Thursday, January 11, 2018

"ASK..."

What one asks for is not necessarily what one needs. NO, it may not be what you need, but at the given time, it is what you might want, right? Well, I’ve had so many revelations in my life whereas I may have just thought about something I wanted, and BOOM, I looked up and there it was. And it was only a thought – a subconscious one, at that!
I’m going to tell you a story... one I had not openly spoken of ever, other than to a ‘confidante.’ And this memory came to me as I continue to read revelations and hearing stories of women coming out about sexual harassment in the workplace and otherwise. By no means does my situation hold the equivalence of severity a lot of women have endured, but its significance dictates harassment.

Years ago I worked in an atmosphere with predominantly men. The work wasn’t exactly my ‘cup o’ tea’ but it was what I needed to continue my lifestyle and pay the bills. It was one of those jobs that required women to basically ‘man up’ because that was the setting. Because I eventually transferred to a position that didn’t require continuous heavy lifting and such, my responsibilities did not necessitate much strenuous, physical work on my part. The ‘negative’ aspect of this was that I worked a continued rotation schedule. My work-day consisted of either 8 or12 hour shifts… days, evening, graveyards – respectively. 
Although they were my least favorite of the three, I preferred working graveyards because I worked alone. My favorite shift was the days, which allowed me to spend some much needed time with my family. Unfortunately, the thorn in my side was the fact that I worked with a whole crew of about seven other guys and usually one woman. My department was pretty large, so it took all of us to make things run smooth and proficient… Well, that’s how I saw it. Working with guys, I had to endure their ‘shop’ talk with ALL of the curse words to go with it. And reporting this? That was not in the cards!! I think I was in a category by myself as a young Christian woman, so I tried really hard to busy myself…waiting on the clock. 
One huffy, gruff gentleman (for lack of an appropriate description) thought he was God’s gift to women, literally! I'll call him Joe. He was tall, brash, vociferous, and boastful, a woman basher… on top of that, he thought he was the strongest of them all and knew EVERYTHING. Oh, yea. Did I say Joe was a chain-smoker??? And oh, so very inconsiderate of where he flicked his ashes and butts. I think you get the whole picture now.
Trying to make this story a little shorter, I HATED with a passion when my 'day shift' came around and I had to work with him. The other guys, I tolerated. But it seems that whenever Joe was in the mix, everything was elevated to another level, which was usually loud, abusive, and obnoxiously frustrating. I think the WORST part in all of this is that he always seemed to want to hug ME! UGH!!! Smoke and stale liquor breath. With each touch, I cringed inside and out. Then he’d grin. Seems it didn’t bother other women… but I question their caliber.
The real point I’m trying to make here is that deep down inside, I wished I didn’t have to work with him on days. I vividly recall thinking “if only I could get a small break from him - his abusive language and abrasiveness."
As I worked other shifts, there was really no interaction or communication between employees with the exception of the person whom you’d be relieving or replacing. The dialogue would be all about work – unfinished or finished duties; hardly ever would we discuss personal goings-on.

Then, my days rolled around again! That SICK feeling in my gut reoccurred. The sluggish, depressive mode hit me, but I had to do it because I was the ‘breadwinner.’ If I didn’t work, nothing got paid! Does that sound familiar? I sucked it up and went to work that gray Monday morning. But, the atmosphere was different. It was calmer, quieter, more serene. Then I realized as I grabbed my coffee from the break room and started towards the work area that I didn’t hear THAT voice. JOE wasn’t there!
I sat down and finally got the nerves to ask where is Joe?  One of the older guys asked, “Didn’t you hear?” “Hear what, I asked?" “He had an accident this weekend, he said. He severed a couple of his fingers. One had to be reattached. He will be off for the next few months."  My heart seemed to stop. My only answer was, “Oh my God!”
And you know the rest...

Blessings,
PJ Payne

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Pace

Brand new year
Brand new day
Brand new outlook
New start, new pace
The coffee is working 
And so is He
I listen to Him first
His words are key

Ummm… but what is this?
What has me baffled?
What‘s in my head?
What is it there for?

I have this uncontrollable
Urge- do something different
And my head won’t lead my
Mind to idle on one thing
See I just keep moving
And my brain won’t be still
Even when my body slows
It rhythmically flows at will

Constantly on demand
Constantly on key
Constantly verbalizing
What’s constantly in me
Putting into words
Expressing what I conceive
Conveying on paper
Articulately speaking

Got so much that’s
Bottled up in a small space
With every intention
To break out into phases

To be distributed
To be delivered
To be continued
To be bewildering
To those who come in
Direct contact
With my brain waves
Without distraction

You need not and ought not
Be surprised or distraught
When my thoughts are
Verbally displayed and caught
Cause what you hear
Is only “of” me
And may not match with
The “me” you see

So… Get outta my way!
New Year, New Day!

PJ Payne

Thursday, December 21, 2017

T'is the Season...

 This Season and most highly commercialized holidays are dubbed as a time of 'Accessibility' as well as 'Fraudulence.'  We tend to sometimes get so caught up in the merriment, gift-giving, and the hype of it all until we let our guards down. We get bogged down with so much to do until we necessitate a ‘To Do List’.
 And there we go, ‘checking our lists and cheching it twice...’ Lol. We must remember that bargains are not necessarily bargains. I’ve always heard the phrase “too good to be true." Well, you’d best believe that if it seems too good to be true, then usually it’s NOT true! This doesn't mean that you need to be self-conscious, but be watchful.
Don’t let fear stop you in your tracks from enjoying this beautiful season. Have faith that what you want to do, you can still do it without being stagnated by fear of the trickery of this world. There will always be thieves who are watching and waiting for the innocent looking ones… those whom they think they can take advantage of and prey upon. Don’t be a victim of immobility… just make a move!

In my daily walk, not just busy seasons, I struggle with so many doubts as to whether I can or cannot do certain things, failure, being scammed. So I take whatever cautions I deem reliable. Putting God first in my moves, I then, ‘JUST DO IT!’ When I really look at the BIG picture, I remember what my Momma use to say- "you'll never know if you never try."
But... if you’ve ever experienced deception, you realize it can hamper the strongest of individuals…My 'go to' scripture whenever I have doubt is Luke 7:6 NIV:  And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
Definition of faith: The act of believing in or attempting something whose outcome has not been proven or is unknown; thus 'taking a chance...'
Not for just the season, but Faith should play a major role in your daily life. Faith is belief that you can, not that you just might. Faith gives you hope, when all hope is gone. Faith gives you strength to keep pressing on. Faith is that little voice that says, “Don’t give up.” Faith is the drink which overflows a cup.
Faith is the substance of hope and belief of things unseen. Faith allows you to step out on a limb, without the fear of falling. Faith takes you places your mind cannot fathom. Faith opens doors you could never imagine. Faith gives you access to do all things! Faith is the password- The key, in Jesus’ name!

T’is the Season to take a leap of Faith, knowing wherever, whenever or IF you fall, He will catch you it - it only takes a first step.

Blessings

PJ Payne

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Count It All Joy

Can you truly say that in all you do and all you go through, you consider it a blessing? When you have arrived to that point in your journey - you've made it! I say that because it takes a forbearing person, a strong person, a resilient person, a forgiving person, AND a God-fearing individual all rolled up into one, to understand and know that through it all ‘it is well’.
This time of the year is quite difficult for many of us. Some are ill, have lost loved ones, in a financial straight, depressed, or even homeless. And a lot of us know and remember the havoc Hurricane Harvey played in our lives. We are still recovering. These trials and sundry times can strip us of any fragment of joy we could conjure up. But … James 1:2-7, BSB says, ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.’ So ask and believe. Don’t be the double-minded, doubting person. You may receive what you were expecting... Nothing. Even so, you are still blessed.
Count your blessings.... one by one. Over and over again, realizing the sum; the sum of what you've got minus the sum of what you've given; then you'll find that you're rich, bountifully rich, in spite of your misgivings... 
No matter what you’re going through, He’s Blessing You. So count it ALL joy!

Continued Blessings,
PJPayne




Thursday, November 30, 2017

Glory, Glory


I am thinking...
Everyone has or has had a special person in his or her life that impacted them forever.  That impact was so profound that you never forgot that individual. You wondered how they did what they did. They went through so much and seem to come out untarnished, unscathed, praising, shouting and giving God the Glory for even the hardships! These were what you considered STRONG individuals. Have you ever wished you could possess those types of strengths? 
Well in my lifetime, I have met a few people like this. The most impressionable one was a ‘Praising and Praying’ woman, Gloria (Sister Sally). She impacted my life deeply. I met her a number of years ago when I was still a ‘babe in Christ’. We were both young women at the time, but she had a special gift.  She was prayerful and humble.  I was impressionable and ‘on fire’ for the Lord. I absorbed and gravitated to every little positive setting I encountered.   I desired to work in His Church in whatever capacity I could.

I loved to sing, but also soon became a part of a group of Lady Prayer Warriors, for lack of a better title. There were a number of us, as we would go to homes and hospitals to pray with the elderly, sick and shut-in. I recognized instantly that Sister Sally always prayed hard and fervently. I thought…  ”It’s as though no one else is in the room… just her and God.” Whenever she finished, I felt as though I had been cleansed of whatever tarnishing I had and renewed spiritually. That’s how powerful her prayers were.
There was a mutual bond in this group, but for some reason, a few of us just ‘clicked.’  Soon we begin to take turns going to each other’s home to fellowship and pray. I think Sister Sally ‘literally’ taught me how to pray. We prayed for each other, as we were all married, had children, and had no shame in “Letting Go and Letting God!”  We allowed His Spirit to encompass, move and envelope our very being, remembering the scripture: Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst”. And it never failed, as we would each take a turn to pray, it seemed Sister Sally would ALWAYS say the last prayer. Time was of no essence, as we let God have His way. 
I loved watching her when we would meet. Through our initial conversations, she would sometimes sit with her hands on her lap, a broad smile on her face, eyes closed and she would rock back and forth… a very serene vision to witness.  It was like she was slowly gearing up - getting ready to exalt God through prayer. She would pray so passionately and unselfishly, we were automatically brought to tears. On many occasions, we could have easily used more than one box of Kleenex.  She would be crying and her nose would be red and runny (as did ours) and by the time we released hands and opened our eyes, we needed a shower.  “Ain’t God Good!” 
I cannot forget those days. This is for the Praying Woman, who is still in my life.  She taught by example, how a woman prays. “To God Give the Glory!” God bless you, Sister Sally!

Blessings,

PJ Payne

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thank Him...

Are there times when you just want to hide from everyone and everything... run away from home, from work, just run away from it all? Well, join the crowd!
At some point, so many of us want to do just that – run away. Maybe more than once, lol. Some of you may have even acted upon it. Cowards like me didn't have the courage. I would have been wondering what I was leaving behind or what was going on while I was away. But, if you had the strength to do so, okay… hopefully, you went back.
I guess that is why I spend each morning with my Coffee and Thee. Although I may have just arisen from a night's rest, that’s my unwinding time. It’s my time to be with my thoughts, my God, my space, and my coffee. To calm your ‘run away from it all’ spirit, I suggest that you pick your space and chill. Maybe, just maybe you can keep your sanity in the midst of it all.
 No doubt about it, life and things happen! There is NO escaping! But what you must do is “brace yourself for the unexpected. Then embrace it!” If you expected it, then you would not have allowed it to happen in the first place; especially if it had a negative effect on you or your livelihood. Anything you deem detrimental, you do everything within your power to block it, right?
I heard a sermon recently with a title that says it all. When you go through your trials and tribulations, realize this… ‘It Had to Happen’! Your highs, your lows, your distress, and despair – God is taking you down an unknown path and only He knows your final destination. Given the message he wanted to portray, the Minister elaborated in as eloquent a manner as possible - “Stop looking for the reason and start looking for the revelation!”  Start rejoicing and thanking Him!
What I’ve learned is, when something unexpected or drastic happens, we naturally seek answers and ask why.  Everything you deem as ‘going wrong’ is not necessarily going wrong. “He wouldn’t have brought you to it, if He couldn’t bring you through it.” Brace yourself and hunker down, because He may be preparing you for the ride of a lifetime.  But remember who is your pilot, your chauffeur, your navigator; you can make the worst thing that ever happened in your life, work for your best.
It’s hard to be grateful and thankful when everything around you seems to be in shambles. This is especially so, if you are the type of person who is the ‘leanee,’ instead of the leaner. Basically, you have been the one on whom everyone can depend … the confidante, spiritual adviser, a listening ear, the Rock of Gibraltar, the invincible one - need I go on? I’m sure you get the picture. So tell me, who do you go to when you’re in need of support? Do you deny yourself? Do you not open up? Are you repudiating the fact that you have problems or issues? Do you just hold it all in?
Well God knows us better than we know ourselves. He allows us to fall down sometimes so that we will understand exactly where our help AND the help of others, comes from when we get up. Psalm 121:1-2 KJV …from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
There is just no escaping what God’s plan is for your life. Just let Him take the reins. Stop saying ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ when your little feeble mind tells you that you don’t need to go through the hardships you’re enduring. Let the chips fall where they may. Somehow, by way of those downfalls, you really will be able to help someone in dire need of support. The comfort you will be able to give will have been through experience and the BEST teacher.
So, take your punches and don’t run away. Instead, pick yourself up, pick your space and time, and give Him thanks for it all. Yes, it’s Thanksgiving time! Thank him for what you’ve been through AND as hard as it seems, what you are about to go through.

Blessings,
PJ Payne


Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Cost

Do you ever wish you could turn back the hands of time... to relive a part of your life? What if you were a kid again? Would you have done anything differently? Would you have taken a different path, as an adult? Would you have not made the choices that you did? If you did make mistakes, do you think you would have rectified them immediately, had you an opportunity? Or would you have been the 'bad boy or girl', seeking attention?
Do you ever wish...?
The Cost

If I had known yesterday
What I know today
How different would things be
Would I have left or stayed

If I had known yesterday
What I know today
My pace would have been a little slower
Would have paved a brighter pathway

If I had known yesterday
What I know today
The things I deemed important
Would have taken back seat to kids and family

If I had known yesterday
What I know today
I would have walked a mile for a smile
And a tear would not have donned a face

If I had known yesterday
What I know today
Living life, and loving harder
Would have been the order of the day

If I had known yesterday
What I know today
I would have struggled more, 
to give, versus to have
Realizing the rewards 
of the 'price' He paid

What I know today...

Blessing, 
PJ Payne