Thursday, August 2, 2018

"If it Quacks Like a Duck..."

Been there! Done that! Got the t-shirt!
As I sip my brew this morning, what goes through my mind is how conniving, devious, scheming and with all of that type of energy, how smart some people are.
Recently I experienced an online situation and had I not been aware, I would have fallen for it hook, line and sinker.  I was approached by a ‘gentleman,’ as I use the word loosely… He was ‘oh so charming.’ He was subtle, complimentary, open, spiritual… all those things a woman desires in a relationship, especially an initial meeting.  I just couldn’t believe I had actually come across an individual whom I could relate to in so many aspects. PLUS he was intelligent; loved to write also. The icing on the cake was that he professed to be a Christian. Wow! It was as though he felt me and knew my heart.
Here is an excerpt from one of our numerous communications… you be the judge.
He states...
‘I can't recall when I had a more pleasant time talking to someone. Everything feels so natural about you and you sounded so easy going. It's hard for me to identify what it is about you that attracts me so much. I suppose it might be the combination of your charming personality and your good looks. Whatever it is, I can sense its presence. You could call it chemistry or better yet, the possibility that we are on the same wavelength.
I am a very outgoing and fun loving man, with a passionate and generous heart. I try to find the lesson in every situation. Situations of joy, pain, sorrow, love etc., have made me grow emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I am dedicated and committed when it comes to a romantic relationship... I want to be in a relationship where she brings out the best in me, and I in her. I would rather be hurt with the truth, than a lie. I want a woman to see me as her equal. Did I mention that I have many different types of smiles? There's a food smile, a guilty smile, a loving passionate smile, a cooking smile, Lol.
I just find so much to be happy about and sometimes it's the littlest of things. I love surprises! I love giving presents and giving surprises. Actually, I just like giving. I have been told that my energy is infectious and addicting and that I am full of passion. I am looking for a woman who knows who she is. I've learned that communication is the key to a relationship, so she must be able to talk and not hold things in until they blow up. I do not want someone who I will control. Everyone is entitled to their emotions and feelings. I am a big cuddler and romantic. I want those things which money cannot buy- respect, love, honesty, generosity, communication, chemistry, passion, humility and tolerance---to name a few.
I want you to know all about me… I am an open book.’

And this type of communication went on for a few days… He was free with his phone number and where he lived.
Hmmm, and your conclusion?
Mine was ‘you’re full of it!’ I MUST admit that at first, it was intriguing and had my ears perked. But as soon as he began to mention traveling, not home much, working overseas… then the ultimate---MONEY. BINGO!! Good-bye.
I am a very private person, but I divulged this little chapter from my experiences to possibly make some of you, (women or men) aware that scammers and schemers come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. But God gives us ALL we need to sniff out those who don’t mean us any good. Our tool is discernment. If you're a lady and want to generically give it a label, then a ‘woman’s intuition.’ In any case, use it. 
"If it quacks like a duck..."

PJ Payne

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Brain Power?

There are times in our lives, especially as we mature that we are so busy and bombarded with our daily goings-on, that we forget stuff. 
Yes, in the midst of what you are doing, you think, “What was I going to do” or, Why did I come into this room?” Yeah, those moments, right! Ever heard of the phrase ‘The mind is a terrible thing to waste?’ Well, I wasn’t wasting it, I had used it and it was at ‘rest’! But, what happens when you have no control over producing a product that you have worked on hard and long?
The following chain of events was the result of how we have allowed other forces to control our lives, but in reserve, God’s still got us. I endured that about a week ago. See, this wasn’t about my brain doing what it was supposed to do, to function and help me write a speech and lesson I would be presenting within hours. It did just that! But it was my technology that defined the finished product. It failed me. 
I had been working on my speech for the past few weeks. I was researching the scriptures; defining and fine-tuning different points I wanted to make.  My subject/theme was ‘When God has you on the Back Side of the Desert.’ The focus was on the children of Israel and the trials and tribulations they endure throughout their travel in the wilderness. My concentrated chapters were Exodus 15 and 16, then narrowing it down to Exodus 15: 22 through Exodus 16: 5. All of those ‘desert moments’ they suffered.
For weeks I left my document open on my computer; wrote my thoughts and research down; returning and tweaking it… then a day or two prior, I had my finished product. YAY! I thought to myself, wow, ‘I DID this’! I began to rehearse… then all that was left to do was print my work.
Approximately 9pm the night before my event, I was fine-tuning everything before printing, and then BLINK! There was a surge in power. My computer went black. My EYES got humungous! What had just happened?? “Oh my God," I thought!  My computer began to automatically reboot, but as it was doing that, I was trying to remember… when was the last time I saved my document? Did I ever SAVE my document?? I was in a panic! As my screensaver and icons began to appear, my heart was racing… Where are my open files?
There were NONE!
Now what? With less than 12 hours until my presentation, what was I going to do? Surely there was a mistake! Surely my open files would pop up any moment, right? Nope AND nope! Devastation set in.  I called on my ‘computer savvy’ daughter to help… she was in shock! Mama, you should always CTRL and S to save as you go... Okay, okay, HELP! She immediately steered me to my recovery files. Yes, that’s the answer! So with anticipation and hope, I searched for my document. I located it! BUT, it was only a paragraph I had done weeks ago. Apparently, that was my last save.  I began to pray… what should I do, Lord? I put my head down on my desk and wanted to just burst into tears… but they wouldn’t come.  My first thought was to cancel. My FEEBLE mind at that point, could not fathom going forth with a presentation that was not amply prepared.
Then my daughter said “You have to rewrite it. You can do this, Mama! You didn’t teach us to give up, so you can’t.  Put on your coffee and start writing! That’s what you do!” WOW! I needed that!
So that’s exactly what I did. As I wrote, God gave me information and drive that I didn’t possess during the first draft. My brain was on autopilot! He even allowed me to recover 100% of the research I had previously done through Google. I was able to produce a lesson that had previously taken weeks to do, in a couple of hours.
I am in awe of His power over us. My lesson had an even greater meaning to me because I had suffered through the idea that I was doomed for failure… 
See, the children of Israel had a lot of questions and doubts as to whether they would make it through.
They whined and complained to and about Moses on every hand. With the manifestations of God's power and everything, He gave them- water, food, and shelter they survived. But He also tested them. They had to keep his commandments and know that HE IS LORD! He even emphasized that He would not allow them to suffer the diseases that He brought upon the Egyptians, for He is Lord that heals.  Most Importantly He wanted them to depend on Him and know He was the One who had brought them out from the land of Egypt.

As I went through my ‘desert moment’, I realized that this was not about me and my ability to put words and phrases together to sound good, or my keen mind to remember or not. This was about God bringing me out and ME depending completely on HIM!

PJ Payne

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Give Me...

I’m sure at some point in your life you have heard the phrase ‘Give me my flowers while I can still smell them’. Do you truly understand the meaning of those words? I used to hear my grandmother and then later, my mother say those words and wondered what they meant by them. They would also say, ‘Just live long enough and you will see what I’m talking about.’ Well, I now understand.
I am resolved to the fact that life teaches us lessons that books can’t touch. Sure there are millions of self-help books and clich├ęs to match. So, where did it all come from? LIFE!

As I think on those words ‘Give me my flowers…,’ I can’t help thinking of the fact that so many times in our busy lives we miss what is important. NOW.  Each day we think we will have time to do those things that we didn’t do yesterday or call those people we didn’t get to call the other day. But what happens when the time we thought we had to fulfill those “I will tomorrows” turn into weeks, then months, years- and we never get around to them? Eventually, they are forgotten until, Bam! Something devastating happens. Then your memory returns. But guess what? “It’s too late!”
That is what ‘Give me my flowers…,’ mean. It is not giving real flowers in the physical sense of those words, but just doing those little things. Some things you may deem insignificant can be so momentous to someone in need. And they will remember it.

To give is receipt
Give your parent/s a hug, NOW
Tell someone you love them, NOW
Give them a kiss, NOW
Brush or comb your daughter’s hair, NOW
Physically WRITE a note to your spouse, NOW
Tell her she’s beautiful, NOW
Help a co-worker you know needs help, NOW
Play catch with your child, NOW
Buy groceries for an elderly individual, NOW
Call that long-lost friend with whom you’ve been out of touch, NOW
And yes, physically “Give someone a flower,” NOW

You will see that your rewards will outnumber your regrets. Then, there will be no need for ‘shoulda, coulda, wouldas’.

Be Blessed

PJ Payne

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Are You There?

Do you ever look around and find yourself suddenly having nothing to do? That may sound outrageous in this time and age of devices and mechanisms, which can totally occupy your time, but I'm speaking of having something worthy, time-consuming, worthwhile like a project of sorts.
I find myself there sometimes when I become ‘stuck’ in my brain with an on-going event and need something fresh and new. If you’re like me and some others I know, you bore quickly. If you lose interest, you throw it aside like dirty laundry… ready for something fresh, clean NEW! You may have plenty to do in your ‘now’ pile, but you need to begin a ‘then’ basket. Just an inkling, an idea, a burst of excitement to spur yourself on; give you incentive; stir up your creative juices.
Well, unfortunately, I’m there!

I just don’t know what to do with myself
I don’t know just what to do with myself
I piddle and piddle and twiddle my thumbs
Cause I just am not through with myself

Seems I’m more than this
Seems I’m bored with this
And can’t find my comfort zone

Seems my life’s not full
And my plate is half empty
And my actions are foreign and unknown

Seems I possess so much more
Than what’s visible to the eye
Unconceivable, can’t be put into words

Seems people can’t understand
What’s inside me is vast
Its enormity, a magnitude so absurd

You see, we all have
Untapped territories
that are in need
of a little purging
I pray when I’m
finally pricked,
My safe harbor
will dissipate
with urging

I just don’t know what to do with my self
I don’t know just what to do with myself
My day may end, but my mind begins again
As someday I’ll get through to myself
PJ Payne

Thursday, June 14, 2018


It's okay if things don't happen in the order that you think they should. It's okay if you can't check everything off of that checklist... the one that you made 'ten times over' because you kept changing your mind. And it's okay if your priorities became minorities. It's okay if your don'ts became your do's and why becomes why not's. Or even, if IS's are now if only's! Stuff gets turned around-- topsy-turvy, tumultuous, and chaotic. And as unbelievable as it seems, it turns out fine. But, whose orders are you following?
Related image
Life really does not have order, the universe speaks for us.
In No Particular Order --
Order dictates graduate high school before entering College.
Order dictates get married before you have a baby.
Better still, order dictates be a virgin when you get married.
Order dictates that you should not be a grandmother before you're 30.
Order dictates you only eat 'breakfast foods' in the mornings, 'at the table.'
Order dictates a baby should crawl before he walks.
Order dictates a child should do BETTER or become MORE  than his/her parents.
Order dictates a 'Presidential' President!
Order dictates a MAN is the Head of his household.
Order even dictates a chicken 'in real time' comes from an egg.
Order dictates a Minister, ministers!
Order dictates you're GROWN at 21.
Order dictates parents leave this earth, before their children.

Life says differently...

We put too much on ourselves. Our expectations are sooo elevated, WE can't even reach them-- and we expect our kids and even peers to do so... just because we demand order. A never-ending cycle. Pssssh!! But Get over it! Sure we want to just JUMP, have FAITH. We have the audacity to advise others to do the same. God also graced each of us with a little thing called common sense... for women, it's 'intuition.' Use as needed. No over thinking.
I used to be OCD! Yeah me! I guess I still have traces lingering (naturally) but believe me, 'I got over it'. When my sanity was at risk, my peace of mind, my time, my finances, my family - I crashed. Yet, I got up! God allows things that our minute minds can't fathom happening, to happen. Sure, we think stuff should be in order... all prim, proper and a certain way. Usually, they're traditions. Again, it's okay if things don't happen in the order that you think they should.

Because even our mere existence is continuously changing around us, we may not grasp why. Does that matter? In the end, it happens in His order and His way.
Just let it happen! ORDER UPwards!

PJ Payne

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sacred Spaces

Pray and stay. Stay and pray. And listen with an open-heart. Through all the running you’ve done, your accomplishments are none. “If you had only taken the time to hear God.”  This is a precept to what I am about to express.
It seems we are always in a ‘slow hurry’. Whether a lifestyle is slow-paced or you’re in high demand, there are never enough hours in the day. Never enough time! Your life doesn’t feel like you own. No is not in your vocabulary. Does this sound familiar? Are you guilty? I am!

Our lifestyles demand and dictate doing things in a hurry.  I have learned that ‘you live and you learn’. The longer you live, the more you will learn how to live.
My reference is always my mother. She was a smart and very wise woman. When she spoke, you listened, whether you wanted to or not. Her stance was via demand and undeniably stoic, yet forbearing. Her ‘choice of words could be questionable but worthy of acknowledgement. She used to say ‘be anxious for nothing, it will come in due season.’ I didn’t understand that phrase then, but as I grew up and learned to be patient, all I wanted and desired either happened or is still coming to pass. And maybe accomplishments are not in my desired time-frame, but I know they're in the making.

So, I’m learning to ‘pick my battles’ as she would have put it. I’m trying really hard to understand and believe that everything doesn’t revolve around me, or how I do it, Even if I pay an integral part of the situation or finished product. That’s the result of ‘Growth!’ It comes with time and supplication. So, therefore, my calm in the midst of daily storms is being still. Even if it’s for five minutes.  Just stay and pray – then press your ‘reset button.’


PJ Payne

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Messenger and the Chair

Recently, my sister and I visited my brother at a medical facility. In the midst of the visit, an impacting and profound experience occurred.
We were chatting with him about old times and when we were growing up. There was only one chair in the room but about four of us. My brother suggested asking for extra chairs, but we were all comfortably perched either on his bed or leaning. He decided to call for an extra chair anyway, and eventually, an aid brought one in. I pulled the chair up, but no one sat there and we didn’t miss a beat in our reminiscing. We really didn't want to move from our relaxed positions.
About 5 minutes later, a tall gentleman walked through the door. We were all amazed, as none of us knew him, or expected a visitor. He smiled and introduced himself as a Chaplain. We were compliant but puzzled as to why he would be there. Understandably, chaplains usually visit during critical illnesses, which of course didn’t apply to this given situation. He went on to say that he was referred by my brother’s daughter-in-law, whom he counseled during her husband’s demise (my brother’s son). We then understood the connection but instantly felt a hush and sadness in the room.

He asked if he could sit and talk to my brother for a minute - give him some encouragement. Of course, we were all whole-heartedly receptive. He sat in the ‘Empty Chair’. His words were so apropos for the situation; we all gained reassurance and an inspirational outlook. His Spirit was so inviting and refreshing. When he finished, I saw a look in my brother’s eyes that depicted hope, acceptance, but most of all peace. Incidentally, my brother was wearing an ‘initialed’ sports T-shirt that belonged to his son.

As the Chaplain finished speaking with us, he asked if he could pray with us, reiterating the invitation of and the importance of God in our lives.
Just before he left, my brother made an impacting point of observation. He said, “that chair was for you."
Isn’t it amazing how God reveals Himself! He always shows up...

The Chair

We pulled up a chair
but no one would sit
didn't know at the time
whose body it would fit

we talked and talked
and kept on going
still, the chair was empty
us not knowing

And when he walked in
and he sat down
God only knew
it was for him, it was found
that he was the reason
that chair stayed empty
For He filled it with the Word
Not preempted

Thank you, Father,
for that chair, we thought empty
You were there, You filled it
No question, but simply
that we knew not, at the time
how Your Word was Really needed
Then in the midst of it all
our minds conceded

Your plan
Your time
Your way
YOU were Seated
... in The Chair