Lift Yourself and Build Your Strength

I have been dealing with Sciatic Nerve Pain for over three weeks now and it has been an eye opening journey. Part of me tells me, “maybe you should get up off your tail and do more” or another part says, “sit your behind down somewhere because you’re always running”. It has been pretty hilarious and very painful I might add. I have never experienced this kind of pain before, even after having five children, the contractions were less than half the pain of this mess. I’ve been researching ways to take care of it without spending money, I don’t have, at a chiropractor or doctor’s office. I was tempted on several occasions to go to the emergency room; but I would talk myself out of it because of the medical bills I already have. I took some Aleve, didn’t help; so I just endured the pain. If it’s wasn’t going to work, I refused to subject the lining of my stomach to any damage. I did what most of us do and went to You Tube and Google. You Tube’s Brad and Bob offered some pretty good suggestions so I started stretching and I could feel some improvement. I realized how much more painful it was to sit than stand and fortunately I have the desk that raises at work; so standing helped a lot. So, I have been stretching everyday and dancing. I love dancing, that is my main motivation for working out.

But this morning, as I was stretching and dancing; I remembered how old I am. You’re probably thinking, what does age have to do with it? Well, I’ve been hearing how important it is to strengthen and build our muscle mass at this age. So I figured I better incorporate some weights slowly but surely and then I started to do some leg lifts and realized how freaking heavy my legs and thighs are. I was like, shoot if I lift both of my legs on a daily my strength could be phenomenal. (Laughing loudly at myself, thick thigh ahhhh). Then it really started to dawn on me, especially since I’m in a season of my life where the Lord has me reflecting on my whys behind my whats. My motives for why I did the things I did in the past. I was truly one that wanted my Father to be proud of me and I wanted to do everything in “my” power to please Him. Never taking the time to sit back and receive His grace. Also how I didn’t have to do anything to get Him to love and accept me. In this season, He has me reflecting on His second commandment (Mark 12;31) love your neighbor as you love yourself. The biggest part of giving to others was missing; as I would my self. I didn’t take time to strengthen me, I didn’t sit down long enough for Him to minister to me. I would sit at the table and eat and never savor. I would never digest my food, because I quickly wanted to give what He gave me to somebody else. Regurgitating and Bulimia are both unhealthy for us humans. I have had time to truly savor the acceptance and love my Daddy has for me. Dare to Be Daughtered was a campaign He gave me two years ago; but it was for me. It was a campaign for me to sit back and be daughtered and take time to lie in His bosom.

Lift “yourself” in His grace, His wisdom, and His love, but RELAX in knowing He made loving yourself a second commandment to loving Him with all of your heart and soul. I love you.

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Hope Assaulted Faith

The more I think about the story of Lazarus, the more I am moved to share this revelation. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were so loved by the Lord Jesus, just as we are. Can you just feel His love flowing from the couple of words He’s used me to write so far? I can! I’m intrigued by the emphasis that John places on how much they were loved by Jesus. I’m sure it’s because he wants us to understand the concept of trust and faith. I use to hear often “love is what love does” and it makes me cringe because it’s been said by those in my past as a form of control. Maybe that’s why Mary and Martha were so upset at Jesus; not coming when they expected Him to come. “If you would have been here, our brother wouldn’t have died”. (John 11;21) I can hear them now, in today’s language. You love us, mmmmmmhmmmmm, but you didn’t come to heal our dear brother and we did all that fasting and praying. We done spoke in tongues till we ran out of languages. LOL!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, (Proverbs 13;12) it really does. Disappointment breaks your heart as a human being. I’m sure this is partly what they were feeling, and even embarrassment of what people were going to say and think. Again, they were the family that Jesus loved, he communed with them at their home. You know, equivalent to when people look at your life and just swear your so anointed and favored of God; and you shouldn’t have any issues. (My old way of thinking) Lord, I did all that singing, all that praying, all that service in church, all that giving; and my family still suffered and struggled. Things still died in my life that I thought were truly the will of God. But I’ve been encouraged today and I want to encourage you, it is all for God’s glory. I realized after today, man CANNOT get the glory. I don’t care how much they sowed in your life, it still CANNOT match God’s plan. I realize, I CAN’T get God’s glory; no matter how much compromising and sacrificing I did. I CANNOT match God’s 100% plan. However, keep sowing, keep loving, keep choosing peace despite what it looks like; because we are believers.

There are some things that have died in your life but in His timing, God will resurrect those blessings. PUSH past hope and believe with no reservations. Mary n nem stopped at hope, because Lazarus just didn’t seem to be getting better. And they were dead set on “expecting” Jesus to be there to heal him. When we get tired and weary from expectations, we stop at hope. And that’s where what we were believing for goes to sleep. Right now, shift your thinking, shift your fear to faith and listen for God to say “Lazarus come forth”. Faith surpasses hope; let patience have her perfect work that you may be entire wanting nothing. (John 1;4) We have to take our eyes off the situation and place our faith, spiritual eyes back on the Father, the one who has the power to resurrect any dead situation.

Shaunte “Don’t Need No” More

I am so devoted to nature and Trinity River Trails are one of Fort Worth’s most beautiful “free” entertainment attractions. I have my favorite spot that gives me the perfect view of the river and the trees provide me with the perfect balance of sun and shade. I believe the Creator arranged this spot at the river just for me. On this particular morning though, I wanted to see the sunrise. I got my lil stuff together, my book, my water and put on my walking gear. I got to the park and I started towards my spot and I spotted the young lady I saw the evening before. She was on that same bench but this time she was parting her hair as if she was getting ready for the day. I thought to myself, “she slept here”. I figured I would stop and start a conversation; because I have real questions about why so many people are “choosing” to live on the street. She was like the 140th person I saw the day before sleeping on the ground or in a tent. I work Downtown Fort Worth, so this day I happen to take Lancaster and this street is literally lined with sleeping bags and tents. I just looked and stared in awe of the laughter, mixed with despair; some of them just appeared to be so content. Then there were a few that I could tell were begging for drugs. I went to bed this evening with questions and fears of how this could be me. But, this morning I learned differently. We can have the most phenomenal, most authentic and faith filled relationship with God; but if we choose to live homeless, high, drunk or lost; that is just what it is “our choice”.

Again, I was curious and I needed to get an understanding first hand. So I stopped and introduced myself to Shaunte was her name. I had my McDonalds coffee and I didn’t want to be rude; so I offered her breakfast. I went and got her breakfast and she specified, no coffee; orange juice. Probably because she was parched from sleeping on the bench all night and waking up to a hot Texas morning. When I got back, she didn’t start on her biscuit right a way; but she did that orange juice. She actually tucked the hash browns and biscuit in her soiled Michael Kors bag. Shaunte had the bench lined with books and the Bible and my series questions started with: “Are you homeless?” “How did you end up here?” Her answer “ I was working for a temp agency and lost my job as a dishwasher”. I asked her if she had family and guess what she said? Shaunte said “she has children with apartments but she just doesn’t want to be a burden”. Say no more Shaunte has chosen the park bench over a nice cool apartment. She also said she hates the idea of telling adult children how to live their life. I could definitely relate to her on that one, I’m sure most of us can. Although I left still questioning her choice, what I learned most from this whole encounter is that, we can have so many intangible things in common leaving us with the tangible things to covet and compete over and some people strongly believing that they have to have “things” to be happy. No judgement; because sometimes I have to be reminded.

I asked Shaunte what she wanted from God; and I guess I really wanted to believe that she would say “a home”. But, she really could not answer the question. I want to believe that God gives houses; but I believe he gives spiritual gifts. We choose to go to work to keep shelter over our head; homeless people choose not to work but they still have shelter. It may be in tent, bridge or bench form in Shaunte’s case; but she still has faith, joy, peace and she believes in the love of God even without the things. She believes that God loves her and oooooweeeee that is more than the riches or wealth in this world.

Established As…But Now Is?

Whenever I hear the word established, I think of when something was created; started or birthed. It is something that cannot be undone, redone or taken away. When something or even someone is established you can only expect growth, evolution and ultimately an expiration; however, it or they will never be forgotten. I say evolve, because whatever has been established will change over time, we cannot expect anything to remain the same as long as it is alive and going through the process of people, environments, ethnicities, behaviors and influences. The featured photo appeared to be a sliding board that was designed before I was born, I remember the slides I use to slide on, they were heavy duty, iron or steel.

The United States was founded, according to history, in 1492 but established as an independent country July 4, 1776. The United States was said to be founded on one thing, but the influences of a different president every four to eight years, has evolved to being another. Make America Great Again? I’m sorry Donald Trump, you cannot undo what has already been done. You don’t have enough power nor money to make that happen. Let’s keep moving forward and give someone else a chance to put their two cents in for the next four years.

At this point in my life, I regret getting married, but I loved getting divorced. However, I can’t change getting married, I can’t redo it and I can not undo it. I have to move forward as an established “divorcee” now. As I started to change and evolve, I no longer wanted to be married to my then husband. I no longer just wanted to sit in front of the tv Saturday after Saturday, get fatter month after month, go to church Sunday after Sunday and continue hearing the same message over and over. I had evolved into a fat caterpillar after 12 years. Reminds me of that fat caterpillar from A Bug’s Life. He finally got his wings and they just popped out, no chrysalis or anything.

Carla Dulaney was established in 1974 but around 1994 I had to evolve into a mother of 5 children and a kept woman, that’s all I knew for 22 years. My babies are grown ups now, I don’t regret being established as a mommy in 1994, because of them I have evolved in to a work of art at 45. I am actually able to say that I am thankful for the preservation that the bondage to fear has contributed to my life today. I have released the anger and the unforgiveness I once held.

I have been instructed by the late Kate Spade, to “live colorfully”. And I sure will! It’s so many tints and shades to this abstract lady! Sisters and brothers don’t count anything a failure in your life. Count it a stroke of color in the art that is you. Keep going, keep painting, keep living, keep dancing, keep getting up; there are more blank areas on the canvas.

White mixed with red makes pink, so the mistake you made in the life you thought was gonna perfect actually made you a pink sky, it’s the view in someone else’s eye. Carla M. Dulaney

Well. Well. Well.

I woke up last Saturday morning and I heard the Lord say, ROAD TRIP! The first thing that came to my mind was Thelma and Louise. I said to myself “what is a road trip without my sister Reva and friends Monica and Tonja”. We were good for it, even if it was just across the bay or to New Orleans; we always had a crazy, heartfelt good time. I miss those ladies. The Lord said, I’m with you; it’s those moments he wants to get intimate with us and express some amazing things to us. I filled my bottle with water from the hydrant and added some ice, I knew it was gonna be a scorcher. Grabbed my walnuts and my debit card and started driving west. Right now, to me west is considered growth. I wasn’t exactly sure where my destination was going to be, I just drove. Passing so many places, nothing spoke to me until I saw a sign that said Mineral Wells, 30 miles. Those two words said, God spoken/supplied, before the foundation of the world, natural and that that still remains and is to come. I guess that is why I love nature so much, because I know the birds and trees; lakes and streams are all those things that God divided and spoke as it is written in Genesis. He spoke to our spirits and our spirits are also remaining as He spoke; but we must discover and connect. With that connection comes the benefits of peace, joy, faith, etc. (Galatians 5;22) The fruits of the Spirit. We cannot began to touch the surface of those things from an egotistical, “human only” place. The catastrophe in this world is a product of someone wanting to be someone other than our “spirit spoken” self or wanting the material possessions that others have. It’s tough though, because we have so much influence and beautiful man made and built things to compete over. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that WELL springing up from within us. I have been sent to remind you, wherever you feel lack, void or empty; your spirit that was God spoken says you are created in His image and His likeness. We have everything we need, tap into it and be filled from what flows only from the main source.

I am a current employee of the water department and I have learned all of these codes and tasks that our Field Operations department does. For a new property a TAP has to be set first before a meter is. That TAP is the primary source for water to flow from our lakes, streams and rivers through a person’s home. The TAP is like the thing that connects and prompts the flow. That is how it is for us, the spirit is like the water sources but we need FAITH to prompt the flow of what’s already in us. I love the story of the Samaritan Woman meeting Jesus at the well, He just reminded her as a once forsaken woman that she had inherited the gift of God before the foundation of the world. It wasn’t just about her religious practice of going to Jacob’s Well; in which she had become weary after visiting it repeatedly, and not finding what she was looking for until that day. Jesus had to remind her what was already in her. It just needed to be discovered by her FAITH.

As I pulled into the little town of Mineral Wells, it was so quiet and quaint and I didn’t know where to go from there. In less that 20 kilometers I turned down a street and saw a water bottle and the words “Tourist Information”. You want a visitor, to your town, to stop, put a sign up that says “Tourist Information”. Once I got in, these two beautifully spirited women greeted me so kindly. Guess what? They offered me a drink from their well source. I was like God, you’re so good! Well water? I had never had a drink of water from a well. It was so different and it had a different affect going down. They had different formulas of this “Crazy Water” is what they call it. The more minerals, the more healing properties and the stronger the taste. I bought me a gallon and I did get a good ole cleansing. I thought to myself, there is no need for a laxative; this would be a much healthier way to do a good cleanse. If you know what I mean.

My visit, my drive, my road trip with the Father help me realize that through bodies of water, drinking from a little town’s well source and listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit cannot be tampered with, taken away from and neither can be added to. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are ONE as we are all ONE. The United States IS NOT the source of our unity as a people, we have been divided by fear that comes from the many in egotistical power. But, what they cannot contaminate is our spirits. Our faith, that TAP; that comes only from our Creator, THE SOURCE OF IT ALL!

Three women from different ethnic backgrounds sharing information and just God given courtesy.
My visit to Mineral Wells included stopping in to get tourist information and I discovered I was really there to drink from the “well” of what this town calls Crazy Water.
The beautiful work of young artists in the town. They have painted quite a few murals in the town to bring life back to Mineral Wells. Interesting how the Baker’s Hotel is in the background, there is a current project taking place to restore it.
The Mineral Wells State Park is ranked #5 as one of the world’s most beautiful State Parks.
Stopped in to The Kraze Boutique and learned that Golgotha is 7031 miles from Calvary where Jesus was crucified.

Retiring with Benefits

Retiring with Benefits

The older I get, the more and more I desire to just be stable; get somewhere and “sat” down for real for real. I admire any young adult that knows exactly what they want to do, occupational wise. Since being in Texas, I have changed jobs a couple of times and mainly because I was simply unhappy where I originally started. I quickly realized that these people, clearly, were not the former staff that I loved and absolutely loved me. Through this staff, I must say, they taught me how insecure I was. I went in quickly expecting to be liked, because hey; it’s me Carla Mashell! Get somewhere and sat down Ms. Carla, lol! My last set of interviews I made it crystal clear, “I am seeking job security and the desire to retire with benefits” (Periodt). I regretfully, tried to go back to that company, because that was my goal; but the Lord did not see fit to open that door.

I learned so much about myself in this transition, but the greatest lesson was how insecure I really am. It is truly a thorn in my flesh that keeps me hearing the voice of the Father. The thorn helps me identify His grace in the midst of my daily life. It is a constant reminder of how imperfect we really are. The woman I was last year wanted to judge every person that appeared to dislike me and that made me feel worse. Worse, why; because I know that it is not the heart of God. He is a God of no condemnation, and he receives me over and over again when I mess up; so why should I respond any differently to others. That is quite the benefit to the Christian walk. When we serve fully on a job, the benefits are great in the end. You sow a little seed every day you show up and do the work you were assigned to do. But, staying committed, despite the pressures from our insecurities or should I say thorns will render benefits.

Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower- Richard Rohr Immortal Diamond

Carla…..Dogs???

Yes, Carla and dogs are communicating here lately.  Ever since I can remember, I have been afraid of dogs.  There was one dog in the projects named “Killa”, that chased children ever so often.  I would hear the stories from others and how not to pass by this particular set of apartments, because its owner would let him loose to kill children.  Yes, that did it for me, I wasn’t going that way.  But of course, later on in my childhood, I had to get chased by somebody’s dog even if it wasn’t “Killa”.  That was the most frightening experience of my life, I was literally running for my life!  Thinking back on it, it was also the funniest thing ever too!  To top my fear of dogs, I was later tormented by dogs from then my abuser who knew of my fear of dogs.  But because fear was the main factor of why I stayed; that was another source of keeping me bound.  I had no say in another mouth to feed, another child to train and another child to clean up after.  But what I have come to realize at this point in my life, is that I tormented myself; because I was afraid of dogs.  When we are afraid of something, we will allow ourselves to be tormented by the fear.  The fear will keep us from fully enjoying life or an experience.  I refused to entertain the idea of getting a dog after I left that relationship.  The boys always wanted a dog; but Santerrica was afraid as I was.  Once I got married again and gained two daughters, one of them had a heart for animals.  Iman’s mom finally embraced the idea of her getting a dog and when she came for weekend visits, Bree was of course coming.  So that forced me to face my fear of dogs; but definitely now from a place of genuine love.  Bree is now a part of the whole family and even Santerrica loves her.

Fear has torment, but perfect love casts out fear!  I completely understand.  Since I have been on this journey at 44, it’s been all about facing fears and not allowing myself to be tormented by them.  Facing my fears have brought career changes, new friends and new experiences.  I am looking forward to even more!

LISTEN TO YOUR FEARS AND BE BOLD ENOUGH TO TELL THEM TO SHUT UP!            Carla Mashell

Shhhhh…….You’re Speaking

When I tell some people that I can’t hear without my glasses, it’s rather amusing and confusing to those that don’t wear glasses.  But it is so true, in order to write this blog, I felt compelled to get my glasses because I want to hear from my heart, I want to hear what I am trying to say.

As long as I can remember, I have been seeking approval and validation.  My mother was a teen mom whose father left before she was born.  So I was conceived and carried by an abandoned young woman, who never felt protected.  She was a young mother that did the best she knew to do with what she had.  I was that child that reminded her of everything she thought she couldn’t do or be, and I felt that.  So for years, I made it my responsibility to make her no longer regret having me.  My mommy’s voice of sorrow and regret was all I heard, so I had to do something.  But, I could never measure up, my work was never recognized; no matter how hard I tried.  Sadly, that work continued on through my teen years, as a young adult and even into a full fledge adult.

Finally, at 44 I have snapped out of it.   I had to back away from church (other people’s voice), a marriage (his voice) and that girl who has been seeking approval and validation all her life in order to hear the voice of Carla Mashell.  The thing that snapped me out of it was when I heard myself sing; I recorded myself and listened.  Through that recording, I heard the passion in my voice, I heard the gift that God gave me and I approved my own voice.  Silence the voices of others, society, and your past; tune in to the voice that has been ignored and gagged for years.  Tune in to what makes you happy, what makes you smile and when you do, you’ll place parameters on your life that others can no longer cross.

Bath & Body Worked for Me

Fall is right around the corner, we’ve gotten use to what we know as summer.  But it’s coming, whether we are ready for it or not.  I went into Bath and Body Works to get my favorite wall flower scent, and I was in shock.  I was about to lay in the floor to throw a tantrum when the young lady told me that White Sands was discontinued.  She says “we are getting ready for Fall”.  “I don’t wanna get ready for Fall”!  So she proceeds to redirect me by asking “what did you like about it”? “It was retreaty”.  I am one who loves light, escaping and fresh scents!  She walks me over to the new scents and we get to smelling, and I’m falling in love again.  The sweet essence of escape takes me away, and they are all new scents.  Her question “what did you like about it” was the key to opening my mind to something different.  It was the initial shock of losing something I’d gotten use to and having to readjust was so scary.  She introduced me to Endless Weekends, At the Beach and Crisp Morning Air, awesome and “retreaty”.

As we approach this new season, stay open minded but relaxed that the essence of who you are is still there; but will be captivated by something more, different and even better!  Choose happy, do you and take a deep breath in and breathe out.