BURNING THE RIGHT BRIDGE

BURNING BRIDGE

I have discovered what it means to loose inches but not pounds! As I try to correct that course of action my body is taking I am burning some clothing bridges. Getting rid of things you do not want is a hard thing for men and women to do almost as hard as ending relationships that don’t fit.
I have a few blouses and a few skirts that I adore; truth be told, they never really looked good on me. Last week I went through my closet and took everything out that I could not fit, I had not warn in years or just did not look right on me and I donated it to the goodwill; except one blouse.

There is always that one! There is always that one relationship that you hold onto hoping it will get better. Perhaps it is a friend who has been in your life through your good and bad times except now he or she uses those memories to keep you down, making you feel like you will never be much. Sometimes we stay in relationships in which one person does not treat you the way that any human should be treated; perhaps she verbally degrades you or he physically assaults you; regardless of the number of times a person apologizes abuse is abuse! Opportunities may come for other jobs yet you stay were you have been for years after all you have a great parking space, you get along with most of the people and you could do what you do blindfolded! Despite your success deep down you are dissatisfied because it is time to let someone else wear the job and you try on something new.

When it becomes that hard to let go, perhaps you need to do what I did with my favorite shirt! Make sure you can’t continue doing what you are doing “burn the bridge.” Tell your lifelong friend the truth: You were there for me and I really appreciate it but since you insist on telling me what I cannot do I am going to have to do what I need to do without you in my life. Sometimes you have to love a spouse from afar: pack your bags, get a restraining order and talk to a lawyer- no explanation necessary. Accept the job that reflects all that you are capable of doing in a location that you can learn to love and burn the job bridge by giving them two weeks notice.

To make sure I never wore that beautiful blouse again I grabbed my scissors and turned it into rags. I don’t trust myself to give it to goodwill.

WOMAN ON THE PHONEBurning bridges is a drastic measure but it is often necessary. In order to improve personally we must make sure anything that is holding us down is out of the way which includes: friends who put us down, spouses who abuse, jobs that we never intended to stay at until retirement and clothing that is not appropriate for our bodies. I have done them all, even though it was just clothing it was not any easier. The good news is one of my child hood friends has gone through her own metamorphosis and she is back into my life, not as we were before but we speak from time to time.

 

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IT’S JUST CHURCH

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I remember grabbing a cup of coffee and a donut walking down the aisle to a front row seat. Wearing jeans and a nice top I position my Bible in the seat next to me ready to pull it out when the Pastor begins to preach.
During those same services, in the seats behind me there are hundreds of people. The women are dressed nicely fully made up and the men equally adorned. Instead of Bibles they have the latest smart phone in hand, this makes it easier to switch from the YouVersion Bible app to Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest or Twitter. There was a time when I did not like sitting in the back because people talked so much, now conversations are held via text message thus not disturbing the service.
What’s my point? The fact that I sat on the front row of a church did not allow me to learn anymore than those people who were in the back text messaging, or glancing at Social Media sites. Drinking coffee and eating donuts in a big room that some call an auditorium and others call a sanctuary does not stop you from hearing God’s word nor does what you wear.

The Bible is what is important, it does not matter if you read it from your cell-phone your tablet, your computer or if you have a tangible copy. I personally believe having a goal to read the Bible in a year is useless IF all you do is read and not meditate on what you have read. Depending on the church to show you Bible verses on a television screen once a week is not the same as reading the verse yourself. Church attendance is not the basis of faith.

The place many people go to once a week is just church with an opportunity to see people they did not see last week. The messages may be great, even motivational, and the words coming from the pulpits are not anti-Christ but this does not mean a person is growing spiritually. Being a come-as-you-are non-denominational bilingual church may give you bragging rights in the community but it does not establish a personal relationship with Jesus.

This is what I was thinking the other day when I attended a political meeting the other day at a church and people stared at me because I sat in the front row. Though I was dressed in business attire and I drank my coffee before I entered the sanctuary I forgot that some people think the front row of a church is sacred. I like to think: I am the church.

ARE YOU A TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN? by M L Floyd

I can’t remember the last time I wore stockings to church but I can tell you I have never, in my adult life, wore a hat. The idea of wearing jeans to church is very appalling to some people and seeing me sitting on the front row of a Sunday service in yoga pants would be offensive! Forget about being non-denominational I am non-traditional. (For the record: I prefer wearing ankle length skirts but I do wear pants from time to time.)
Of course, there is no such thing as the perfect church on earth. Being non-denominational does not mean you get everything right.

As Believers we should grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding. This means traditions that delay or deny growth should be eliminated. Far to many Christians get into debates about the method in which church is carried out and ignore the message that is being delivered.

There are songs that have been sung in churches for years that are not biblically correct. The words in these songs speak of children of God who are struggling, sick, and down trodden with hope of only enduring. Consider the words of “One Day At A Time,” a very popular song: we are not “only human” we are created in the image of God filled with His spirit empowered to live a victorious life. Many written today celebrate who God is, acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit and appreciate Jesus our Saviour and Son of God that agree with Scripture. Some reject these songs not because of the validity of the words but because of the instruments used.

There are a growing number of churches in which the Pastor presents a message by talking through a message as oppose to raising and lowering his voice to tug at a persons emotions. Far to many people are accustomed to the traditional loud preaching style in which a portion of a Bible verse is focused on for the entire sermon. Christians comment on the style of the messenger ignoring the content of the message.

There are traditional churches that are incorporating some of the newer methods of presenting the gospel to its’ people; it is being met with opposition by some. There are non-traditional churches who have gotten so far away from the integrity of church structure that the message of the cross has been weakened.

When I visit a church for the first time there is a mental checklist I have to go through: Can I wear pants; if I wear a skirt should I wear stockings (I do not own a pair so I would have to go purchase); what are the rules regarding where I can sit (I like to sit up front because people in the back are usually talking); if they have coffee before service can I take it inside the auditorium / sanctuary (what type of church will determine what the meeting room is called); does the Pastor want me to address him formally or casually? I have to prepare myself for preaching services because I really do not like a lot of yelling. I have to prepare myself for large choirs, particularly those who do not practice pronouncing words properly. And I have to prepare myself for the offerings, which in some churches can be more than one. None of the issues have anything to do with the actual gospel.

So what type of Christian are you?

IT’S NOT OBAMA’S FAULT- the divisions among us

00356747It occurred to me as I was talking to a gentleman at a political meeting: President Obama did not divide this nation. The divisions we see today have always been in existence President Obama just knew how to use the existing divisions to his advantage.

President understood there was a segment of the population who believed they could not succeed because white people kept them down and he did not dispute that. He knew some people believed that women were discriminated against and so he used abortion as a tool to point out the differences. Of course the majority of Americans believe in a man and a woman coming together in marriage so to add fuel to the fire he repeatedly reminded the homosexual community how much people did not like them being different. President Obama is excellent at pointing out the differences a group of people have and telling each group why another group thinks they are a problem.Referee

But it was not Obama who came up with these groups. Black people were: Colored, Negro, African-American and now divided. Women are: feminist, pro-life, homemakers, working women, pro-choice and there are even derogatory names used not by men but towards each other in jest (rhymes with witch). Americans are: rich, poor, racist, sexist, homophobic, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Socialist, homosexual, heterosexual, male, female, educated, low-information-voter, young, old, millennial, senior citizen, victim, criminal, Latino, Special Needs, Disabled, and the list goes on. The labels did not just pop-up when Barack Obama became President.

When this President leaves office the labels will stand unless people stop using them.

I hate labels. I don’t like being referred to as an African-American Female, the title will not get me into heaven and it will not keep me out of hell. I don’t like people looking at my black grandson and assuming he plays sports. Labels are stereotypes run amuck!

Granted, there are times when we must identify certain character traits. Females must go in the women’s bathroom not men. There must be some accommodations made for individuals with special needs. However, when a group of so called leaders declare “Black Lives Matter” as if other skin pigments don’t then we have gone to far.

It is not just the President of the United States who has contributed to the divisions within this country? See what happens when a blue eyed blond white person enters an African Methodist Episcopal Church; or vice versa. The person may not be kicked out however many of the congregants will wonder what he / she is doing there.

Each person must examine the labels established within his or her own mind and do something about the divisions created.

FORGET ABOUT YOUR VERY BIG REFUND

Hand Holding Paper Currency ca. 2002
Hand Holding Paper Currency ca. 2002

It is October which means I should be finishing my Continuing Education Classes for the next tax season, and making sure I have completed all requirements not only with IRS but River City Bank. However, I had few problems that had to be resolved with two of my newer clients and one with someone who had been with me for years. THE ADVANTAGE OF HAVING A TAX PREPARER WHO YOU HAVE ACCESS TO YEAR-ROUND is that when you have a question he or she is available (not some alternative). It did not take me long to help and for two of the three individuals there was NOT AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE.

During the month of November when I usually turn my attention to marketing my business I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month . I will write a 50 thousand word novel in 30 days just because. I have done it before and will do it again, I will not be spending to much time marketing my TAX PREPARATION BUSINESS.

TAXES

EVERY YEAR family members or friends call me with questions regarding someone else’s taxes. The avoidable problems include:
1) A person who received an INCOME TAX REFUND ADVANCE without understanding that it is an advance from a finance company and not the IRS. The problem with this: When the tax return is filed should the IRS not release the refund. Or the refund is actually less than anticipated and the person may or may not get additional money. The individual is liable for the amount of the check plus interest that began the day the check was received.
2) Dependents were claimed by someone else. One of the biggest reason why you need to know who is doing your tax return is some places are not trustworthy. There are places in which tax preparers will use your information on the return of someone else and vice versa. Of course ex-spouses or parents may claim a dependent and IRS does have guidelines as to who is qualified to claim a child or parent as a dependent. THE LOSS OF A DEPENDENT EXEMPTION can be the difference between a refund or owing the IRS.
3) A person tries to file at Company Y and discovers Company X filed on his / her behalf already. The individual had gone to Company X but after talking to someone decided to go to Company Y where the people seemed more knowledgeable. DON’T SIGN ANYTHING, unfortunately some companies file without signatures assuming once you receive the big check you will ignore their shady practices.

Many people think they are not that gullible. However I have done enough amendments of tax returns completed by CPAs to know that the best clients are INFORMED CLIENTS.

1) ALL TAX PREPARERS SUBMIT ELECTRONIC TAX RETURNS ON THE SAME DAY.
2)It is illegal to file a tax return without a W-2 until mid-February (date designated by the IRS). In addition if you file with the last pay stub the discrepancy between the last pay stub and the W-2 could result in your owing.
3) YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for your tax return. Your signature indicates that you agree with what is being submitted to IRS.
4) DO NOT GET REFUNDS from anyone other than the IRS. I have clients who choose to have their tax preparation fees paid from their refund. They do this by utilizing a bank product in which their refund is forwarded to the bank and the bank pays me, themselves and then the rest goes to the client. I do not encourage my clients to obtain their refund before the IRS has deposited their check into the providing bank- NO ADVANCE REFUNDS!
5) KNOW WHAT IS ON YOUR TAX RETURN. Please do not just pick up and sign.

After over 15 years of doing taxes I am still amazed at the number of people who I help FREE OF CHARGE (suggestions only) with their tax problems. The reason my practice grows is because I solve problems people have many are directly related to the above 5 points.

If you live in the Miami area and you are looking for a Professional Tax Preparer I can be reached via: email NOWAYZTIRED@GMAIL.COM

MOTIVATION by Marsha L Randolph

MP900438355[1]You have to be able to imagine yourself achieving – doubt is a motivational killer. You should not depend on anyone to encourage you, support you or even be there when you really need him; I am not saying friends will not be there- just don’t depend on them. We can all motivate ourselves when things are going at least OK but when difficulties arise and the words of that best friend become cliche’ doubt can lead to discouragement which may lead to quitting.

I stopped making budgets years ago, everyone I ever made was a failure, now I develop spending plans. Budgets tell me what I cannot do whereas spending plans tell me what I should do.

Goals to me are like mandates: in 3 weeks you have to do this, in 6 weeks you have to do that. I suck at goals! I tried, I really tried when I was part of a business venture that had goals. I just could not do what was expected according to the time frame given.

I think people write goals according to what “they” say. When I was an Independent Sells Representative for a company that focused on things women were interested in I was my best customer. I did not achieve the next level in a year, which is what I was told was possible if I achieved specific goals. I did not sell the specific number of products which would allow me to bring in a comfortable income and I only had one party which was a flop! I was lousy at selling and knowing what I know now I understand why; I never SAW MYSELF as a sells person.

YOU CANNOT MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO DO SOMETHING YOU DON’T SEE YOURSELF DOING!

There is something about following your God given dreams that will keep your going during the worst of times. It is hard to motivate yourself when you hate what you are doing; God will never tell you to do something you hate. You may, however, have to do something that you don’t like for a season.

I was an LPN for over 20 years and I did not like it but I always knew that I would not always be a nurse and that was my motivation. I discovered many years ago my purpose according to God’s plan for me even when I was not doing what I knew I was destined to do the idea of it was my motivating factor.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
To many people settle for “good enough” because they do not know how to motivate themselves to get to where they once dreamed of going. Years of failed life budgets have resulted in self positioned obstacles that block the vision. The obstacles are excuses:
We lock ourselves in ideas of methodology that prevent the ability to make course corrections. It is important to develop a plan of action it is equally important to admit when a plan is not working.
We allow distractions to take us off our path. There will always be something else that needs attention- that’s life. Opportunities to do something different will occur. Friends, family, television, telephone calls, social media and invitations to special events can take us off task.
We seek validation from people who don’t share the dream. It is unfair and a waste of time to expect other people to fully participate in our dream.
Listening to the experts. Seeking professional advice is a good thing however it is important to tailor plans to reflect individual uniqueness. Not being able to do something exactly like the expert suggested can lead to discouragement.
We become too consumed with the goal and get out of balance. Neglecting our health, putting off family time, and not spending time to rest and reflect will lead to frustration.
Not enjoying the journey. Quitting is easier when your goals do not support your vision.
“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:2-3 NKJV

Expecting instant gratification is a vision killer. I Knew in 1996 that I was going to be a writer but because I was taking Ministry classes I thought I would be writing non-Fiction. My first book was fiction: THE TRUTH ABOUT VASHTAI published in 2010. In 1996 I did not know: what a blog was, I did not have a laptop, I knew nothing about self publishing nor did I know how to incorporate what I do into a how-to book. It took time to develop the vision and it I am seeing more detail everyday.

A final observation regarding finding your motivation:

YOU CANNOT MOTIVATE YOURSELF WITHOUT REMEMBERING GOD’S PROMISES
Faith is the life plan glasses that will give you the 20/20 vision needed. There is a set time, an appointed time as to when you will reach your destiny. If you cannot enjoy the journey then you might be on the wrong path.