Naked Nation….12 Days Pass

This beautiful Japanese Maple Tree resides at The First United Methodist Church in Downtown Fort Worth, an absolute beautiful district. I love working in this area. On December 9, I was amazed and drawn to take a picture of its beauty. The sun’s rays magnified her beauty even the more. I was so full of the peace I couldn’t understand, my energy was super high and I was glad to be among the living. But, the Lord wanted me to see something, and exactly 12 days later He focused my attention back to this tree in its naked form.

I could not believe how something that beautiful could be gone in 12 days; I mean a drastic change. From full of beauty and life to absolute nakedness! I remember just how I felt the day I noticed no more leaves, I was a bit disappointed, because I wanted them to stay. That beauty didn’t last long enough for me to enjoy. However, the number 12, I’ve often heard from other ministers and of course google; symbolizes the perfect government of God. There were 12 disciples, twelve tribes of Israel, and Revelation 22;2 says there was a tree bearing twelve manner of fruits for the healing of a nation. Now that really stirred me up. A tree/we as a people/a nation have to go through a pruning in order to bear more fruit. That’s according to the teachings of Jesus in John 15. There has to be a loss in order for there to be a gain. How would you have known there was a “bird house” there if the leaves hadn’t gone, lol! But truthfully, there is a revelation to all that is happening presently in our world, God is revealing and uncovering so much. And it is FOR OUR GOOD! I’m too excited.

We are in a season, the season that was predestined for change. And if this season is threatened, there would be no way for new establishment or a groundbreaking to come. If we didn’t suffer change, there would be no transformation or a place for new life to set in. I’m reminded at how the disciples wanted to hold on to Jesus, but He said, if I don’t go, the comforter can’t come. The comforter which is Holy Spirit is fruit for our awakened spirit. And there is fruit/nourishment that is in the form of change, a change that is divinely set in place. to bring healing to our nation. I’m ready for Jesus, He is coming back. Be encouraged and stay ready so you don’t have to get ready, per Cedrick the Entertainer.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

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Parched, Thirsty &; Tortured

So I heard and I read that the enemy, which are our thoughts, our past, our stronghold comes to steal, kill and destroy; but Jesus said I AM COME that you may have life and life more abundantly. So presently the enemy, your thoughts, your past, your strongholds come to steal your joy and your peace and torment you. But! The Spirit of the Lord is equally and even the more present in our situations and in our assignments. However, He does depart when the purpose has been served.

I have had the greatest struggle this week with what feels like rejection. I’m sure it’s because I desire for God to be pleased with me, but He also made me aware that I still seek to please man. He quickly reminded me; “I Am already pleased with you my Queen, you are my FINISHED work, it’s your sisters and brothers that you believe you have to bend over backwards to keep happy”. I was so moved in my spirit when I heard it; but why is it that I still desire to hear it from human beings? Why is it that I can’t just be satisfied or should I say content with God’s word? So I asked Him. He said “because you are a human, still alive, feel disappointment and you thirst”. I am that Samaritan Woman, once forsaken by religion and people. Never, ever being able to do anything right; I was told. And the cycle seems to just continue; but what I discovered………I am holding my own self hostage to people therefore I am parched. The people and jobs that I’ve been assigned to, start out being an assignment. I go above and beyond what they require and ultimately what God is requiring of me. Why? Because I long for connection, I long for the saying “a job well done”. The Samaritan Woman kept going to a well out of religion that had already ran dry. She asked Jesus, “aren’t you greater than our father Jacob”? His response “whosoever drinks of this water, thirst again”. The Samaritan Woman kept reconnecting with men because it was all she knew. When you were once forsaken, it’s a cycle that seems to never end. But the answer lies in knowing when to jump off, when your time is up; when the purpose has been served. Jesus showed up just in time for HER. The greatest sign for me in hindsight and even presently being reminded—when the thing begins to overly concern me and I am completely burdened down; it is time to go. I’ve become parched, because God’s grace has departed from the people, the place or the thing. It becomes difficult to tap into the well springing up in “you” because you are too busy trying to gain nourishment from the people or the job; therefore left parched. Manna was only given for a season to the children of Israel; but God sent manna for the purpose of increasing their faith. Jesus (the bread of life) didn’t stay long, when He served the disciples notice; they thought it was crazy talk. But if He didn’t go, the comforter; the lasting faith would not have been able to come. There is a greater purpose that is ahead of you and you need the nourishment for the journey.

Turn the faucet on in yourself! What you need is in you! Don’t lose sight of the purpose, because when you do; you lose sight of you.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

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Iris, Dahlia, Rose, Lily and Jade A Bouquet of Life

Thank you to everyone that has been a support of my first novella The Wedding Before The Wedding. I was inspired to write this story from a place of creativity but to also include the real life challenges of being women and balancing life as Believers. Some women deal with the challenge of committing to themselves first (more than others) while other women continue to hurt and are not sure how to heal through it. Regardless to our race, spirituality, religion or economic status, we experience hurt the same. We gain strength from one another to press through when we are connected without reservation. How do we balance it all? How do we remind each other that we are still worthy through the process? I believe this story reveals that answer; the answer of true “sisterhood”.

I am super excited about the 2nd Series; the creativity is springing up from the deepest part of the well in me. Please help me to continue the mission of promoting Authentic Sisterhood and bridging the gap between judging one another in our hurt and feeling free to share without reservation.

The Spirit Of……

The spirit of hate will not win against the spirit of love; it may appear to be winning according to the media. The spirit of envy will not win against the spirit peace; it may appear to be as we compare ourselves by what we scrolling through the timelines. The spirit of doubt will not win against the spirit of faith; it may appear to be because of the picture that is painted by it’s political artists. I am writing from a place of compassion for every person in this world right now. With everything that we see and hear from the news and water cooler discussions overheard, we can’t help but be affected or just plain bothered. And the human part of us undoubtedly is restless, but the spirit of us knew that life on this earth would be this way. There is nothing new under the sun and the spirit of goodness WILL always win. God will always win no matter what it looks like. The spirit of who we are “SPIRITUALLY” cannot be shaken; the spirit of who we are is moved to pray, love and give. The “spirit” of us is always in faith. The “spirit” of us will disperses peace within us no matter how much confusion is being stirred around. The “spirit” of us is awakened to give to the poor and needy in spirit. Why? Because we can do all things through Christ which strengthens. If He says to do it; best believe you can even when you don’t feel capable.

I had a discussion with Sean the other night about the Bible and religion. He is so inquisitive. He believes that there is so much information missing, leaving it contradicting itself. He showed me pictures and art that reflected people of color actually being Jacob and Joseph. I agreed with him about the discoveries to a certain extent. Some don’t believe in the Bible for that very purpose; but what that said to me was that the Bible must be real if there is missing information. However the “spirit” of who I am now reads from a spirit of faith. I can attest to my bible reading being a religion at a point in my walk, because I thought that I had to read it in order to be accepted into the Kingdom of God. That was my ignorance and only reading from a natural state of mind at the time, because Jesus spoke up against religion. The very words in red I read during that time, I was actually judging the religious leaders. But it wasn’t until now that I am able to see from my spiritual eyes; I was no better than them. We don’t realize that when we are devoted to something that has been taught to us or enforced upon us; it is in fact religion. If and when you limit yourself to “what you know only” it becomes a god; it IS a religion. We have to push pass knowledge and be open to the “spirit” of who we are. Live by the spirit of who we are. The breath of LIFE was breathed into the nostrils of man according to Genesis 1 and that breath is “spirit”. We all possess it, we just have to be awakened to it.

I encourage you today, don’t stop here at fear from the media; push pass and be moved by the spirit of faith to believe that evil will not win. And at that point, from an individual perspective, we are ushered into becoming a corporate nation of “spirit” led people. We move out of compassion for those that are hurting. We move out of a spirit of faith to encourage others that are affected by this “stuff”. What I know about Jesus moves me; but what I have experienced “Spiritually” with Jesus moves me even the more. What I know about Sean and his intellect moves me because we have deep conversations. But what I have experienced with Sean moves me differently. He is gifted with a special love for those that are treated unfairly and unjustly and yep, that love is a spiritual love.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

You Are Full of It

I can’t stress it enough to myself and many that I witness to, we are enough and we measure up! My youngest son and I have deep conversations about his break up from his first love (a girl of course). He comes to me, very transparent about the issues in his mind he battles with about their break up. This is where I too am able to be transparent and do my testifying of the truth. I educate him on the fact that in this life we have things we are delivered from and things that we yet have to battle. One in particular, the insecurities of being accepted. This is a generational battle. It’s one I do not believe we will totally be rid of; Paul calls it the thorn in our flesh. The thorn that will keep us humbled and dependent upon the strength and grace of God. However, with God we will always get the victory. Battles have to be fought; and will continue to have to be. Battles are a part of our life’s order, kingdom order, world order and military order. We won’t totally be done fighting battles until we expire. So you might as well STAND knowing that you will ultimately get the victory; whether it be today, tomorrow or next year. Insecurity, Joshua and Carla will not just die. The spirit of anything, sister or brother, lingers and takes up occupancy in our minds and all around us. In our minds, because we were fashioned in it when we were born, raised, taught, influenced by or if we at some point in our life chose “it”. But the GREAT NEWS is, God knows it and He also is a part of it. I say that because, the devil, the spirit of evil wouldn’t have power, if God had not given it a choice to be evil. Everything that God chose, has a purpose and it serves its purpose. Evil has one, whether we believe it or not; and guess what? Evil is in us. But hold on, before you get offended; God who IS Good all the time and all the time He IS good is also in you. And He is also a part of the choice that He obliged to every human being. Every day, week, month or year we have to battle with our ”it-sue” (issue) we are given the choice at that moment to win or not.

There are “it-sues” that we have truly been delivered from and those are the things we are not forced, any longer, to make a choice about. I was a marijuana smoker in my past and even in the last couple of years I revisited it, but it is something that I can say I have been delivered from. Why? Because I don’t like its affect on me. But at some point in my life, I thought I had to have it. NOT today, therefore I can declare that I have been delivered. But this darn fight with “am I enough“, and the assumptions I make of what others think of me; continues to be a fight that I choose to win by standing and declaring that I AM ENOUGH with God!

This blog is basically to enlighten and encourage you. Now, just because you gave your life to Christ, does not mean you are done fighting. It just means you no longer have to fight this battle alone. He IS in you and IS a very present help in your time of trouble/choosing. STAND believing that you are full of God’s grace, goodness and love and you my friend do not have to be perfect to walk in that truth. Your cup runneth over Psalms 23 says; so believe it, give power to that truth!

Love You Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

The Four Colored Girls in Harmony

I walked into City View Florist on Saturday, super excited about the arrangement that I created and ordered. This arrangement represents each character in my upcoming novel, “The Wedding Before the Wedding”. When I walked, in my face was already lit up and so was my heart. When Carly brought out the arrangement, I immediately felt my heart drop and it was evident that I was not pleased. But Carly was not going to let me leave without fixing it, absolute GREAT customer service. I already knew we couldn’t add the Iris, because the Texas heat would have devoured the delicate flower. My creation was missing something else; I just wasn’t sure what it was. Carly says, “follow me to the fridge and we can figure it out”. We head back to the fridge but it still takes me a minute, because I wasn’t exactly sure about what was missing. Then I spotted the lilies. It is the flower that represents love in this arrangement as well as the blissfully married character in the novel. If we don’t have Lily, we don’t have the example of a “standing no matter what” kind of love in the midst of all her single friends. Mukiako Wright, who is pictured in the featured photo is not only the face of Lily, but she is a true example of “love in marriage”. She and her husband have been colorfully and harmoniously married for 23 years.

After the florals were revamped perfectly in their vase, I was on to the next mission. The mission of meeting and learning more about the faces that will represent this beautiful bouquet. The bouquet that epitomize passion, strength, courage, love and wisdom. Capricia Bell-Foggle who is 2nd left, is the face of Jade and the true life best friend of Mukiako (Lily). Jade is the succulent, the greenery that balances the novel’s friendship with a delicate strength. Capricia’s beauty, personality and genuine spirit speaks exactly that. She has been given the role of GodMama in Mukiako’s children’s lives; and GodMamas always have an amazing strength. I’m too excited! Tameka Bolton is the face of our dear and wise friend Rose. Tameka took her role very seriously, she wore a red dress with roses on it to our dinner meeting. Absolutely appreciate her for that. Tameka has personally shown me support and love since I’ve met her. She invited me into her life as a sister. Tameka is a phenomenal nurse, (not just saying that) I’ve seen the evidence of how much she genuinely loves her patients and her work. She is the perfect example for the role of Rose. I am so grateful for the connections I’ve made with these ladies. Dahlia is our next character and she is quite intriguing, but that role has not been filled yet. Dahlia is our flower of passion; she loves her monetary status and she is not ashamed to tell the world how she makes her coins; so stay tuned.

Mukiako and Capricia did not show up for our dinner empty handed either. The cup and butterfly ring were such beautiful and heartwarming gestures. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I am thankful for the evident support. My dreams start here! I have butterflies just thinking about it.

I hope this mini synopsis gets you excited about Assistant Principal Iris Jeanine Loda’s and her devoted friends’ journies of excitement, disappointments, marriages and main journey of back to self commitments. Stay tuned October 1st is the expected arrival!

Love You Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

Float Like a Butterfly…Float Like a Butterfly

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love butterflies. I love their grace and I love their delicate yet bold being. I never really embraced my boldness because I was too afraid to be. Others would see the delicate part and of course; I would allow them to take advantage of that. I just didn’t know I could be both; but I Am.

I was born first, so that makes me the eldest; right? Being born first, most people would assume, you take on responsibility with ease and great confidence. So, why in the world has it taken me so darn long to embrace that? I remember one day my “little sister“ making a comment to me that just passionately angered me. It angered me to the point that it made me rise up and take back my authority that was given to me before the foundation of this world. My son made a statement that she and I had the same car and we were living in the same apartment complex at the time. So my little big sister’s response to that was “and all she did was be born first”. I absolutely started to examine myself, my decisions and my life at that point; and I refuse to “Just Be Born First”. I was that “big little sister” that she stood up for against everybody and anybody. When something was unfair to me, I didn’t have enough courage to rise up and speak up for myself.

Since making this drastic decision to move from my homeland of Alabama, get a divorce and reclaim my identity; the challenges of keeping the momentum going are still challenges. I can attest to some of those fights with my past fears of standing up for myself, I‘ve been able to step into the ring and finish with a knockout. Yep, leaving my past fears out for the count. Not to say that all of them have been victories, but in some instances, fear was able to stack up enough points leaving me to stumble out of the ring with a black eye and a bruised jaw. Yep, my Cut Man being God, my Trainer and Assistant Trainer being God; but in some of those fights I was not listening. I would get back into the fight and get smacked around some more.

God has always had a plan for His first born, and I intend to live it out! From now until the day I take my last breath, Carla Dulaney will fight to win and no longer fight to prove anything.

Fighting to win includes confidence and giving more power to who you are and who you were born to be. Muhammad Ali said it best, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was”. Confidence, is an acknowledgement that gives power to what may not be evident at the time. I don’t believe Muhammad tried to prove anything, he just was. Fighting to prove always takes a lot out of you; it takes more energy to prove others wrong than just being. Being is a posture, it is a position that one takes, it is an absolute stance! You are, so therefore BE!

Love You Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

A Camoed Kinda Love

Perfect Love cast out FEAR! A relaxed love. A love without fear and worry. A love that REST on “all things will work for my good”. A patient love. A perfected love knows that it will work out alright. I can just melt and shout all over myself because as a woman whose only experience with love was always based in fear. Fear of what man could do to me, so I was whatever he wanted me to be. Fear of what people would say about me, so I would have been whatever I needed to be to please them. But what I awakened to today is that, I am such a lover of people that I often would love them so much that I would rush in to save them; while never being designated as a saviour. If a person comes into my life (whether I felt it was divine or not) I would take on the responsibility of trying to protect them; so I thought. And when things appeared to be in disarray or they came to me in tears; I wanted to control the outcome of that person’s life. Ooooooo Buddy, I called myself serving someone else’s circumstance notices “I am Carla and I have super powers”. “Girl please, girl bye and bye Felicia” are the notices I serve myself today to remind me that I am not strong enough to live my life and somebody else’s. I came out alright (figuring it all out with the Lord) and they will too.

Revelation came to me today as I was standing at the phone booth to go in and throw on my super cape. CONTROL CAN CAMOUFLAGE ITSELF AS LOVE! According to Wikipedia, there are many reasons a chameleon camouflages itself but more commonly, to regulate their temperatures and for social signaling. It’s like love is the chameleon and fear is the mechanism within us that triggers the desire to control. And really what happens is, it gets out of control. Picture a chameleon overwhelmed with fear, oh my! Think about how many times it will camouflage itself and eventually adapt to fearful conditions but IN FEAR. Fear and survival became a lifestyle for me; I’d become accustomed to fear and worry. Jumping to save a situation because I thought I possessed control. Convincing myself overtime, it was because I was loving others like God says to love them. Love them “assssssssssssssssssssssss” you love yourself.

It is rather disturbing to sit back and watch your loved one go through and all you can do is try to rush in to save them. But I am reminded of God’s love for us; perfect love casts out fear according to John, who was one of the closest to Jesus. So he knew first hand the burden of watching someone he loved suffer so much injustice. Loving someone truly is stepping back and evaluating your OWN perceptions and fears about their suffering. What looks like pain to you may be the very thing that they have chosen to accept and grow through. And yeah, there are those who whine to you about their trial and even try and make you feel guilty for not rushing in. But again, evaluate yourself and if we want it; we’ll develop the boldness to say no.

As mothers, as fathers, as friends, as spouses, as daughters and sons we fear what happens to those we love. But the key word is fear, life is full of the things that grow and develop us. It just is! My babies are adults now and it’s still a challenge accepting what they must develop and grow through. I have to stay upstairs or on my roof to ensure sometimes that I don’t stand at the phone booth and come out caped up or should I say “camouflaged in control“ up! They are going to be alright! Sister those you love so much are going to be alright; KNOW THAT! Brother, I know how much you want to protect them but they will be just fine; KNOW THAT!

We are all infused with love. We were born in it, with it and it flows automatically from us. However, it can be overshadowed by worry and fear and we’ll start to operate from that place; yielding no fruit, only weariness and stress. But love, I’ve found just flows genuinely and smoothly like a river; no force at all. Love bears fruit, fruit of joy and absolute peace.

Living Simply, Without Force & Loving You Always

Carla Mashell Dulaney

Photo by Carla Dulaney @Trinity River Trails

Zero Consumption

I’ve been auditing water consumption accounts for a year now for the city’s water company and it’s been an interesting little ride. I like doing what I do, because I get to investigate whether a customer is having a meter issue or if the patterns of consumption have changed over time in order to determine leaks. As a writer, I’ve come to realize that I am an Investigator. Pretty soon, I’ll be bringing material that I’ve built up enough courage to investigate. Right now though, I’m bringing you the good news of investigating my self and this journey I’ve been privileged to grow in.

The biggest part of the audit is the “Zero Consumption Accounts”. These require me to investigate whether there is lack of communication from the meter and the flow of the water. The house may be vacant or the meter has stopped and I then would create an investigation for our crew to check it out. Well, it got me to thinking today about my life, my former marriage and my future relationships. Something was missing, either I was vacant or my “meter” (motivation to do) had stopped in the marriage. Something was missing in my life, either I was vacant or my “meter” (motivation to do) had stopped to take care of other folk. I refuse to let this pattern continue in my life, in my relationships or in my next marriage/relationship. So I’ve been doing some investigations on this journey and doggone it I’m gonna be honest about everything. It’s always been scarey to be honest because I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings or be looked at as a bad christian; so I would just shut up and shut down. And my meter stopped and I would eventually become vacant; if you will. There was always either miscommunication or non at all. I would just pray about it and hope it would JUST CHANGE. As a Deacon’s Wife, I didn’t do what the Bible was saying that “Faith without works is dead”. It didn’t register, I guess because at the same time Jesus in red letters said “if you believe in your heart and not doubt you can have whatever you say”. I was just gone stand on that one and wait for the mountain to move and be casted in the sea.

There is nothing like a two way conversation; being heard and listening. Investigations consist of both asking questions and listening for answers. When the work orders come back from the “Zero Consumption Investigations“, the resolution would be to either change the meter or let it be, since the house is vacant or the meter is not in use. But at least we’ve done our part. When we figure out what’s causing the disturbance in our own lives, create a work order (talk about it), ask questions and come to a resolution to figure out what to DO to fix it. We cannot go back and change what we failed to do, either out of ignorance, fear or stubbornness; but we can make a choice to put in the work necessary to do better in order to be better. And do what John Mayer sang and “say whatcha need to say”, “even if your hands are shaking”; “even if your faith is broken”.

Love Always

Carla Mashell Dulaney.

By Frankie, I Think I’ve Got It!

“There’s a time of the day, when the sun is going down, that’s the golden time of day.“ ‘It’s the time that the sun turns to gold all around.” Frankie says “people let me tell you there’s a time in your life when you find who you are, that’s the golden time of day”. Frankie Beverly and Maze were my step daddy and mama’s favorite to play when we were preparing to head over to Fairhope Beach on a Saturday. We sat on the back of the truck sitting on a backseat that came from someone else’s vehicle; and ironically pops truck was gold. However, that song didn’t bear witness with me until a few years ago, and usually as kids these types of songs don’t register until later in life. It didn’t even dawn on me until now that Joe Lee’s truck was gold too. As I prepare today for the last graduation of the mighty 8; I’m grateful for each and every path I have taken to get where I am right now. I ain’t mad, I ain’t bitter and I ain’t sad; I am what my mama and the Dulaney Family would call GLAD! Me and my golden hair is in our golden time of day; I can see it shining Frankie! I’m gonna shine this love all around because the best is yet to come.

Observing how the group is titled “Maze featuring Frankie Beverly” leads me to believe that life somehow is set up that way too. We are the lead singers of this group, life truly IS what you make it. And it’s never too late for you to get it. It takes longer for some than others, but again; it’s never too late for YOU to write the lyrics to your song. Introducing: “Life featuring Carla Dulaney”. Put your name in there “Life featuring _________”. Doesn’t it have a beautiful ring to it too. Life featuring Carla Mashell wouldn’t be life if it wasn’t for the sad moments that grew me up, those battles that I fought in my mind but had no courage to fight with my hands and those disappointments that I finally got over. And I mean, I got over. I am finally able to say and believe that I AM MORE THAN A CONQUEROR; I am no longer anybody’s victim is my new song. Even my testament to domestic violence sounds different; it has no lyrics at all, just some waaaaaay in the background music.

I love how Frankie expressed the lyrics; along with the sounds of Maze; “when you feel deep inside, all the love you’re lookin for, don’t it make you feel okay?” My answer is YES Frankie. Yes, all the love you need, is deep inside; you came here with it, you were fashioned it, you were wrought in it; and don’t you forget it. Love and Be Loved Sis; Love and Be Loved Bruh.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney