ultimately desire to complete the degree in Biblical Counseling, as well as, continue on to qualify for my Board Certified Biblical Counselor Credential. Including this curriculum, I need to complete three course studies to receive a diploma and four total for the Advanced Diploma Program.

· To bring order to my home by clearly outlining the expectations for each member of the family. This includes a schedule for the kids and detailing cleaning duties and expectations in each room. The goal is to take some of the emotionalism out of our home by typing out standard procedures for cleaning each room, the schedules, meal plans, etc. so there are FEWER SURPRISES… fewer EXCUSES… and ACCOUNTABILITY for everyone. Our motto: THE SHEET DON’T LIE!!!

· To inventory our finances and better steward the resources God has entrusted to us. We are currently enrolled in a 13 week course with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and are being challenged regarding every area of our finances. Our desire is to ‘Live like no one else today so one day we will be able to live like no one else.’

There are probably other things that will change as a byproduct of our obedience to God in these areas that we have not thought about. Nevertheless, we are excited about the changes that are coming to our home and we believe that as God is transforming us, inside and out, He will also be positioning us to transition us into the next phase of our lives.

I do want to say this though… this is only for SIX WEEKS! It is a very challenging venture for me for several reasons. You know that I am a FREE SPIRIT and I generally resist being confined, controlled, scheduled, told what to do, restricted, etc. Perhaps you can see my real issue better now. I won’t be able to just go with the flow or live in the moment as I am accustomed to doing. But I understand that God desires to bring BALANCE to our entire family so that we are able to be most effective and live out our purpose on this earth.

Please pray for and with me (and us). There have been few times in our marriage that Gene and I have been so united in action for the same purpose. That is one of the reasons that I am sure we will accomplish what we are setting out to do and will not fail as we strive to support one another. We are convinced that God is giving us a window of opportunity to change some things in our lives… to move past old issues… to let some stuff go and deal with some issues so that we can embrace the AWESOME future God has for us.

I LOVE YOU!

Drea