March 24th, 2017

Faith-Filled Friday

Hello and welcome to Faith Filled Friday. Today I decided to let myself get out and take a drive. I didn’t want to answer phones, read Facebook or text messages. I didn’t want to be inside. I felt like I needed to look for something. So I took to the road, happy to just be out in the daylight as I don’t get out in it anywhere near enough. It was nice to listen to my music and feel the temperature outside feel just right. Though it was nice and quite peaceful, I still had that feeling I was looking for something. Most of my life I have felt like I am on a journey for something special. It comes at times, but never stays. It’s the thing that I feel comes from being a part of a family…love. But was I seeking it today? It didn’t quite feel that way.

 

In my last relationship I had grown to truly love my girlfriend’s daughter…so much. I have always wanted my own children. I have always loved the thought of being a family man with something/someone to come home to, something/someone to be inspired by and even fight for if need be. Doesn’t that something or someone give more meaning to life? For me it’s just everything, but we can’t always get what we want most in life. While driving I found myself thinking about my ex-girlfriend’s daughter. It made me so sad and I could not help but wonder if this thing I was looking for was just letting this child I love go in some way so that it did not continue to break my heart. It has been hard the last year and two months; this heartbreak of losing not just my girlfriend but her daughter as well was like a double-whammy!

 

Eventually I ended up in a huge Target parking lot where everyone was scuffling about at the end of their day. It had just gotten dark and I saw several cars go by a mother and her daughter waiting with shopping cart just outside the store waiting to walk across to the parking lot. They just kept whizzing by as if they weren’t there! I opted to stop and my window was down so I could hear the mother say out loud, “Thank-you!”

My headlights were on and I was far back enough to where she could not really see me. As they walked across in front of me, her daughter looked over and despite most likely not even being able to see me through the brightness of the headlights, I saw her start to look at me, and out of nowhere she started smiling.

I couldn’t help but wonder if she was smiling at me or just smiling as children sometimes do but I soon got my answer because then she waved at me. She was so adorable, and her smile hit me like a freight train of happiness. I waved at the little girl and as our paths parted I found myself realizing I had found not what I looking for but what I needed. I just needed a smile from someone.

I have been feeling incredible loneliness in my life and sometimes just the simple acknowledgment from someone helps me know I’m alive. I can’t tell you how much that little girl’s smile and wave meant to me. I drove around to the back of the stores and pulled off the side of the road and just had a cry. Being a man I try my best to not cry, but sometimes you just can’t help it.

 

Toward the end of my emotional side coming out, I felt a peace, too. I heard a voice inside literally say to me “You can let her go.” But it wasn’t for my x-girlfriend. It was for her daughter. Love itself can sometimes become such a huge burden on this planet. But love also sees us through. I’ve always worried that this girl I thought of as my own would think I abandoned her. This completely broke my heart thinking about it, because I myself was abandoned as a child many times. But after tonight, seeing that little girl smile and wave at me, that thought vanished and in its place is a feeling that she will know I loved her so much and that she will be ok.

So as much it has hurt me and still does… tonight I find myself just being ok and thankful for the time I had with her. I pray that she will continue to have a great upbringing with her mother. I pray that her mother finds the happiness she seeks. But I am also praying and saying thanks to God for this moment of sending His love and peace through the eyes, the smile and the wave of a child. And to think if I had just driven on by like everyone else, I could have missed it too.

Until next week’s Faith Filled Friday,

John

 

 

March 23rd, 2017

Thuraday’s Trench Truth

Thank you for joining me for just a few moments for Thursday’s Trench Truth, always based on a life lesson learned! Grab your coffee, or whatever you’re having and come on in.

Do you ever feel like you need to get away from it all? Oh, sometimes we have to step back to have a comeback!  We need a new perspective, a change of heart and mind.

Join us for our very first retreat and what is sure to be a transformational getaway that will have you living fearlessly, forgiven and forgiving…because a life lived forgiven is worth the living!

Excited

Evinda

March 22nd, 2017

Wednesday’s Word

 

Living Like You Believe…in What/Who?

John 3:17:” For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Thanks so much for joining me today for Wednesday’s Word & Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. I’m excited to be sharing this break time with you! Grab your coffee and your strand of faith and join me back on the airplane headed for Texas and an experience that also reflects living like we believe…whatever it is we believe!

Have you ever seen something on someone that you just couldn’t stop looking at? As though your eyes were glued to it, and then suddenly the person catches you staring and you pretend to not be staring? J L J So I’m on the plane waiting for the connecting flight passengers to begin boarding and the staff is getting the flight ready when another flight steward joins them.

Hmmm, how to describe him without putting him in some sort of box…well, he was definitely in touch with his feminine side. I’ll start from the feet up, because that’s what I saw first. He had loafer-type tennis shoes on and amazingly toned and tanned legs that were…yup, newly shaved! My gaze continued to look up and he had shorts on, and a blue Southwest Polo-type shirt on. I almost gasped as I noticed that his nails were manicured with the white tips and on his ring finger was a gorgeous ring!

My eyes were glued to that ring. I was trying to determine if it was a band or – nope, there was a big diamond sticking out from the middle of it!

His face was tanned, big brown eyes with beautiful eyebrows. His hair was bleached blond with its original dark color seeping its way through turning it almost orange. My eyes went to his ring again, and his manicured nails. I can’t tell you how many times this happened –I’d be mortified if someone had counted and told me. L J

And as if that wasn’t enough to teach me a lesson, our Father placed a couple right beside me. I didn’t have much of a strain to see she obviously had a faith, a belief system of sorts for she wore two different rubber-type bracelets – you know the one’s I’m talking about? Anyway, one said “More of Him and less of me,” and the other one said something like: Savior, one life, one purpose. Well, that’s cool, I thought to myself. The conundrum was what I observed during the course of the flight that sent me into my thoughts about living like we believe. See, in this situation, there was something I did count, the bottles of hard liquor that they drank with their diet Coke, but only after I noticed a behavior change. She became very talkative, in a very random sort of way; you know what I’m talking about?

Anyway, I did engage with her, but only after she asked me if I was writing for a newspaper, a book or a magazine. I looked at her like I hadn’t heard her, because honestly I wasn’t sure if I had heard correctly, and she repeated herself.

“Oh, no,” I said, “I have a blog I write for and –“

“It’s really good,” she said.

My eyes quickly scanned to see what she had been reading and it was Tuesday’s Trench Truth. “Thank you.”

We began talking and I learned that they lived about 60 miles west of where my kids are, and that they were part of a very, very large church. She truly talked like she believes. But here’s where the light turned on for me, especially since this was the third occurrence with the same theme in one week! The first one had been a powerful conversation with an attorney who was, as he called himself, a practicing Jew and the conversation was about “gay” marriage. He too learned a powerful truth from his adult children.

Who am I to judge how someone lives what they believe? Didn’t Jesus Himself say in John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved”?

It was with that freedom that I was actually able to converse with this lady, and with the guy with the beautiful ring and manicured nails! It was/is freeing to just let people be who they are without judging them but instead loving them by respecting them. Aren’t they living what they believe? Just because it’s not how I live my life doesn’t give me permission to pick up the gavel and start slamming it down in condemnation! Didn’t Jesus speak with the “ho” at the well with the utmost of gentleness and respect?

Perhaps there is much to be learned and to be unlearned. See, society says: Respect has to be earned; Jesus says respect is to love that person right where they’re at…It doesn’t mean you agree with their lifestyle or their actions but it does mean we quit putting ourselves above others, taking ourselves off the bench and remembering Who is really on the throne!

We just need to be like Jesus, and He’ll do the rest!

Learning and unlearning

Evinda

 

March 21st, 2017

Invitation Tuesday

Thanks for stopping by for Tuesday’s Trench Truth @ Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. Grab your favorite break-time beverage and join me for a moment of truth and for a special invitation

Do you ever find yourself saying, “If only he or she would do ____, then I’d be happy”? What about, “If he or she would just stop ____, then I could be happy; life would be better?” My guess is we could easily fill in that line with something that someone’s not doing or doing that they shouldn’t be doing, right?

Oh, my goodness, I used to be filled with “if-onlys” and “what-ifs” and as a result, my happiness was out of my hands. In other words, I gave my power to be healthy and happy over to those whom I put unrealistic expectations upon! Are you catching what I’m throwing?

Let’s face it, all of us have been let down by others, in some shape or form, and if that continues to happen, we all know what happens: bitterness plants in the soul and comes out in the attitudes and actions.

If you have at least one “if-only” in your heart, then this invitation is for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would love to work with you in the trenches

Evinda

March 20th, 2017

Monday’s Mantra

 

 

Live Like You Believe!

Wow, these Mondays seem to be running together! Time’s flying so push the pause button on the rest of your day, and join me for a few minutes for Monday’s Mantra and Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. Come on; we’re going to the airport!

I had been anxious all morning, despite getting everything done. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, let alone wrap my mind on what I was feeling. It was as if I was on auto pilot. I mean if you were to open my mind, you wouldn’t know which trail to take because there’s so much going on in there! I guess that’s why I require longer “quiet times” with Abba, because it takes a lot to quiet my mind but oh, how beautiful it is when that finally happens and I am still and experiencing God (Psalm 46:10). By the way, did you know that “know” in this verse, “Be still and know that I am God” translates to experience with your inner being! There are amazing diamonds in the scriptures! J

Anyway, so my love loaded up the car with my suitcase, my carry-on and of course our four-legged children. I was fretting a little bit about not being able to take my four-legged little girl. She’s gotten so old suddenly and I know she has a hard time when I’m not around. Oops, I’m detouring again, sorry.

As we pulled up to the Southwest curbside in Ontario, I was greeted by a very nice guy who proceeded to take my luggage, asked my last name and where I was going. I already had my boarding pass on my phone but by the time I made it to the counter, he had already printed it, and I just loved his great attitude; I didn’t have the heart to tell him I didn’t need the one he printed.

I looked behind me and George was walking towards me with my carry-on. I met him halfway. He let the handle go and wrapped me in his arms. His eyes caught mine and suddenly, I felt pools of tears threatening to overspill. I turned and buried my face in his chest.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t like traveling without you.” My anxiety had caught up with me, and I realized I truly was anxious about going alone – I’m getting better at flying but the truth is I still get nervous — but that wasn’t all. I also realized something that actually rendered me happy to be sad: I really didn’t want to go without him! This was/is truly a miracle considering the last two years, an incredibly tough season, and we are actually still going through it but hopefully we are at the tail end. We are beginning to see a light at the end of what was once a very dark tunnel. Oops, there I go, getting distracted again!
He held my face between his hands and again looked right at me.  “You go and have a good time with the kids, okay?”

My throat was so full of tears, I couldn’t speak.

“Okay?” he repeated.

I nodded affirmatively. He hugged me to him one more time and then turned to walk back to the car. I ran after him, actually right past him, and quickly gave each of our four-legged children a hug and a kiss, closed the door, said good-bye and kept my head down so he couldn’t see the tears that were now escaping my throat and pouring out. I went behind the wall, took off my glasses and just let them fall, all the way down to the ground.

Without warning, I actually started to go down Panic Place, but then a Power greater than I tugged on my mind, reminding me of the pastor’s message from last Sunday entitled “This Changes Everything.” He went on to share that we are limited by our beliefs, and if we don’t believe that Jesus resurrected, where does that leave us?  He was speaking about the gospel truth, that because of the death of Christ, His resurrection and ascension into heaven, He left us with the gift of His Spirit.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when someone gives me a gift, though it may be sometimes awkward to accept, I take it and appreciate it. How do I show appreciation? By using it, if it’s something to use, and if it’s not, but rather something to just look at, I put it where I can see it often.

If we have truly accepted the gift of Christ into our hearts and lives, the gift of grace, then we need to realize that that gift comes with a gift: that of the Spirit to do life with. That truth begs this question: Do I live like I believe… His Spirit is in me? Doesn’t the Word tell me that greater is He that is in me than He who is in the world? (1st John 4:4)

I dried my eyes, but what I wouldn’t have given for a napkin to blow my nose! I made my way inside, and went right through without all the security drama because I had been TSA preapproved. I smiled from within, knowing that because He lives in me, I can face anything, including an airplane ride without my husband.

Coffee Hour Friend, wherever you’re going today, in whatever you endeavor to do, can I encourage you to remember that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! Seize the opportunities coming your way to live like you believe!

Join me tomorrow for Trench Tuesday and of course Wednesday for Wednesday’s Word where I’ll share what happened on the plane and how He showed Himself to me!

Filled,

Evinda

 

March 17th, 2017

Faith-filled Friday

Thanks for joining us for Faith-filled Friday!

Recently I have come across several people that have been caught out in the rain. I always seem to come across them when I am on my way home. The other day I came across a girl who was skating down the street on a long-board in the rain. I had just pulled up to my home and was looking forward to getting in and taking a shower and doing some meditation. Just as I pulled up and parked, she skated by. So I started my engine back up and shouted out to her, asking if she’d like a ride. I wasn’t expecting her to say yes as most times women do not take rides from men they don’t know, and who can blame them?

However, she responded that she’d love a ride. So she hopped in with her skateboard and backpack and I asked her where she was going. She was on her way to the Napa Valley Roasting company, a great place for a cup of coffee and conversation.

 

I always look for ways to start up conversations with people. I do this partly because I believe that every person on this earth has a purpose and a message and I am always trying to understand people and what message they might have, just where they might fit into the puzzle of our society. It has led to some amazing conversations and oftentimes inspiration too.

 

I asked the girl if she was ok; she seemed like she was thinking about something. She said it was her mother’s birthday and that she wishes that she could call her but that they were not on good terms. This hit a note with me because my mother and me also have a very strained relationship. So I asked her if she thought about maybe sending an email, a text message or just a simple letter. She said she wouldn’t know what to say. I told her that I too did not always know what to say to my mother but that sometimes we don’t need to say anything other than “I love you, Mom”. Or just a simple Happy Birthday wish on a piece of paper. I told her that keeping it simple is sometimes just the best way but that it’s always in her own interest as well as her mother’s to send her love.

 

Love is surely not meant to be held inward. It was meant to catch the wind and fill the sail. Wind is invisible and yet it’s so powerful. Love is the same way; you can’t necessarily see it but it can move things… and once it does, then you see love’s powerful force and outcome. Love gives us meaning and understanding and sometimes it gives us a card or letter with only a few words.

 

She told me that she would send her at least a letter but would have to find an envelope. Anyhow with that she was out the door and I wished her well. On the way home I had a thought so when I got there, I hurried in the door and grabbed a notebook, a couple pens, my book of stamps and several envelopes. I put them in a big zip lock so they could stay dry and drove back to the coffee shop hoping she would still be there. When I got there she was sitting there already drinking a cup of coffee.

I handed her the bag and told her that whenever she missed home or her mother, to write a few sentences and drop it in the mail. I told her that if she’d write a small letter to her mother right there, that I would write one as well. As I got done (after her of course as I am slow) I asked her if I could get a stamp back as I’d given her all of mine. She laughed and told me how cool it was that I did that with her.  And then she asked if I could mail her letter for her. I was so honored that she’d entrust me with that letter to her mother.

 

I dropped our mothers’ letters in the mail on the way home. It felt so good just to be trusted like that. In the end of this experience that girl gave me something that I really miss. I miss people in the world trusting a stranger, to believe they are going to do you right, to me trust is the most important thing. It expands love and it’s the most amazing thing to be grateful for. When someone looks at you and they just know you got their back, for me, that’s an amazing feeling. I want to trust people like this and I surely want them to trust me this way. Like I said, everyone has a message to give us in the puzzle of life, even when they don’t know it

 

 

~John Tam

 

March 16th, 2017

Thursday’s Trench Truth

Thanks for stopping by for Thursday’s Trench Truth as well as Invitation Thursdays @ Coffeehour with Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. Grab your break-time beverage and come on in for a moment of truth and an invitation which I hope you will accept.

Laughter that renders us speechless if worth repeating! It Pays to Laugh! Join us

March 15th, 2017

Wednesday’s Word

The 6th of the 7th Presumptuous sins and the Mask

Proverbs 6:19:”… A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren,”

Thanks so much for stopping by for our time together @ Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. I love Wednesday’s Word and the opportunity to share from my heart to yours. Grab your coffee, or whatever you’re having, and your Strand of Faith so we can tie some knots in our faith

As I shared in Monday’s Mantra, I’ve been mentoring a 30+ year old young lady in her spiritual journey and had invited her to let me know if she had any questions when it came to reading scripture. She, like many of us, says she reads it and she just doesn’t understand; it doesn’t speak to her, so I’ve given her a couple of tools and tips to use when endeavoring to journey through the Greatest Book ever written. And last week, she called and said she had some questions. I just love it when people take me up on that invitation! It’s usually a win/win where we both learn!

We met a few days later and she opened up her Bible to her questions and it was so refreshing to see where she had circled the portion of scripture she read and put a big question mark to the right of it. I was excited to bite into it and enjoy the scriptural meal with her. J

I asked her if she had ever heard of “The 7 Sins” and she shook her head no.  I read the verses aloud and as I got to verse 19, which reads, “A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren,” my heart skipped a beat as it collided with my passion.

So let’s push the pause button on my mentoring session for a few minutes because it also collides with this very important question I was asked several weeks ago which I’d like to now ask you:

What moves you so deeply that it keeps you awake at night? Can you even answer that?  I’ve asked that of many people and I am amazed at their inability to answer.

When I read that a few weeks ago, I wrote my answer so fast that I surprised myself! My heart aches over the way in which we’ve been taught not to be transparent in dealing with our past, and to forget it as well as our current struggles! Now, I may step on some toes here, but please know it’s done with a passion for change, not condemnation.

Why is it that we get to a certain age and discover we’ve lost ourselves? Do we just get so busy living that we forget how to really live life? Why do we not live out our God-given potential, and instead become what we think others want us to be?

I think this collides with the 6th of the 7 presumptuous sins, which is being a false witness, and that takes on many forms, but a common and often unconscious form is denying our past, running from it instead of facing it and learning from it. This is a form of poison within the church and is doing a lot of damage.

I have learned firsthand that the way the church spiritualizes emotional issues and dysfunctional cycles as a result of any form of abuse actually makes the problem a bigger problem and creates a mask that we in the faith hide behind!

For over three years, I have watched transparency bring freedom to study dysfunctional cycles, which has helped the transformers not repeat them. Hear this truth, Coffee Hour Friend: History must be studied or we will repeat it!

That’s my heart!

See, the 6th of the 7 presumptuous sins is “a false witness who breathes out lies,” and when we read that, especially if we are “believers,” we think, we’ll that’s not me; whew, I’m safe. However, we see Satan doing his best work in the church! Why is that? How can that be, right? Because hurt people hurt people!

How many times have we heard 1st Corinthians 5:17 which states that when we come to Christ, we’re a new creation all things of old have gone and we are made new (paraphrased)? How many times is that taken as a permission slip to forget about our painful past, but then what?

We can’t deny our past because inevitably effects of the past surface and spill over into every relationship! But when we continue hiding behind our mask of faith, repeating those negative relational cycles without answers, this becomes a false witness.

So what moves you, Friend? What God-given passion is buried inside of you, or hiding behind the mask of faith?

In His Love,

Evinda

March 14th, 2017

Tuesday’s Trench Truth

Thanks for stopping by Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United for our Tuesday’s Trench Truth, which also includes a special invite to our next Trench Class. Grab your coffee and come on in for a couple minutes.

What is it like to live fueled by hope? What would it be like to live free from anger? Does this mean I’ll never be down, or never get angry? Absolutely not, but I believe to live fueled by hope is only possible when we stop hoping in others for our happiness! Have you ever said “If only _____ would do ______, then I’d be happy”? Or, “if only ____ wouldn’t do _____, then we’d be happy”?

Chances are, your hope hinges on something or someone who keeps sending your hope out the door! Join us to learn how to have healthy relational expectations that fuel us with hope and free us from anger https://www.trenchclassesunited.com/transformtrenchclasses.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking forward to working with you,

Evinda

 

March 13th, 2017

Monday’s Mantra

Spiritually Slothful or Spiritually Fit…

Welcome to Monday’s Mantra @ Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. I’m so glad you could join me today for an interesting mantra. Grab your coffee and your Strand of Faith and come on in.

Have you ever heard of “The 7 Sins,” or “The 7 Presumptuous Sins”? Actually, I’ve heard these phrases several times and have been curious about their origin and meaning, but I just haven’t gotten around to studying them…that is until a sweet, sweet young lady that I’ve been mentoring pointed them out with a question.

She showed me a passage of scripture she had circled and outside of the circle was a big question mark. It was this portion of scripture, Proverbs 6:6-19, and as soon as I read it, I had my own a-ha moment for finally I was reading about “The 7 Sins”! To paraphrase, they are: pride, envy, lust, gluttony, anger, greed or sloth. Let’s push the pause button right here!

What caused my heart to pitter-patter was the definition for the 7th sin, sloth. Sloth means “the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.”

I must admit, I’m ecstatic to see that “spiritual” work is included! What does “spiritual work” mean to you?

We all encounter slothful or lazy people but how would you describe someone who is spiritually slothful? We are told in Philippians 2:2 that we are to work out our salvation…and I do believe that is a daily workout! When I go to the gym, I usually have a routine, if you will, to exercising. I usually start with some cardio, and then I concentrate on at least two muscle groups. And I don’t take a long time to do it, but I get it done!

What does a spiritual workout look like? Now, don’t misunderstand me and think I’m saying our salvation is procured by works because it’s not. Our salvation is procured by grace, not works, but it is an exercise to be completed daily; otherwise, how will your spiritual muscles grow?

Diet and exercise do not just apply to the physical being! We are created mind, body and soul and when we feed and/or exercise the body without feeding and/or exercising the soul, we are out of balance. It’s kind of analogous to a car without the fourth tire, or a boat without a captain, or even more dramatic and traumatic, a plane without a pilot.  We’ve got to avoid becoming an emotional wreck and out of balance as a result of spiritual slothfulness.

To create a spiritual diet, think of it as Digesting Internally Eternal Things.  What does that mean? Well I’ll answer with a question: Did you know what goes in is what comes out?   What are you taking in with your eyes, ears and mind…spiritually? You can always begin your spiritually fit routine with prayer! He loves it when you talk with Him and consistent communication with Him is sure to grow your spiritual muscles! Start planning your spiritual diet that you may become spiritually fit and not considered spiritually slothful!

Thoughtfully,

Evinda