Boko Hiram and Others Are Socio-Political Extremists Conveniently Hijacking Religion

The Nigerian government believes that Boko Hiram will keep their end of the recent cease fire agreement, but many people are skeptical.

This terror group is responsible for murdering more than 5,000 Nigerians at schools, churches, mosques, highways, bus stations, police stations, and at military checkpoints over the past 5 years all because they saw these people as pro-government.

Boko Hiram’s supposed mission is to return Nigeria back to a pre-colonial Muslim state, but by killing and kidnapping people, they have only proven that it is not in the name of Allah that they serve, but only in their own twisted and sadistic self-interest.

It is to gain recognition and possibly riches (from fundraising and looting). But definitely not to bring the overarching message of love, peace, forgiveness, charity, acceptance, and equality mentioned in the Koran. The same Koran that honorably references Jesus Christ numerous times throughout. I state this fact for Christians who don’t know this and continue to spread misinformation about Islam and Muslims.

To take this a step farther, beyond the extremism and violence, I make the statement that this terror group (and others like them) couldn’t genuinely be doing this in the name of Allah is because they freely killed people at mosques, while these people were praying to Allah. They weren’t praying to Satan. They weren’t praying to some pagan image or an animal. They were praying to Allah.

These innocent people died for what exactly?

They were murdered for being pro-government. What does that have to do with religion? Any religion?

So even in one’s ability to admonish this terror group, and others like them, by declaring that they go against the Koran. The most effective point of proving that this group is less concerned about honoring Allah, and more concerned with attacking governments and people (and taking pleasure and credit for it), is the fact that they have killed numerous Muslims–worshippers of Allah– the same Allah that Boko Hiram dishonorably mention as they spew hate and kill at their house of worship.

How could you bring violence to a known place of peace and love? How could Allah ever condone that behavior? If you have ever been inside of a mosque you could never visualize violence taking place there. But it’s happened countless times all around the world.

Boko Hiram aren’t religious extremists. They are socio-political extremists and opportunists masquerading as religious purists, just to have a niche footing in the battle.

You can stir up more fear when you leverage religion.

I bet if you sat them down and had an honest and open dialogue about what they are for, and not just what they think they are against, everyone at the table would be shocked, including them. It’s amazing how a principle initially fought for can be brutally mutilated into something totally different over time. Sometimes a noble argument can morph into a dangerous battle.

How does what you want now the same, similar, or different than what you wanted several years ago when your gang was just a member of one to three people?

Boko Hiram means “Western education is sinful” yet where are their schools or funding proposals for schools that peacefully teach their view on how children should grow and participate not only within their villages, towns, cities, and countries, but in other countries around the world?

Where are their schools where they are teaching love, acceptance, charity, respect for self and others, inclusion, equality, dignity, honor, and healthy pride?

They don’t have any because they are too busy spewing hate, killing people, and kidnapping innocent girls and holding them hostage for six months. They are too busy recruiting and brainwashing vulnerable people to be soldiers in a fight that they are clueless about.

If you want a greater Muslim influence and to see more mosques and schools teaching and practicing the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, then build them. Go home to home, town to town, lovingly teaching the words eloquently written in the Koran.

Maybe western education is sinful. But you don’t kill the sinner, you pray for them and you work to help them help themselves. This is the sin of many religions around the world. We don’t practice what we preach in houses of worship.

Ironically, the military weapons Boko Hiram, ISIL, and other terror groups use are designed from original western thought and first used by western military pioneers. Mass murder is entertainment in our movies and tv shows. We sing about it in songs. We’re fascinated by gangsters and drug lords. But terror groups can’t chastise the western world for creating the monster, and then use the monster for their own twisted benefit. By using western guns to kill people, they are just as guilty as the people they want to persecute.

You can’t be outraged by what someone is doing to you (or you think they are doing) and then you turn around and do the same thing—and 99% of the time not even against the actual people you hold responsible, but the thousands and millions of innocent people who have done absolutely nothing but live their lives.

This behavior is hypocritical. It’s cowardly and anything but honorable.

Western culture is now easily depicted and stereotyped by reality tv shows where women are seen as plastic surgery addicts, human Barbie dolls, whores and gold diggers, and both men and women are shown as self-centered, self-absorbed, obsessed with sex, addicted to drugs and alcohol, money hungry and greedy.

Maybe this is all sinful. But where in any religious text do you read that you have the right to kill these sinners? In all religious texts that I have read, God (by whatever name) has made it clear that it will be His responsibility to deal with the sinners.

So killing in His name is actually an even bigger sin!

Instead of killing why don’t you just teach children and young adults a better, more dignified way of living, that would honor God?

Boko Hiram, ISIL/ISIS, and other terror groups want to be heard, recognized, acknowledged, respected, and desire change. But no one hears, respects, or wants to work with anyone pointing a gun at them, shooting at them, stabbing and disfiguring them, kidnapping them, raping and torturing them, or killing their loved ones.

Without stopping the violence the only thing that will happen is the ultimate death of each member in the terror group.

What did that resolve? What was the learned lesson? What was gained? How did you get more people to read, study, and appreciate the Koran? How did you get more people to embrace and accept Islam? How did you get more people to convert? How did you get more people to be loving, charitable, and forgiving?

It’s not possible with hate in your heart, message, and mission.

This isn’t about God or religion. This is about some pissed off people who took their desire for positive change and allowed it to be contaminated, poisoned, and destroyed. When it’s all over, each member of these hate groups will have to answer to a Higher Power, their Creator, and at that moment it won’t matter what they think someone did to them, the Creator is going to focus on what this terrorist did to innocent men, women, and children— in His name.

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. All Rights Reserved.

Natasha’s “Revenge” Quote of the Day 12.15.11

“The best revenge is living well. I don’t need to focus my attention and energy on ‘getting even’ with anyone– because I’m already ahead of them. It would require me to turn around, go back, and invest time and resources trying to hurt them. I’d rather carry myself with grace all the way to victory. I don’t need confirmation of my greatness. I don’t need someone to tell me I’m special or brilliant. I don’t need validation. I know who I am, whose child I am, what I’m made of, and what I will and won’t tolerate in my life. I also know that the eternal will stick around while the temporal will eventually fall to the wayside, so I don’t need to hold on to things or people. As my Dad always told me, “you can’t lose what’s rightfully yours”. Everything has its purpose and place in life. So heal and let go of the past. Heal and move forward in your life. Heal and live with dignity. Seek greatness and not revenge in your life so that your remaining days on Earth are well-spent and legacy-defining.”                                        

– Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman.

Natasha’s “Discipline and Focus” Quote of the Day 12.15.11

I learn the lesson and move forward, not dwelling on what once was because I’m too focused on what I’m doing now and how it can impact my future. I’m not concerned with those I once encountered who I walked away from because if they were meant to be in my life today God would have kept them by my side…I am not concerned with what once was or if something could have been differently; the woulda, coulda, shoulda is for people who will always be less than where they need to be in life. I am also in no hurry to get to my future for I am still amazed by what is taking place today, the present, and the gifts that I receive daily by just being receptive and accountable. I strive to lead, live and make decisions in and through excellence not fear, doubt, or insecurity. Those who don’t see things that way usually don’t last walking next to me on this path. I lovingly allow them to stay behind or sprint ahead, because I’m on a long-distance mission of greatness that can’t be rushed or held behind.”

– Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

(a portion of this quote is an excerpt from her 12.15.11 “Breaking Bread With Natasha” posts. Check them out here: WordPress and Blogger)
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Incredible Response to my Feb 8th Love and Life Thought of the Day

>I have already published the comment posted below, which can be viewed immediately after my February 8th post on Love and Life Thought of the Day- but I wanted to share it with all of my readers and thank my friend and classmate Steve Woodsmall for sharing it with me. We all need words of encouragement!


Thanks Steve!






1. No man or woman is worth your tears, and the one who is won’t make you cry. 


2. Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have. 


3. A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand & touches your heart. 


4. The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside them knowing you can’ t have them 


5. Never frown, even when you are sad, because you never know who is falling in love with your smile. 


6. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. 


7. Don’t waste your time on someone, who isn’t willing to waste their time on you. 


8. Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting the right one, so that when we finally meet the person, we will know how to be grateful. 


9. Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened. 


10. There’s always going to be people that hurt you so what you have to do is keep on trusting & just be more careful about who you trust next time around. 


11. Make yourself a better person & know who you are before you try & know someone else & expect them to know you. 


12. Don’t try so hard–the best things come when you least expect them to. 


From Steve W.

>Dedicating this Song and Video to the Superwomen of the World

>

Ladies, I just wanted to tell you that through it all you CAN survive, thrive, and accomplish anything you set your mind to- but it starts with the belief in ‘YES I CAN…YES I WILL’. Those of you who are struggling to make ends meet, yet every day you rise to get your positive hustle on for yourself and your family- I commend you. To those of you who are focused on earning that diploma, whether it’s for high school or your PhD- I commend you. To those of you who are working 12-18 hour days- it doesn’t matter if you are an employee or self-employed, your hard work and dedication WILL pay off.

I commend those superwomen who are looking for a hand up not a hand out, and in turn they reach their hand back to help the next person. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Let’s focus on building each other up, not tearing the next sista girl down. Let’s look at what we have in common, and work towards what we stand for rather than focusing on fighting about our differences and what we are against.

There are days when I just feel worn out, beat down, cried out, emotionally and physically drained- and then something comes over me… a sense of joy that each and every day God wakes me to walk on the path He has placed before me. It’s not supposed to be easy- but it’s a path that is all yours! We may not see tomorrow, so let our today work for us and through us, and let it last for as long as it can. Be grateful for waking each morning- able to experience heartaches, triumphs, set backs, and successes…and the blessings that come with sharing your stories with others.

We have accomplished so much in such a short period of time. The only person who can tell you that you CAN or CAN’T do something, is YOU!

YOU ARE A SUPERWOMAN!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.
Alicia Keys Superwoman video from YouTube.com
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Natasha’s Love and Life Thought of the Day for 2.8.11

>By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Some of us strive for excellence only in our personal lives content with the belief that at least there we have some control, since we have none at out Just-Over-Broke Situations. Then there are those of us who are more focused on prosperous careers and we could care less if we have a hodge-podge relationship, dating a handful of people (and probably being dishonest to all of them), or running through life single and alone.

I believe that you can be successful in both love/family and career.

What’s the sense in having a prosperous career and you have no one worthy to share your accomplishments and setbacks with, how is that a successful life?

I strive for excellence in every aspect of my life and I truly believe that I can have both a successful personal life and career as long as there are two things constantly present that I’m focused on: God, and that I BELIEVE even when I’m scared, and especially when no one else does (or they are too self-absorbed to care).


I believe that I can be the wife who cooks, cleans, stays up late helping my husband meet deadlines or work through issues; the wife who loves him to the level (and intensity) that makes others jealous; that I can be the mother that other children wish were theirs (and my children soak it up); that I can have the loving, respectful, supportive husband, and the well-mannered, giving, caring, highly intelligent and gifted children- all nestled in our warm, inviting and beautiful home (with a well-manicured lawn, my Land Rover LR4, and a happy dog). Yes, I believe this with every fiber of my body.

At the same time I believe that I can have that demanding yet rewarding career doing all of the things that I love doing, and getting paid handsomely. I also believe that I can do all of this and still serve the least of God’s children around the world…


…while still having precious alone time to do whatever I want to do for me- even if it’s a two-hour bath with tons of candles surrounding the tub, or taking the time to read and reflect on the Word!


It all requires balance. It requires believing in myself and believing that I’m NOT doing this alone. There is a greater power out there- God- helping me along the way- opening doors, windows, vents, and more so that I can walk, jump, crawl, or wiggle inside and make a difference in my life and the lives of others.

We must be about action. There is no limit to what we can or can’t do. We can either make things happen and DO something, or we can spend our lives coasting by TALKING about our dreams. You can find your calling at any age between 20 and 90, but it is up to you whether you do what you are called to do or waste the time making excuses why mediocrity is the best you can produce.

We must remember that there IS a time limit on life; tomorrow is not promised- so we have to seize the moment and learn each day to LIVE OUR DREAMS!


Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Lessons Learned Now Move Forward

>I had a conversation with a dear friend Tuesday night while we ate dinner. We were discussing my past, past loves, past hurt, the lessons learned and the blessing of humor that helped keep me sane- without it I’m sure I would have been on the first episode of the show “Snapped“.

He told me, “wow Tasha you have been through a lot“. That would definitely be an understatement. One thing I can say after years of much-needed healing, and through this process of growth and rebuilding- I don’t regret what I have gone through because it has definitely made me stronger and wiser. It has also made me more conscientious in my dealings with others and with how intentional I am in my commitments- in thought and deed. When you have been duped once it’s a “shame on them” moment, but as many of us soon realize- the second time is a definite “shame on me“. So the third time you get played (or play yourself) you need a psych evaluation…and in a hurry!

Photo Credit: marriedmysugardaddy.com

In these short 35-years I have lived an oxymoronic ‘long life’ as I grew up very fast; partly because of circumstances and partly because I wanted to be “grown” so I could do what I wanted when I wanted. Lord, God has an amazing sense of humor because not only do I miss my childhood and the freedom I took for granted, but I have grown to learn that I can’t do what I want whenever I want- those darn things called bills and obligations keep pestering me. I have also learned as my friend John Hope Bryant frequently is heard saying, “Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans…” and with that I have spent more than 30 years telling God what I was going to do, who I was going to be with, when I would marry and have children, when I would have a successful career and personal life, and a long laundry list of other things I thought I could naively control.

An amazing thing through this journey that I have also stood firmly in is my reality that I am not damaged goods. I am not hopeless or helpless. I am not a victim. Hard-headed…yes, but I don’t need rescuing. In my strength there is a vulnerability. Inside of me is a desire to love and be loved fully and intentionally. Inside of me is a warrior princess looking for the opportunity to help the masses of people whose hope is waning. I want to help those both inside and outside of my culture  and community; the voiceless, the fearful, the wise who are overlooked and overshadowed; and the disenfranchised, under-served and underrepresented. I want to be a true ambassador of goodness and dignity. I want to give more because I have been given so much from God. I want to teach others to ‘fish’ and bake, and not simply give them fish and loaves of bread.

Since I was a small child it has been my lifelong mission to save the world one person at a time. I have never been concerned with how I could benefit from a transaction, deal, or experience – I always wondered how I could help others in the process. It is not my desire to acquire wealth just for self- but to find ways to provide resources for others to learn, grow, and then pay it forward. I don’t want to rule over others and call myself a ‘public servant’- no offense to politicians- but I would rather continue serving the least of God’s children for free and be wealthier, wiser, and more powerful than any government official could ever be…and sleep with a clear conscious each night!

Image Credit: Matt Groening
Source: Irishtimes.com

I have worked hard and diligently as a Business and Entertainment Consultant, a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, a PhD student, and as a child of God who happens to be a woman and Black. There is only one source for these successes (and the others I humbly and modestly refrain from listing) and that is God. Call Him what you want- He knows who He is and His role in your life (or lack thereof). We all should be putting our faith in something greater and better than us and that is what matters most. In this new year my focus is on Him first, and keeping my ears, eyes and heart open to the possibilities and opportunities He has planned for me- because I realized something- I have not pushed myself through the threshold, and through hell and back in a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, I have worked hard- but I haven’t worked to exhaustion and then kept going. I know how this feels and last year I didn’t reach that point. My knuckles, face and knees weren’t bloodied, and because of that I didn’t see the pay off I should have. Lesson learned.

Photo Credit: zazzle.com

This year I must face my fears in business and in my personal life, and shatter the lies that I have allowed to hold me hostage. I want to give my all in everything; no half-stepping, no game playing, no rationing or rationalizing. I want to see things through and give 100% effort  in every aspect of my life. When we learn life’s lessons the purpose is to then move forward to the next lesson, not sit back and ponder endlessly the how’s, when’s, why’s, and what’s. I have also surmised that the people we have in our lives is an important factor in our overall success- because let’s be honest…most people who are successful in business suck rotten lemons in their personal lives. Show me 10 successful business people who have successful marriages, families, and personal lives. I will wait….

It is possible to have a successful career and personal life. It is possible to be an incredible business person, husband/wife, parent, and friend. But do you know what the majority of people are missing? What we are missing is the valuable link of a spiritual foundation. Not religion- but spirituality. Take out the formalities, the rituals and traditions- and get to the root- your Creator. When you put Him first in all decision-making, in all relationships, and situations then you are no longer thinking of self first, you are surrendering all to a higher power. When you put Him first you never think twice about emotionally or sexually cheating, juggling multiple partners, misrepresenting yourself to others, or playing games when it comes to matters of the heart. When you put Him first you never walk over business associates, or casually evict a struggling family trying to live paycheck to paycheck.

Get past the simple thinking of ritualistic prayer (and at convenient times only) and get centered on having a spiritual foundation and reference point every second of every day. When we realize that we can’t control much of anything and finally let go of the ‘steering wheel’ and focus on our roles and responsibilities, we will be able to clearly see how to balance our segmented ‘worlds’ within the grand scheme.

This year I will let go and move forward. This year I stop trying to prove myself to people who really don’t matter (when you think about it) and just express myself genuinely and humbly. The rest will always work itself out- and with it will come the balance we all truly want and need. With that comes a successful, honest, loving, and real marriage and family. With that comes a successful career surrounded by people who respect you for how you treat them not just because of your title and the perceived power you have over them, or because of what you can give them (or help them get). With that comes people who know that I am more than a pretty face with a cute figure. This is something many women are struggling to overcome- the ‘brains over beauty’ battle. We have grown to find our best assets aren’t the ones tucked away in our heads, but rather the ones that should be tucked away under clothes.

So this year I will continue weeding out those people who are only leaches. I will weed out those people who want to hold on to me but don’t want to be loyal to me. I will avoid relationships with people who don’t walk in the light that brings healthy growth and spiritual prosperity. I will avoid people who would have me compromise my morals and values to satisfy their selfish needs. I will remove myself from situations that are infectious, and I will only associate with those people who truly want the best for and from me, who bring out the best in me, and give me their best for no other reason than because they are revealing what is inside of them- goodness, dignity, honor, and love.

What will you do with the lessons you have learned thus far? What values are you representing and standing firmly within? To paraphrase an old saying, “a person who won’t stand for something will fall for anything“. This is your moment so seize it!

Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>I’m More Than What You Think

>I'm more than the color of my skin, the length and texture of my hair, or how many different shades that I dye it; or my almond-shaped eyes, one hazel and one brown. I'm more than my ovaries or mammaries; more than my pearly whites, my long, thick thighs, or my body art. I'm more than my small feet or the size of my clothes.

I'm more than the college degrees displayed in my home, or the certificates and plaques of achievement, excellence, and appreciation. I'm more than the professional license I carry, the articles I've written, the blogs I post, or the books I read.

I'm more than the people I know, the places I've been, and the things I've experienced; more than my ancestral ties, or where I was born and raised in the Golden State. I'm definitely more than the men that I date.

I'm much much more, because all of these things don't make me who I am; I can lose them at any moment. They can become a forgotten memory, or damaged and irreplaceable. But one thing that will never change, one thing that defines me and I'm most proud of is, that…I'm a child of God, and through Him I'm perfect even with my flaws!

Do you know yourself?

-Written by Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Never Losing Sight of Who We Are and Where We’re Going

>Let me first start by saying that I am truly blessed. I have had my share of ups and downs. I have enjoyed acquiring countless worldly possessions. I have also experienced the heartache of losing them to theft, oversight, or total disregard that they weren't mine to begin with, but God's gifts to me on loan. I have seen, experienced, and felt great loss through death, personal economic downslides, and career and relationship failures. This young woman, soon-to-be age 35 in 22 days, has experienced many things that some people will never witness; but I'm blessed for these experiences.

I can recall the day when I was around the age of four when my parents and I walked though our huge storage unit, to see that only a few items were there. Our beds, furniture, and the majority of our personal belongings were gone…stolen. How traumatic an experience at such a young age. My Holly Hobby playhouse, bedroom set, and so much more was gone! What about when 1993 rolled around and once again, personal property was stolen from my family- this time, directly from our home. Then the knockout blow came shortly after when we lost that same home. Yikes! We were homeless by definition, but to my family, home is where the heart is- and our hearts were connected together and intertwined with God.

It seems just like yesterday, but it was actually 1999, when I received a phone call that almost everything I owned was stolen out of a personal storage unit. The few items I possessed I had stored at my uncle's home, and at my mother's home. Something about those storage units, even with so-called top-notch security, my stuff always seemed to come up missing. That same year my prized BMW was vandalized by someone who didn't want to see me happy. I lost yet another material possession.

Several of my first posts to this blog shared my experiences of loss through death. I have had so many loved ones pass away that it was at one point seeming like a sick, twisted joke. I was questioning God why I was experiencing all of this loss, why did it have to be so painful and agonizing. I noticed I was becoming even more fixated on death, on losing things and the people that I loved and still love deeply. I began to miss my childhood, when everything seemed perfect and as it should be…depression caught ahold of me and placed me in a series of bear and sleeper holds that was crippling for many, many years.

Depression caused me to lose faith, lose sight of what my plan and purpose is here. It caused me to not extend my hand when opportunity was dropping 'loaves' for me to sustain, to build, to grow. I wasn't seizing the moments that were presented as gifts. I was letting life pass me by. I was so obsessed with not losing anything that I didn't notice that I was still losing plenty. My career spiraled head-first into the ground, partly because I sacrificed it in order to appease a man I was dating; and partly because I was so fearful of losing something that I wouldn't trust and believe in myself consistently to make the right decisions. I soon exhausted all of my savings, my credit sank like the Titanic, and I began to have serious health issues. I was at a low.

Now let me stop here for a moment and say that this isn't one of my deep spiritual posts. It is spiritual, but I'm not trying to go directly there with you. You can visit my other blog breakingbreadwithnatasha.blogspot.com if you want to lovingly break bread with me and share some daily scriptures, prayers, and reflection. Now let's continue…

It takes a strong person to face loss, fall flat on their face (figuratively shattering every bone) and then get back up on their feet. I have been one-two punched, jabbed, caught a hook to the kidney region, sucker-punched in the gut, and undercut dead center on my jaw by life countless times. I just find a way to dig down deep, pray for strength and guidance, as I look for something to grab ahold to so that I can pull myself up to my knees, then my feet. Once standing it can cause your vision to be blurry because the hit you took knocked the wind out of you and jogged your faculties. Slow, steady breaths help to cleanse you and clear your mind so that you can reconnect. The tingling from numb extremities eventually dissipates, and you know that your body's blood flow is back on its normal pace. There is a constant reminder that you just got your butt kicked, because your face still hurts from falling on it…but even that is okay because at least you know that you survived, and are alive!

It is important to look back and ask yourself, "okay so how did that happen?"

The answer is simple yet possibly hard to grasp, and even harder to implement a solution- You lost sight of things. You weren't paying attention in the boxing ring of life. You instead did one or more of the following:

1) You stood there in the middle of the ring and took a pounding
2) You were too busy looking out in the audience trying to see how many fans were cheering for you, and didn't see that hook coming towards the temple of your head.
3) Your foot action got sloppy because of your lack of conditioning, and being tired, you allowed yourself to rest and eventually be pinned against the ropes, as your opponent tagged their name into your forehead, chest and rib cage.
4) You should have been bobbing and weaving, making sure to keep your gloves up, arms tucked in, and feet moving. You got anxious and dropped your right hand trying to land that TKO, but instead life tapped you with it's left fist and you landed face first on the floor.

It is very easy to lose focus when our focus is on fear, a desire for power and privilege, and or, on acquiring worldly possessions just because we want something to possess- to prove our success, and that we made it. It is also easy to lose focus when we turn our eyes away from our path, and focus on someone's path in hopes of walking beside them. If we are meant to walk on the same path with someone, then that will be revealed, and our eyes are never diverted from what we were doing before we met them. It should be a natural flow and transition, no delays or derailments. It should be seamless.

I can admit that I can be hard-headed. I also believe that my Creator, God, obviously has a great sense of humor dealing with me. He obviously also loves me dearly because He could have easily zapped me out of here a long time ago. I do know that He often thumps me in the back of my head when I'm veering too far in one direction, when I should be going another route. Let me share why I say this.

After realizing that my career had spun out of control, that my financial prospectus was nothing worth sharing with anyone with a pulse, and that I had a weakness for loving love more than I loved God and myself; what do you think happened after I worked diligently to rebuild my credit, purchase a cute, affordable car (that wouldn't tear my vital organs out if it were vandalized), and gradually see a steady lifeline in my career?

I screwed it all up.

I lost my focus while in love, and let someone else's dreams and path deter me from mine. I forgot who I was and what my mission was. I leveraged my strengths and opportunities to counter and uplift his weaknesses and threats. The more I helped him on his path, the farther I walked away from mine. The more I helped his financial situation and career hiccups, the worse mine became. Eventually his credit became better than mine, his savings account balance grew, as mine was depleted; his career had a brighter outlook, and mine was almost in the toilet. I had walked so far away from my path that I was lost in the wilderness.

How could I do that to myself? How could I lose focus? How could I place more importance on someone else, and not on myself, especially when they weren't even helping me reclaim my footing on my path? I let someone's self-serving ways lure me towards servitude as their 'property', instead of staying true to myself. Guess what I received for sacrificing myself for him? Guess what I received for my loyalty, encouragement, and investments (both in time and money)? I received the gift of loss, enlightenment, humility, and wisdom all in one huge box with fancy wrapping paper and a bow. That was definitely my "ah-ha!" moment.

I'm truly blessed. I'm blessed to have experienced it, this time in a different way. I learned in that relationship exchange how to be giving, nurturing, supportive, caring, and understanding. I learned how to sacrifice my need for instant gratification in order to provide for what I considered my 'family'. It was a humbling experience. Going from breadwinner to just-over-broke in a few short years can do that. Having to rebuild alone, but never truly alone (I have grown to discover the past 13 months now), and having to believe that even that initial pain would pass, and lay the foundation of wisdom to grow and share with others.

Am I mad at him? Heck no, why should I? How can you be mad at someone else for something you did to yourself, for something you were a willing participant in? Duh!

I am blessed. My life so far has shown me that although I have been beat up from the tip of my toes to the scalp of my head, I am a fighter and I will thrive. I needed to see how it feels when I lose sight of what I'm supposed to be doing; when I get comfortable in accepting mediocrity in myself and others; and when I ignore that voice in my ear or that tug in my stomach warning me that I'm about to fall off the course.

I share this with you in hopes that you don't lose sight of the path you're supposed to be on. Make sure you aren't jumping on someone else's path, even if it appears to be more exciting or rewarding. You never know, their path may also be short-lived. I also hope that you remember that when you're in the ring to bob and weave, always keep your feet moving, keep those gloves up, and your arms in close…and remember…never lose sight of what you're supposed to be doing, who you are, and that you have the strength and ability to get back up when you're knocked down on your rump!

Natasha

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Spiritual Connectedness: There are Many Ways We’re Called to Serve

>Daily I attempt to send via email and text Biblical scriptures, accompanied by a prayer and a reflection on both the passage and the prayer, in hopes that those I connect with spiritually will share with me the Word, pass on the message to others, and help spread love, patience, kindness, forgiveness, humility, tolerance, understanding, grace, care, and hope for a better today and tomorrow.

My friend Kenya began sending me scriptural text messages about two years ago, and from that seed she planted grew something so great and powerful that I felt the need to share with others. It is amazing how if I miss a day, friends and family quickly ask where their message for the day is, and if I’m okay. They look forward to reading the passages, reciting the prayers, deeply pondering on the reflection, and sharing their insight. 

It has been said that I should share these daily messages with others beyond the fifteen or so people I currently forward these words of inspiration to…so I have agreed to take the message beyond my comfort zone and share them in a blog named after the subject line in each daily email I send, “Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer & Reflection”. 

The URL is simply http://breakingbreadwithnatasha.blogspot.com/

This isn’t a blog with me preaching, passing judgment, hooping and hollering, and acting holier than thou. It’s also not about converting, recruiting, or the like. No reference to any denomination, church, being or person (unless they are named in the Bible) will EVER be shared here. No one is allowed to advertise or promote anything at anytime. I’m simply sharing with the masses what I have been sharing with a few. Want an example? Great. Here’s today’s message:

Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it the issues springs life.
Proverbs 4:23

Pray
Father, thank You for giving me peace through any situation I might face. Thank You for the Word that turns any mess into a miracle; that lifts one up when we’re down, gives us hope when in doubt. I will praise so I can be raised. I Love You Father. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Reflection
When times gets rough we show our true self to the world. How do you respond during turmoil? Do you let it drag you down to your lowest depths or do you grab ahold of something and fight your way back to the top?

How are you in relationships? Are you putting God 1st or do you think of your perceived wants and needs first? If your heart is not warmed by and for God then you struggle to forgive, let go of past issues, move forward, and grow.

Today won’t you take that step towards faith that God as your protector has you?
Feel free to join me for daily inspiration as we pray together for each other, and for the rest of the world. http://breakingbreadwithnatasha.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.