Thursday, October 19, 2017

Come Clean!

I've learned that most of the time, we all want to portray our 'best face'… put our ‘best foot forward’! No one wants the world to see their bad side...not on purpose anyway! So we put up a façade; masking the real person.

Are you being true to yourself or those you come in contact with? Do you have a corner of your life that reeks of disarray and disorganization? Do you think to hide your imperfections like wearing makeup, display good character traits? Do you fear getting ‘found out’ so you continue to hide at whatever costs? What portion of your life are these deficiencies displayed? At work, in the desk drawer? At home, in the closet or on that junk table? Surely your flaws they are not visible to the naked eye? When will you finally come out? It’s bound to happen, so why hide? The REAL you will eventually come through, so just come clean!
No matter what you say
No matter what you do
That which you keep in the dark
Is really a reflection of you

You can’t always hide behind a curtain
Stuff you think won’t be seen
Cause when you least expect it
A visitor’s gonna come clean
About how things really look
And it’s ALL about you
They won’t say it to your face
But the truth will come through

And let a visitor open a closet
Which exposes a whole lot
Wow! Do you or do you not have junk?
Is there even a clean spot?
 Be it a secret,
Or be it known
Indiscretions aren't always discrete
If overexposed or shown

Get real, get ready
Make a change, keep it steady
Get it done, make strides
Cause obviously what think you hid
You really didn't hide

In essence what you “don’t” do
Comes out, Comes clean
And says a lot

About you!

~PJ Payne

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Scenic Route

Sometimes answers are right before our eyes and we can't see them. Then God steps in and we finally realize that it was there all along. He allows us to run around in circles by trying to work things out on our own. Our progression is worrying, making wrong decisions, going in the wrong directions - taking a long scenic route.  Then He brings us back to where He wanted us to be from the very beginning. So, with a trail of errors and mistakes behind us, we do what we should have done in the first place – trust and wait on Him!
As a writer/poet, I have found that some of us cannot just sit down and write something. The process may involve concentrating and meditating.  For me, ‘atmosphere’ is everything.  And then there are times when everything just flows.  “Ohhh, such epiphanies!”  But most of all, writing is about development - development via the mind, experiences, tribulations, joys, and sorrows. The culmination of it all allows one to tell his or her story.  If you have a broad imagination, the sky is limitless; but when you go through something, it's surreal and you have no problem telling your story.
I never thought that a prayer I had prayed would be answered by way of a devastating event.  Lately, I had become restless and felt the need to get away from everything and experience something different. My desire was to take a final trip before summer’s end.  I love to drive and survey the beauty of God’s creations. All I need for traveling inspiration is my ‘brew,’ a beautiful sunrise, and in the midst, write about my escapades.  My finances were NOT great, so I knew what I desired was bigger than my pocket. I may be a little late, expounding on such a devastating event, but as time goes on, I realized that I must say something. "Thank you, Hurricane Harvey, for being the catalyst which took me for a ride."
On Friday, August 25th, as the rain began to fall and the probability of Harvey really hitting Houston set in, I knew I needed to make a decision. Stay or leave?  I was teetering – indecisive, not knowing the magnitude of the storm, at that point.  I love my kids and what most parents don’t want is to be a burden on their young adult children. Although they would not consider it such, I could not encumber them with added stress, if I had other options.  So, through some opposition, fear, reluctance, and finally relief, I made a decision – “And then I felt peace.”  Phil. 4:7 NLT; Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. “I left for East Texas.”  I didn’t realize at the time how God was working it all out for me because what I failed to mention is “stress was not a good fit for me,” since I’d recently been ill. I also did not consider the fact that I was broke – He fixed that too! Yes, I took that long-awaited TRIP I thought I needed. The circumstances were definitely not of my choosing, but His choice.
That week away was an emotional roller coaster as I watched flooding, magnitudes of heroic rescues, displaced families, and even reports of water rising and evacuation in my own neighborhood. At one point my tears were streaming uncontrollably. I felt helpless because I was helpless.  I realize now that the barrage of emotions I felt during the hurricane was labeled ‘survivor’s guilt’.  I was not heeding the peace God had given me on my initial decision because I had begun to worry, even though His word says ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything…’  Phil. 4:6 NLT. As crazy as it seems, things could have been worse.  So I began praying and thanking God for His grace and mercy!  
As I drove on my return trip, I saw rivers where initially there were none; piles and piles of debris in communities.  I was even re-routed because of road closures. Finally, the sky seemed to open up – sun shining brightly, as though nothing had happened… and I was home.

I may have taken the scenic route
To see what You wanted from me, Lord
I may have taken the scenic route
But in hindsight, saw what You wanted me to see.
To see You working, give You the glory
See miracles unfold, and now tell Your story

of ‘The Scenic Route’

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Keep the Faith

Sitting and sipping my third cup o' Joe this morning I am thinking, as usual. It’s time, yes it’s time to stop ignoring the fact that you really don’t have the last word in your actions, reactions, even a well thought out and plan of action.
Because of what so many of us have endured during Hurricane Harvey, a friend suggested that I blog about the patience it takes to weather this transition we've all been affected by. Does it seem that no matter what you plan to do, there are always hiccups in the outcome… even if you think you’ve crossed all the ‘T’s and dotted all the ‘I’s?  Well, that’s just a part of life. During this hurricane fiasco, there are two characteristics we have all had to develop... Patience and Faith.

Patience: The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. I’m sure you’ve heard the cliché ‘Patience is a virtue’. Yes, it is a good quality. Our trials and experiences in life help us mature to the level of understanding that things don’t always happen in our time=frame or when we want it.
And then there’s Faith: The act of believing in or attempting something whose outcome has not been proven or is unknown; thus 'taking a chance...  You know not what the outcome will be.
You see, they each go hand in hand. It takes the patience to wait and understand that that which you seek in answers or otherwise, will come in due time… not always when you expect it. And when your answers arrive, they will have been worth the wait. Also, whatever your struggles were in the midst of patiently waiting, won’t seem so big after all.
Have the patience and faith to ride out your storm. There is joy in the horizon.

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!

"Keep the Faith"!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What's Your Fuel?

As a writer and poet, I believe what inspires me is life’s lessons, COFFEE, and the Holy Spirit. These thoroughfares, so to speak, always inspire me to put on paper what's in my head, but also, a large part of my inspiration has come by seeing and listening to the works of some of our most renowned artists and poets, namely Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. I truly believe most writers write through inspirations and experiences. Heritage is also a stepping stone to articulate our movement, convey our thoughts, and put them to print. 
Sometimes I feel as though I have so much to say and if I didn't have a outlet, I'd burst wide open... my brain goes much faster than even my fingers can wrap around a pen, type on a keyboard, or even my body can move, to express what I am thinking.
My thoughts utter, via pen, whatever creeps into mind at that time.  
I've been writing since my kids were little and always thought of it as my "Coffee and Thee" moments whereas I spent time alone (whenever I could, lol). 
Today my inspiration is about children… just the thought of them and how precious they are. 
My children are a large part of my inspirations… Life wouldn’t be the same; they are my fuel...

My Petroleum

You are my inspiration
my source of rejuvenation
The fuel that
jump-starts my day
Little words
that pave the way.
The sweetener
for my cup-o-tea        
The morning coffee
I think I need
Time well spent with you
Refreshing, fulfilling
Bonds so close
for you, I'm willing....

Seeing your smiles
carry me that extra mile.
Throughout the day
memories pave the way
Encompassing and
soothing my soul
giving me peace
lightening my load

And when I began again...

You are my inspiration
my source of rejuvenation

My Petroleum

PJ Payne

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Look Up!

Differences! It is what makes us unique. “I'm not like you and you're not like me." Differences! They are not disdainful, just adjustable because one has to adjust to another person’s dissimilarities. We were all made equal, but not alike. The whole makeup of an individual (genetically or environmentally) may have similarities, but not identical.
With that being said, because we are all different, don’t allow your diversity to be a stumbling block in your life. Don’t let another person’s view of you ‘make or break you,’ because they may be for you today and against you tomorrow.
I want to briefly share a story of an individual on Instagram. She posted this and asked for advice.

She went to a party one night, but didn’t change clothes… wearing what she had worn to work that day, which she considered traditional. Well, because she was dressed so differently from her peers, she was sneered at and shunned. There were comments like “Don’t you have something better than that dress; maybe something shorter or jeans?” And there were also references to how she was not fitting in. Being the individual she was, she did not reply to the person. Instead, she hung her head because this made her feel out of place. Although she wanted to, she didn’t leave, as it may have drawn more attention to her. Some time later someone else walked up to her and said: “You look beautiful in that traditional suit”. By now she was really confused. She thanked them and finally left the party feeling blank, empty, and puzzled.
In reply to her post, many of her followers said she should have said something back to the people who insulted her…even going as far as WHAT she should have said. She humbly thanked them and agreed. By then, I was baffled! But, there was one, ‘only one’ individual who said, “I read your post. I would continue dressing the way I felt the most comfortable, and would spend little if any time with people making unkind remarks… even on IG with this solicited, but very opinionated advice."

In my opinion, that was the best advice she could have received. Too many times we depend on what society thinks and dictates. It can get the best of even the strongest of individuals, if you allow it. Don't let anyone steal your joy. You are beautiful in your own skin, so OWN IT!

Look Up!

Don’t look down
Don’t you dare!
Look up, look up
Cause you are there

You are a light to others
Shine bright in the sky
Illuminate vibrancy
Clarity on high
Keep your head up
Esteem is your anchor
Pride is the foundation
Heritage… where you came from

You see, you can’t let man
Or anything steal your joy
Can’t let doubt dictate
To your mind and heart
Victory is yours for the taking
Your future is at stake
Claim it and sustain it
Just take your place

Don’t look down, I say
Don’t you dare!

PJ Payne

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Magic Touch

We are constantly hustling and bustling, trying to figure things out. We're shedding tears. Our blood pressure rises... we get frenzied when our backs are against the wall. Stuff happens!! So when we can't find immediate answers, those humanistic instincts kick in. But God is so good! He gives us just what we need, in His time, which is when we need it. Sometimes we don't even realize that we need help because we think we can work our own magic.
"Oh, ye of little faith," how soon we forget whose child we are. As Christians, we say we know God, but do we really? We throw up our hands in despair, we throw temper tantrums like little kids who can't have their way, and we get all worked up because 'we' can't work out the problem. We personalize failure and give up! But guess what? That's what He really wants us to do... let Him.
Just when we think it's all over, we've run the race, we've lost the battle, He is standing on the sidelines watching and waiting and then... HE INTERCEDES!

He guides us as He touches us… takes the reins to lead us out of confusion. He clears the path of obstacles so that we can see and think clearly, as to not draw own conclusions. And then, only then do we grasp who truly has the answers. Then and only then, we realize we had no control; no say in the matter. He’s already laid hands on the situation and unassumingly, worked it out.

The only magic touch is the 'Touch of the Master'! When we let Him guide us in the path He wants us to take, we will realize we're in for the ride of a life time with little effort of our own. Consequently, we wonder "what was all the fuss.”

PJ Payne

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Ride Outside

As I drive and ride, sometimes I just exhale. I absorb all the beauty around me. It's about the feeling, the atmosphere, auras... although others may not envision the beauty that I see. They may just see things, but I see miracles! Miracles of a new morning, a new day, dewdrops on leaves, bursting sun, hustle and bustle of traffic, and so on… I see and feel the blessing of just having a vehicle to ride in; even something as simple as being able to see! So yes, I enjoy the ride.
I’m not even consumed with actually driving, but freedom in a mental state, focusing on the moment. How sweet is the taste, very subtly, the opportunity to being foot loose and fancy free. See, I’m not in control of my destiny and what’s within my reach, in my hand, in my grasp, for that is His decision.  I realize, as human beings, we are powerless, no matter what WE think we are able to do… it’s all about God.  
So find your pleasure, find your peace, find your freedom. I've found mine...
A Ride Outside

Seems I wanna ride…
Wanna ‘scape by-ways and hide
Wanna through, hi-ways confide
Wanna spread my secret wide

Of my emotions, I’ll confess
Of my inner being, express
Of life’s’ turmoil and tests
Of how I cope and try my best

To keep at bay the insanity
To keep away the profanity
To know “this too shall pass”
To know freedom, alas

‘Til dispersion is free, not frugal
‘Til destiny cannot be 'googled’
‘Til there’s room for my scruples
‘Til there’s peace. How do you do it?

“Seems I wanna just ride.”

PJ Payne