My first goal for 2017: Complete a blog entry on WordPress by 12:01 a.m. Arizona time. I started around 7:45 p.m. to get a head start. Not because it takes me more than four hours to complete my thoughts, and then write/type them in, but because I am a mother, whose time gets interrupted intermittently. It’s also proof that achieving a goal takes a thought process of planning as well as action. More importantly, the goal is set because I want to enter the new year doing what it is I hope to do for the remainder of 2017 and the years following: write. For the past several years of my life, an old saying that I used to hear my late grandfather Bishop John Trammel, Sr. say repeatedly during New Year’s Watch Night church services has come true: “Whatever you’re doing at the start of the year, is what you’ll be doing most of the year.” I used to dismiss this remark as a scare tactic to stay in church, and for many it was. But for my grandfather, it was a truism to his legacy; therefore, it’s a blueprint for my life. It’s the kind of ideal that has to be reflected on looking back, in order to follow steps going forward. So, I am taking this moment to look back in order to see where I want to go forward.
I couldn’t imagine where in my life I would be without faith, other than lost. When I was working for 9-1-1 in Montgomery County, Maryland from 2001 to 2011, I was almost always on duty bringing in the New Year. The occupation is extremely stressful and can take a toll on physical and mental health. The pay is great and overtime aplenty. Office policies such as; last minute mandatory overtime due to scheduling shortage, off duty call-ins, and denied vacation leave were the pitfalls of the job (which happens too frequently). My grandfather’s statement proved true: I started out the New Year working a stressful job, and I worked it throughout the year. However, it didn’t stop me from whispering a word of prayer and exultation. I was very humbled and gracious for having that job which empowered me to raise two beautiful young women. There were so many other ways that I could have failed myself and my children (especially for being in my 20’s) that the stress inducing workplace was the best place for me to take care of us, for a little while. In October 2010, my father’s battle with diabetes became serious with the first amputation taking place, and me leaving the job behind in 2011 to be with him at the scariest moments of his life. Little did I know, that all of our lives were about to change dramatically.
For New Year’s 2012, my family celebrated with friends of my mother in their beautiful home in Arizona. I wish I had known then what I know now, which is the art of networking, not just chatting. Not that I heard anyone there was an aspiring author, but you never know who or what is needed in the future. It’s a lesson learned, and I do not believe that party will be the last New Year’s Eve party I’ll ever attend. Did I party all of 2012? Not hardly, but I did begin to adjust to being a stay-at-home care provider, the desert life in Phoenix, and published my second novel: “The Pusher, the Prostitute and a Preacher”.
I was back in church for New Year’s 2013 through 2015, and in those years, I did work within the church I was attending. I used to present the announcements before the congregation, participate in intercessory prayer and other activities to keep my faith strong while caring for my family.
Last year, I entered 2016 on the road, driving a minivan with my mother, my three children (two are non-driving adults), and a dear family friend to Pearland, Texas from Phoenix, Arizona. The trip was to attend a funeral. In the first week of 2016, I was at a funeral. The day before Valentine’s Day, my own father passed away. And as the months of 2016 toiled on, other family members and iconic celebrities of pop culture were all making their heavenly march. For many, 2016 was very grievous from beginning to end. Many are glad that it is over, and more importantly, they survived. People who were once a part of our daily activities are now a part of our daily memories. It’s tough to move on from that, but very necessary.
It’s after midnight in my home state. Happy New Year East Coast!
I hope I have proven the means to the end that I want to approach in a clear and concise manner. I am beginning this incoming year sitting at my laptop, typing thoughts into internet space, praying the correct eyes, heart and mind read them eventually and be inspired. (And now, I can keep going until the clock strikes twelve because my five year old son is asleep.) This entry seems to be built upon a principle that is circumstantial at best, and that is true, if you do not know or trust God for yourself. My grandfather’s admonishing statement is the same as saying, “humans are creatures of habit”, a statement I’ve heard and read repeatedly when describing human behaviors. Moreover, Albert Einstein is credited for stating: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” I’ve concluded in my forty years of living life, that both my grandfather (a righteous man and full believer in Jesus Christ as our savior) and Albert Einstein (a great scientific genius) are both correct. (Side note: this does not make me a Christian scientist. I do not practice nor study Christian scientology.) I cannot expect to achieve my goal of becoming a best selling author by spending more time in places other than this laptop. I must change my habits to make them work in my favor. Since I am beginning 2017 writing a blog, I hope to end 2017 writing a blog, telling the strides I’ve made to complete the ultimate goal of becoming a successful selling writer.
It was important for me to start this blog ahead of time because I actually received holy confirmation through a word shared with me by a new client/friend that I met as recent as three months ago. She shared with me last week Deuteronomy 15, the chapter that cancels all debts going back seven years. The daily devotion said that God is bringing us into our seventh year, clearing the debts behind us, making us ready for the blessings before us. As my friend was reading, it became clear to me that I was entering the seventh year because it all started for me truly walking in faith and not by sight in October 2010 with my father’s first amputation. Anytime I hear a word, it always come from a place where I least expect it and it proves to be true. Deuteronomy is not one of my favorite books in the Bible, so I hadn’t read it in a very long time (since childhood). I was not expecting to hear my divine promise fulfillment is beginning from my least favorite part of the Bible. (Side note: My friend was slightly offended when I said Deuteronomy is my least favorite part of the Bible. I do not intend to offend any readers with this statement. My intention is to demonstrate how God’s communication is personally effective.) And right now, as I am typing this post at 11:29 p.m. Arizona time, the ground is wet, the sky is cloudy, and heavy rain is in the forecast. My boyfriend was just commenting negatively about it. I told him it’s a good sign. Rain is a blessing in the desert. Not only that, it has not rained a single New Year’s night since we moved here. So, to me, it’s already at a good start. Now to keep it going…
I have been haunted on the internet by the advertisement for James Patterson’s MasterClass online teaching program. It’s in every part of my internet interaction, including my boyfriend’s NFL searches. I had bypassed it a few times on Facebook, but finally decided to look into it, and the comments about it. I was very eager to take the classes, and started thinking of which bill I had to rob in order to pay the $90 entry fee, until I read the states where prohibited: ARIZONA and Louisiana. I live in Phoenix, AZ. I am sorely disappointed. I will not be able to participate in the contest to have the chance to co-author a book with Mr. Patterson all because of my state residency, a place that has been designated as #1 in the country for children with autism; therefore, ideal for raising my son. Yet another form of self neglect or sacrifice that I have to make for the sake of my children and most importantly, obedience to God. I had to give myself a pep talk. I am truly, utterly dismayed that I cannot participate in the contest, but I can still take the classes. I will do so for the learning experience. I thought to myself how civil rights pioneers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks did not allow the law to get in the way of their achievements. Besides, this is civil law, not criminal, so there is no risk of me going to jail or jeopardizing my freedom. And even though it prohibits me from winning award money and career advancement opportunities, it cannot stop me from learning to recognize and act upon them within the law in the future. I’m not yet enrolled, and I hope to be. I contacted their online support team to confirm that I can take the classes without participating in the contest.
Even though this blog post is about me, I truly hope you as the reader can take moments to reflect upon within your own life, to have conscious thought and a plan of action to get to where it is you want to go. If you’ve reached your destination, God bless you, and I hope you’re using your experience to mentor to others that are trying to do the same. Getting from New Year to New Year is not the easiest of tasks. The days are mixed of good and bad, take it or leave it, love it or hate it. It’s been my personal experience that Jesus Christ gets me through it all with resounding peace and conflict resolution. I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I make daily resolutions. Each day, I resolve to asking Him for serenity: “accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (The Serenity Prayer Reinhold Neihbur, 1892-1971).
Now that I have a few minutes left, I have to do some editing. And then, the publish button, first goal accomplished. Happy New Year everyone!